Author Archives: jsq

Herbivores, sediment basins, silt fences for Morven Solar –WWALS to Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06

Before this evening’s Brooks County Commission decision on a Special Exception for Morven Solar, WWALS wrote asking for three conditions.

[Letter and Map --WWALS to Brooks County Commission about Morven Solar 2023-02-06]
Letter and Map –WWALS to Brooks County Commission about Morven Solar 2023-02-06

The meeting is 5PM tonight, Monday, February 6, 2023, at Brooks County Courthouse, East Screven Street, Quitman, GA, 31643.

See also Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19.

Here is the WWALS letter, sent to the Brooks County Commission as PDF. Continue reading

Ask the Georgia Legislature to act while GA-DNR keeps passing the buck about mining near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-01-27

GA DNR keeps passing the buck about the proposal to strip mine for titanium within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, by miners from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC. The Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers and it interchanges surface water with groundwater all the way down to the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink.

Please go ahead and send in your comment on the Mining Land Use Plan.

And ask your Georgia House Representative to sign on to HB 71, the Okefenokee Protection Act. That bill will not stop this permit application, but it would stop further expansion of that mine and any other mines on the east side of the Swamp.

[Trail Ridge Land LLC]
Trail Ridge Land LLC
Land the Charlton County Tax Assessors show owned by Trail Ridge Land LLC.
The northwest corner buts right up against the Swamp.

Floridians, you can comment. And you can ask your Georgia friends and relatives to ask their statehouse members to sign on to HB 71.

Back in September, Georgia DNR Board Chair Bill Jones said Continue reading

Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-02-06: Herbivores, sediment basins, silt fences for Morven Solar –WWALS to Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06.

These WWALS videos show the Public Hearing that was the only agenda item at the Brooks County Planning Commission, January 19, 2023.

[Movie: Rules for Speaking --Pat Sharpe, Chair (30M)]
Movie: Rules for Speaking –Pat Sharpe, Chair (30M)

The Planning Commission recommended approval with conditions.

The actual decision on the Special Exception will be made tonight at 5PM by the Brooks County Commission at Brooks County Courthouse, East Screven Street, Quitman, GA, 31643.

There is no agenda for tonight’s meeting on the county’s website, WWALS has still not received agenda nor board packet in response to our open records request of January 30, 2023.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:


Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19
Videos by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS).

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker. Except for some camera glitches, these videos show the entire meeting.

See also the agenda, the board packet, the pictures of the sites of Morven Solar, and Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Continue reading

Clean rivers 2023-02-02

Happy paddling, fishing, and swimming (if you like cold) this weekend!

Yes, we are paddling tomorrow (Saturday) on the Withlacoochee River from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park. If you like high water including a quarter mile paddle upstream, join us!

All the WWALS water quality tests were well within the one-time test limit.

The rains promised for yesterday mostly did not happen, so most likely not much contamination washed into the rivers.

The only sewage spill was small and at the top of the Alapaha River watersheds, and it did not appear to affect downstream water quality.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map

The city of Rochelle, Georgia, at least took less than a week to report its sewage spill. Continue reading

High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04

Expedition leader Will Hart says about tomorrow’s paddle from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park on the Withlacoochee River,

“Water levels are higher now than expected when the outing was planned. All of the springs and shoals will be under water at this level, however we are still on to paddle. The river will also be a bit murky with some floating debris due to runoff from the woods. At these levels it is considered “not for beginners” due to the current and fast flow.

“It will also be a little strenuous paddling up the last 1/4 mile at the Suwannee River confluence at this level.”

If you don’t want to try that last quarter mile upstream part, there is an earlier takeout available.

[Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03]
Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03

Follow this link for the rest of the outing details:
https://wwals.net/?p=60888

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Banks Lake Full Snow Moon Paddle, Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 2023-02-05

Join us on our watery living room for a leisurely paddle to see the sun set and the moon rise at the same time.

The bats may even be out, but we do not promise that.

When: Gather 5 PM, launch 5:30 PM, moonrise 6:12 PM, sunset 6:12 PM, end 7:30 PM, Sunday, February 5, 2023

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County, on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

[Sunset at Banks Lake by Julie Bowland]
Sunset at Banks Lake by Julie Bowland 2022-02-16

Continue reading

An hour later: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2023-02-02 2023-02-04

Update 2023-02-03: High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2023-02-04.

Due to predicted cold weather Saturday, please gather an hour later, at 9 AM.

[Melvin Shoals, Allen Ramp, Ellaville Landing --Will Hart 2023-02-02]
Melvin Shoals, Allen Ramp, Ellaville Landing –Will Hart 2023-02-02

Water levels are high, so Melvin Shoals is underwater. But if you don’t want to run the shoals, expedition leader Will Hart is offering an early takeout just upstream at Ellaville Landing, on Twin Rivers State Forest land.

Double Door Spring is an awesome thing to see for those who haven’t seen this part of the wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are many other clear springs to explore.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10:30 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 4, 2023

Put In: Allen Ramp, 2726 SW 64th Way Jasper, FL 32052, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221328 Continue reading

Valdosta needs more trash traps, but can’t expect volunteers to clean them 2023-01-26

Just to see if Russell Allen McBride had changed his mind since December, I asked him again as he waded in to clean out the Sugar Creek WaterGoat: if Valdosta finally buys more trash traps like they’ve been promising for many months, will he clean them out?

Answer: not unless the city makes that his full time job.

[Russell waist-deep in the trash]
Russell waist-deep in the trash

He also mentioned that the recent big rain washed some trash over the current WaterGoat, so Valdosta needs a better model for this location, which is on Sugar Creek just upstream from the Withlacoochee River.

See the video on facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Wwalswatershed/videos/941601463886544

Or on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/y5Zi8es3nLI


Video by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., 2023-01-26

For much more about the trash situation, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/trash Continue reading

Withlacoochee River bridges, Brooks and Lowndes Counties, 1906 and 1917

Knight Bridge and Rocky Ford Bridge appear in some century-old maps in Georgia Archives.

[Knight Bridge 1917 and remaining posts 2022]
Knight Bridge 1917 and remaining posts 2022

At the top left you can see a road going to the site of Spain Ferry.

Another road reaches the river downstream from there. Current aerial maps show that road is still there in the woods, although the path of the river seems to have shifted west somewhat at that point.

Then there’s Knight Bridge, near where Knights Ferry Boat Ramp is now.

Notice that the old road to Knight Bridge jags south before it gets to the river.

In this current map you can see that old road still there in the woods. Continue reading

Phosphate and titanium mining, water withdrawals, and trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council had several public speakers cram topics into their three minutes each.

[Phosphate and Titanium Mines, and Trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
Phosphate and Titanium Mines, and Trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Two directly-affected women and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a board member of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR), talked about the Cornerstone Crossings mega development on top of Clay Hole Creek and Cannon Creek confluence, a part of the Ichetucknee Trace, which is in the Southwest quadrant of I-75 and SR 47 Hwy interchange, due south of Lake City in Columbia County, Florida. Merillee wondered about the development’s water withdrawal permit, and how much PFAS it might unleash into the waterways and the underlying Floridan Aquifer. She displayed LiDAR maps she got from SRWMD that clearly show the Ichetucknee Trace. Continue reading