Category Archives: GA-DNR

Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01

Here is the Final Report with Recommendations after four public input meetings and a decision meeting of the Georgia House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources.

[Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash]
Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash

Basically, they want to preserve both fishing rights (and private property rights) while preserving boating right of passage. The Study Committee found right of passage tied to navigability, so its key recommendations are to determine and delineate which parts of which rivers and streams are navigable.

If you know Committee Chair Rep. James Burchett or any of the committee members, please contact them asking for maximum navigability while preserving private property rights. Or contact your Georgia state house member.
http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ Continue reading

Fishing, boating passage, and navigability in Georgia waters 2023-10-12

Update 2023-12-31: Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01.

What waterways are navigable? How does navigability apply to fishing rights and private ownership of waterways? What about right of passage? How does the Georgia state constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish apply? And what about GA-DNR boat ramps?

[Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps]
Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps

This controversy started with a lawsuit about the Flint River, but it has already spread to other rivers and creeks, and sooner or later will affect the Suwannee River Basin.

The Chair of the Georgia House Study Committee on the subject is Rep. James Burchett, District 176, which includes southwest Coffee, Atkinson, Lanier, and northeast Lowndes Counties, all in the Suwannee River Basin. Plus he is the County Attorney for Brooks County.

If you know him, maybe you’d like to talk to him about the importance of river passage and public fishing rights. As he is reported to have said, “The intention is to find clarity. The property owners and fishermen all want to know, where can we fish and where can we not?”

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Hurricane Idalia: State Parks Closed, Georgia and Florida 2023-09-02

Stir crazy from staying in due to Hurricane Idalia and want to go to a state park?

Many of them are open, but some remain closed, in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida.

Or come to the WWALS Banks Lake Morning Paddle 2023-09-04.

[Georgia and Florida State Parks Closed 2023-09-02]
Georgia and Florida State Parks Closed 2023-09-02

According to Georgia State Parks Weather Alerts – Hurricane Idalia:

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Chainsaw cleanup, Outings, Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

Update 2023-09-12: Clinch County Resolution against strip mine, for Okefenokee Swamp 2023-09-11.

In addition to its usual business of roads and taxes, the Clinch County Commission discussed with Suwannee Riverkeeper outings, boat ramps, and a proposed resolution against the strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

[Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07]
Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

For the boat ramp, Clinch County can apply to the GA-DNR Recreational Trails Program, Nonmotorized. Andrew Schock, writing for the landowner, The Conservation Fund, sent a letter saying that among the half a dozen possibilities he favors Drawdy Mill Landing on Drawdy Mill Road, which is about half way between Griffis Fish Camp and Fargo Boat Ramp.

For the resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River against the proposed strip mine, the Commissioners chose to take another month to read it thoroughly, with a vote next month, which should be 6PM, Monday, September 4, 2023. The resolutions already passed by other cities and counties, including the one passed last week by Echols County, are on the WWALS website. For more about that mine, see
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

Thanks to Chairman Henry Moylan and the Commissioners for their hospitality, to Clinch County Administrator Jaclyn James for ongoing communications, and to WWALS member Etta Lee for talking to Commissioners and for being at the meeting; also for dinner.

Below are pictures, videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange of the relevant agenda item, and links to documents.

Here is a WWALS video playlist of the relevant LAKE videos.

For the entire meeting, see the LAKE blog post, Videos: Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp, LMIG, Taxes @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07.

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Water trail sign fixing, Franklinville Road, Withlacoochee River 2023-06-25

Update 2023-06-25: Water quality sampling, Franklinville Road, Withlacoochee River 2023-06-25.

Somebody stole one of the water trail signs, and pushed the signpost off from vertical. So we fixed it.

[Before, fixing, after: WLRWT signs, Franklinville Landing, Withlacoochee River 2023-06-25]
Before, fixing, after: WLRWT signs, Franklinville Landing, Withlacoochee River 2023-06-25

This is at Franklinville Landing, on the Withlacoochee River at Franklinville Road, near the location of the old Lowndes County seat of Franklinville. It looked like somebody backed into the signpost, after somebody stole the bottom sign. That’s the one about this location, Franklinville Landing: what you can see upstream and downstream, how far, etc.

Back in 2019, when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) provided WWALS a generous educational grant through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), we ordered duplicates of some signs. Franklinville happened to be one of them, so the duplicate now replaces the stolen sign. Continue reading

Work in progress at Lakeland Boat Ramp 2023-06-20

Update 2023-06-27: Good Alapaha River 2023-06-25.

