Category Archives: Quantity

Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11

Update 2024-04-15: Valdosta spilled 6.7 million gallons including 1.34 million gallons raw sewage 2024-04-12

WWALS water quality tests were clean before the storm for the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, as well as Sugar Creek. Valdosta Wednesday results agreed.

But Valdosta had seven sewage spills for almost half a million gallons during the storm, plus one before, and Tifton and Quitman each had two spills: see Valdosta, Quitman, and Tifton sewage spills in big rains 2024-04-11.
https://wwals.net/?p=64616

Plus almost all the rivers are in flood or at least Action Stage.

I’d avoid the rivers this weekend, except maybe the Suwannee between White Springs an Ellaville, and the Santa Fe upstream from High Springs: those are not yet in Action Stage.

[Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11: Franks and Sugar Creeks, Little, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers]
Clean before the storm, but sewage spills during 2024-04-11: Franks and Sugar Creeks, Little, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers

Debbie Smith tested Franks Creek at GA 122 west of Hahira on Sunday, April 7, and got Continue reading

Cancelled: Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13

“The cleanup for this Saturday April 13 is canceled due to high water and flooding. Please help get the word out,” said Russell Allen McBride.

[Cancelled due to high water, Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville 2024-04-13]
Cancelled due to high water, Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, to Troupville 2024-04-13

Yesterday Russell scouted the route from Langdale Park Boat Ramp down the Withlacoochee River past Sugar Creek, and up the Little River to Troupville Boat Ramp. He reported:

“Put in at Langdale Park at about 3:30. Water was over the boat ramp. The road coming in was fine though. I parked shy of the ramp and put in. Most trash is to one side or the other kind of out of the current. From Langdale down to Berta’s it was not super bad. Behind Wood Valley probably was the worse spots. Then the usual spots near Troupeville River camp area. I never had to get out of my kayak the whole way….

“On a positive note. There are more trash cans down at Langdale park and looks like they are chained.”

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Permit application deficiencies; water modeling, monitoring, and management, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida –WWALS to GA-EPD, TPM TiO2 mining 2024-04-09

Here are the WWALS comments sent to GA-EPD yesterday against the proposed titanium dioxide mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Thanks to all who also sent comments to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) during the 60-day comment period.

[Application deficiencies in TPM TiO2 mining permits: Modeling, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida --WWALS to GA-EPD 2024-04-09]
Application deficiencies in TPM TiO2 mining permits: Modeling, mercury, spills, slimes, Florida –WWALS to GA-EPD 2024-04-09

Next, we wait for GA-EPD to read all the comments. Supposedly they have to reply to all questions in those comments.

Most likely then GA-EPD will issue the actual permits. Then lawsuits start flying.

If I am not mistaken, you can still send comments to TwinPines.Comment@dnr.ga.gov. They won’t be considered part of the 60-day comment period, but they will go into the public record, retrievable via an open records request, and usable in lawsuits.

The WWALS Comment

See also PDF. Continue reading

Apparently clean rivers after rain 2024-04-04

Update 2024-04-12: Valdosta Huntley Drive FOG sewage spill 2024-04-09.

All the recent results we have are good for every river tested, although the results are somewhat sparse. Even tests on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers after the big rains were quite clean. Valdosta’s Wednesday Withlacoochee River results before the rains were also good.

High Springs, Florida, had a sewage spill, but it was small and probably had no effect on the Santa Fe river.

It’s sunny days for a week.

However, the rivers are mostly quite high and fast, around action stage or higher. Your best bet is probably the Suwannee River from White Springs to Suwannee Springs.

Or join us next week on Saturday for Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13.

[Chart, Apparently Clean Rivers, Map 2024-04-04]
Chart, Apparently Clean Rivers, Map 2024-04-04

Valdosta’s last week Wednesday results, which only showed up this week because of the holiday last Friday, were not good. However, their results for Wednesday this week are good.

As previously mentioned, Valdosta is sampling now only weekly, and only at GA 133 and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

Although Valdosta did report followup Knights Creek sampling for Tuesday, with good results upstream and down from its chronic collapsed sewer line location.

