Category Archives: Agriculture

Please deny Dollar General rezoning, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road –WWALS to Lowndes County 2023-01-23

Update 2023-01-24: Videos: new attorney, VLDA appointment, Dollar General rezoning, 2 infrastructure, special assessment rate, VOCA @ LCC Work 2023-01-23.

I sent this letter to the Lowndes County Commission today as PDF.

Here’s how you can also ask the Commissioners to deny this rezoning.
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=23351

[Please deny commercial rezoning in agricultural area --WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2023-01-23]
Please deny commercial rezoning in agricultural area –WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2023-01-23


January 23, 2023

To: Lowndes County Commission and Staff

Re: REZ-2022-20 for a Dollar General, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road

Please deny the proposed rezoning at GA 122 and Skipper Bridge Road from Estate Agriculture to Crossroads Commercial.

We don’t need more clearcutting, impervious surface, petroleum runoff, and trash, uphill from the Withlacoochee River, setting a precedent for further sprawl into a forestry and agricultural area, costing the county money, and everybody downstream as well.

This rezoning decision affects the entire county and everybody downstream all the way into Florida, for drinking water, flood prevention, wildlife, river water quality, and quality of life. Continue reading

Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20

In front of a standing-room-only audience, and after long hesitation, the Brooks County Planning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend Conditional Approval for the Morven Solar project, pending “A Valid Road use Agreement put in-place” and “Erosion Measures provided and Filtration Plants in the Retention Ponds”.

Here is the report sent from the Planning Commission to the County Commission for its decision on February 6th. The report has some puzzling omissions.

[Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20]
Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20

Staff still recommends denial, and the included Staff Analysis is the same as provided before the Planning Commission meeting. Continue reading

Pictures: sites of Morven Solar 2023-01-18

Update 2023-01-21: Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20.

To help visualize what Morven Solar is proposing tonight at the Brooks County Planning Commission, yesterday I took a few pictures.

They include the pecan trees to be cleared for the project that county (SGRC) staff pointed out were not included in the tree survey, as well as the planted pines that were included, and some natural trees that are to be kept as a buffer.

Most of the project is on current center pivot irrigation cotton fields, with the agricultural pesticides that implies.

Which raises one of several questions: will the solar project also use pesticides, or will it adopt another method, such as sheep or goats?

[Parts of the Morven Solar project sites 2023-01-18]
Parts of the Morven Solar project sites 2023-01-18

This is the layout of the project: Continue reading

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

Continue reading

Agenda: One item, Morven Solar @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-01-18: Pictures: sites of Morven Solar 2023-01-18.

It may be a long meeting even with only one item, since Morven Solar seems to be contentious.

[Aerial Map of Morven Solar and Agenda, Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19]
Aerial Map of Morven Solar and Agenda, Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Here is the agenda, received in response to a WWALS open records request from Brooks County Zoning and Code Enforcement Agent Melissa Smith. Continue reading

Morven Solar rezoning proposed around Slaughter Creek, Little River @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-01-18: Agenda: One item, Morven Solar @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19.

A large solar project, in agricultural fields and pecan groves scattered around wetlands, will be heard by the Brooks County Planning Commission at 5:30 PM this Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 610 S Highland Road, Quitman, GA 31643.

[Morven Solar, Slaughter Creek, Withlacoochee River]
Morven Solar, Slaughter Creek, Withlacoochee River

Staff’s recommendation:

Due to the staff’s concern of the amount of “prime farmland”, the quantity of jurisdictional wetlands, the threatened and candidate species potential impacts, and the amount of access roads because the parcels are not contiguous (especially Peach Road — dirt), the Staff recommends DENIAL of the applicant’s proposed use as a Large-Scale Solar Energy System.

WWALS is generally in favor of solar power, but this project raises serious doubts, most of which are expressed in the Staff Analysis.

The final decision will be made by the Brooks County Commission, 5:00 PM, Monday, February 6, 2023, also at 610 S Highland Road, Quitman, GA 31643.

The project is between Morven and Hahira, straddling Slaughter Creek, upstream from the Little River. Continue reading

Massive citizen opposition to development foothold in agricultural and forestry area @ GLPC 2022-12-08

Update 2022-12-09: Packet: Dollar General may be tabled @ LCC 2022-12-12. Go ahead and ask them to deny it.

We don’t need more clearcutting, impervious surface, petroleum runoff, and trash, uphill from the Withlacoochee River, setting a precedent for further sprawl into a forestry and agricultural area, costing the county money, and everybody downstream as well.

This Lowndes County, Georgia, rezoning decision affects the entire county and everybody downstream all the way into Florida, for drinking water, flood prevention, wildlife, river water quality, and quality of life.

You can write to the Lowndes County Commission: http://lowndescounty.com/181/Board-of-Commissioners. And in the public hearing Tuesday evening at 5:30 PM, you can speak, no matter where you come from.

If you live or own land in Lowndes County, you can sign the petition.

Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, December 8, 2022, (links and illustrations added by jsq), Rezoning sparks neighborhood petition,

VALDOSTA — More than 120 Lowndes County residents have signed a petition to keep Dollar General away from their rural community.

Continue reading

Bill Gates responds on MSNBC to my criticisms of his farm policies 2022-09-13

Last night Bill Gates again pretended to be an expert on farming, while avoiding mention of water, soil, ecology, environment, or community. Many of the assertions he made about farming in the U.S. and Africa don’t match documented research.

He did seem to be familiar with my criticisms of his policies, and by his expressions he doesn’t like them much.

[Question and three Gates expressions]
Question and three Gates expressions

He says “all these areas, they evolve, they understand how to say use less fertilizer, which is both good economically and good environmentally.”

Well, his landholdings in Florida and Georgia did not evolve. And he’s now sold off many of them, so maybe they weren’t good economically for him.

Meanwhile, he has driven the size of farm landholdings up, Continue reading

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