Maybe this letter will help GA-EPD to upgrade our waterways from Fishing to Recreational for tighter standards on contaminants.Continue reading
Thanks again to the City of Adel for Resolution #18-02 that they passed on January 16, 2018, in support of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
Also in the big image above you see a new sign for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. More on that, later.
For now, note that the sign has the new City of Adel logo on it. That logo and the signed resolution are courtesy of City Clerk Rhonda P. Rowe.
The text of the resolution we published at the time.
Amanda M. Usher, Valdosta Daily Times, 27 June 2020, Watching over the Waters: WWALS sponsors paddles, songwriting contest,
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA, Withlacoochee River, June 15, 2019.
VALDOSTA — John Quarterman has been around the Suwannee River Basin since his childhood.
Living on land his [grand-]father purchased near rivers and swamps in 1921, he has always felt attracted to rivers and works to keep them clean.
Quarterman is the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper with WWALS Watershed Coalition. WWALS is an acronym for Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little[, Santa Fe,] and Suwannee.
The coalition was established in June 2012 to eliminate issues with rivers and creeks such as sewage spills, he said. Quarterman became the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper in 201.
WWALS Watershed Coalition serves a significant purpose of water quality testing, he said. The City of Valdosta tests waters three times a week from U.S. 41 North to the southern state line, he said.
Through the years, the group has hosted cleanups at the Troupville boat ramp and holds two or three paddles monthly.
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Rivers Alive Cleanup, Pafford’s Landing near Lakeland, GA, Alapaha River, October 12, 2019.
“We’re not just a paddling organization,” Quarterman said. “… We do paddles, but we’re also an advocacy organization. We want to do conservation of stewardship.”
Quarterman is about awareness. He strives to bring attention to the rivers’ existence and informing people they can make use of the recreational rivers by boating or fishing.
“Getting people out there on the rivers to see what it is they are trying to conserve and protect is really important because until you see it for yourself, you’re not really appreciating the beauty of these rivers,” he said.
The rest of the article is about the upcoming paddle outings at Banks Lake at 7:30 PM Sunday, July 5, and at Dowling Park River Camp; for that one please be at Dowling Park Boat Ramp a 11:30 AM, Saturday, July 18, with camping gear.
The article concludes with the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at Turner Center Art Park, 605 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA.
Come on down!
Thanks Amanda M. Usher, for Continue reading
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
June 8, 2020
Statement on Environmental Justice
Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. protect the Suwannee River Basin for the sake of every person who visits or lives here. Clean water is essential to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, beliefs, politics, or anything else. However, during the course of our work opposing the Sabal Trail methane pipeline and other advocacy, it became clear that minorities and economically disadvantaged people will disproportionately experience negative effects. We continue to work against such environmental injustice across the entire Suwannee River Basin in dozens of counties in Georgia and Florida. Valuing all the watershed’s inhabitants is entirely compatible with having added concern for those facing added danger.
The killing of George Floyd and many other recent tragedies suffered by people of color show that even if we strive to love our neighbors equally, the threats and injustices they face are not equal. As professionals and volunteers we fight for the human right of clean water. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It appears to us that the economic forces that drive unnecessary pipelines under rivers and through disadvantaged neighborhoods and that have made it so difficult to oppose pipelines and mines are the same forces that have resulted in so many recent tragedies with little justice. We have always stood for nonviolent advocacy, but we cannot condemn the few who have used other means without also pointing to the large corporations that benefit from subsidies, tax breaks, and legal advantages while so many get nothing.
We seek to listen and learn from our colleagues and neighbors. We do not pretend to be experts on racial issues. Nevertheless, we promote clean water to ensure healthy communities, and we are concerned about all members of those communities: especially the most vulnerable. We stand against racism and injustice in any form.
As one small step, we plan to offer swimming and boating lessons especially to minorities and economically disadvantaged people; please contact us about that.
Meanwhile, an election is in progress. Please look at what each candidate says about environmental issues. If a candidate will not stand up to protect rivers and swamps, you may want to look more closely at their promises about people.
For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
Comment by this Monday, April 13, 2020, if you don’t want any of these creeks, rivers, or the Okefenokee Swamp affected by this strip mine, or the Floridan Aquifer, in Georgia or in Florida.
The Twin Pines Minerals strip mine site drains west from Trail Ridge into the River Styx, into the Okefenokee Swamp, and to the St. Marys River, which becomes the border between Georgia and Florida. On the east, it drains into Boone Creek and into the St. Marys River. If it affects the Swamp, it will affect the Suwannee River, which runs through Georgia and Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.
