Category Archives: Lake

Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers in GA-EPD Triennial Review Update 2021-09-13

We appear to be the poster child for Recreational redesignation of waterbodies by GA-EPD.

[Prioritization of Nominated Waterbodies]
Prioritization of Nominated Waterbodies; blue marks prioritized waterbodies.

That’s a slide from today’s update meeting.

Not all our blue prioritized waterbodies were redesignated: not Banks Lake nor Grand Bay. But the Withlacoochee and Alapaha segments were redesignated. We may have gotten more river miles redesignated than anywhere else in Georgia.

[Stretches redesignated Recreational]
Stretches redesignated Recreational on the GA-EPD map.

As you can see, GA-EPD stuck to considering swimming as most important for what they call primary recreation, which is what they require for Recreational redesignation. Thanks to all of you who sent in swimming pictures and locations. You can keep sending those in, especially for the Suwannee River. Thanks to those cities and counties and Chambers of Commerce that sent in letters of support. Continue reading

Banks Lake Full Corn Moon Paddle, 2021-09-20

Reaching into the fall sunset and moonrise begin to come earlier in the evening. This will be the last full moon with the most bat activity. Starting in October, bats begin to hibernate or migrate and we will not see them very active again until March or April 2022.

When: Gather 6:30 PM, launch 7 PM, moonrise 7:45 PM, sunset 7:31 PM, end 9 PM, Monday, September 20, 2021

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County, on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Lights: You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. You must wear a PFD. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it. Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/outings

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

Event: facebook, meetup

[Bats in that tree]
Bats in that tree, Photo: John S. Quarterman, 2021-07-23.

Continue reading

More Recreational redesignation of waterbodies still possible –GA-EPD 2021-09-01

In addition to the Alapaha and Withlacoochee River segments GA-EPD has accepted to be redesignated Recreational, according to today’s update letter several others still could be considered with certain additional information, and still more can be nominated. This would be for the next Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards, which starts next year, 2022.

Read the whole thing here: PDF.

Excerpts related to the Suwannee River Basin are below. I’ve added a few comments in [square brackets].

The following waterbody segments are being proposed for designated use change to recreation for the 2019 Triennial Review. EPD has received complete nomination packages for each of these waterbody segments, including thorough documentation of year-round primary contact recreation throughout the length of the segment, current and planned investment data, and letters of support from community and stakeholders. A map of these waterbody segments can be found at
https://arcg.is/1i0ezv

[Stretches redesignated Recreational]
Stretches redesignated Recreational on the GA-EPD map.

  • Alapaha River – Cherry Creek to Stateline
  • Alapaha River – Willacoochee River to Dampier Branch
    [Those two Alapaha River stretches omit Sheboggy Boat Ramp downstream from Alapaha, and Lakeland Boat Ramp, Pafford’s Landing, and Rowetown Church Landing downstream from Lakeland.]
  • Withlacoochee River – Tiger Creek to State Line

[Plus Reed Bingham State Park Lake on the Little River was already Recreational, even though it does not appear on the above GA-EPD map. The rest of the Little River we can resubmit.]

Incomplete nomination packages were received for the following waterbodies. EPD will continue to solicit information from the nominators to complete these packages. If EPD receives complete nomination packages, EPD will review the complete packages and consider changing the designated use of these waterbodies to recreation as part of the 2022 Triennial Review:

Missing Documentation of year-round primary contact recreation:

Continue reading

Parts of Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers to be Recreational –GA-EPD 2021-08-11

Update 2021-09-01: More Recreational redesignation of waterbodies still possible –GA-EPD 2021-09-01.

GA-EPD picked a subset of the river stretches they previously said they would consider for Recreational designation: in the Georgia Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards: parts of the Alapaha River, and a smaller part of the Withlacoochee River.

There’s an online Update Meeting next month.

[Header, Suwannee River Basin]
Header, Suwannee River Basin

So that’s the Alapaha River from the Willacoochee River to Dampier Branch, and from Cherry Creek to the state line. I guess you can still paddle from Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 to Berrien Beach Boat Ramp @ GA 168 without getting into any non-Recreational stretches. But Lakeland Boat Ramp and Pafford’s and Burnt Church Landings are right out. But you can paddle from Hotchkiss Road Landing to Naylor Boat Ramp, Mayday Landing, Statenville Boat Ramp, and on to Florida.

Redesignated Recreational is the Withlacoochee River from Tiger Creek (at Spook Bridge, just below US 84) to the state line. So Knights Creek, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps can all be Recreational, even though they’re all downstream of Okapilco Creek and all those cattle in Brooks County, but Langdale Park Boat Ramp and Troupville Boat Ramp are not designated Recreational, despite the Valdosta Mayor’s letter of support.

However, the big win is that anything at all got redesignated. In previous cycles, GA-EPD declined to consider such a thing. And we can reapply next time.

Completely missing from this list are: Continue reading

Video: Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon Paddle 2021-08-22 –Suwannee Riverkeeper & Scott James 2021-08-12

This Sunday, paddle out with us to see the sun set and the moon rise, with bats, in the Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon Paddle!

It’s only $10 for non-members, and free to non-members, as Scott James reminded us on his radio show last week.

With free boat rental, thanks to the Lakeland-Lanier County Chamber of Commerce.

And WWALS membership is only $25 for individuals or $40 for a family.
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

[Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon Paddle]
Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon Paddle

For more details of this evening paddle just west of Lakeland, Georgia, see: https://wwals.net/?p=56344

Here’s WWALS video of that radio interview: Continue reading

Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Lowndes County Commission 2021-08-10

For voting Tuesday evening, three water-related items have more implications than might appear from the agenda of the Lowndes County Commission.

