Category Archives: River

Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The meeting is 7PM tonight in Lake City, with remote participation options; see:
https://wwals.net/?p=60792


January 26, 2023

To: Scott Koons, E.D., North Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Re: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash

Dear NCFRPC,

Thank you for the opportunity for public input.

I would like to bring to the attention of the Council three issues:

[Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26]
Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26

  1. Deadline January 31st for public comment on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), Continue reading

Agenda: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2023-01-26

Update 2023-01-26: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26.

Tonight I will ask them to take up Valdosta trash as an issue like they previously successfully took up Valdosta sewage.

I will ask them to oppose the proposed titanium strip mine and to support the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and the Floridan Aquifer.

And I will ask them to ask SRWMD and SJRWMD to add a water budget and constraints on water withdrawals to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP).

[When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Now I am composing a letter to send them before the meeting. 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

Mostly Clean Rivers 2023-01-19

WWALS results for Thursday and (most of) the recent Valdosta results agree: clean rivers, and happy boating, fishing, and swimming this weekend.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map

No new sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

There’s been no rain to speak of, so nothing much has washed from creeks into the rivers, apparently not even Cat Creek.

Valdosta did get too-high E. coli for GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River for Wednesday. So avoid near there.

Other than that, Valdosta’s results for the past week corroborate WWALS’ results reported last week. Continue reading

Public Comment on land use plan for titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp –GA-EPD 2023-01-19

GA-EPD is providing more public comment opportunity than it has been promising for the past year. It has opened a comment period on Twin Pines Minerals Mining Land Use Plan, after which it will do what it previously promised: issue a draft permit and open a comment period on that.

You can object now to that titanium dioxide strip mine for white paint far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and sits above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida. You can email or paper mail your comments, or join one of two zoom webinars.

The comment deadline is 60 days after the notice of yesterday, so apparently Monday, March 20, 2023.

[Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012]
Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012

The Twin Pines Minerals Draft Mining Land Use Plan and Associated Documents for Public Comment are on the GA-EPD website, and also on the WWALS website.

Here is the public notice: Continue reading

PFAS in fish in Alapaha River 2023-01-17

Largemouth bass caught in the Alapaha River at Statenville Boat Ramp had high concentrations of PFAS forever chemicals.

EWG summarizes the risk:

Eating just one PFAS-contaminated freshwater fish per month could be the equivalent of drinking a glass of water with very high levels of PFOS or other forever chemicals.

[Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River --EWG 2023-01-17]
Map and data: PFAS in fish in Alapaha River –EWG 2023-01-17 Sample taken: 2014. Source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), PFAS National Datasets, Ambient Environmental Sampling for PFAS. Available here.

EWG, January 17, 2023, ‘Forever chemicals’ in freshwater fish: Mapping a growing environmental justice problem EPA data reveal high levels of PFAS in fish and human exposure risks,

What does this map show?

From coast to coast, and in almost every state in the U.S., high levels of the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS contaminate freshwater fish. The potential harm is not limited to fish, but the pollution poses health risks to communities that catch and eat the fish.

This map, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency, confirms the detection of PFAS at alarming levels Continue reading

Pictures: sites of Morven Solar 2023-01-18

Update 2023-01-21: Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20.

To help visualize what Morven Solar is proposing tonight at the Brooks County Planning Commission, yesterday I took a few pictures.

They include the pecan trees to be cleared for the project that county (SGRC) staff pointed out were not included in the tree survey, as well as the planted pines that were included, and some natural trees that are to be kept as a buffer.

Most of the project is on current center pivot irrigation cotton fields, with the agricultural pesticides that implies.

Which raises one of several questions: will the solar project also use pesticides, or will it adopt another method, such as sheep or goats?

[Parts of the Morven Solar project sites 2023-01-18]
Parts of the Morven Solar project sites 2023-01-18

This is the layout of the project: 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

Valdosta litter reports: and then what? 2023-01-06

Absentee landlords are letting trash get into Valdosta streets and creeks. What is the City of Valdosta doing about it?

Somebody named Gary McMillan reported two Litter issues on December 6, 2022 and January 6, 2023 through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix app. Both locations are slighlty uphill from One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, upstream from the proposed Troupville Nature Park.

[Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map]
Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map

City Marshalls in each case said they did something, which is good. But they closed out each ticket before reporting the actual outcome.

Both properties are owned by absentee landlords, who also own many other lots throughout Valdosta.

It’s time for the City of Valdosta to enforce its trash ordinances on property owners, especially absentee landlords.

Gary McMillan reported issue 13786041 on December 6, 2022:

Large amount of litter along Baytree Dr. and Jo Ree St. Some trash/litter is associated with a spilling bag of garbage. Much is not associated with the bag, but is typical of this neighborhood.
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