Category Archives: Agriculture

Aerials of Hodge dirt mine, 10 miles from 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

Yesterday we received some pictures of a dirt mine about ten miles east-southeast of the 3RT Sand Mine site. They show mined pits filled with water, as well as mounds of may be barn waste such as manure, or perhaps residue from a nearby saw mill.

[Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24]
Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

We are not saying there is anything illegal going on at the dirt mine site.

We do wonder that if the activities shown are allowed on a mine site in Levy County, how do we know they won’t happen on the 3RT mine site? And what effect might they have on that much larger proposed mine site?

We are told by a usually reliable source that these aerials were taken January 24, 2024, by a source that wishes to be anonymous, but grants permission for public posting. Continue reading

Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2023-09-22

Hahira, GA, September 25, 2023 — Hahira, Georgia, September 25, 2023 — Ten musicians wrote songs and seven sang them, about the delights of the waters of the Suwannee River Basin and the need to preserve them against numerous threats. Jane Fallon came all the way from Dunedin, Florida, to the Turner Arts Center in Valdosta, Georgia, to sing a story about legendary Sun Daughters reflecting on a proposed mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee River. The three judges marked her high on storytelling and presenting the value of the waters, on originality of lyrics and music, and on performance, with extra credit for naming waterways. She took home First Prize in the Sixth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

[Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper; Cindy Bear and Franc Robert, Best Folk; Jane Fallon, First Prize; Bacon James, Best from Outside; Kyle Bird Chamberlain and David Rodock, tie for Best from Inside; Chamberlain, Best Blues; Rodock, Best AmeriKinda; Keven Stephenson, Best Country --Chuck Roberts]
Suwannee Riverkeeper with the Winners: Cindy Bear and Franc Robert, Best Folk; Jane Fallon, First Prize; Bacon James, Best from Outside; Kyle Bird Chamberlain and David Rodock, tie for Best from Inside; Chamberlain, Best Blues; Rodock, Best AmeriKinda; Kevin Stephenson, Best Country; and Robert Thatcher (not pictured). Photo: Chuck Roberts

Jane Fallon said, “Thank you for the honor in recognizing my song ‘Chant For The Okefenokee’ in your contest. It is always a special feeling to sing a song for an audience that truly understands its meaning. Thank you also for the work you do in trying to preserve the waterways. It is so important.”

Here is the first half of her lyrics: Continue reading

Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12

Update 2023-09-26: Curious omissions from the minutes; see Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

The Lowndes County Commission unanimously denied the inappropriate 2.5-acre rezoning proposed on minimum 5-acre and predominantly agriculture, forestry, and conservation Quarterman Road, after five local residents spoke against and nobody for.

[Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12]
Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12

Thanks to all who signed the petition against that rexoning, who called or wrote County Commissioners, who spoke in the Planning Commission or County Commission meetings, and thanks to the County Commisisoners for denying the rezoning.

Among the five who spoke at the County Commission were Gretchen Quarterman (who also took the videos for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)) and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (details on both are below). He made sure the Commissioners had a copy of the WWALS letter that had mysteriously been left out of the board packet; thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay Jones for signing that letter.

This denial comes after two previous denials, both also in an Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, both also provoking many petition signatures and speakers in opposition, including WWALS.

Maybe developers will get the picture that development is not appropriate in such a Character Area, especially when wetlands and waterways are affected.

County Planner

It is interesting the extent to which a development mindset can color a presentation by a County Planner. I was just going to mention one example of that, but as I listened to the LAKE video of his presentation, I kept noticing more examples. Continue reading

Radio: water quality, cows, trash, mining too near the Okefenokee Swamp @ WKUB FM 2023-09-07

Update 2023-09-13: About WWALS River Revue on The Spotlight Show, Talk92.1 FM 2023-09-14.

How WWALS water quality testing discovered cow manure was contaminating the Withlacoochee River and got it (mostly) fixed.

About that titanium dioxide strip mine proposed too near the Okefenokee Swamp, plus trash and water trails.

Thanks to Bryan Blount for inviting me on WKUB 105.1 FM, from Pierce County, Georgia.

This is Part 2. See also Part 1 about the WWALS River Revue sit-down fundraising dinner, with three speakers, silent auction, and the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, all 6-10 PM, Friday, September 22, 2023, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia.

