Category Archives: Weather

Good Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, bad Alapaha River 2021-10-14

Something we’ve never seen: the only too-high result is on the Alapaha River for Thursday. We’ve never seen a reading at Lakeland Boat Ramp that high.

The Little and Withlacoochee Rivers tested good for Thursday, which is what we expected since there has been no rain for days.

So in the reverse of what we often say, avoid the Alapaha River and swim, fish, and paddle on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend, according to the best data we have.

Still looking good for the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up in one week at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

You can also see in the charts that Valdosta’s upstream results for last Friday showed extremely high Fecal coliform for US 41 (upstream from Valdosta), GA 133, and US 84, and way-too-high E. coli for GA 133. That somewhat helps explain why our plates for that Thursday (October 7th) for Knights Ferry Boat Ramp showed high background Fecal coliform colonies.

No, we don’t know what it is. There have been no sewage spills reported this past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia. Most likely it is some sort of manure runoff, this time coming from far upstream on the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Clean rivers again 2021-10-07

2021-10-15: Good Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, bad Alapaha River 2021-10-14.

Another clean week on the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers, according to all the water quality test results we have. So happy swimming, boating, and fishing!

There was some rain today, which could wash some contamination into the rivers. But it wasn’t nearly as much rain as before previous contamination events.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide

And the water levels are coming down to where they should be just right for WWALS Boomerang paddle race, coming up in two weeks at State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Sugar Creek Valdosta Stormwater bug-bitten cleanup 2021-09-30

Bobby McKenzie noticed somebody had been there, so I wrote to Valdosta Stormwater Director Angela Bray, “Thanks for another Sugar Creek logjam cleanup; Are we guessing correctly that it was you and Valdosta Stormwater?”

She answered:

You guessed right!

I only took a picture of the trash we picked up. We forgot mosquito spray so we had to get in and out as quick as possible! 🙂

The creek is definitely dropping but makes it super slippery.

[Bags of trash in boat]
Bags of trash in boat

Thanks to Valdosta Stormwater for cleaning up the Sugar Creek trashjam twice in one month! It’s good to see they’re having the full experience, like we have for more than a year now, cleaning up this repeating logjam of trash. For much more about the problem, its upstream sources, and how it can be fixed, see the post about their previous cleanup.

You are all invited to come help clean up Sugar Creek on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at this same location behind the Salty Snapper on Gornto Road, just upstream from the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

All Clean, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-09-30

Update 2021-10-08: Clean rivers again 2021-10-07.

All clear for swimming, boating, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River, and also the Little and Alapaha Rivers, by all the water quality results we have available.

Of course, conditions could change, but no rain is predicted until Monday. So there’s nothing to wash any cattle manure down Okapilco Creek, or any trash down Sugar Creek (more on that in a later post). And no sewage spills have been reported.

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

Valdosta results up through Wednesday concur with WWALS Wednesday and Thursday results: all well below the 410 one-time E. coli test result limit. Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Corn Moon 2021-09-20

Rain around Valdosta scared away many potential paddlers for the Full Corn Moon, but eleven came to Banks Lake Boat Ramp, where there was no rain. They saw a magenta sunset, a cloudy moonrise, and bats.

[banners, sunset, moonrise, bats]
banners, sunset, moonrise, bats

Thanks to expedition leader Bobby McKenzie for organizing. Thanks to Helen Crowley for pictures on the water (I was on dog duty).

There are more pictures on the WWALS website:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2021-09-20–banks-lake-full-moon-pictures

See also pictures on facebook by Helen Crowley and probably many others.

Thanks to the Lakeland-Lanier Chamber of Commerce for Continue reading

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22

Update 2021-10-01: All Clean, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-09-30.

All WWALS test results for Wednesday were clean in Georgia and Florida, but Valdosta got bad results at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

Yet there has been no significant rain since Tuesday, so in the opposite of last time, I’m going to say that E. coli has probably washed downstream and gotten diluted by now.

Make your own decisions, but I would boat on the Withlacoochee River this weekend. And the Alapaha River yet again seems clean. The Little River, probably, according to the one site we tested.

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

Valdosta results for last Friday corroborate what I said last time: because of the heavy rains, it would not be a good idea to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River last weekend.

Valdosta even got too high results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Monday, after heavy rains Sunday in Brooks County, presumably because of the usual cattle manure runoff down Okapilco Creek. Continue reading

Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs –SRWMD 2021-09-23

Like me, you may be wondering what is going on at Suwannee Springs since I first reported on the debris there after the July 2020 flooding. In January 2021, the answer was SRWMD would finishing removing the debris “in a few weeks, not months.”

Unfortunately, then there was repeated flooding, and in between floods the COVID-19 pandemic interfered.

So yesterday I asked again, and today Edwin McCook took this picture:

[Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs on 9/23/2021. Suwannee; Springs gauge 53.86'. Photo: Edwin McCook, SRWMD]
Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs on 9/23/2021. Suwannee; Springs gauge 53.86′. Photo: Edwin McCook, SRWMD

As you can see, the river water is close to the top of the spring wall.

Edwin says once the water recedes, the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) will continue planning to remove the debris. They had already reviewed options back in January, so they have a leg up on that planning.

More when I know more.

Meanwhile, the Suwannee Springs USGS gauge reads 53.86′.

That’s well below flood stage, which is 60′. However, you can see by the picture that working inside the spring wall would be difficult with the water that high. Continue reading

Valdosta Stormwater cleanup at Sugar Creek 2021-09-17

Update 2021-10-05: They did it again at the end of September!

Great relief was felt by the WWALS Sugar Creek cleanup crew, because Valdosta Stormwater has taken a hand at the Sugar Creek trashjam!

[Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray]
Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray

You are all invited to come help clean up Sugar Creek on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at this same location behind the Salty Snapper on Gornto Road.

Meanwhile, thanks to Valdosta Stormwater for not just cleaning up, but starting some repeated steps to find out when this trashjam forms and where it’s coming from.

This is the same trashjam that was pictured in Valdosta’s 2010 Stormwater Master Plan, as discussed with Mayor Scott James on his radio show, August 12, 2021.

Finally, on Friday, September 16, 2021, Valdosta Stormwater Division got hands-on and cleaned up themselves! Continue reading

Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16

Update 2021-09-24: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22.

All the water quality samples WWALS collected Wednesday and Thursday tested good for all three rivers: Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha.

However, later Thursday hard rains fell. As hard as those last Thursday that washed E. coli into the rivers. So there’s a good chance the same thing has already happened, with contamination from livestock manure washing into the rivers.

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

So according to the results we have, I have to say all clear for boating, swimming, and fishing.

But according to experience, I’m not going on the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend.

FYI, no sewage spills have been reported. The contamination sources are most likely agricultural.

The Alapaha River is probably still good. And we have a paddle coming up Monday evening on Banks Lake, which is not downstream from anything, so it should be clean as usual. https://wwals.net/?p=56630 Continue reading

Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09

Update 2021-09-17: Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16.

Like last week, but worse: the Alapaha River would be a better choice for boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend than either the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers.

[Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide

Yes, Madison Health today lifted its Health Advisory for the Withlacoochee, because they got good results for Tuesday and Thursday. But WWALS has more recent upstream data, and it’s not pretty. Continue reading