Category Archives: Agriculture

Withlacoochee River OK water quality except GA 133 2022-07-02

Update 2022-07-06: Withlacoochee River water quality good again 2022-07-03.

By WWALS samples Friday and Saturday, the Withlacoochee River appears clean from State Line Boat Ramp downstream, with tests also at Florida Campsites and Cleary’s Bluff between Allen Ramp and the Confluence.

Upstream at GA 133, it’s still bad. Possibly some of Valdosta’s Thursday sewage spill is still seeping into the river, or we’re just seeing residual contamination from that or from whatever got into the river from upstream of US 41 before that spill.

Around the corner at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, that’s OK.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

There was quite a bit of rain in Colquitt County on Okapilco Creek, so more cattle manure may wash down from there.

Where all that previous contamination went is Continue reading

Madison Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River 2022-07-02

Update 2022-07-03: Withlacoochee River OK water quality except GA 133 2022-07-02.

Madison County, Florida, Health Department yesterday afternoon issued a Withlacoochee River health alert.

I hear that Madison Blue Spring is closed to swimming because of this alert. WWALS tested yesterday to attempt to find out how bad the problem really is; results later today.

To completely avoid the problem, I suggest putting in at Gibson Park on the Suwannee River and paddling down to Suwannee River State Park. Or try the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, Little, Alapaha or Alapahoochee Rivers. WWALS has a rugged Alapahoochee paddle coming up next Saturday.

[Madison Health and Valdosta warnings]
Madison Health and Valdosta warnings

Madison Health based the alert solely on Valdosta’s 127,750 gallon sewage spill of Thursday afternoon. But remember, there was already Continue reading

PFAS testing, Withlacoochee River, Georgia and Florida 2022-06-30

Update 2022-07-03: Withlacoochee River OK water quality except GA 133 2022-07-02.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter and I took PFAS samples at four locations on the Withlacoochee River Thursday.

We shipped the samples to Cyclopure, a company with which Waterkeeper Alliance got a deal for test kits for all U.S. Waterkeepers.

We picked Thursday because it was after big rains Wednesday, reported in some places nearby as up to four inches. So if any of those forever chemicals were washing off of fields fertilized with biosolids, or coming out of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, or just left over from Moody Air Force Base’s spills it documented in 2016, maybe we will detect them.

[PFAS testing and locations]
PFAS testing and locations

Suwannee Riverkeeper got two kits: for Georgia and Florida. Each kit has two test sets, for upstream and downstream of likely contamination sources. Continue reading

WWALS Accomplishments 2022-01-01

Incorporated in June 8, 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is ten years old.

Since December 2016, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® is a project and staff position at WWALS as the Member of Waterkeeper Alliance® for the Suwannee River Basin.

Here’s what we’ve been doing all that time.

[Outings and Water Quality Testing]

Follow this link for WWALS Accomplishments:
https://wwals.net/about/wwals-accomplishments/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

WWALS Thursday tests clean, but Valdosta bad Wednesday results for US 41 and GA 122, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-16

Update 2022-06-24: Bad Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-23.

All WWALS Thursday samples tested clean. But Valdosta got very bad Wednesday results for US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. Maybe that has gotten diluted by now. But I’d avoid US 41, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, and downstream on the Withlacoochee from Troupville Boat Ramp for this weekend.

Elsewhere, happy boating, swimming, and fishing, so far as we can tell.

For example, come up to Reed Bingham State Park tomorrow (Saturday) for Juneteenth, where WWALS will be getting children (and adults) into boats, some for their first time.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-16]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-16

What happened at US 41 and GA 133? Continue reading

Five Rivers Clean 2022-06-09

2022-06-17: WWALS Thursday tests clean, but Valdosta bad Wednesday results for US 41 and GA 122, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-16.

All tested clean: Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe Rivers, for Thursday. Sure, those were only a few test sites on each river. But there’s been little rain, none predicted, and no sewage spills reported. So happy swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

Thanks to Continue reading

Last day to oppose HB 1150 Bad Neighbor Bill in Georgia legislature 2022-04-04

Please use this handy form: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/farm.html#/334.

[Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette]
Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette.

Jeff Amy, U.S. News & World Report via AP, April 1, 2022,

The Senate voted 31-23 for House Bill 1150, sending it back to the House for final approval of changes.

Today is Sine Die, the last day before the legislature adjourns until next year. So there’s no time for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 1150. The House can only vote to approve the Senate version, or not. Continue reading

Surprisingly Clean Withlacoochee River 2022-04-01

Update 2022-04-06: Location of Quitman sewage spill 2022-03-20.

Surprisingly after significant rain, all tested locations were pretty clean, including Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. So as far as we know, this weekend is good for boating, fishing, and swimming. Me, I’d prefer the Alapaha over the Withlacoochee this weekend.

Oh, last Tuesday Quitman got around to reporting a sewage spill that happened nine days later. It’s long gone now.

[Chart, river, Swim Guide]
Chart, river, Swim Guide

Tests Wednesday downstream by WWALS and upstream by Valdosta were pretty clean. Samples Thursday upstream by WWALS were pretty clean. And samples Friday at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps were also pretty clean. All were below the 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli average sample limit.

We also saw four Wednesday samples by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC), at Reedy Creek and Cow Creek on GA 129 (both enter the Alapaha River downstream from US 84 and Naylor Boat Ramp), and J. Frank Culpepper Road and GA 135 on the Alapahoochee River (which enters the Alapaha River downstream from Statenville Boat Ramp and slightly upstream of Sasser Landing @ CR 150 in Hamilton County, Florida. All those were well below 126, as well. Continue reading

Stop GA HB 1150, the Bad Neighbor Bill

Contact your legislator today: buff.ly/35rcRH2

Georgia already has some of the strongest farm laws in the U.S. against frivolous lawsuits and for property rights. HB 150 would gut protections for property owners, and makes it easier for global meat companies to operate without regard to their neighbors.

Lowndes County farmers Rick and Martha Griffis summed it up in the Valdosta Daily Times Friday:

As local tree farmers, nothing is more important than being able to protect, and be good stewards of the land you are entrusted with.

We are strongly opposed to HB 1150 which repeals and replaces protections for family farmers that have existed for more than three decades.

NC hog CAFO lagoon; Photo: Waterkeeper Alliance
Photo: Waterkeeper Alliance via Sierra Club

You can also find telephone numbers for your Georgia Senator here: Continue reading

OK water quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-03-17

Update 2022-03-26: Bad downstream Withlacoochee River 2022-03-24.

Surprisingly, after the recent rains, the rivers show mostly clear again. Apparently the efforts of the cattle owners in Brooks County, Georgia, to be part of the solution are working.

I would not hesitate to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River today. After checking water levels: they may still be high. And the Alapaha and Little Rivers showed even better results. All could change with more rain, but for now it’s a go, so far as we know.

Meanwhile, could people stop stealing our water trail signs? Looks like somebody even stole the signposts at Nankin.

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

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are from Monday, both upstream and downstream. Their Friday and Monday downstream results for Okapilco Creek @ US 84 confirm what our WWALS results for last Thursday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee indicated: contamination coming down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County. However, that contamination apparently was diluted by high Withlacoochee River levels, and E. coli on the river did not exceed limits for Friday or Monday.

Valdosta did get higher Fecal coliform than E. coli for Friday Continue reading