Continue reading

Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

The weather held off and 42 paddlers had a good time on the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle from Langdale Park Boat Ramp down the Withlacoochee River, around the Little River Confluence, and up to Troupville Boat Ramp. Only a few people fell in, and they were good sports. The City Manager needs a bigger boat.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, 2024-03-02

Those who got out after three miles at Sugar Creek got to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

The remaining four miles went under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges. Many deadfalls (fallen dead trees) previously sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups were visible. Outings leader Phil Hubbard sawed through a remaining deadfall during the paddle.

Paddlers saw all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman used the jon boat with 9.9hp outboard paid for by a grant from Wild Green Future (WGF) to saw several deadfalls off the Withlacoochee River. Then he towed five paddlers and five boats from the Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp, including Outing Sweep Phil Royce towing City Manager Richard Hardy’s to-small bad-seat boat. The City Manager walked from the Confluence to the boat ramp.

Thanks to Phil Hubbard for leading this outing, and Phil Royce and Russell Allen McBride for being sweep.

Thanks to them and Gretchen Quarterman and others for helping people over rough spots and to Gretchen for making sure everybody was signed in on the WWALS insurance waiver.

Thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and their staffs.

Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for the grant that kept entry for paddlers free and paid for the Port-A-Potties.

Thanks to the Boys & Girls Club for the shuttle van.

Thanks to VSU CORE for bringing boats and student paddlers.

Thanks to everyone who helped on the numerous chainsaw cleanups, including Bobby McKenzie, Shawn O’Connor, Russell Allen McBride, Phil Royce from Live Oak, Florida, Gary Koch from Ocala, Florida, and especially Phil Hubbard.

Plus anybody else I have forgotten to mention.

I would mention everybody who has been involved in improving the trash and sewage situations, but this post would be very long.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

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Boat Motor Tryouts, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little River 2024-02-18

Update 2024-02-26: Pictures: Chainsaw cleanup from Troupville up to Sugar Creek and back 2024-02-25.

Successful boat trials at Action Stage on the Little River!

Five of us went down to Troupville Boat Ramp, just west of Valdosta, Georgia, to test out some new boat motors.

[9.9hp outboard and 86lb thrust trolling motor (thanks, Wild Green Future) and jon boat (thanks, Flint Riverkeeper) and Bass Fisher (WWALS)]
9.9hp outboard and 86lb thrust trolling motor (thanks, Wild Green Future) and jon boat (thanks, Flint Riverkeeper) and Bass Fisher (WWALS)

Here’s a WWALS video playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKwQ5xfKf-QznYIX_GRvlK7Rc4P_Ms5DG&si=ll_y4evyoJbmxSgu


Successful boat trials at Action Stage on the Little River!
Videos by John S. Quarterman and Russell Allen McBride for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS).

Thanks to Laura D’Alisera for transfering the new WWALS 9.9hp Mercury fourstroke 20-inch shaft electric start outboard motor ten miles from West Marine in Jacksonville Beach to a shipping location, where Phil Hubbard received it Saturday. Thanks to Wild Green Future (WGF) for the generous grant that bought it.

Sunday evening, Russell Allen McBride, Shawn O’Connor, Bobby McKenzie, and I unboxed it, connected it to its fuel supply, and tried it out. Thanks to Flint Riverkeeper for the jon boat.

With that outboard, the jon boat will indeed go upriver easily under these conditions. It took only ten minutes to haul Russell in his kayak up the third of a mile from the Little River Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Also due to WGF, we received an 85lb-thrust Goplus 8 Speed, 36 inch shaft, trolling motor, two Power Queen LiFePO4 12.8V 100Ah, lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, and a Power Queen 14.6V 10A LiFePO4 Battery Charger. Those we put on the WWALS bass fisher chainsawing boat, plus the old WWALS 40lb-thrust mounted on the front. Shawn and I demonstrated that the new motor alone will push that boat upstream in these conditions, and both motors will troll it upstream at a walking pace. Which is all we need to get back to the ramp from the Confluence during chainsaw cleanups.

You’ve already seen the chainsaw WGF paid for from a week ago, Sugar Creek to Troupville Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-11.

We are awaiting a couple more items via the WGF grant. Stay tuned.