[Lake Alapaha water treatment, Bay Branch tributaries in Building Valdosta Subdivision, Army Corps on Val Del Villas]
Lake Alapaha water treatment, Bay Branch tributaries in Building Valdosta Subdivision, Army Corps on Val Del Villas

7.a. REZ-2021-09 Building Valdosta Subdivision (0070 018), R-A to R-21, Community Well & Septic, ~64.84 acres.

This subdivision has two creeks crossing it, leading to Bay Branch and the Withlacoochee River, plus at least one retention pond.

7.c. REZ-2021-13 Val Del Villas, Val Del Rd. P-D Amendment, County Water and Sewer, ~28.436 acres

For this existing subdivision, Northside Property Development wants to add more houses. It got the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine that the remaining part of Val Del Villas off Val Del Road is not jurisdictional wetlands. That’s uphill from Sermons Branch and the Withlacoochee River. Northside Property Development has the same registered agent as Uvalde Land Company that bought the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank next to the other side of the Withlacoochee River, and wants to deannex the upland half of it from Valdosta. The uplands in that Bank tract are not jurisdictional wetlands, either.

8.b. Alapaha Plantation Water Treatment Pilot Study

This is the kind of extra expense Valdosta avoided by sinking its water wells at Guest Road twice as deep after Withlacoochee River water was discovered reaching them from Shadrick Sink, on the other side of the Withlacoochee River, and the other side of what is now the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank, recently sold to Uvalde Land Company, which wants to deannex half of it from Valdosta.

For much more background, including the so-far $225,415 running total for Lowndes County subsidizing water for the private Lake Alapaha subdivision next to the Alapaha River, see The never-ending Lake Alapaha Water Treatment Plant saga @ LCC 2021-08-10.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon Paddle, 2021-08-22

Join us for a leisurely Sunset and Full Moon Paddle, on our watery living room at Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, Georgia.

When: Gather 7 PM, launch 7:35 PM, moonrise 8:42 PM, sunset 8:06 PM, end 9:30 PM, Sunday, August 22, 2021

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Lights: You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. You must wear a PFD. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it. Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net//donations/#outings

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

Event: facebook, meetup

[Moon boats]
Moon boats, by John S. Quarterman, July 23, 2021

Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Buck Moon paddle 2021-07-23

The weather threatened earlier in the day, but relented. Banks Lake was glassy smooth, and the Full Buck Moon broke through the overcast. There were bats. Everybody was happy.

[Banners, boats, moon]
Banners, boats, moon

Holding the Suwannee Riverkeeper Banner is Chris “Turtleman” Adams, the only paddler actually qualified to pet an alligator.

[Bobby McKenzie, safety lecture]
Bobby McKenzie, safety lecture: don’t pet the alligators.

Thanks to Bob and Sue Raffaele for the Old Town Canoe. WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. paddled, and I photographed, as we acted as sweep, to be sure nobody got left behind. Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Strawberry Moon paddle 2021-06-24

Good turnout for a Thursday paddle! 26 paddlers enjoyed great weather, bats, and the Full Strawberry Moon through clouds at Banks Lake NWR.

It’s only $10 per paddler with free boat rental thanks to the Lakeland-Lanier Chamber of Commerce and Banks Lake Outdoors. Or the whole thing is free with WWALS membership, which starts at $25 individual or $40 family.

[26 paddlers, cypress, bat tree, moon]
26 paddlers, cypress, bat tree, moon

This time we were joined by Bird Chamberlain and almost all of Dirty Bird and the Flu, one of our headliners at the Fourth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 7-11 PM, Saturday, August 21, 2021, at the Turner Center Art Park, Valdosta, GA. Continue reading

2021 deadline extended again! and Scott Perkins singing Hoochie Coochie for the Withlacoochee, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting 2020

Our host, Sementha Mathews, of Turner Center Art Park, asked us to extend the deadline one more week. So we did, to July 21, 2021!

Send in your song now through this entry form:
https://forms.gle/tWrqas7qPWDKgpqF6

Yes, we have some songs. But, we want more!

Our most recent songwriter wrote his song yesterday and sent it in.

Come on, songwriters, make the competition fierce for that $300 cash First Prize, with $300 equivalent in studio time!

Scott Perkins singing Hoochie Coochie for the Withlacoochee, in the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

And for the $50 prize for best song from within the Suwannee River Basin, and $50 for best song from without.

And for the plaques for best in each song genre.

Everybody else, tickets will be on sale soon, to listen to our two headliners, Scott Perkins and his band Little Perks in Paradise from Atlanta, and Valdosta’s own Dirty Bird and the Flu. Each of the three judges will also play, even before we get to the finalists and the judging. With food by Hibachi Hwy and drinks by The Pour House.

Here’s Scott Perkins singing his song, Hoochie Coochie for the Withlacoochee, in the 2020 Contest:


Scott Perkins singing Hoochie Coochie for the Withlacoochee, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting 2020
Videos by Phillip Plumlee and John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS),
Turner Center Art Park, Valdosta, Georgia, August 22, 2020.

Much more about the Contest is here, including song submission form, contest Rules, and, soon, tickets:
wwals.net/pictures/2021-08-21–songwriting/

Georgia Beer Company is back as our top tier sponsor. We have more sponsors, and we can use more!

To encourage more songwriters, here’s a facebook event. But remember to send in your song through the entry form!

About WWALS: Continue reading