Tag Archives: agriculture

WWALS Accomplishments 2022-01-01

Incorporated in June 8, 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is ten years old.

Since December 2016, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® is a project and staff position at WWALS as the Member of Waterkeeper Alliance® for the Suwannee River Basin.

Here’s what we’ve been doing all that time.

[Outings and Water Quality Testing]

Follow this link for WWALS Accomplishments:
https://wwals.net/about/wwals-accomplishments/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

WWALS Thursday tests clean, but Valdosta bad Wednesday results for US 41 and GA 122, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-16

Update 2022-06-24: Bad Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-23.

All WWALS Thursday samples tested clean. But Valdosta got very bad Wednesday results for US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. Maybe that has gotten diluted by now. But I’d avoid US 41, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, and downstream on the Withlacoochee from Troupville Boat Ramp for this weekend.

Elsewhere, happy boating, swimming, and fishing, so far as we can tell.

For example, come up to Reed Bingham State Park tomorrow (Saturday) for Juneteenth, where WWALS will be getting children (and adults) into boats, some for their first time.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-16]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-16

What happened at US 41 and GA 133? Continue reading

Estrogens and PFAS from cattle manure into rivers

We already knew E. coli was washing into the Withlacoochee (and other) rivers from cattle manure; that is one of the main reasons for our WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.

We also need to worry about estrogens and the PFAS forever chemicals, not only washing off of fields with cow-applied cattle manure, but also off of fields where manure has been applied as fertilizer.

Thanks to WWALS Science Chair Tom Potter for finding these articles.

[Shallow Disk Injection and Surface Broadcast]
Shallow Disk Injection and Surface Broadcast from Mina et. al.

Various forms of artificial estrogen are known to damage fish and other wildlife, and can affect humans. Lactating dairy cows produce natural estrogen. I have asked the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to add estrogen tests to its batter of DNA markers and chemical tracers. So far no response.

Odette Mina, Heather E. Gall, Louis S. Saporito, Peter J.A. Kleinman, Journal of Environmental Quality, 1 November 2016, Estrogen Transport in Surface Runoff from Agricultural Fields Treated with Two Application Methods of Dairy Manure,

Abstract

Continue reading

Last day to oppose HB 1150 Bad Neighbor Bill in Georgia legislature 2022-04-04

Please use this handy form: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/farm.html#/334.

[Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette]
Hog CAFO manure lagoons. Photo: Kemp Burdette.

Jeff Amy, U.S. News & World Report via AP, April 1, 2022,

The Senate voted 31-23 for House Bill 1150, sending it back to the House for final approval of changes.

Today is Sine Die, the last day before the legislature adjourns until next year. So there’s no time for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 1150. The House can only vote to approve the Senate version, or not. Continue reading

Surprisingly Clean Withlacoochee River 2022-04-01

Update 2022-04-06: Location of Quitman sewage spill 2022-03-20.

Surprisingly after significant rain, all tested locations were pretty clean, including Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. So as far as we know, this weekend is good for boating, fishing, and swimming. Me, I’d prefer the Alapaha over the Withlacoochee this weekend.

Oh, last Tuesday Quitman got around to reporting a sewage spill that happened nine days later. It’s long gone now.

[Chart, river, Swim Guide]
Chart, river, Swim Guide

Tests Wednesday downstream by WWALS and upstream by Valdosta were pretty clean. Samples Thursday upstream by WWALS were pretty clean. And samples Friday at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps were also pretty clean. All were below the 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli average sample limit.

We also saw four Wednesday samples by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC), at Reedy Creek and Cow Creek on GA 129 (both enter the Alapaha River downstream from US 84 and Naylor Boat Ramp), and J. Frank Culpepper Road and GA 135 on the Alapahoochee River (which enters the Alapaha River downstream from Statenville Boat Ramp and slightly upstream of Sasser Landing @ CR 150 in Hamilton County, Florida. All those were well below 126, as well. Continue reading

OK water quality, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2022-03-17

Update 2022-03-26: Bad downstream Withlacoochee River 2022-03-24.

Surprisingly, after the recent rains, the rivers show mostly clear again. Apparently the efforts of the cattle owners in Brooks County, Georgia, to be part of the solution are working.

I would not hesitate to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River today. After checking water levels: they may still be high. And the Alapaha and Little Rivers showed even better results. All could change with more rain, but for now it’s a go, so far as we know.

