Tag Archives: basin

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

Three Clean Rivers 2024-01-17

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

Update 2024-01-24: More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10.

Update 2024-01-20: Plus clean Alapaha River, for four clean rivers.

We got good results for Wednesday for three rivers: Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

After the light drizzle today, no rain is predicted for the weekend.

So if you like cold weather and high water, happy fishing, paddling, and maybe even swimming this weekend.

Due to high water levels, we have rescheduled this Sunday’s chainsaw cleanup to be a week later. See Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

So the next WWALS paddle is the Banks Lake Full Wolf Moon Paddle, 2024-01-25.

[Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17]
Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17

Sewage Spills

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida since the last week.

Ashburn, Georgia, had yet another sewage spill into Ashburn Branch from its MLK Lift Station. It showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Thursday, January 18, 2024, as happening that same day. This spill 1,500 gallons for Spill Primary Cause “Other”. Ashburn Branch joins the Little River upstream of the Coverdale Highway Bridge, and far upstream of Reed Bingham State Park.

Valdosta’s 100,000 gallon sewage spill into Three Mile Branch to the Withlacoochee River showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Wednesday, January 16, 2024. It shows the spill location as “213 Knob Dr/1020 Williamsburg Dr.”

I talked to Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes about this spill Wednesday in Atlanta. He says the sewage came up out of a manhole at 213 Knob Hill Drive, which he considers the “backside of Williamsburg Drive.” Also, it turns out it was not a collapsed sewer line. Utilities found rocks and some sort of lid in the pipe. They don’t know how that stuff got in there. I’m beginning to wonder whether it was vandalism. Continue reading

WWALS River Revue, September 7, 2024

Hahira, Georgia, January 9, 2024 — Save the date for the second annual WWALS River Revue. This indoor sit-down fundraising dinner will be held 5-9 PM, Saturday, September 7, 2024, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia. Tickets are $100 a person. It will include the 7th Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, with 2023’s First Prize winner Jane Fallon as 2024 Headliner. Chuck Roberts returns as Master of Ceremonies.

Follow this link for sponsorship opportunities and more:
https://wwals.net/pictures/songwriting2024/

[IG: WWALS River Revue, September 7, 2024, and Jane Fallon winning First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2023, as M.C. Chuck Roberts looks on]
WWALS River Revue, September 7, 2024, and Jane Fallon winning First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2023, as M.C. Chuck Roberts looks on
Jane Fallon Returns as Headliner for WWALS River Revue 2024 and Chuck Roberts Returns as M.C.

WWALS President Sara Jay Jones said, “Get your song ready about the Suwannee or another river, creek, spring, sink, swamp, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin. We will open song submissions in the Spring.”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Your ticket or sponsorship helps support everything WWALS does, from water quality tests, paddle outings and swimming & boating lessons, to chainsaw cleanups, and beyond to advocacy to stop trash at its sources, strip mines, and pipelines. We work for water trails, solar power, and Right to Clean Water, with growing engagement for youth and marginalized communities.”

Organizing Committee member Arinda Kennedy said, “Maybe you’d like to join the organizing committee!”

About WWALS: Since June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity working for a healthy watershed with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable water.

Mission: WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the surface waters and groundwater of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary, in south Georgia and north Florida, among them the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds, through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.

Our Watershed: The 10,000-square-mile WWALS territory includes the Suwannee River from the Okefenokee Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico, plus the Suwannee River Estuary, and tributaries such as the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers as far north as Cordele in Georgia, as well as parts of the Floridan Aquifer— the primary water source for drinking, agriculture, and industry for millions of Georgia and Florida residents.

Suwannee Riverkeeper: Since December 2016, WWALS is the WATERKEEPER® Alliance Member for the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary as Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®, which is a project and a staff position of WWALS focusing on our advocacy.

Contact: John S. Quarterman
Suwannee Riverkeeper
song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org
850-290-2350

===

Dark adaptation and bright lights 2023-12-15

If you go somewhere truly dark, like the Okefenokee Swamp, or even Banks Lake after dark, you, or at least other people, are trying to get dark adapted, so they can see the stars, planets, meteors, etc. That takes many minutes, and can be destroyed in seconds.

Most people these days live in cities with lights on all the time, even at night, so they are not used to dark adaptation. Here’s how it works.

It takes 7-8 minutes for the rods that enable dark vision to become sensitive enough for dark adaptation to become obvious.

It takes another 13-22 minutes (20-30 total minutes) for the rods to reach maximum sensitivity.

During all that dark-adaptation time, bright light can reverse the process rapidly.

“So if you’re trying to get dark-adapted, it’s crucial to avoid light—it can undo hours of dark adaptation in seconds. All the rhodopsin you have built up over the previous 30+ minutes disappears, and it will take time for your retina to replenish it.”*

[Light and dark adaptation chinnu (slide 13)]
Light and dark adaptation chinnu (slide 13) –Bidhuna Raj

So if you’ve come on a dark outing, please do not shine bright white lights.

Especially, do not shine such lights in people’s eyes: you will destroy their night vision, and it can take half an hour for it to recover.

If you are sitting around a campfire and need more wood, the firelight should be enough to see.

If people are in the woods looking at the stars, do not walk up on them with a bright light. That’s like running up on kayaks or canoes in a power boat. Sure, the wake will subside, but everybody knows not to do that. Getting back night vision takes even longer.

