Jennings Bridge, Alapaha River 2022-01-05

Ken Sulak, retired from USGS, sent this update on the Alapaha River bridge site 0.8 miles downstream from Sullivan Launch, or 0.64 miles downstream from the CR 150 bridge. Plus a likely old ferry site, and maybe a previous location of Sullivan Launch.

[Jennings Bridge, Alapaha River, c. 1989]
Jennings Bridge, Alapaha River, c. 1989 –Florida Memory

This is the site of the ‘Jennings Bridge’, a steel through-truss bridge, apparently built around 1902-1903. Some online bridge websites state that this is the oldest steel/iron highway bridge in Florida. But, that is doubtful—if the construction date I have is correct. For example, the ‘Adams Bridge’ aka ‘Steel Bridge’ in White Springs was built in 1891, and the original 2-span bowstring style bridge, the ‘Lee Bridge’ over the Withlacoochee (right where the current CR-141 bridge is located) may have been built in the late 1880s. I would like to explore the riverbank and look at what remains of the bridge supports. If there are cutoff Lally columns, then the Jennings Bridge was probably indeed built around 1902-1903. But if the supports are old limerock concrete or brick, then it would have been built before 1898.

[Jennings Bridge in WWALS ARWT map]
Jennings Bridge in the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) map.

Anyway, I was just writing to note the name of the Jennings Bridge—you might want to add that to your interactive map. Hinton’s 1976 History of Hamilton County calls it by that name, as well as Florida Memory. Some folks say it collapsed in the late 1970s, one article says 1981, Florida Memory Archive has several photos of the falling-apart, but still-standing bridge dated 1989.

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Video: Turner Bridge to FL 6, Suwannee River 2021-12-16

Here’s a video of the mid-December 2021 Ken Sulak Suwannee River paddle, the part from Turner Bridge to Cypress Creek South Launch at FL 6.

FL 6 bridge, Suwannee River 2021-12-16

The images are ten seconds apart. You can see Mike Byerly’s canoe parked over one of the Lally columns of Turner Bridge in the river. You can see Ken Sulak drop a magnet to confirm that it is metal. Continue reading

Bad US 84 Wednesday, good Withlacoochee River Thursday 2022-01-13

Rains last weekend got contamination into the Withlacoochee River upstream at US 84, still showing up Wednesday in Valdosta results. But all the WWALS results for Thursday and downstream Wednesday showed acceptable low levels of E. coli.

So I’d paddle and fish in the Withlacoochee River today. Not so sure about swimming: it’s cold.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

As you can see, Valdosta got bad results at US 84 for both Monday and Wednesday. Continue reading

No Build: FDOT toll road heading north towards the Suwannee Basin 2022-01-13

Floridians, please go to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Northern Turnpike Extension web page and tell FDOT we don’t need any more toll roads. Here’s where you can say No Build:
https://floridasturnpike.com/turnpike-projects/featured-projects/northern-turnpike-extension/

Doesn’t matter that No Build isn’t listed as an option. Tell them anyway.

[Routes with No Build sign]
Routes with No Build sign

Please also ask your state legislative delegation to stop this boondogle.

This new push for an unnecessary toll road is ignoring previous county and city resolutions against it. So ask them to pass another one, or a new one if they didn’t before. Here’s a draft resulution by the No Roads to Ruin coalition (Suwannee Riverkeeper is a member of NRTR).

Dunnellon already passed a resolution on Monday, December 21, 2021. Continue reading

Supreme Court ruling on underground water could affect proposed titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp

Here’s yet another reason you can cite when you ask the Georgia Enviromental Protection Division (GA-EPD) to stop the mining proposal by Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) to strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, above the Floridan Aquifer.

David Pendered, Saporta Report, January 3, 2022 5:13 pm, Okefenokee Swamp mining proposal could be affected by Supreme Court ruling,

The proposal to mine sand near the Okefenokee Swamp could be affected by a groundbreaking ruling on water rights issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days]
Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days

For the first time, justices have determined the same laws that apply to water flowing above ground apply to water in multi-state underground aquifers.

“This court has never before held that an interstate aquifer is subject to equitable apportionment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a unanimous opinion issued Nov. 22, 2021. This doctrine “aims to produce a fair allocation of a shared water resource between two or more States,” according to the ruling.

The ruling sets a legal foundation to manage future disputes over the usage of interstate groundwater. This issue is expected to arise more frequently as drought and climate change poise to alter the United States’ traditional water supplies and challenge agreements among governments to share water.