Tickets are available online only here:
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsriverrevue2023/

[Suwannee Riverkeeper against a strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp, on WKUB FM 2023-09-07]
Suwannee Riverkeeper against a strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp, on WKUB FM 2023-09-07

For more Continue reading

Please keep Quarterman Road in agriculture and forestry –WWALS to Greater Lowndes Planning Commission 2023-08-28

Update 2023-09-17: Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12.

Update 2023-09-09: Packet: Board of Health appointment, two rezonings, 4 water, mosquitoes @ LCC 2023-09-11.

Thanks to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) for voting 7:1 to recommend denial of a proposed rezoning on Quarterman Road that would have injected 2.5-acre lots into a 5-acre minimum agricultural and forestry area.

[WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28]
WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28

Thanks to all the neighbors and others who helped get that done, with a petition, by speaking in the Public Hearing, and by calling and writing their Commissioners.

GLPC only recommends. The actual decision will be by the Lowndes County Commission at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, September 12, 2023, in Commission Chambers, second floor, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601. You can speak in that Public Hearing, as well as call and write your County Commissioners, and sign the petition.

Meanwhile, thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay for sending the letter below to GLPC. Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you to get these Florida bills vetoed

Floridians, you can help protect our river, springs, and Floridan Aquifer!

Please use these convenient Waterkeepers Florida forms to ask Florida Governor DeSantis to veto three bad bills:

[Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09]
Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09

Don’t forget to sign the petition for a constitutional amendment referendum on Right to Clean and Healthy Waters:
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/

Georgians and everybody else, you can still send a comment to GA-EPD opposing a titanium dioxide strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov Continue reading

Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03

The plaintiffs’ case is based on the Lowndes County Commission not agreeing with county staff’s recommendation to approve the rezoning, as well as “evidence supporting their petition and codes relating to the Unified Development Land Code.”

Maybe this is the “enhanced facade” that Dollar General offered in the Public Hearing after which the County Commission denied the rezoning, on January 1, 2023.

[Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS]
Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS

Also the plaintiffs say all the public comments were “generalized and speculative”. Huh, I sure thought I heard a bunch of quite specific public comments. The letter WWALS sent to the Commission before that Public Hearing was quite specific, for example, in saying the allegation that the closest effect on nearby property owners would be on their residences was hogwash, given that stormwater from the subject site runs west under GA 122 onto neighboring property much closer than that residence.

There was speculation in various comments, but it was based on easily documented history of Dollar General and of property development in Lowndes County.

After a story by a Valdosta Daily Times reporter, that local organ of record weighed in with an editorial supporting the citizens. Continue reading

PFAS in sewage sludge as fertilizer 2023-03-30

Human sewage sludge used as fertilizer is a huge problem in Florida, causing algae blooms when it runs off into waterways. In Georgia, distributing sewage sludge as fertilizer may not be as common, but some Land Application Sites (LAS) rent their spray fields for growing hay or other crops. Plus such waste may also carry cancer-causing forever chemicals: PFAS.

[Sewage sludge in Florida --WLRN 2023-06-02]
Sewage sludge in Florida –WLRN 2023-06-02

Jenny Staletovich, WLRN 91.3 FM, June 2, 2021, State Tightens Rules For Sewage Sludge Used As Fertilizer But Leaves A Loophole In Place,

As damaging algae blooms continue to afflict Florida, the state is taking steps to crack down on and track pollution from biosolids, the waste from sewage plants loaded with nutrients that can fuel blooms.

But the new rules, conservationists warn, continue to ignore a loophole for about 40% of the state’s waste.

Continue reading

Packet: Six Additional Documents by Morven Solar @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06

Here are the six additional document Pine Gate Renewables sent to the Brooks County Commission on the day of the Public Hearing for Morven Solar.

[Six additional documents, Morven Solar 2023-02-06]
Six additional documents, Morven Solar 2023-02-06

Interestingly, none of these documents say Pine Gate would not use herbicides on the project. The Maintenance and Operations document does say Continue reading

Videos: Morven Solar denied @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06

After two hours of speakers in the Public Hearing, the Brooks County Commission this Monday denied the Special Exception for Morven Solar, 3:1:1.

[Speakers, Decision: Morven Solar @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06]
Speakers, Decision: Morven Solar @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06

Commissioner Myra Exum, after saying that whatever the Commissioners did they would be wrong, Continue reading