Category Archives: River

Good upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-07-29

All the E. coli test results we have for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers are good, all the way down below Allen Ramp almost to the Suwannee River. We don’t test for Fecal coliform, so we don’t know what happened with that sky-high Fecal coliform result Madison Health got for Tuesday. However, from the WWALS test results we have for Wednesday and Thursday, all these rivers seem clean, with two sites tested on each of the Little and Alapaha Rivers, and six on the Withlacoochee.

[Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

We have no new results from Valdosta or Madison Health since yesterday’s post. Apparently Valdosta does have some new results, but they’re having some sort of website problem. Madison Health seems to only test Tuesdays, and only at the state line anymore. That’s too bad, because they both test Fecal coliform, and we do not.

This is yet another example of how the state of Florida needs to step up, fund, and implement regular testing of all the rivers from the state line to the Gulf. Then we might know how far which contamination blob got. We’d also have a better chance tracking it back to its source. Floridians, please ask your statehouse delegation to make it so. Continue reading

Again rescheduled: Hike to Dead River Sink, Alapaha River, Jennings Bluff Launch, 2021-10-TBD

The Alapaha River is still too high to see the geological marvels that Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price wants to show us. So we’re rescheduling again, this time to October. The first available date is Saturday, October 2, 2021, but please check back, because there’s no way of knowing what the water levels or the hurricane situation will be in October.

Join us for an approximately three-mile hike down the Dead River to the Dead River Sink, where the Alapaha River goes underground much of the year. We will be led by Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County, Florida. He will explain the geology, and how unusual this place is: there’s nothing like it in Florida (or Georgia).

This is a hike: no boat is needed.

[Karst limestone cracks by the Alapaha River, Dead River, Sink, Dennis J. Price]
Karst limestone cracks by the Alapaha River, Dead River, Sink, Dennis J. Price

When: Gather 9:00 AM, launch 9:15 AM, end 12:15 PM, Saturday, October 2 [TBD], 2021

Put In: Jennings Bluff Launch. From Jennings, Hamilton County, FL, travel south on US 41 to NW 25 Lane; turn left; travel east to NW 82 Court and the entrance into the Suwannee River Water Management District’s Jennings Bluff tract; turn left and follow road to canoe launch.

GPS: 30.567183, -83.038911
You’re aiming for the Jennings Bluff Tract entrance.

[Jennings Bluff Tract sign, 11:42:18, 30.5670965, -83.0388653]
Jennings Bluff Tract sign, 11:42:18, 30.5670965, -83.0388653

Take Out: Jennings Bluff Launch

Bring: drinking water, snacks, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

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 Continue reading

Health Alert, Withlacoochee River, high Fecal coliform 2021-07-28

Update 2021-07-30: Good upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-07-29.

Madison County, Florida, Health Department issued a health alert to “residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River in North Florida.”

[Alert, Data, River]
Alert, Data, River

It’s not obvious why from the datapoint for yesterday at the state line on the FDEP website. FDEP only publishes E. coli results, so what they published for yesterday from Madison Health was 132 cfu/100 mL E. coli. That’s above the average limit of 126, but well below the one-time limit of 410. So I asked about that. Continue reading

Bad Upstream, Good Downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-22

Update 2021-07-28: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River, high Fecal coliform 2021-07-28.

Unusual results: too high E. coli at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River, good downstream and on the Little and Alapaha Rivers. Unexpected because with the heavy rain in Brooks County, Georgia, problems downstream might have been expected. I would paddle on the Withlacoochee River this weekend.

[Chart, Up and Down Withlacoochee River, Map]
Chart, Up and Down Withlacoochee River, Map

We have no results from Valdosta newer than Monday upstream, and the previous week downstream. Also nothing from Madison Health since Tuesday a week ago.

But WWALS testers Valerie Folsom, Bobby McKenzie, and Gus Cleary filled the gap. Continue reading

Why Withlacoochee River floodplain deannexation from Valdosta? @ GLPC 2021-07-26 2021-07-26

Valdosta should not deannex 310 acres of Withlacoochee River floodplain around Cherry Creek. No good reason for deannexation has been given by the applicant, and there are substantial reasons to be concerned about potential uses of that land if deannexed. Instead, Valdosta and Lowndes County should purchase the entire 530.24 acre property down to the Withlacoochee River to add to a trails system up and down the Withlacoochee River. The advisory Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) at its meeting this Monday should recommend against annexation, and then the Valdosta Mayor and Council should deny.

