Monthly Archives: October 2023

Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2024-02-24

Paddle with us 6.58 miles downstream on dark water with one set of shoals. People have reported seeing blue woodpeckers in the area as well as kingfisher and several others.

When: Gather 9:30 AM, launch 10:30 AM, end 5 PM, Saturday, February 24, 2024

Put In: Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 6499 Knights Ferry Rd, Valdosta, GA 31601, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.71205, -83.45554

[Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17 and 2022-12-03]
Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River, 2022-12-17 and 2022-12-03

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Iche Nippy Dip Day Swim and Paddle, Ichetucknee River, Ichetucknee Headspring, 2024-01-06

Swim in the Itch head spring, during Iche Nippy Dip Day, the annual first-Saturday-in-January-that-is-not-New-Year-Day dip.

Then join us for a leisurely paddle 4 miles downstream in crystal clear waters with the possibility of seeing manatee, several types of gar and bird species. The launching spot has been recently upgraded to accommodate new ADA standards.

Iche Nippy Dip Day was founded by Earl Kinard (February 20, 1930 – March 27, 2022). He was there when WWALS dipped and paddled on January 4, 2020.

When: Gather 9:00AM (swim), launch 11 AM, end 2 PM, Saturday, January 6, 2024

Put In: Ichetucknee Headspring and Ichetucknee North Launch, Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038, Columbia County.

GPS: 29.98292, -82.76053

[Dippers, Put-in, Paddlers, 2020-01-04]
Dippers, Put-in, Paddlers, 2020-01-04

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Colossal aggregation of Redeye Chubs 8 years ago –Ken Sulak 2015-08-15

Back in the day—15 Aug 2015—Gilchrist Blue Spring, before the boardwalk and steps were damaged by a storm and removed.

I was there the next day—phenomenal aggregation—not seen again by me since there or elsewhere. Spawning?? Feeding?? The bottom of the run then was carpeted by Hydrilla about 1-2″ high, having been munched to a Hydrilla-turf carpet by Suwannee Cooters which arrived that summer in the hundreds to munch. That changed my mind about Hydrilla removal—maybe better to leave it alone as turtle pasture. I would like to see the chubs and turtles like that again.

[Gozillions of Redeye Chubs! Photo by diver/photographer Danielle Shmalberg from Orlando.] Gozillions of Redeye Chubs! Photo by diver/photographer Danielle Shmalberg from Orlando, Now Danielle Marsh, actually from Gainesville.

Back in 1994-1998 big schools of chubs were present in the Val bed right at the kayak launch at Iche St. Park. These minnows are highly associated with submerged aquatic vegetation, typically living within the Val forest, but have greatly declined in abundance now. Loss of habitat I suppose.

Ken Sulak

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!

Hike Camp Branch to Suwannee Springs 2024-02-03

Join veteran Florida Trail hiker Randy Madison for a winter hike along creeks and over a historic bridge to Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River near Live Oak, Florida.

Update 2023-10-30: Meet and park at Suwannee Springs and Randy will lead a small caravan to the trailhead.

This hike will take us down beautiful Camp Branch, also know as Disappearing Creek. Disappearing Creek tumbles down a narrow canyon and disappears into a 15 foot high limestone rock wall before resurfacing and then going under ground again to resurface finally just before emptying into the Suwannee River.

After the descent of Camp Branch and a break at Disappearing Creek, we’ll head down the Suwannee on the Florida Trail to cross Crooked Branch, accend the Greasy Gully to summit Devils Mt, elevation 137ft, then follow the River passing through a scenic area with the hike ambling along the edge of some open cliffs, then a couple nice sandbars before coming in to the Graffiti Bridge, old 129.

We’ll take the blue trail from the Graffiti Bridge back to the Suwannee Springs ruins and our cars. Bring lunch, plenty of water, bug spray and appropriate clothing for the outing.

The hike down Camp Branch is through open forest and can be strenuous, so if you’re not up to uneven terrain and a little bush whacking this may not be a hike for you.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:15 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 3, 2024

Meet and Take Out Here: Suwannee Springs, 3243 91st Dr., Live Oak, FL 32060

GPS: 30.394478, -82.934538

[Map and about]
Camp Branch and Suwannee Springs in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail.

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WWALS at Alapaha Station Celebration 2023-11-11

Join us at the historic railroad station in Alapaha, Georgia, near Sheboggy Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, the most upstream public landing on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

The schedule starts with a parade at 10:30 AM.

The star attraction is Mandy Barnett, the “torch singer with the chameleon-like chops” who was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2021 by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith.

Plus food and other vendors.

WWALS members, come help at that WWALS booth!

