Category Archives: creeks

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22

All WWALS test results for Wednesday were clean in Georgia and Florida, but Valdosta got bad results at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

Yet there has been no significant rain since Tuesday, so in the opposite of last time, I’m going to say that E. coli has probably washed downstream and gotten diluted by now.

Make your own decisions, but I would boat on the Withlacoochee River this weekend. And the Alapaha River yet again seems clean. The Little River, probably, according to the one site we tested.

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

Valdosta results for last Friday corroborate what I said last time: because of the heavy rains, it would not be a good idea to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River last weekend.

Valdosta even got too high results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Monday, after heavy rains Sunday in Brooks County, presumably because of the usual cattle manure runoff down Okapilco Creek. Continue reading

Valdosta Stormwater cleanup at Sugar Creek 2021-09-17

Great relief was felt by the WWALS Sugar Creek cleanup crew, because Valdosta Stormwater has taken a hand at the Sugar Creek trashjam!

[Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray]
Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray

You are all invited to come help clean up Sugar Creek on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at this same location behind the Salty Snapper on Gornto Road.

Meanwhile, thanks to Valdosta Stormwater for not just cleaning up, but starting some repeated steps to find out when this trashjam forms and where it’s coming from.

This is the same trashjam that was pictured in Valdosta’s 2010 Stormwater Master Plan, as discussed with Mayor Scott James on his radio show, August 12, 2021.

Finally, on Friday, September 16, 2021, Valdosta Stormwater Division got hands-on and cleaned up themselves! Continue reading

River and Creek Cleanup 2021-10-09

River and Creek Cleanup, WWALS, Lowndes County, Valdosta 2021-10-09 (PDF)

Hahira, GA, September 16, 2020 — WWALS has found some of the sources of the infamous trashjam on Sugar Creek, and at least one upstream property owner has made progress in stopping litter before it escapes. But there are other sources, and trash still collects back of the Salty Snapper.

Downstream on the Withlacoochee River, flood waters spread that trash all over the Land Between the Rivers at the Little River Confluence, where one day there will be a River Camp and a River Park. You are invited to join us at Troupville Boat Ramp to walk downstream and help clean up that property, too. Valdosta and Lowndes County also have cleanup locations that same day.

“If you are looking to help make a difference, these locations need the most help, 9AM, Saturday, October 9, 2021!” said WWALS member Bobby McKenzie, who has been on this trash case for a year now.

[Flyer]
Flyer

No boats necessary, although if you want to bring a boat, there are water cleanup opportunities. Please bring sturdy mud boots or shoes, long pants and clothes that can get wet or dirty, insect repellant, a refillable water bottle, and an emergency phone number. Trash bags and trash pickers will be provided, as well as drinking water and snacks, but bring your own if you can. Please maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from people not in your household. Please wear a mask when near people not in your household. We will have extra masks.

This event is part of the Georgia Rivers Alive cleanup program.

Also participating will be Current Problems from Gainesville, Florida.

Update 2021-09-17: facebook event.

Update 2021-09-20: meetup.

The WWALS locations are:

  • Salty Snapper (Sugar Creek)
    Address: Parking lot, Salty Snapper, 1405 Gornto Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602.
    GPS: 30.861809, -83.318841
  • Land Between the Rivers (Little and Withlacoochee Rivers) @ Troupville Boat Ramp
    Address: 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602, west of I-75 exit 18.
    GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536
    It will be hunting season. Please wear hunting orange. Do not cross the river. WWALS will have sign-in sheets that are also event waivers so our insurance will cover you.

The Valdosta Locations are:

Continue reading

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation 2021-08-31

It’s a long-term vision, with strategies for funding and implementation, which includes everything needed for a Troupville River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, and other river parks and trails. This Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) Master Plan is based on both a statistically-representative survey and an anecdotal qualitative survey, which came up with very similar results.

[Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities]
Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities

These are the presentation slides used by David Barth in the September 13, 2021, Lowndes County Commission Work Session. His Barth & Associates helped develop the plan for the Valdosta-Lowndes Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA).

It’s our understanding that the WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01 is incorporated in this VLPRA Master Plan, including Troupville River Camp, Troupville River Park, and other river recommendations.

After the slides, see also some more recent WWALS recommendations.

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation Slides

See also PDF. Thanks to Jessica Catlett of VLPRA for sending these slides.

You can see David Barth present the slides in videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE). Continue reading

Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09

Update 2021-09-17: Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16.

Like last week, but worse: the Alapaha River would be a better choice for boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend than either the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers.

[Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide

Yes, Madison Health today lifted its Health Advisory for the Withlacoochee, because they got good results for Tuesday and Thursday. But WWALS has more recent upstream data, and it’s not pretty. Continue reading

Roads next to Mud Swamp, which drains to Alapahoochee, Alapaha Rivers @ LCC 2021-08-24

The Lowndes County Commission started the process of taking over two flooded private roads, they adopted a fire department millage rate for all real and personal property in the unincorporated parts of the county, and they discussed how that millage was to aid population growth in the unincorporated areas, apparently including building closer to and perhaps in wetlands that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had recently decided were not Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). All these actions at their August 24, 2021, Regular Session, at least taken together, would seem to support sprawl.

[Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive adopted by Lowndes County, GA]
Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive adopted by Lowndes County, GA, in the lower left corner of this map, between two arms of Mud Swamp Creek, in the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

Better would be to build only close in to existing services, instead of sprawling farther out, where no taxes will ever pay enough for sending school buses, Sheriff, and Fire. See this report the County commissioned: The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County: Revenue and Expenditure Streams by Land Use Category, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Ph.D., Dorfman Consulting, December 2007. As Dr. Dorfman summarized in a different presentation,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

Continue reading

Denied: Deannexation of Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank @ VCC 2021-08-05

WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman heard it on Valdosta’s facebook livestream. The result was surprising only in that it was unanimous.

Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, Aug 24, 2021, City denies de-annexation request, approves park projects,

VALDOSTA — After tabling it at the last meeting, Valdosta City Council denied the de-annexation of 310 acres from the city.

This was a request made by the Uvalde Land Company for the city’s portion of the Cherry Creek Wetlands Mitigation Bank property located between the Withlacoochee River and Cherry Creek residential neighborhoods.

The company wanted the change for “wildlife management and recreational use” for a hunting ground.

The request, even before being brought up in the council meeting, was opposed by nearby residents, some of whom were concerned about being in the path of stray bullets because of their homes’ proximity to the area.

Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Carroll said the applicants can seek permits to hunt on the land while it remains within the city.

“None of the reasons given warrant the de-annexation of the property, especially when you consider there are a host of homeowners that have homes above this property,” he said. “They are citizens of Valdosta and they deserve to have their voices heard by their representatives.”

Carroll motioned to deny the request, followed by a unanimous vote in favor of the action.

[Aerial of proposed de-annexation]
Aerial of proposed de-annexation in 2021-08-05 Regular Session, Valdosta City Council

The picture is from the preceding City Council meeting, when they held the Public Hearing, before tabling at the landowner’s request.

Tim Carroll is visible behind the small monitor at the speaker’s podium. The de-annexation would have been from his City Council district, so, as is usual in such cases, the other Council members followed his lead, although some of them also had other reasons to deny.

See also: Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2021-08-26

Update 2021-09-02: Bad at GA-FL Line: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-31.

In a lull between rains, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers showed clean for all our WWALS Wednesday and Thursday test sites.

You could also become a WWALS water quality tester. There’s a testing training coming up September 11, 2021.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide

This is even though Valdosta found results for Wednesday at US 41 too high. We don’t know where that contamination came from. That’s upstream from Sugar Creek, so not from there.

Valdosta also got way too high for Monday at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. Curiously, Valdosta’s Monday result for Okapilco Creek was within range, so if that contamination came out of Okapilco Creek, it had already washed downstream into the Withlacoochee River. Notice Nankin Boat Ramp not as high but still too high on E. coli for that Monday, as the contamination was reaching it. Continue reading

Training: Water Quality Testing 2021-09-11

Chemical and Bacterial training by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) methods. Yes, you can also use these methods in Florida to report via AAS.

If you’d like to get trained and do testing for WWALS, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7

Yes, training is difficult in this pandemic situation, but Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online. With last year’s generous grant from Georgia Power WWALS has purchased enough testing kits so that trainees can have one to use during the training.

[Table of testers]
Table of testers
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman 2021-02-13.

In the form, remember to say where you can test. We need testers pretty much everywhere:

  • In Georgia on the Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, especially upstream in Lanier, Berrien, and Atkinson Counties. Plus on Okapilco and Crooked and Piscola Creeks in Brooks County, on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek in and near Valdosta. And upstream on the Little River in Brooks, Cook, Colquitt, and Tift Counties.
  • In Florida on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers, and on creeks that run into them, especially in Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties.
  • We need testers even where we already have testers, because everybody needs time off.

For the testing story so far, and more context, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

We look forward to you getting trained and joining our testing team!

When: 9 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, September 11, 2021

Where: Zoom then physically distanced practical training in very small groups, for example at Onemile Branch in Drexel Park in Valdosta.

Free: to everyone. But if you want to test for WWALS, you need to become a WWALS member.
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Continue reading

Odd results, but mostly clean rivers 2021-08-19

Update 2021-08-26: Clean Rivers 2021-08-26.

The notorious GA 133 Withlacoochee River test site showed up higher than the one-time test limit for Thursday, and Wednesday so did Cleary Bluff down below Allen Ramp. Otherwise, the Withlacoochee, Little, and Alapaha Rivers all tested clean everywhere we tested Thursday.

I’d guess that GA 133 contamination, whatever it is, has probably been diluted by the greater amount of Little River water. An no, it almost certainly did not come from Valdosta, and also not from the dairy farms.

There’s been no significant rain in the past few days, so most likely nothing new has washed into the rivers. So, as far as we can tell, happy boating, swimming, and fishing.

[Chart, Rivers, Plates, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Plates, Swim Guide

We have no new results from Valdosta or Madison Health since we posted yesterday about Madison Health lifting their advisory. Continue reading