If you must use a light on such an outing, please use a dim red light, which has the least effect on night vision. Continue reading

Transitioning to 2026 for Right to Clean Water in Florida

Yesterday, December 5, 2023, the Florida campaign for Right to Clean Water announced a temporary setback won’t stop RTCW:

Apparently, the many obstacles put into place against grassroots citizen initiatives have proven successful for the Florida Legislature this time. Despite over 100 active volunteers working toward this common need, we fell short of the number of signed petitions we needed to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

What we WERE able to achieve, by all accounts and professional assessments, is pretty amazing:

Over 100,000 petitions signed, statewide awareness, cross-partisan support, tourism and business support, support from fishing and faith communities, etc.

All thanks to you and your help in spreading the word and sharing the call to action. We are grateful. Especially for all our ambassadors and supporting organizations who have spent so many hours out there, in the Florida heat, not just collecting signatures, but SPREADING THE WORD that there’s finally a solution to our state’s systemic problems in water protection.

[RTCW FL 2026]
RTCW FL 2026

Press Release Campaign update:

We have temporarily halted actively collecting petitions and are in the process of ensuring every single signed form is properly processed to the correct county Supervisor of Elections for final validation, by December 31st.

During this time, Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper on The Spotlight Show, Talk 92.1 FM, 2023-12-07

Join us on The Spotlight Show on https://talk921.com at 6 PM, Thursday, December 7, 2023.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and “Diamond” Jim Halter will talk about upcoming outings such as this weekend’s campout at Griffis Fish Camp where naturalist C.B. Adams will tell us old-timey stories before we paddle the next day from the Okefenokee Swamp down the Suwannee River.

[Spotlight Show on Talk 92.1 FM, C.B. Adams at Griffis Fish Camp on the Suwannee River]
Spotlight Show on Talk 92.1 FM, C.B. Adams at Griffis Fish Camp on the Suwannee River

Also this December we’re having a chainsaw cleanup on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia.

To begin the New Year, swim with us on Iche Nippy Dip Day on the Ichetucknee River in Florida, and then paddle down the river.

In September, join us for the second annual WWALS River Revue sit-down fundraising dinner with new songs in the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 5-8 PM, Saturday, September 7, 2024, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia. Continue reading

LNG by Rail suspended by PHMSA and FRA 2023-08-31

Update 2023-11-18: Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad –Cecile Scofield in TCPalm 2023-11-12.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has suspended authorization without a special permit of “liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation in rail tank cars pursuant to a final rule published on July 24, 2020, pending the earlier of either completion of a companion rulemaking evaluating potential modifications to requirements governing rail tank car transportation of LNG, or June 30, 2025.”

WWALS has opposed such authorization since before PHMSA approved it, on numerous grounds, including safety (potential leaks or explosions, lack of city, county, or state LNG risk management plans, lack of safety studies), rail running through densely populated areas, promotion of fracking, environmental concerns (LNG is 80 times more harmful than CO2 in the near term as a greenhouse gas), and shortsightedness: solar, wind, and batteries are exponentially taking over from LNG.

We do not yet know how this suspension will affect LNG by rail in Florida; more on that later.

[Florida, PA, and NJ LNG by rail maps]
Florida, PA, and NJ LNG by rail maps

It is also not clear how this decision will affect New Fortress Energy’s other LNG by rail project from Wyalusing, PA, to an export terminal in Gibbstown, NJ, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

Still, we agree with NRDC that “This is a huge victory for the planet and for communities living in the potential blast zones of these rail lines.”

See also Continue reading

Valdosta Standard Operating Procedures as conditions on Consent Order EPD-WP-9424 2023-11-13

Update 2023-11-14: Scotti and Sara Jay discovered One Mile Branch fish kill, leading to GA-EPD Consent Order 2023-09-22.

Valdosta has sent GA-EPD a check for the $56,139.30 fine and the information required by the other four conditions of the September 15, 2023, Consent Order on Valdosta for the One Mile Branch fish kill and various sewage spills.

Maybe these Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will help further reduce Valdosta sewage into creeks and the Alapaha, Alapahoochee, and Withlacoochee Rivers.

[SOPs]
SOPs

Here is the City of Valdosta’s summary of its responses to the conditions in the Consent Order. I haved added links to the referenced documents. Continue reading

Eddyline kayak raffle tickets for each $100 in WWALS Day of Giving this month 2023-11-10

Each $100 donated to the WWALS Day of Giving 2023 gets a kayak raffle ticket:
https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwals-Gagives2023

[Eddyline kayak in Hahira Honeybee Parade, and WWALS Day of Giving this month]
Eddyline kayak in Hahira Honeybee Parade, and WWALS Day of Giving this month

That’s until all 30 tickets are taken for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak with paddle, PFD, lock, and straps.

It’s slightly used. New, it retails for $1,749.00.

So donate to WWALS in #GAGIVES!

This is in addition to the other kayak raffle of a Vibe Sea Ghost 130, for which tickets are $10 and the drawing will be November 27, 2023.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

WWALS Day of Giving 2023 #GAGIVES

Update 2923-11-10: Eddyline kayak raffle tickets for each $100 in WWALS Day of Giving this month 2023-11-10.

You can donate anytime this month to help support the mission of WWALS in this #GAGives day of giving fundraiser:
https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwals-Gagives2023

[FB: WWALS #GAGives 2023]
FB: WWALS #GAGives 2023

WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the surface waters and groundwater of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary, in south Georgia and north Florida, among them the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds, through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.

WWALS Vision: A healthy watershed with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable water.

Your donation will help WWALS encourage citizens to become more active in watershed conservation, benefiting our local economy, ecology, and community, including boating, fishing, and hunting. If you like, you can also donate more in time to help us all with boatable, fishable, swimmable rivers and clean drinking water.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/