Thanks to GA-DNR for silt fences and turbidity curtains during their upgrade of Lakeland Boat Ramp, and for that upgrade.

Also thanks to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) for officially adopting the name Lakeland Boat Ramp as decided back in 2018 by the Lakeland County Commission, as well as Berrien Beach Boat Ramp, also decided in 2018 by the Berrien County Commission, both for the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail. This naming development is specifically thanks to WWALS tester Kimberly Tanner and GA-DNR Boating Access Coordinator Jeff E. Bishop.

[At-water ARWT sign, silt fences and turbidity curtain, Lakeland Boat Ramp, 2023-06-20]
At-water ARWT sign, silt fences and turbidity curtain, Lakeland Boat Ramp, 2023-06-20

When I took these pictures, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the Statenville Gauge read about 7.17 feet (83.27′ NAVD88). Today, Saturday, June 24th, the Alapaha River is almost seven feet higher, at 14.01′ (90.11′ NAVD88), into Action Stage.

So don’t be surprised if GA-DNR’s plan to start work May 30 and end about July 26 gets extended a bit. Continue reading

Rivers and mining: WWALS comments on Suwannee-Satilla Draft Regional Water Plan 2023-05-15

Sent yesterday as PDF, in response to the invitation to comment and before the May 24, 2023 meeting in Tifton of the Georgia Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council.

[The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin]
The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin

May 15, 2023

To: Water Planning

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
water.planning@dnr.ga.gov

RE: WWALS Comments on SSRWPC Draft Regional Water Plan

Dear DNR,

Responding to your invitation to comment on the draft Regional Water Plans, I write to mention some omissions in the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Draft Water Plan of March 2023.

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Valdosta City Engineer and GA-DNR, Two Mile Branch @ Berkley Drive 2023-02-23

Valdosta City Engineer Benjamin O’Dowd volunteered to three GA-DNR people that there was still trash in the woods after the recent vac-truck cleanout of Two Mile Branch at Berkley Drive. He is considering what to do about that.

[Valdosta City Engineer, GA-DNR, Two Mile Branch, Berkley Drive 2023-02-23]
Valdosta City Engineer, GA-DNR, Two Mile Branch, Berkley Drive 2023-02-23

In addition to maybe moving the current Sugar Creek Watergoat to Two Mile Branch, another possibility is a concrete-and-steel trash trap like the one Valdosta recently built at its Lee Street Detention Pond.

I know this because Continue reading

Ask the Georgia Legislature to act while GA-DNR keeps passing the buck about mining near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-01-27

GA DNR keeps passing the buck about the proposal to strip mine for titanium within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, by miners from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC. The Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers and it interchanges surface water with groundwater all the way down to the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink.

Please go ahead and send in your comment on the Mining Land Use Plan.

And ask your Georgia House Representative to sign on to HB 71, the Okefenokee Protection Act. That bill will not stop this permit application, but it would stop further expansion of that mine and any other mines on the east side of the Swamp.

[Trail Ridge Land LLC]
Trail Ridge Land LLC
Land the Charlton County Tax Assessors show owned by Trail Ridge Land LLC.
The northwest corner buts right up against the Swamp.

Floridians, you can comment. And you can ask your Georgia friends and relatives to ask their statehouse members to sign on to HB 71.

Back in September, Georgia DNR Board Chair Bill Jones said Continue reading

Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-02-08: Morven Solar denied @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06.

Update 2023-02-06: Herbivores, sediment basins, silt fences for Morven Solar –WWALS to Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06.

These WWALS videos show the Public Hearing that was the only agenda item at the Brooks County Planning Commission, January 19, 2023.

[Movie: Rules for Speaking --Pat Sharpe, Chair (30M)]
Movie: Rules for Speaking –Pat Sharpe, Chair (30M)

The Planning Commission recommended approval with conditions.

The actual decision on the Special Exception will be made tonight at 5PM by the Brooks County Commission at Brooks County Courthouse, East Screven Street, Quitman, GA, 31643.

There is no agenda for tonight’s meeting on the county’s website, WWALS has still not received agenda nor board packet in response to our open records request of January 30, 2023.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:


Videos: Morven Solar at Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19
Videos by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS).

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker. Except for some camera glitches, these videos show the entire meeting.

See also the agenda, the board packet, the pictures of the sites of Morven Solar, and Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

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