Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14

Update 2020-11-20: Good since Thursday, Withlacoochee River Water Quality 2020-11-17

Whatever that was Wednesday at GA 133 and US 84, it did not reappear on Valdosta’s Friday results at the same locations, nor in the WWALS results upstream and down for Saturday on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers.

[Maps, Chart]
Maps, Chart

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for publishing the updated Valdosta upstream Friday results on a Saturday afternoon. She says the City of Valdosta has not had any spills. And according to Valdosta Assistant City Manager Richard Hardy, the city goverment is well aware of the problem and is working on ways to find the culprits. I have left a message with Lowndes County Utilities. I am also talking to law enforcement. A letter will go to GA-EPD today.

[Better now]
Better now
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/

Thanks to WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach for testing at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. Thanks to WWALS testers Angela and Josh Duncan for testing at US 41 and Troupville Boat Ramp. The point of that last one, on the Little River, is as a control: since Troupville Boat Ramp is about 2,000 feet upstream of the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, it should be clean.

And it was. But so were all the other test locations. So whatever it was either moved so fast downstream it was below FL 6 when Madison Health tested Thursday, or it was small although toxic, and got diluted pretty quickly.

The chronic problem test station at the GA 133 Withlacoochee River bridge is highlighted Continue reading

Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Update 2020-11-16: Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14.

We’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Valdosta got 137,600 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Wednesday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. That’s 137 times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000.

That’s far higher than the highest E. coli reading we’ve ever seen for the Withlacoochee River, which was the 39,000 Valdosta got on December 10, 2019, just after its infamous record spill. Which at least makes it unlikely that this contamination is coming from Valdosta.

Even the 85,600 Valdosta got for US 84 Wednesday is higher than that previous record at GA 133, and far above unprecedented for US 84. The previous US 84 record was 1,505 on April 1, after a big rain.

GA 133 is the same place Valdosta keeps finding very high E. coli and Fecal coliform, including 11,600 E. coli Friday a week ago. There has not been any rain. Which makes it very unlikely that this is runoff from farm animals.

[Horrendous upstream, clean downstream]
Horrendous upstream, clean downstream
Photos: Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Yet Valdosta’s Wednesday downstream water quality results were all good, as were those by WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday.

According to the latest water quality results downstream of US 84, things look great for the Withlacoochee River this weekend. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t get in that water without more sampling.

I wish I could tell you what caused this, but so far I can only say a few things it’s not, and then speculate. 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

Troupville to Spook Bridge, Mayor’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, November 12, 2020 — Join the Mayor of Valdosta and a hundred of his closest friends for a leisurely paddle on the Withlacoochee River. Mayor Scott James says, “Over a year removed from a terrible spill into our area waterways, and right at a year of massive improvements to our infrastructure since our last ‘Mayors Paddle,’ I am again looking forward to fellowship on the river February 6.”

All elected officials present will have three minutes to speak. And you can paddle up to them and ask questions.

WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. said, “This stretch of river extends from the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin past some suburbs and many rural woods. It is important for all the upstream city and county wastewater treatment plants to keep a grip on their sewage, because many people depend on the Withlacoochee River for swimming, fishing, and boating, plus water wells nearby may be affected by anything that goes into the river. It’s a joy that publicly elected officials are involved in this activity, and that the Mayor is helping organize it.”

It was fun last year, so let’s do it again! There is plenty of room to stay six feet apart, at Troupville Boat Ramp, the lunch stop, and at Spook Bridge, and of course on the water. We are still working out how the shuttle will work.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Thanks again to The Langdale Company for riverside access at the mid-way lunch stop, and at the Spook Bridge takeout.”

[Pictures from last year]
Pictures from last year, 2020-01-18.

