Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The meeting is 7PM tonight in Lake City, with remote participation options; see:

January 26, 2023

To: Scott Koons, E.D., North Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Re: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash


Thank you for the opportunity for public input.

I would like to bring to the attention of the Council three issues:

[Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26]
Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26

  1. Deadline January 31st for public comment on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), being revised after the first version of 2016. It still contains no water budget nor plans to limit new water withdrawals nor to phase down old ones. It does include expensive aquifer recharge projects such as a 48-inch pipe from the Suwannee River near White Springs to Falling Creek Sink to recharge Ichetucknee Springs, even though there are simpler and much less expensive methods available. I am asking the NCFRPC to comment to SRWMD and SJRWMD about the NFRWSP.

    [NFRWSP: North Central Florida Water Supply Plan]
    NFRWSP: North Central Florida Water Supply Plan

  2. Deadline March 20th for public comment on permits for a titanium strip mine within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp on Trail Ridge in Georgia. The mine site is above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink, the Swamp interchanges water with the Aquifer, and the Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers. White paint is not a good reason to risk all that. The miners from Alabama, as Twin Pines Minerals LLC, are still under a Florida Consent Order for infractions at two Chemours titanium mining sites in north Florida, including the only non-diesel pollution spills in the Suwannee River Basin during Hurrican Irma. Since the Army Corps twice abdicated oversight and that issue is still in the courts, all the permit applications are with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD), which has opened a Public Comment period on the Mining Land Use Plan (MLUP). I am asking NCFRPC to review the MLUP and to send objections to GA-EPD.

    [Titanium mine too near Okefenokee Swamp]
    Titanium mine too near Okefenokee Swamp

  3. A dozen years and still not fixed: Valdosta has a chronic trash problem, with beer cans, plastic water bottles, and styrofoam fast food containers washing down its creeks into the Withlacoochee River, all the way to the Suwannee River. Valdosta’s own 2010 Stormwater Master Plan described and depicted this problem on many creeks, noted that children play in those creeks, making it a public health problem, and said it needed to be fixed “immediately.” More than a decade later, after pressure by WWALS and citizens, Valdosta finally put a trash trap on Sugar Creek, the worst offending creek, which helps. But they need more trash traps on other creeks, and they need to enforce their own ordinances which require parking lot owners not to let trash escape and to strategically place trash cans and keep them cleaned out. NCFRPC was instrumental in getting GA-EPD to levy a Consent Order on Valdosta about its chronic sewage problem, which has since become much less of a problem. I am asking NCFRPC to take similar action about Valdosta’s trash problem.

    [Valdosta trash] Valdosta trash

Finally, I’d like to invite you all to join us on Saturday, February 4th, as we paddle down the Withlacoochee River from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park, past numerous springs and through many small rapids, and depending on water levels, running Class II Melvin Shoals.

Double Door Spring, Withlacoochee River, Photo: John S. Quarterman 2019-06-01

For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman,

One thought on “Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26

  1. Pingback: Agenda: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2023-01-26 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) is Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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