Meanwhile, could people stop stealing our water trail signs? Looks like somebody even stole the signposts at Nankin.

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

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are from Monday, both upstream and downstream. Their Friday and Monday downstream results for Okapilco Creek @ US 84 confirm what our WWALS results for last Thursday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee indicated: contamination coming down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County. However, that contamination apparently was diluted by high Withlacoochee River levels, and E. coli on the river did not exceed limits for Friday or Monday.

Valdosta did get higher Fecal coliform than E. coli for Friday Continue reading

Bad Neighbor Bill, GA HB 1150, would let hog CAFOs into Georgia

Like its predecessor two years ago, this GA HB 1150 would allow only a year for anyone to sue if an industrial hog farm or other such problem opened next door. Despite not being able to name any frivolous farm nuisance suits, the bill’s backers claim preventing those is their purpose. Whatever their purpose, the practical effect of this bill would be to let North Carolina-style hog CAFOs into Georgia, polluting our air and water.

Please contact your Georgia statehouse delegation and ask them to stop HB 1150. Here is a way you can find out who that is: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

Christopher Quinn, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 2, 2022, Georgia farm legislative bill takes aim at property rights disputes,

The proposed legislation declares that any farm in operation for a year or more cannot be found by a court to be a nuisance. That added level of protection strips neighbors of their legal power to force a farm to correct a problem, such as creating overpowering odors from manure sludge ponds, opponents say.

Continue reading

Withdrawn but will return: subdivision in aquifer recharge zone near Little River, Lowndes County, GA @ LCC 2021-12-14

Update 2022-02-02: Sprawl in an aquifer recharge zone back on the Lowndes County Commission agenda 2022-02-08.

Update 2022-01-09: Cancelled: Lowndes County Commission Meetings 2022-01-10, so expect expect the contentious Miller Bridge Road subdivision that was withdrawn last time to be back with larger lot sizes at the January 24 and 25 Commission meetings.

The subdivision WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman spoke against at the November Planning Commission meeting was withdrawn before the December Lowndes County Commission meeting.

[Lowndes County Commission, Rezoning withdrawn temporarily, Aquifer recharge zone]
Lowndes County Commission, Rezoning withdrawn temporarily, Aquifer recharge zone

But the withdrawal letter said they would be back with a new plan by January 5th. The subject property near the Little River is still in an aquifer recharge zone, and far outside any appropriate Character Area in the Comprehensive Plan. Continue reading

Bad upstream, watch out below, Withlacoochee River 2021-12-23

Update 2021-12-31: Mostly good, Withlacoochee River 2021-12-30.

Not looking good. The recent rains washed E. coli into the Withlacoochee River, starting way upstream at Hagan Bridge on GA 122 on Thursday, down through US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on Wednesday. We did not see it at Cleary Bluff for Wednesday, downstream from Allen Ramp. Maybe it’s gotten diluted before it got that far. Or maybe it just hadn’t gotten that far by Wednesday.

I’d stay off the Withlacoochee River this weekend.

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

We almost never see high numbers at Hagan Bridge, but that’s what Elizabeth Brunner got for Thursday.

Valdosta results were bad for US 41 for last Friday, even before the rain, much worse there and for GA 133 for Monday after the rain, and bad for all three of US 41, GA 133, and US 84 for Wednesday. Apparently the contamination is traveling downstream.

There have been no sewage spills reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida. Most likely the E. coli came from cows or horses near the river or its creeks: there are quite a few of those even upstream of Hagan Bridge. Plus possibly wild hogs. Continue reading

Big rains and big contamination 2021-10-28

Update 2021-11-06: Good Thursday, but big Friday rains probably will cause contamination, Withlacoochee River 2021-11-04.

Our upstream tester got rained out at GA 122 Thursday, but downstream at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River WWALS got way too high E. coli. That contamination is now running downstream.

[Chart + Alapaha River; Withlacoochee River; KF plates, Clearys Bluff; Swim Guide Map]
Chart + Alapaha River; Withlacoochee River; KF plates, Clearys Bluff; Swim Guide Map

Where did it come from? Chances are the usual cattle manure runoff out of Brooks County, Georgia, down Okapilco Creek. Probably plus wild hogs.

This is unfortunately what we’ve come to expect after big rains. And every gauge we follow got more than an inch of rain Thursday.

So I do not recommend river fishing, swimming, or boating this weekend. Continue reading