Category Archives: Forestry

Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26

Thank you, Lowndes County Commission, and all the opposition speakers and writers, for this win written up in the local newspaper of record.

This win keeps some trash out of the Withlacoochee River, upstream from Valdosta and Florida, while stopping a foothold for further development too close to the river, avoiding clearcutting, impervious surface, and the flooding that would have caused.

Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, January 26, 2023, County nixes planned Dollar General,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County residents felt heard as a contentious zoning request for a rural Dollar General was denied by the Lowndes County Commission.

[Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River]
Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River

Teramore Development, the retail real estate company behind the request, petitioned to rezone three acres of the 35-acre property from Estate Agricultural to Crossroads Commercial.

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

Update 2023-01-29: Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26.

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

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 2023-01-29: Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26.

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.

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Unacceptable risk to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp –U.S. Interior Secretary Haaland 2022-12-07

She finally said what she did not say when she toured the Okefenokee Swamp back in September.

You can also tell the state of Georgia to stop the proposed strip mine far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink.

[Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Russ Bynam, AP in the AJC, 7 December 2022, Interior secretary: `Unacceptable’ to mine near famed swamp,

A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge, saying the plan poses “unacceptable risk” to the swamp’s fragile ecology.

“I write to express Continue reading

WWALS @ A Day in the Woods, Gaskins Forest Education Center, 2022-04-23

Come to the Gaskins Forest Education Center near Alapaha, Georgia, for an education opportunity about the piney woods and WWALS and the Alapaha River Water Trail.

When: Setup 12 PM, festival starts 1 PM, ends 5 PM, Saturday, April 23, 2022

Put In: Gaskins Forest Education Center, 3359 Moore Sawmill Rd., Alapaha, Georgia 31622.

GPS: 31.345454, -83.178356

Free: This event is free.

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook

[Pictures by Gretchen Quarterman from 2018 festival]
Pictures by Gretchen Quarterman from 2018 festival

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Bill Gates did nothing to stop fertilizer nitrates leaching into springs and rivers –Suwannee Riverkeeper via NBC News 2021-06-08

Update 2022-09-14: Bill Gates responds on MSNBC to my criticisms of his farm policies 2022-09-13.

Update 2021-06-18: Bill Gates, farms, rivers, springs (Vox story).

The story doesn’t say BMAP, but it does get at the heart of the problem the Basin Management Action Plans don’t actually solve, and Bill Gates did not, either.

April Glaser, NBC News, 8 June 2021, updated 9 June 2021, McDonald’s french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland: Gates does not appear to count his farming investments as the nation’s largest farmland owner as part of his broader strategy to save the climate.

The reporter had never heard of Riverkeepers before, and now here’s one on NBC News.

Algae bloom

But some farmers whose land is adjacent to that of the Gateses have expressed disappointment that despite the couple’s wealth, they have not done more to preserve the environment. Quarterman also serves as the Suwannee Riverkeeper and advocates for conservation of the intricate network of springs and rivers in the region, where water from the swamps of Georgia flow into Florida before they release into the Gulf of Mexico. He said that this is where large tracts of rich farmland is used to raise livestock and grow many of the vegetables that end up in grocery aisles up and down the East Coast.

[John Quarterman stands by the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. Matt Odom / for NBC News]
John Quarterman stands by the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. Matt Odom / for NBC News

All that farming has led to large water withdrawals from Florida’s aquifer system and requires fertilizer, which leaches through the ground into waterways, emptying nitrogen that has led to destructive algae blooms and severe loss of fish and marsh habitats.

In the video segment, she also mentions manatees.

He hoped Gates would have Continue reading

Valdosta meeting, Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2021-04-15

Meeting in the most populous city in its region, on tax day 2021, the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council. Worth attending. 9:45 AM, Thursday, April 15, 2021, Valdosta City Hall Annex, Suite # 206, 300 N Lee St. Valdosta, GA 31601.

[Notice, Region and Assessment]
Notice, Region and Assessment

Georgia’s water councils are nothing like Florida’s Water Management Districts. The Georgia councils have no ability to tax or fine, and no staff. Their appointed and unpaid members just plan, with assistance from GA-EPD staff and some consultants. Continue reading