Clean rivers, but rain 2024-05-08

Update 2024-05-15: No spills reported after recent rains, Suwannee River Basin 2024-05-15.

The Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers tested clean this Wednesday, as well as all but two Valdosta creeks. see below.

People going to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park see below.

There was rain and strong winds upstream Thursday. That rain could wash some contamination into the Withlacoochee River and others.

No new sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in the past week, in Georgia or Florida.

Most of the rivers are back down to good paddling levels. The Withlacoochee River at Pinetta is predicted to rise to Action Stage. The Ichetucknee River at US 27 and the Santa Fe River at Three Rivers Estates are still in Action Stage. The Suwannee River from Rock Bluff to Manatee Springs is in Action Stage.

So for most stretches of most of the rivers, happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend.

Maybe you’d like to come with WWALS tomorrow, Mayday to Statenville, Alapaha River, 2024-05-11.

[Clean Rivers Wednesday 2024-05-08, Rained Thursday 2024-05-09]
Clean Rivers Wednesday 2024-05-08, Rained Thursday 2024-05-09

To repeat from a previous post: For people going to festivals at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park: that location is upstream on the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee River, and thus is not affected by any of the sewage spills that went into the Withlacoochee. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big rains washed some contamination into the Suwannee River. But that was four weeks ago, and most likely that E. coli was diluted and washed downstream long ago. The biggest thing you have to worry about in the Suwannee River at that park is probably contamination from people on the beach there.

[Chart: Clean rivers 2024-05-08]
Chart: Clean rivers 2024-05-08
For context, see:

The numbers in the chart boxes indicate E. coli levels as colony-forming units per 100 mililiters (cfu/100 mL), according to Georgia Adopt-A-Stream bacterial monitoring protocols:
Zero (0) is what we want to see, and often we do, on the Alapaha and upstream on the Suwannee Rivers.
From 1-125 is within long-term average limits according to U.S. EPA and Georgia and Florida state agencies.
From 126-409 long-term is not good, and is likely to make some people sick.
From 410-999 is likely to make some people sick; try not to get that water on you.
From 1,000 and up: high alert; best not to get close to that water without gloves; wash clothes afterward.

The letters before the numbers indicate the source of the datapoint, as in W100 means 100 cfu/100 mL found by a WWALS tester.

W: WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), Suwannee Riverkeeper
V: Valdosta, GA
L: Lowndes County, GA
Q: Quitman, GA
SGRC: Southern Georgia Regional Commission
SRWMD: Suwannee River Water Management District
FDOH: Florida Department of Health
FDEP: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Rain: From USGS and UGA and other gauges.

For the Withlacoochee River, we have Valdosta’s Wednesday results at US 41 (North Valdosta Road), GA 133, and US 84, as well as numerous creeks, because they are still doing weekly followup testing from their numerous sewage spills back on April 11 and 12. The river tested good. But two of the creeks were still bad: One Mile Branch at Iola Drive, and Two Mile Branch at both Berkley Drive and Jerry Jones Road (below JoRee Millpond). See previous separate report:

Joanne Tremblay tested the Santa Fe River Wednesday at US 27, and got 2+0+0 = 2 * 100 / 3 = 66 cfu/100 mL. She noted, “River is low, clear and clean.”

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall reviewed all the results.

WWALS Testing Trainer Gretchen Quarterman prepared materials to testers.

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

Here is a map of river gauges in the Suwannee River Basin, by

[Map: Suwannee River Basin, 2024-05-10]
Map: Suwannee River Basin, 2024-05-10

[Map legend,]
Map legend,

Here’s a live Swim Guide Map.

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for another generous grant for water quality testing equipment and materials.

You or your organization could also donate to the WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.

There are more images below.

 -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!


[US 27 Ramp, Santa Fe River, 2024-05-08]
US 27 Ramp, Santa Fe River, 2024-05-08

 -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!