This is more preparation for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Saturday, March 2, 2024, starting at Langdale Park. One hopes that the water level will be well below Sunday’s 148′ NAVD 1988 level, or we may have to reschedule for later.

And also preparation for more chainsaw cleanups on other stretches of this and other rivers.

Next: 9AM Sunday, February 25, 2024, we will take the jon boat from Troupville Boat Ramp down around the Confluence and up the Withlacoochee River to Langdale Park, chainsawing any remaining paddle obstacles along the way. That one will be a bit hard to participate in by paddling.

The day before that, Saturday, February 24, please join us for in the morning for Knights Ferry to Nankin on the Withlacoochee River and in the evening for Banks Lake Full Snow Moon Paddle.

There are more pictures below. Continue reading

GA-EPD issues draft permit for TiO2 strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp 2024-02-09

Update 2024-02-21: Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21.

Updated 2024-02-12: Today GA-EPD updated its Public Notice to day 60 days (instead of 30 days) for the public comment period. So that appears to mean the revised final comment date is April 9, 2024.

Four years after the original application, and two weeks after publishing the miners’ revised mining plan, GA-EPD has published a draft permit for the strip mine for titanium dioxide too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

You have 30 60 days from today, February 9, 2024 to comment to GA-EPD:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov

There will be an online zoom public meeting at 6PM on March 5, 2024.
https://gaepd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ff7nrdELQPOr0DaPwfxK3A

You can encourage the Georgia legislature to pass legislation to prevent more such mines:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

And it’s a safe bet that if GA-EPD approves the final permits, lawsuits will fly.

[TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial]
TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial from January 10, 2021

Two weeks ago GA-EPD published the Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) Revised MLUP and Associated Documents.

Today, GA-EPD published Continue reading

Sponsored: Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-03-08: Pictures: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Georgia Power has pledged a substantial grant for the Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle on the Withlacoochee River, Saturday, March 2, 2024.

“Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power, WWALS will not require any payment to paddle,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Just use the eventbrite free ticket to reserve a spot so we’ll have an idea of how many are coming.”
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-and-chairmans-paddle-langdale-park-to-troupville-2024-tickets-799890352577

[Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04]
Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04

“However, if you want to support the advocacy and activities of WWALS, there is also a paid ticket through eventbrite. Or become a member or sponsor. Anyway, come down and paddle, see the sights, and have fun!”

For further information about the paddle, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=64027

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 29, 2024 — Join us on March 2nd for a leisurely paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, and along the site of future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

“The annual paddle event provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County, immersing themselves in the serenity of our waterways,” said Bill Slaughter, Chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and join us for a fun morning.”

“Together, we will showcase the natural beauty of our blackwater rivers and continue to work towards finding the most cost-effective solutions to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash that is littering our creeks and rivers,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “With this event, we aim to empower our community and inspire everyone to take action towards protecting our precious waterways. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, and we are excited to lead the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles. All elected officials present, from both Florida and Georgia, get in free, and will have three minutes each to speak at the put-in. You can paddle up to them and ask questions,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA.”

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04; Photo: John S. Quarterman

On a new route this year, we’ll go seven miles in four hours, with an early takeout.

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 2, 2024 to Langdale Park, drop off your boats, and drive to Troupville Boat Ramp. Shuttle from there back to Langdale Park.

One 15-seat van provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We love supporting this event and giving back to our community! This is just another event that shows how good the Mayor and the Commission Chairman are always working together to help this community,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. This will be an outside event, but we will recommend those riders taking advantage of the shuttle service to please wear a mask.

We’ll paddle three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin. There are no houses, but you may see creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, birds, and turtles. Valdosta is getting much better at keeping sewage out of the creeks and rivers.

“I’m happy to lead this paddle again,” said Phil Hubbard.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family. That floating chain and net keeps much trash out of the river. There is more for the City of Valdosta to do about trash, but that WaterGoat was the start of current progress on that problem. If you want to stop there, you can take out below Berta’s Pizza Kitchen on Gornto Road.

“The South Georgia Film Festival is proud to support this year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle,” said Jason Brown. South Georgia Film Festival Director. “As many of the available kayakers will be in attendance both at the paddle and that evening for the film screening on the campus of Valdosta State University.”

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Continue reading