Category Archives: USACE

Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

County opposition to the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp has crossed the GA-FL line.

The Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Florida, on February 20, 2024, passed this resolution. A signed copy is forthcoming.

[Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20]
Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

That makes four counties on the Suwannee River downstream of the Okefenokee Swamp: Ware, Clinch, Echols, and Hamilton.

Plus many other counties and cities.
https://wwals.net/2021/12/10/resolutions-for-okefenokee-swamp-against-strip-mine-suwannee-riverkeeper-sgrc-2021-12-09/

Resolution 2024-

A Resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp and Environmental Conservation
by the Board of County Commissioners, Hamilton County, Florida

WHEREAS, Continue reading

Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26

I watched it so you don’t have to, Monday’s meeting of the Georgia Natural Resources & Environment Environmental Quality Subcommittee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnl5fJP5ptM&t=1425s

The subcommittee is meeting again at 1PM today, February 28, 2024, with HB 1397 as the only thing on the agenda, and Rep. John Corbett again chairing.
https://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/Agendas/Natural%20Resources/January%2024,%202011%2027.pdf

See also the input I sent the legislators yesterday, Navigable stream additions to GA HB 1397 2024-02-27.

This is not a transcript. Except where I use quotation marks, it is a paraphrase of what I found to be the important points of the Monday subcommittee meeting.

[Rep. James Burchett, Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26]
Rep. James Burchett, Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Burchett (District 176, Waycross) said he was concerned about people boating on oxbows and creeks onto private property, so the bill definitely did not include tributaries as navigable. He worries that currently the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) is in a difficult position of having to decide matters of law.

Burchett said that he constructed the list Continue reading

Berrien County, GA, Okefenokee resolution against the proposed strip mine

Thanks to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and opposing the strip mine for titanium dioxide proposed by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC.

Please contact your Georgia statehouse members and ask them to protect the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

Ask your Georgia state Senator to sponsor a bill in the Senate:
https://wwals.net/about/elected-officials/georgia-senate/

Floridians, please ask your Georgia friends and relatives to do this.

[Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06]
Berrien County Resolution No: 24-002 2024-02-06

See also the other resolutions so far.

More about this issue:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

The Berrien County Resolution

See also PDF. Continue reading

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

Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01

Here is the Final Report with Recommendations after four public input meetings and a decision meeting of the Georgia House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources.

[Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash]
Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash

Basically, they want to preserve both fishing rights (and private property rights) while preserving boating right of passage. The Study Committee found right of passage tied to navigability, so its key recommendations are to determine and delineate which parts of which rivers and streams are navigable.

If you know Committee Chair Rep. James Burchett or any of the committee members, please contact them asking for maximum navigability while preserving private property rights. Or contact your Georgia state house member.
http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ Continue reading

Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Valdosta Old Clyattville Road Widening 2023-10-19

Valdosta’s widening of Old Clyattville Road will affect a drainage ditch out of the SAFT America battery plant on Gil Harbin Road, which is currently hiring. The drainage ditch goes into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins Grand Bay Creek east of Valdosta to form the Alaphoochee River, which flows into the Alapaha River just across the GA-FL line, and then into the Suwannee River.

The project will require mitigation bank credits, probably from the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank, half of which was previously denied deannexation by the Valdosta Mayor and Council. The city hired TTL to do most of the application work, and apparently also Lovell Engineering Associates to plan the actual road work.

WWALS did not file any comments with GA-EPD, because we did not find any irregularities in the actual project. We did find some interesting tidbits in the application, such as a historic cemetery, railroad, and archaeological sites.

[Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening]
Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening

Also, the USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) boundary for the Upper Mud Swamp (HUC 031103021001) is incorrect. We may contact USGS about that. Continue reading

Fishing, boating passage, and navigability in Georgia waters 2023-10-12

Update 2023-12-31: Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01.

What waterways are navigable? How does navigability apply to fishing rights and private ownership of waterways? What about right of passage? How does the Georgia state constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish apply? And what about GA-DNR boat ramps?

[Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps]
Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps

This controversy started with a lawsuit about the Flint River, but it has already spread to other rivers and creeks, and sooner or later will affect the Suwannee River Basin.

The Chair of the Georgia House Study Committee on the subject is Rep. James Burchett, District 176, which includes southwest Coffee, Atkinson, Lanier, and northeast Lowndes Counties, all in the Suwannee River Basin. Plus he is the County Attorney for Brooks County.

If you know him, maybe you’d like to talk to him about the importance of river passage and public fishing rights. As he is reported to have said, “The intention is to find clarity. The property owners and fishermen all want to know, where can we fish and where can we not?”

Continue reading

Videos: Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council in Valdosta 2023-09-27

Yesterday I presented slides about the draft VSU & WWALS GA-EPD Seed Grant application to the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council at their meeting in Valdosta. The slides for that presentation are on the WWALS website.

[Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023]
Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023

The longest item in the agenda was about the Lake Beatrice project. For more about that, see Videos: Lake Beatrice, Alapaha River, GA-EPD Seed Grants @ SSRWPC 2023-03-14.

Also, Cliff Lewis of GA-EPD talked about gradual relaxation of the moratorium on water withdrawals in the Flint River Basin and its effect on mussels.

Here is the agenda: Continue reading

Agenda: Tifton, GA, meeting, Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2023-05-24

Update 2023-05-16: Rivers and mining: WWALS comments on Suwannee-Satilla Draft Regional Water Plan 2023-05-15.

We have an agenda for the May 24, 2023, meeting of the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Commission (SSRWPC) in Tifton, Georgia.

Note the SRWMD presentation about Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs), as in the ongoing SRWMD peer review of the Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFLs.

SSRWPC will also be discussing their Lake Beatrice water storage and Alapaha River replenishment scheme, which has assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Don’t wait until the SSRWPC meeting to get your comments in on their Georgia Regional Water Plan by May 15, 2023.

[The attendees: Sheri Almer and Cliff Lewis of GA-EPD, Emory Gawlik and Shayne Wood of GDM Smith, Council Mac McCall, Chair Scott Downing, Foreground Bert Early of Georgia Forestry, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Emily Ducker and Sean King of SRWMD --John S. Quarterman Suwannee Riverkeeper]
SSRWPC meeting 2023-03-14.

Received this morning in response to a WWALS request, Cliff Lewis wrote:

Agenda for the upcoming meeting is below. See you then. Continue reading

No phosphate mine waste into recreational lakes, and more transparency –WWALS to Hamilton County BOCC 2023-04-17

You can send your own comments to the addresses in the WWALS letter. If you prefer to telephone, see https://hamiltoncountyfl.com/board-of-county-commissioners/.

The Public Hearing is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at 6 PM, at 207 NE First Street Jasper, Florida 32052.

WWALS letter to Hamilton BOCC 2023-04-17

See also PDF.

[Letter and mine]
Letter and mine

Continue reading