Attractions include Valdosta’s famous Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Outfall, which has not spilled since December 2019. Yes, we know some people in the Valdosta city government consider that not a spill, since the raw sewage never actually got into the WWTP. We hope Valdosta’s new catch basin prevents that. Most of the route is downstream from GA 133, where Valdosta has frequently gotten high E. coli results from nobody yet knows what source. The entire route is upstream of Okapilco Creek, which sometimes carries cattle manure runoff after big rains. We will once again test the water quality from the river.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 6, 2021

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge, west from Valdosta on US 84, left onto Ousley Road, right onto Old Quitman Highway, stop at the gate.
Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

Bring: 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.

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/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left)]
Troupville Boat Ramp (upper right) to Spook Bridge (lower left) in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

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

Letter: WWALS to FDEP and SRWMD: acquisitions, invitations, withdrawals, water quality testing 2020-11-10

Sent yesterday afternoon after the morning SRWMD board meeting.


November 10, 2020

To: Noah Valenstein
Secretary, FDEP
Noah.Valenstein@floridadep.gov

Hugh Thomas
Executive Director, SRWMD
Hugh.Thomas@srwmd.org

Sen. Keith Perry
Perry.Keith@flsenate.gov

Cc: Scott R. Koons
E.D., Rivers Task Force
koons@ncfrpc.org

Re: land acquisitions, event invitations, water withdrawals, and water quality testing

Dear Secretary Valenstein, Director Thomas, and Sen. Perry,

This morning I spoke via gotowebinar in the SRWMD Board Meeting. This letter expands on what I said.

[WWALS letter to FDEP and SRWMD]
WWALS letter to FDEP and SRWMD
PDF

I offered compliments, a suggestion, and a recommendation on the FDEP press release of yesterday: 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

Horrid quality at GA 133 Friday, but good downstream and Saturday 2020-11-07

2020-11-13: Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Something bad got in the Withlacoochee River between US 41 and GA 133 on Friday: very bad, eleven times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit for E. coli. But downstream water quality results by Valdosta Friday at US 84 and by WWALS down to the State Line show nothing unusual. Whatever it was maybe hadn’t gotten that far. Valdosta downstream results for Monday (today) and FDOH results for Tuesday may be interesting.

Once again, nothing at US 41 or GA 133 can be due to last Tuesday’s Tifton spill, because Tifton is on the Little River, and those places are on the Withlacoochee River upstream of the Little River Confluence.

So what caused those very bad GA 133 Valdosta results? It’s hard to avoid thinking somebody dumped into the river. When this phenomenon just started, rumor had it that GA-EPD had found the culprit, which was a private company. If so, there must be more than one, or whoever it was is back at it.

[Many locations]
Many locations

We also have Friday WWALS datapoints for Naylor Beach on the Alapaha River and for Royal Spring on the Suwannee River, both good. Continue reading

New Year Ichetucknee to Santa Fe River Paddle 2021-01-02

First paddle of 2021, from Ichetucknee to Santa Fe Rivers.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, due to the virus pandemic, but the North Entrance will be open. So see you there, but keep your distance. Then WWALS will paddle downstream. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: 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: Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay at the event or online.
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Start]
Start, 2020-01-20.

Continue reading

Accepted: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-05

Update 2020-11-24: Extended two weeks: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-23.

More than three weeks after we sent it, FERC acknowledged that the WWALS FOIA about the Miami LNG facility was “accepted” two weeks earlier, more than a week after we sent it.

We shall see whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has learned that Miami is not Puerto Rico. And whether FERC will follow the precedent it sent about Puerto Rico and send New Fortress Energy (NFE) a SHOW CAUSE Order for why NFE did not send a “Petition for Declaratory Orders” about the NFE Miami LNG facility. FERC has the power to shut down an LNG facility after the fact, for not following the law.

Meanwhile, FERC did not just refuse the FOIA request on its flimsy grounds of “non-jurisdiction.” See the WWALS FOIA request for more about that.

[FERC 404]
FERC 404
What you get if you follow the FOIA Public Liaison’s link to FERC’s FOIA request submission page.

Here is the “accepted” email: Continue reading