When: 9 AM, Saturday, November 11, 2023

Put In: Alapaha Station, 245 NE Railroad Street, Alapaha, Georgia 31622

GPS: 31.38103, -83.222412

[WWALS at Alapaha Station Celebration 2022]
WWALS at Alapaha Station Celebration, pictures from 2022

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Pictures: WWALS at Alapaha Station Celebration 2022-11-12

Last year, back at the first festival WWALS ever attended, Alapaha Station Celebration at the historic railroad station in Alapaha, Georgia, near Sheboggy Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, the most upstream public landing on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

[WWALS booth and float, Town of Alapaha, raffle kayak, music @ Alapaha Station Celebration 2022-11-12]
WWALS booth and float, Town of Alapaha, raffle kayak, music @ Alapaha Station Celebration 2022-11-12

We’ll be back this year, Saturday, November 11, 2023.

WWALS members, maybe you’d like to help at the WWALS booth? Continue reading

Clean Rivers and some dirty creeks 2023-10-26

Update 2023-11-03: Clean rivers, dirty Sugar Creek 2023-11-02.

This was another week with no rain, and the rivers were mostly clean: the Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers. Not clean were Franks Creek that runs into the Little River and Sugar Creek that runs into the Withlacoochee River. Crawford Creek of the Withlacoochee was just below the E. coli one-time test limit. That’s 11 WWALS test sites on three rivers and three creeks in two states.

No rain is predicted for this weekend.

In the last week, no new sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

So happy swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-10-26]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-10-26

Joanne Tremblay got clean results at High Springs Ramp @ US 41 and at US 27, both on the Santa Fe River.

Reina Lingle got very clean results at Ivey Metropolitan Park in Branford and at Royal Springs, both on the Suwannee River.

New WWALS tester Debbie Smith got too-high results for Franks Creek at GA 122 just west of Hahira. Which is interesting, because that is upstream of Hahira’s Land Application Site.

Cindy Vedas got good results at Franklinville, Crawford Branch (well, OK results there), Staten Road, and Langdale Park, on the Withlacoochee River. She photographed the trash still at Langdale Park Boat Ramp from at the WWALS Langdale Park Withlacoochee River Cleanup of last Saturday. I will nudge Lowndes County Public Works to pick it up.

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall tested Sugar Creek, and got too-high results. She also double-checked everybody else’s results. And the other testers cross-checked each others’ results.

If you want to get trained to be a WWALS water quality tester, please fill out the form:

The most recent Valdosta results we have are for Monday upstream, which were good. As usual, Valdosta’s last week upstream results corroborated what WWALS saw Thursday last week.

And, as previosly noted, Valdosta’s last downstream tests were September 1, 2023. Continue reading

Pictures: Langdale Park Withlacoochee River Cleanup 2023-10-20

WWALS cleaned up near Langdale Park Boat Ramp during the United Way Day of Caring. We ended up with trash bagged, plus 4 shower doors, a big screen tv, a kids toy float tug boat and lots of plastic and styrofoam, glass and aluminum.

Outings leader Russell Allen McBride previously scouted the Withlacoochee River upstream and down from Langdale Park Boat Ramp, and found too many deadfalls for boating, so we cleaned up on land. Thanks to Bobby McKenzie, Suzy Hall, and Gretchen Quarterman for cleaning up.

[Trash, t-shirts, slough, and signs at Langdale Park Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2023-10-20]
Trash, t-shirts, slough, and signs at Langdale Park Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2023-10-20

Thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson for cleaning up with us, and for bringing still more donuts. Also the United Way t-shirts, to add to our Rivers Alive t-shirts.

There are more pictures below.

See also the facebook photosets by:

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Big Shoals State Park, move portage to Hamilton County, meeting 2023-10-25

Today, in White Springs, Florida State Parks is holding a public meeting about Big Shoals State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center.

I have a prior engagement, but you may want to go.

When: 3-7 PM, Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Where: White Springs Tourism Building, 10499 Spring Street, White Springs, Florida 32096


[Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25]
Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25

The agenda is basically show up, look at the materials, ask questions. Continue reading

Mercury through the air into rivers has greatly decreased in recent years 2023-06-05

Good news: “Atmospheric [mercury] deposition from domestic power plants decreased by 91% across the contiguous U.S. from 6.4 Mg in 2010 to 0.55 Mg in 2020.”

Bad news: “Despite large deposition declines, an end-member scenario for remaining exposures from the largest active power plants for individuals consuming self-caught fish suggests they could still exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose for methylmercury.”

[Better with room for further improvement]
Better with room for further improvement

We know mercury is a problem in the Alapaha River, coming through the air from coal Plant Scherer, north of Macon, Georgia. So by this paper the problem is lessened, but still is a problem.

It’s also a problem on land, for example near the Okefenokee Swamp, where the proposed strip mine may stir up mercury, as mentioned in the Clinch County resolution against that mine and for the Swamp.

You can still help stop that mine.

Sociodemographic Disparities in Mercury Exposure from United States Coal-Fired Power Plants, Continue reading