Please go ahead and tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers why you don’t want this strip mine near the Swamp.
You can also ask for an extension of the public comment deadline, and for public hearings in Georgia and Florida. Here is the Suwannee Riverkeeper extension and hearings request for WWALS.
The Rule the Corps is following for comments says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can require any other affected state to comment. So you can ask EPA to ask Florida to comment. Here is our request for that. Here’s a simple version you can use:
[Your Name or Your Organization Name] requests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to 33 CFR § 325.2, (b), regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 to determine that the mining activities of the subject Application may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida and to notify the state of Florida, the district engineer, and the applicant that Florida ‘has 60 days from receipt of EPA’s notice to determine if the proposed discharge will affect the quality of its waters so as to violate any water quality requirement in such state, to notify EPA and the district engineer in writing of its objection to permit issuance, and to request a public hearing.’
The inset map is from Figure 66 in the TPM application. TPM didn’t label the waterways, but that’s the River Styx where it says MSW-1, and Boone Creek where it says MSW-4. Both lead to the St. Marys River, which becomes the Georgia-Florida state line. The River Styx joins the St. Marys in the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee River. Continue reading
We urge everyone else to also send the Army Corps a comment letter asking for an extension of the comment deadline and for public hearings.
For more things you can do to oppose this bad mining application, see How to Comment.
Map: TPM Mine, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River
in the WWALS map of All Public Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.
The TPM mine is marked in the right center by the highlighted crossed hammers,
due north of the line of four Chemours titanium mines in north Florida.
Below is the text of the letter WWALS just sent to the Corps as a PDF.
March 19, 2020
To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, firstname.lastname@example.org,
1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia 31707
Cc: Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, email@example.com
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division,
Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334
Re: Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554
Dear Colonel Hibner,
Regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, of Birmingham, Alabama, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to extend the public comment period and to hold public hearings, as detailed at the end of this letter.
Review of the current 219-page Application and the hundreds of pages of appendices is not practicable in Continue reading
At Nankin Thursday: 533 cfu/100 mL E. coli, well above the state limit of 200, and up from 33 on December 15, and zero on December 11 and 8 and November 23.
Florida already saw elevated bacterial counts at the state line on Tuesday, so the Withlacoochee River is apparently contaminated with Valdosta sewage all the way from Sugar Creek down to the Florida line. Yet Valdosta still hasn’t put up any warning signs on the Withlacoochee River downstream from Sugar Creek.
That December 26th reading by Suzy Hall at Nankin Boat Ramp isn’t as high as her recent numbers at Knights Ferry: 6,767 on December 24 and 4,966 on December 21st (with 100 on December 15th and zero on December 11th). Nonetheless, it looks like Valdosta’s sewage has spread downstream from Knights Ferry to Nankin.
At 533 cfu/100 ml, you probably don’t want to get that river water on you. Georgia standards indicate Continue reading
She got a quote from the Mayor:
“We have the park out there where there’s a landing and parking areas and things like that, so it could be a tourist attraction, and people stopping in here to buy supplies and getting ready for their river trips,” said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. “It could be a plus for us.”
He’s not in the WCTV video, but you may recognize the logo on this cap:
The Troupville River Camp project goes beyond what’s out there now; see this TV report: Continue reading
Announced yesterday to press across Georgia and beyond, the titanium mine near Georgia and Florida’s Okefenokee Swamp proposed by Twin Pines Minerals of Alabama made the Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen (see also PDF).
You can still file a comment with the Army Corps and GA-EPD asking them to reject the mine or at least require an Environmental Impact Statement. Convenience for miners is no excuse to risk the fishing, boating, and birding in the swamp and hunting and forestry nearby.
Closeup of TPM equipment on mine site from GA 94 westbound.
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, November 14, 2019
Worst Offenses Against
OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, ST. MARYS AND SUWANNEE RIVERS
Proposed 2,400-Acre Titanium Mine Threatens Signature Landscape of Georgia
Twenty years ago when chemical giant DuPont proposed mining titanium dioxide ore near the Okefenokee Swamp, opposition to the plan was so strong— Continue reading
Waterkeepers Florida asks the Army Corps to require Twin Pines Minerals to supply all the information missing from its application for a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), to hold Public Hearings, including in Florida, and “to answer how the Corps has or will determine that the Applicant’s proposed mine would not adversely affect the Okefenokee Swamp, the St. Marys River, the Suwannee River, the Floridan Aquifer, or the State of Florida.”
You can also still comment to the Army Corps.
TPM Equipment closeup Photo: Wayne Morgan for Suwannee Riverkeeper on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.