Category Archives: Education

Valdosta-Lowndes County Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Master Plan 2021-08-31

Years in the making by VLPRA, received in response to a WWALS open records request, this new Parks & Rec. Master Plan adds to the traditional team sports strategy new strategies including “STRATEGY 6: IMPROVE ACCESS AND AMENITIES TO THE COUNTY’S RIVERS,” involving land acquisition and for not just one but for a chain of river camps.

[Collage]
Collage

They incorporated all of WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01. Continue reading

Videos: One Valdosta-Lowndes, Troupville River Camp @ LCC 2021-11-08

Featuring as their number one BIG thing was “River Camp Project”, in a presentation about One Valdosta-Lowndes (OVL), which was far the longest item at 33 minutes at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session on November 8, 2021.

[One Valdosta-Lowndes, River Camp Project, Dr. Carvajal, Origins]
One Valdosta-Lowndes, River Camp Project, Dr. Carvajal, Origins

You may recognize that as Troupville River Camp, for which WWALS submitted an application to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) in 2019. Back then there was no cash match available. Now both Valdosta and Lowndes County have funds to purchase Land Between the Rivers from Helen Tapp, at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. Helen sent GA-AL Land Trust to walk the land a month ago, and probably soon a conservation easement will be worked out. Meanwhile, Troupville River Camp and Troupville Nature Park are prominently featured in the WWALS Vision for Water Quality and Access in Lowndes County Georgia 2020-12-02. That Vision was input to the Master Plan Update process for Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA), and the resulting VLPRA Master Plan incorporates the River Camp and other river access and facilities as priorities.

Add the possibility of Valdosta buying for parkland the 300+ acres of the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank. And the potential for Sugar Creek downstream of Baytree as an urban recreational creek.

It’s good to see One Valdosta-Lowndes interested in river and creek access and recreation.

Below are videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), which also has the rest of the meeting. Continue reading

Video: Sign up to recommend No Build; M-CORES toll road webinars

Floridians moved to Lowndes County, Georgia, after Hurricane Irma, but not because of lack of toll roads. If they had had solar panels and batteries so they wouldn’t be without power for weeks, they might have stayed in Florida, said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman at the meeting in Madison County, Florida, February 11, 2020.

You can recommend No Build this coming week, as M-CORES holds webinars with public comment. See below for how.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman]
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman says No Build.

The Suncoast Connector Task Force webinar is 9:30 AM to 12 noon, Thursday, April 30, 2020. That’s the toll road that would run from Crystal River across the Suwannee River, through farms, forests, and wetlands, building bypasses around towns and cities, to Thomasville, Georgia.

To listen, you have to Continue reading

Trash on Two Mile Branch at Sugar Creek 2020-04-21

Cleanup opportunity on Two Mile Branch where it joins Sugar Creek!

A few days ago we got this: “Hello! I don’t know if y’all are the people I should contact, but I was at Two Mile Branch today, and there is a huge amount of garbage and debris.”

We have an offer of cleanup access from a neighboring property owner. It’s possible to do this while staying six feet apart, and people don’t even have to go at the same time. This is a great opportunity for #SuwanneeCleanup!

[Two views]
Two views

Easy way to report a problem (trash, sewer spill, etc.) to Continue reading

Videos: Don’t split farms, and don’t harm nature, schools, or aquifer, at M-CORES toll road meeting, Madison, FL 2020-02-11

Toll roads splitting farms would be generational damage, said farmer Ernest Culver of Jackson County, and the Task Force doesn’t take into account churches or schools, not to mention nature, rivers, or the Floridan Aquifer, said Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Columbia County, at the meeting in Madison County, Florida, February 11, 2020.

[Ernest Culver & Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson]
Ernest Culver & Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

The idea of repurposing toll roads funds for virus pandemic relief continues to get more at least indirect support. Craig Pitman, Florida Phoenix, 9 April 2020, Does Florida still need that trio of billion-dollar toll roads?,

Florida’s controversial new toll roads hit a potential roadblock this week.

Two of them are supposed to Continue reading

200 gallons sewage into Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta 2020-02-10

Received via email a few minutes ago, confirming what our WWALS agents saw earlier today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2020
Release #02-10-20

Grease Blockage Leads to Manhole Overflow

On February 10, 2020, The City of Valdosta Utilities Department staff responded to a call concerning a manhole discharge at the 2400 block of Patterson Street.

[Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA]
Twomile Branch, N. Patterson St., Valdosta, GA, on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The cause of the spill was determined to be a grease blockage resulting in approximately 200 gallons of sewage to enter a storm drain that discharges into Two Mile Branch. The blockage was caused by a buildup of fats, oils, and grease that accumulated inside the sewer line.

City staff were able to capture and recover a large portion of the discharge before it entered state waters. The blockage was cleared and the site and its discharge point were cleaned and disinfected.

Although the level of potential contamination to the area is minimal, the public is advised Continue reading

WWALS at South Georgia Pride Saturday 2019-09-21

Come on down to the South Georgia Pride Festival in Saunders Park in Valdosta this Saturday. At the WWALS booth you can play the froggy toss game and talk about our outings and advocacy, including how you can volunteer to help keep our waters clean!

When: Noon-5PM, Saturday, September 21, 2019

Where: John W. Saunders Park, 1151 River Street, Valdosta, Georgia

Event: facebook

[Froggy Toss]
Froggy Toss

Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

Pictures: WWALS at South Georgia Pride 2018-09-15

It was a fun time last year at South Georgia Pride. Join us at Saunders Park again this Saturday!

[Gretchen at the booth]
Gretchen at the booth

Maybe Barber Spring will be running. Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

WWALS at VSU Happening 2019-08-29

Thousands of college students will come by the WWALS booth today on the front lawn of Valdosta at The Happening 2019.

[Gretchen and Sara]
Gretchen and Sara

When: 1PM to 4PM, Thursday, August 29, 2019

Where: VSU front lawn, 1500 N Patterson St, Valdosta, GA 31698.

Event: facebook Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading