Category Archives: Springs

Suwannee Springs flood debris 2021-01-12

Many people have wondered when SRWMD will finish cleaning the debris out of Suwannee Springs from the flood last July. Probably in a few weeks, not months.

Yesterday at the invitation of Edwin McCook of the Suwannee River Water Management District I went to see the problem. He and I and his consultant discussed the problem.

As you can see, getting that rammed-in driftwood out of all that dirt and sand would be quite a task to do by hand. Edwin decided to start with larger equipment. The catch is how to get it in there, and what can fit. He and the consultant are working up a plan.

There will still be need for volunteers to do manual cleanup, since the big equipment can’t get everything. Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know when that will happen. It will probably be several weeks yet.

[Down the steps]
Down the steps

Continue reading

Contaminated Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers 2021-01-04; cleaner 2021-01-09

Update 2021-01-14: see clarifications and updates in Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12.

The Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers were contaminated with E. coli Monday, January 4, 2021, all the way from US 41 at North Valdosta Road to US 90 below the Withlacoochee River Confluence, and probably farther downstream, according to Valdosta, Madison Health, and FDEP data for that day. We also have preliminary DNA marker results from FDEP.

The culprit? Ruminants. The only ruminants numerous enough to cause the sky-high DNA marker results for the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers? Cattle.

This is a good example of how when testing happens upstream and down, we can all tell what is going on. Florida needs to fund frequent, regular, closely-spaced water quality testing from the state line to the Gulf. Continue reading

Ichetucknee up and back paddle 2021-01-02

A bit of TV coverage for conserving springs and the WWALS Ichetucknee upstream paddle.

Dylan Lyons, WJCB.com, January 2, 2021, Local environmental organization hits the springs for their first kayaking event of 2021 (follow the link for WCJB’s embedded video),

[WCJB, WWALS]
WCJB, WWALS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)—WWALS Watershed Coalition is an organization in North-Central Florida and South Georgia dedicated to conservation and education about natural springs. Their goal is to bring focus to problems like excessive water withdrawal. They do that by bringing people out to the springs to see the issues first hand and recognize the beauty of the natural waters.

“More exposure is great because the more people that see the rivers are there and that they are all great like they are and especially the people that get on them. The more they’ll help take care of them,” said John S. Quarterman, the Suwannee Riverkeeper.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper interviewed by WJCB, Photo: Gretchen Quarterman]
Suwannee Riverkeeper interviewed by WJCB, Photo: Gretchen Quarterman

The group was forced to alter their regular plans this year because of the pandemic. In a typical outing, they would put in their kayaks at the north entrance of the Ichetucknee Springs and travel to the first public boat ramp of the Santa Fe. However, that requires a shuttle and people to be in close quarters.

“What we have done to change this is, to prevent being in a shuttle we’ve come here, we put in at this landing, paddle all the way up to the north. Then we’ll jump in; I’ll jump in. Then we will paddle back down to the south takeout. We will use the tube trails to walk back to our vehicles and pick up the kayaks,” said Bobby McKenzie, the event organizer.

[Bobby McKenzie, organizer of this outing]
Bobby McKenzie, organizer of this outing

McKenzie believes outings like this allow people to Continue reading

Reroute: New Year Ichetucknee Upstream Paddle 2021-01-02

Update 2020-01-05 TV coverage.

Different entrance (South), different landing (Dampier’s)!

We’re going to paddle upstream and back, on this first paddle of 2021, all on the Ichetucknee River, within the Park. This is because we’re not doing a shuttle due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic spike, We will be checking temperatures with an infrared thermometer. If you feel at all sick with anything, please stay home. Wear masks on land (we will have extras) and keep your distance.

When: Gather 10:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 2, 2021

Put In: Dampier’s Landing, About a 10 minute walk from parking lot at South Entrance, 11627 SW Us Highway 27, Fort White, Florida 32071, in Columbia County.

GPS of South Entrance to Ichetucknee Springs S.P.: 29.9519915, -82.7753791

Bring boat wheels: otherwise that’s a long carry for a boat from parking to the landing.

Upstream: It’s only two miles up to the top spring. Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, also due to the virus pandemic. However, anybody who paddles all the way up can dip in the spring.
There will be current, but nobody has to paddle up any farther than they want to. There’s a good rest stop at Midpoint Landing, less than a mile up.

Take Out: Dampier’s Landing.
If you feel adventurous, you could paddle a mile farther downstrearm, all the way to the last takeout, South Landing. But if you do that, you need to get back more than half a mile by foot to your car. You’ll really need your boat wheels.

Bring: boat wheels and warm clothes! And 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.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Map: Dampier's Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park]
Map: Dampier’s Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park,
in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

Continue reading

Plastic free 2020-12-08

Want to stop Nestlé from sucking up Floridan Aquifer water and selling it in plastic bottles? Tired of picking up plastic from rivers and springs, and futile recycling? Stop disposable plastic at the source by stopping single-use plastic.

[Plastic Free: WWALS, Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Plastic Free: WWALS, Suwannee Riverkeeper

WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper are among the more than 550 signatories on this Presidential Plastics Action Plan. You’ll recognize many Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina Waterkeepers, as well as Waterkeeper Alliance, plus Our Santa Fe River.

For the Plan, see the online summary or the PDF. The first action alone could have a massive effect: stop the federal government from buying single-use plastic.

Individuals can sign a petition. Please help.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Sulak’s Defeat at Jennings Defeat 2020-08-26

Explorer Dr. Ken Sulak has solved an Alapaha River rapids naming mystery. He recounts:


So in 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem inspired by a dream.

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Insert three ‘A” and the dreamscape river becomes the Alapaha, and appropriately so. Yesterday, I embarked on the foolish idea of a solo kayak journey up 3 miles of the Alapaha from Sasser Landing (just below the confluence of the Alapaha and the Alapahoochee rivers) to the site of the 1800s Roebucks Ferry and later Roebucks Bridge.

[Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150]
Jennings Defeat Rapids, Ogeechee Gum, GS&F RR trestle below CR 150

That crossing brought settlers and other travelers from Jacksonville and Fernandina along the GA/FL border across the Alapaha to Miccotown, the old Seminole Indian town in the triangle of land protected by the two flanking rivers. The road/trail (gone now on both sides) continued west across the Alapahoochee at the site of the early 1900s Beatty Bridge (undoubtedly preceded in the mid-1800s by an undocumented ferry), and on to Hickstown in Madison County and westward. Miccotown became the first county seat of Hamilton County as the settlers suppressed the Seminoles and the old Indian town faded into obscurity in 1839. Continue reading

Proposal for the Recharge of the Upper Floridan Aquifer –D.J. Price P.G. 2016-11-14

Dennis J. Price, P.G., sent this proposal to the committee for the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), and that WWALS included in our comments.

They duly noted it in their matrix of comments. But, so far as I can tell, they did not follow any of its recommendations.

[Map and Proposal]
Map and Proposal

See also Dennis’s other letter on this subject.


SE ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
DENNIS J. PRICE, P.G.
P.O. BOX 45
WHITE SPRINGS, FL 32096
cell 362-8189, den1@windstream.net
Recharge-Proposal.pdf

November 14, 2016

North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership

RE: PROPOSAL FOR THE RECHARGE OF THE UPPER FLORIDAN AQUIFER IN THE NORTH FLORIDA FLATWOODS ENVIRONMENT, HAMILTON, COLUMBIA, UNION, BAKER AND ALACHUA COUNTIES.

My proposal is directed towards those areas in the SRWMD and the SIRWMD that are underlain by the Hawthorn formation resulting in extensive areas containing a surficial aquifer and the intermediate aquifers that exist in the Hawthorn. Recharge to the Floridan is retarded by the presence of the clay layers in the Hawthorn. Very large wetland systems are common in these areas.

Water balance studies were produced twice that I am aware of in the SRWMD, one by Continue reading

Pictures: Ichetucknee, Santa Fe Rivers 2020-01-20

The manatee swam under my boat; I was sitting still. This was on the Ichetucknee River, just above the Santa Fe River. Shirley Kokidko led us on the Redo: Ichetucknee and Sante Fe River Paddle 2020-01-20.

We’re going again January 2, 2021.

[Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880]
Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880

This is just a small selection of pictures. There are more here:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-01-20–ichetucknee-santa-fe-pictures

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

The NFRWSP’s job is to figure out how to increase water levels in the aquifer. –Dennis J. Price 2016-12-12

This is a letter Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price wrote for publication.

December 12, 2016

RE: North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership

About 5 years ago, a report prepared for the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) indicated that under North Columbia County, East Hamilton County and Baker County, ground water levels in the Floridan aquifer (the aquifer the majority of us citizens get our water from) had dropped about 20 feet, more or less. The effects of the loss of that 20 feet was first felt and is very obvious in White Springs, 13 miles north of Lake City. The spring quit flowing for all intents and purposes. Tourism and the Towns economy plummeted.

[2019-04-03 White Sulfur Spring Flowing]
2019-04-03 White Sulfur Spring Flowing, so unusual an event it was reported for SRWMD by their Senior Hydrologist Fay Baird.

The report placed the greatest blame for the drawdown on water use by the coastal communities of South Georgia and North Florida. Scientists from the St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD) at first concurred with this assessment. After objections from the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) and the removal of several key employees at the SJRWMD, the SJRWMD said they weren’t sure anymore and a study needed to be done.

So, you guessed it, a committee was formed, The North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership (NFRWSP). Don’t get me wrong regarding this committee, it is probably the single most important committee ever formed in our area. Their plans will affect the continued growth of North Florida communities along with the economy and recreational opportunities in our lakes and rivers.

Figure C3: Aquifer surface change due to withdrawals in north Florida and south Georgia

The NFRWSP’s job Continue reading

Trailmarker Tree Trails 2020-11-04

Second of a series of posts from Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, retired. He is aware that Indian Trailmarker Trees are still speculative. Maybe with enough examples we can all determine whether they are what they seem to be. Please send pictures and locations of any trailmarker trees you may have seen, especially along old trails that crossed the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Little, Suwannee, or Santa Fe Rivers, such as Old Coffee Road or various versions of El Camino Real.

[Old Trails]
Old Trails

Thanks for your reply. The trailmarker tree thing is an offshoot of my research on historic settler fords, ferries and bridges. Certainly early settlers traded with Seminoles and followed their trails. This Motte map is one of the few I have encountered that shows trails from GA coming into FL. There has also been more published on the ‘Alachua Trail’ figured in the next map. But that is of less interest to me because folks using that trail were primarily headed to the St. Johns River area—a distinct migration thing from the GA and SC folks headed for ‘Middle Florida’ where the best farm land and ample water was available.

I have been trying to confine my studies and field explorations to that area—but have inevitably gotten involved with what was happening in S GA. I have made several foot and solo kayak trips to the GA/FL border, and up into GA a bit now.

Many coming south from GA crossed into Spanish FL at Warners (Beauforts, Hornes) Ferry over the Withlacoochee, then headed south to Deadman’s Bay (Steinhatchee) to boil down salt water to make several barrels full of salt to take back to GA in wagons. This is one of the several ‘Old Salt Trails’ that later immigrant settlers used. All six of the so-far discovered trailmarker trees fall right on one of the dotted trails in this map

[1838 Motte Seminole War trail map]
Motte’s 1838 Seminole War map showing trails with dotted lines.

Warners Ferry or Horn’s Ferry was near where the current Horn Bridge is over the Withlacoochee River just upstream of State Line Boat Ramp and the GA-FL line.

I asked Ken a few questions, including: Continue reading