This ruling could be brought into play at the proposed mine near the Okefenokee, in part because of the amount of water to be extracted for mining operations from the four-state Floridan Aquifer. For that to happen, a party that has standing to file a lawsuit would have to do so on behalf of one or more of the four states that are above the Floridan Aquifer — Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Two of these states have previously litigated Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. The Supreme Court ruled against Florida’s claim in April.

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Chitty Bend East Distributary, Withlacoochee River –Shirley Kokidko 2022-01-07

River scout Shirley Kokidko went to investigate Mystery: Withlacoochee River Distributary 2021-01-01 and came back with these pictures from Friday, January 7, 2022.

Remember: it’s not safe to paddle in there.

[Distributary, Swallet, Sinkhole]
Distributary, Swallet, Sinkhole

Chitty Bend East Distributary

The Withlacoochee River was 57.9′ NAVD88 (11.4′) on the Pinetta gauge. Continue reading

Pictures: Dead River Sink 2021-11-07

Thrice rescheduled because of water levels and weather, the Dead River Sink Hike drew a small but attentive crowd to listen to Practicing Geologist Dennis Price and see the Dead River Confluence, the Dead River, and the Dead River Sink, with cypress, tupelo, oaks, pines, and beautyberry along the way, on a warm November day.

[Jennings Bluff Landing, Dead River Confluence, Dead River Sink, Banners]
Jennings Bluff Landing, Dead River Confluence, Dead River Sink, Banners

Jennings Bluff Landing

[Dennis Price on the steps, 13:59:52, 30.5798772, -83.0391141]
Dennis Price on the steps, 13:59:52, 30.5798772, -83.0391141

Click on any small picture for a larger one.

Dennis explains it all.

[A small but engaged audience, 14:46:33, 30.5843159, -83.0454865]
A small but engaged audience, 14:46:33, 30.5843159, -83.0454865

Let’s hike

[Dennis Price observes the path, 14:02:36, 30.5798475, -83.0393338]
Dennis Price observes the path, 14:02:36, 30.5798475, -83.0393338

Alapaha River

[Limestone banks of the Alapaha River, 14:49:39, 30.5846132, -83.0456168]
Limestone banks of the Alapaha River, 14:49:39, 30.5846132, -83.0456168

[Look up, 14:52:50, 30.5846156, -83.0465832]
Look up, 14:52:50, 30.5846156, -83.0465832

[Dottie likes this cypress, 14:58:13, 30.5846535, -83.0475477]
Dottie likes this cypress, 14:58:13, 30.5846535, -83.0475477

Wildlife did not leave this trash.

[Arrow disapproves this trash, 15:06:51, 30.5836245, -83.0507596]
Arrow disapproves this trash, 15:06:51, 30.5836245, -83.0507596

This way to the Confluence.

[Gateposts, 15:07:12, 30.5836397, -83.0508257]
Gateposts, 15:07:12, 30.5836397, -83.0508257

Dead River Confluence

[Dead River Confluence, 15:08:01, 30.5837354, -83.0517246]
Dead River Confluence, 15:08:01, 30.5837354, -83.0517246

[Honeybun likes it, 15:12:08, 30.5836829, -83.0517880]
Honeybun likes it, 15:12:08, 30.5836829, -83.0517880

[Flowing into the woods, 15:12:49, 30.5838238, -83.0527914]
Flowing into the woods, 15:12:49, 30.5838238, -83.0527914

[Narrow path, 15:13:25, 30.5837308, -83.0528334]
Narrow path, 15:13:25, 30.5837308, -83.0528334

[Green reflections, 15:18:57, 30.5837279, -83.0538030]
Green reflections, 15:18:57, 30.5837279, -83.0538030

Dead River Sink

[Our goal in sight, 15:32:13, 30.5820386, -83.0516880]
Our goal in sight, 15:32:13, 30.5820386, -83.0516880

[Gretchen Quarterman, Dead River Sink, 15:33:34, 30.5820036, -83.0516436]
Gretchen Quarterman, Dead River Sink, 15:33:34, 30.5820036, -83.0516436

You can actually drive almost all the way there.

[Trail to road, 15:39:43, 30.5820651, -83.0507780]
Trail to road, 15:39:43, 30.5820651, -83.0507780

This is all of us.

[Banner selfie, 161318, 16:13:18, 30.5797437, -83.0393327]
Banner selfie, 161318, 16:13:18, 30.5797437, -83.0393327

There are more pictures on the WWALS website.