I am sending a letter to that effect today to Valdosta City Planner Matt Martin, and I recommend you do, as well: mlmartin@valdostacity.com

[Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River]
Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River

That deannexation is on the GLPC agenda for this Monday, July 26, 2021. The only land access to the property is through the City of Valdosta, and since that whole area of the river has extensive flood plain and little road access, Lowndes County cannot provide public utilities, fire/police protection, or emergency medical response across the river to the subject property, as the City Planner points out in the agenda sheet. The landowner’s stated purpose would be better served by the property remaining inside the city limits: “to use for wildlife management, and rec. use as it is in a mitgation bank & has no development use.” The City Planner even recommends annexing the rest of the subject property into the city, down to the river. Continue reading

Valdosta Elsa spills finally in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2021-07-20

Update 2021-07-23: Bad Upstream, Good Downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-22.

Not just two, but seven Valdosta July 7th sewage spills finally showed up in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report yesterday.

That’s ten working days later, or almost two calendar weeks after they happened during Tropical Storm Elsa. Even Quitman is usually only one week late filing such reports.

However, unlike the vague “800 block” verbiage in Valdosta’s press release of July 8th, these reports have precise street addresses.

And these reports say which waterbody was affected. The “800 Block of E Brookwood Dr.”, from which I could not tell whether it went west into Onemile Branch, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River, turns out to be “836 E. Brookwood Dr”, and it went into “Knights Creek”, which runs into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River.

So I’ll go back and revise our WWALS map. Maybe from now on Valdosta will report spills with this kind of precision and save everybody trouble.

[Seven Valdosta Spills, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report parsed by WWALS]
Seven Valdosta Spills, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report parsed by WWALS, see the WWALS website.

Also maybe Valdosta will finally do something to Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15

Update 2021-07-21: Valdosta Elsa spills finally in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2021-07-20.

Good news! By all the test results we have, the Withlacoochee River is clean again, in Georgia and Florida. Happy swimming, fishing, and boating!

[Chart, Withlacoochee River scenes, Swim Guide]
Chart, Withlacoochee River scenes, Swim Guide
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

WWALS test results from US 41 above Valdosta down to Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp and nearly to the Suwannee, plus Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, are all clean for Thursday, July 15, 2021. Continue reading

Twin Pines Minerals supplied more documents to GA-EPD about mining near Okefenokee Swamp 2021-06-25

The miners finally responded to GA-EPD’s questions from April about more information for the five permit applications to strip mine titanium far too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Checking today with Georgia Environmental Protection Division Deputy Director John Eunice, it will probably take several weeks for EPD’s Mining group to review the documents. If EPD finds documents or information still missing, they may ask Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, for more. When at some point EPD finds enough information to call it a complete application, they will announce a Public Hearing with a public comment period.

You can go ahead and ask GA-EPD to reject the permit applications, or at least thoroughly evaluate them:
https://waterkeeper.org/news/help-suwannee-riverkeeper-save-okefenokee-swamp/

The miners’ recent documents contain plenty of reasons to reject the permits, including they say themselves they didn’t answer all the questions, and they keep sending maps including land owned by TIAA as part of their mine site after TIAA rejected that many months ago.

[Upon completion; Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee and St Marys Rivers; TIAA land still in mining site maps]
Upon completion; Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee and St Marys Rivers; TIAA land still in mining site maps

I’d say the miners themselves said their responses were incomplete in items 5 and 6 on page 12 of their Response to Comments: 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

Valdosta Manhole Rehabilitation lists 2021-07-13

Update 2021-07-16 Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-07-15.

I thank the City of Valdosta for promptly sending their list of manholes to be rehabilitated, and manholes already rehabilitated, both in response to a WWALS Georgia Open Records Act request.

However, I am mystified why neither list includes the notorious spill locations on Mildred Street or Wainwright Drive.

I add up 358,525 gallons of sewage spilled at Mildred Street into Knights Creek in the Alapaha River Basin and 355,875 gallons at Wainwright Drive into Onemile Branch in the Withlacoochee River Basin. Those totals are each since 2015, according to records from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD).

I haven’t added up spills from all the other locations that are on the Rehab lists. I would hope there are not many that have spilled more than a third of a million gallons of raw sewage.

How many gallons does it take to get on Valdosta’s rehab list?

[Current Rehab list; already rehabilitated lists]
Current Rehab list; already rehabilitated lists

It’s also interesting that these lists include for almost every manhole specific street addresses. Unlike the vague “1200 block” addresses Valdosta puts in its sewage spill press releases, and often in its spill reports to GA-EPD.

Speaking of which, despite Valdosta’s assurances that it had reported at least the two biggest spills of July 7th to GA-EPD, there is still nothing about any of those in GA-EPD’s Sewer Spills Report.

Manhole Rehabilitation (Phase 7)

Continue reading