Category Archives: Fishing

More than 30 groups organize to save Okefenokee Swamp 2020-07-14

See also Suwannee Riverkeeper’s call last month for people to contact the Georgia governor and other elected officials.

[Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)]
Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see also )

MORE THAN 30 GROUPS ORGANIZE TO SAVE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

[OPA Logo]
OPA Logo

GEORGIA (July 14, 2020) More than 30 national, state, and local organizations have joined forces in the fight to protect the Okefenokee Swamp. The new coalition, known as the Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA), recently formed in response to a new and alarming threat to the Okefenokee in the form of proposed heavy mineral sands mining adjacent to the swamp.

In July 2019, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) seeking authorization to mine the first phase of what would eventually become a 12,000-acre project abutting the southeast corner of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

After the Corps was deluged with letters opposing the project, Twin Pines withdrew that application and submitted a second application to excavate a roughly 900-acre first phase of the mine. The Corps is now weighing whether to approve that second application. Twin Pines must also secure permission from the state of Georgia.

“The new Okefenokee Protection Alliance is the first collaborative effort to have an exclusive focus on the protection of what is arguably our country’s healthiest remaining wetland of significance,” says Christian Hunt, Southeast Program Representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Everyone came together because of Twin Pines’ permit application, but by design we intend to be active over the long-term and address the present threat that we are dealing with today, as well as future threats that stand to compromise the Okefenokee.”

This week, the Okefenokee Protection Alliance introduced a new website and began urging citizens to write Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, asking him to protect Southeast Georgia’s international natural treasure.

“Just as we have reached out to folks to call on the Corps, we are reaching out to folks to call on Governor Kemp because it is not just the Corps that has a say,” says Rena Peck, Executive Director of the Georgia River Network. “We want Governor Kemp to stand with his constituents and all the citizens in Georgia who are concerned about the mine and ask the Corps for an Environmental Impact Statement.”

The Okefenokee has a long history of support from Georgia leaders. A similar proposal to mine near the Swamp in the 1990s was stopped when Gov. Zell Miller and others spoke out against it; in the 1970s, W.S. “Bill” Stuckey, Jr. who represented the 8th District of Georgia in Congress, successfully fought to designate portions of the swamp as a National Wilderness Area.

Stuckey, now a resident of the Georgia coast, said recently, “I’m hopeful that Governor Kemp will step in to protect the Okefenokee Wilderness and stop the mine.”

OPA member organizations and federal agencies have expressed concerns that the mine could alter the hydrology of the area and impair the movement and storage of water within the swamp, the St. Marys and Suwannee rivers and the Floridan Aquifer.

This could lead to an increased risk of uncontrollable wildfires and impact access to the swamp for boating, fishing, birding, hunting and photography. Pollution from the mining operation could also impact the health of groundwater and surface water.

The Floridan Aquifer, which lies beneath the swamp, is the water source for all of south Georgia and most of Florida, and feeds many springs in the region, which are already adversely affected by overpumping. Thus, anything that affects the swamp or the aquifer could have far-reaching consequences.

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Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.

[Flyer]
Flyer

Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected. Continue reading

Sturgeon jumping are news

Suzy Hall found this front page newspaper article about a sturgeon jumping into a boat. Such spectacular fish leaps have produced various myths.

[Sturgeon airlines, 2007-05-10]
Sturgeon airlines, 2007-05-10

There has only ever been one recorded human death from sturgeon on the Suwannee River: a five-year-old girl in 2015. That was tragic, and two other people in her boat were also injured. Nobody wants that to happen.

But the myth that many people have been killed by jumping sturgeon is not true.

What Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends is:

“Go slow. Wear your life jacket. Stay off the bow of the boat.”

Which jibes with Continue reading

Water amendments passed 2018-11-06

The obvious water constitutional amendments passed resoundingly in both Florida and Georgia.

FL 9 and GA 1, Water Amendments

By well more than the required 60%, Continue reading

Georgia and Florida Constitutional Amendments 2018-11-06

Two Georgia state constitutional amendments are relevant to clean water, of those on the ballot tomorrow in the November 6, 2018, General Election. And in Florida, vote Yes on Florida Amendment 9, to ban offshore oil and gas drilling.

In Georgia I recommend:

  • Yes on 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment
  • No on 2, appointing instead of electing some judges

Below is why.

Yes on GA 1, Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment

Yes on GA 1

For the title, summary, and detailed constitutional changes, see Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west. You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee. Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer.


Irwin County, 1885a, GeorgiaInfo, Rand McNally Map of Georgia, 1885

Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Pg 12., quoted in Ray City History Blog, 18 October 2010, More About Troupville, GA and the Withlacoochee River,

THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER.

VALDOSTA, Ga., January 19. -[Special.]- Away up near the northern limit of the great wiregrass section there is a big cypress swamp. They call them bays there. From this bay emerges Continue reading

WMA in Lanier and Lowndes Counties

Yes, it’s a WMA on both sides of the Alapaha River, and it will open for hunting this year. It’s also one of seven or eight, all also Dr. Acree’s land. They will each have names, which are currently unknown, but will pop up in the next few days on the DNR website.

Floating downstream
Photo: John S. Quarterman, 2 April 2017, in Alapaha River, Hotchkiss Road to US 84 2017-04-02

This WMA information is from someone who’s been on site and knows the details, Continue reading

Alapaha River, Hotchkiss Road to US 84 2017-04-02

This was a tiny outing for a couple of visitors from Oregon through what has since become a new Wildlife Management Area on the Alapaha River, between Hotchkiss Road (which had some magnificent potholes) in Lanier County to the site of the pending new park and boat ramp off of US 84 in Lowndes County, Georgia, all on the Alapaha River Water Trail.

Suwannee Riverkeeper banner on the Alapaha River

The visitors were Continue reading