For more WWALS outings, see https://wwals.net/outings/. Members also get a list in the monthly membership newsletter Tannin Times.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Agenda: WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2022-01-09

The public is invited to the Quarterly Meeting of the WWALS Board, where we will be discussing the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, BIG Little River Paddle Race, Songwriting Contest, cleanups, outings, water quality testing, opposition to mines, water withdrawals, coal ash, and wood pellet plants, promotion of solar power, water trails, and Troupville River Camp, and of course finances.

[When, Where, Who]
When, Where, Who
PDF

We will be meeting online by zoom, so you don’t even have to go anywhere.

When: 8-10 AM, Sunday, January 9, 2022

Where: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89308028204?pwd=VmwyMzVTMVR6WGJxbUFUSlFXWFRWQT09
ZOOM Meeting ID: 893 0802 8204 Password: 392346
One tap mobile: +19294362866,,89308028204#,,,,,,0#,,392346#
Dial In: +1 929 436 2866 Meeting ID: 893 0802 8204 Meeting Password: 392346

Event: facebook

Agenda: Please have a copy of the Agenda so you can follow along.

WWALS advocates for the entire 10,000 square mile Suwannee River Basin, in Georgia and Florida, including the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, Little times two, New times two, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers, and all their creeks, springs, sinks, ponds, and swamps, such as Grand Bay, Banks Lake and the Okefenokee Swamp.

Much of the work of WWALS is done by committees of members, and many of them have some good results to report. If you’d like to join a committee, please fill out the application.

[WWALS Logo]

The board itself does most of its business online via email, but it’s good to have these gatherings once a quarter.

The current board members, officers, and staff are listed on the Board web page. Continue reading

Bad upstream Withlacoochee, Little Rivers, Ashburn Spill Alapaha River 2022-01-06

Update 2022-01-14: Bad US 84 Wednesday, good Withlacoochee River Thursday 2022-01-13.

Water quality is not looking good upstream on the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers. But not much sign of contamination downstream Thursday. I’d avoid those rivers upstream for a few days.

Downstream, chances are the E. coli will get diluted before it reaches the state line. But of course we can only go by the test results we have. I would paddle downstream this weekend, but you have to make your own decisions.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner got too-high results at Folsom Bridge on the Little River and Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, both on GA 122. There was much rain upstream Sunday at Sylvester and Moultrie, and probably Tifton, so what Elizabeth found may have washed down from far upstream.

Ashburn had a 40,000 gallon sewage spill Monday, which showed up today in the daily GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. The Ashburn spill went into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River. Elizabeth’s third GA 122 test site, Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, was OK. This is not unusual: Ashburn is so far upstream we’ve never detected effects of one of its spills downstream.

Valdosta got a bad result at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River for Monday. That could have been something washing downstream, or it could be the notorious suspected dumper. All three of US 41, GA 133, and US 84 tested OK for Wednesday.

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got OK results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps for Thursday.

And WWALS tester Gus Cleary got OK for Cleary Bluff, downstream of Allen Ramp, for Wednesday. Continue reading

Turner Bridge mysteries –Ken Sulak 2021-12-16

Update 2022-01-15: Video: Turner Bridge to FL 6, Suwannee River 2021-12-16.

Here is a column about Lally columns, by Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, Retired, now researching bridge and history in the Suwannee River Basin.

Some of you may have ideas, comments, speculations on the several enigmas presented by the gone—but not forgotten by me—old Turner Bridge that spanned the upper Suwannee River from ~1900-1951.

[Lally columns, 13:52:06, 30.5246480, -82.7277260]
Lally columns, left (east) bank, Suwannee River, Columbia County, Florida, 3:52:06, 30.5246480, -82.7277260. Photo: John S. Quarterman, 2021-12-16.

Important in its time, seemingly never photographed???, but long forgotten except by a few folks in their 90s-100s. If you know any such North Florida old timers that have stories to tell, memories of any of the old ferries and bridge, and maybe old bridge photos—let me know. Having been on the trail of all the historical fords, ferries, bridges and trestles over the Suwannee River & it major tributaries, 1820-1960, I am now up to 164 individually owned or operated crossings at 64 distinct sites. Many mysteries remain, lots to learn, much has already been lost as the old timers pass along. Got to get the overall story pieced together and written up and documented with photos before I go senile or end my stay on this excellent planet.

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