Daily Archives: May 17, 2024

Dirty Withlacoochee and Alapaha River and creeks 2024-05-15

Update 2024-05-24: Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Ichetucknee Rivers 2024-05-22.

After the big rains Monday and Tuesday, the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers tested dirty this Wednesday, as did almost every creek location in Valdosta’s followup testing, including Sugar Creek at Gornto Road, just above Valdosta’s Sugar Creek WaterGoat trash trap, and the last test site before the Withlacoochee River.

If I were you, I’d avoid the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers this weekend. Maybe try the Suwannee River upstream from the Alapaha River, or the Santa Fe River upstream from the Ichetucknee River. Also, rain is predicted.

WWALS has cancelled the Suwannee River paddle for tomorrow, due to predicted thunderstorms. It will be rescheduled later.

[Dirty Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers and creeks 2024-05-15;
Dirty Alapaha and Withlacoochee Rivers and creeks 2024-05-15;

The river tested too high in E. coli at all three of Valdosta’s test sites, North Valdosta Road (NVR), GA 133, and US 84, and way too high at Russ Tatum’s WWALS test site at Holly Point, below Allen Ramp in Florida. NVR (US 48) is upstream from all of Valdosta’s creek test sites for this week. There are a couple more creeks upstream from there that come out of Valdosta, but we also know something comes down Cat Creek after big rains. We have a grant application in to fund more testing up there. Continue reading

Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) meetings 2024-05-24

Update 2024-05-24: What progress has been made towards springs nitrogen loading reduction by the Suwannee River BMAP? 2024-05-24.

SRWMD is holding two meetings about springs protection on Friday, May 24, 2024, at 10AM for the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), and at 1:30 PM for its Santa Fe River BMAP.

[SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM]
SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM

Everybody knows the main problem and the cause: nitrates from fertilizer leaching through the soil and causing algae blooms in springs such as Madison Blue Spring and Gilchrist Blue Spring, because of too much fertilizer and irrigation using Floridan Aquifer withdrawals.

Nothing much has changed since this article was published in 2018: State geologist Greenhalgh says BMPs don’t work to solve BMAPs. The BMAPs use the same Best Management Practices (BMPs) that were already in use for the previous decades, during which the problem got worse. There is little reason to believe those BMPs alone will improve the situation.

To affect these BMAPs, it’s going to take more than just people showing up or even experts providing opinions. Grasstops are needed: people who can influence the decision makers, both inside SRWMD and FDEP, and elected statewide officials.

But a good first step is for people to show up or send letters of comment. Continue reading