Tag Archives: City of Valdosta

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 29, 2024 — Join us on March 2nd for a leisurely paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, and along the site of future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

“The annual paddle event provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County, immersing themselves in the serenity of our waterways,” said Bill Slaughter, Chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and join us for a fun morning.”

“Together, we will showcase the natural beauty of our blackwater rivers and continue to work towards finding the most cost-effective solutions to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash that is littering our creeks and rivers,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “With this event, we aim to empower our community and inspire everyone to take action towards protecting our precious waterways. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, and we are excited to lead the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles. All elected officials present, from both Florida and Georgia, get in free, and will have three minutes each to speak at the put-in. You can paddle up to them and ask questions,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA.”

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04; Photo: John S. Quarterman

On a new route this year, we’ll go seven miles in four hours, with an early takeout.

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 2, 2024 to Langdale Park, drop off your boats, and drive to Troupville Boat Ramp. Shuttle from there back to Langdale Park.

One 15-seat van provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We love supporting this event and giving back to our community! This is just another event that shows how good the Mayor and the Commission Chairman are always working together to help this community,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. This will be an outside event, but we will recommend those riders taking advantage of the shuttle service to please wear a mask.

We’ll paddle three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin. There are no houses, but you may see creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, birds, and turtles. Valdosta is getting much better at keeping sewage out of the creeks and rivers.

“I’m happy to lead this paddle again,” said Phil Hubbard.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family. That floating chain and net keeps much trash out of the river. There is more for the City of Valdosta to do about trash, but that WaterGoat was the start of current progress on that problem. If you want to stop there, you can take out below Berta’s Pizza Kitchen on Gornto Road.

“The South Georgia Film Festival is proud to support this year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle,” said Jason Brown. South Georgia Film Festival Director. “As many of the available kayakers will be in attendance both at the paddle and that evening for the film screening on the campus of Valdosta State University.”

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

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Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Langdale Park to Troupville, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

Update 2024-01-29: Press release, Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Join us for a leisurely seven-mile four-hour paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River.

On a new route this year, we’ll go three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through Langdale Park past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Notice all the deadfalls (fallen dead trees) sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups.

We will see all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. After paddling a third of a mile up the Little River, we will take out at Troupville Boat Ramp.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 2, 2024

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602, off of I-75 Exit 22, North Valdosta Road.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04

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Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Valdosta Old Clyattville Road Widening 2023-10-19

Valdosta’s widening of Old Clyattville Road will affect a drainage ditch out of the SAFT America battery plant on Gil Harbin Road, which is currently hiring. The drainage ditch goes into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins Grand Bay Creek east of Valdosta to form the Alaphoochee River, which flows into the Alapaha River just across the GA-FL line, and then into the Suwannee River.

The project will require mitigation bank credits, probably from the Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank, half of which was previously denied deannexation by the Valdosta Mayor and Council. The city hired TTL to do most of the application work, and apparently also Lovell Engineering Associates to plan the actual road work.

WWALS did not file any comments with GA-EPD, because we did not find any irregularities in the actual project. We did find some interesting tidbits in the application, such as a historic cemetery, railroad, and archaeological sites.

[Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening]
Collage of Valdosta application for Vegetative Buffer Encroachment on Mud Swamp Creek for Clyattville Road Widening

Also, the USGS Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) boundary for the Upper Mud Swamp (HUC 031103021001) is incorrect. We may contact USGS about that. Continue reading

Pictures: Two Mile Branch Berkley Drive Cleanup 2023-03-25

It went well, the joint WWALS and City of Valdosta cleanup of Two Mile Branch at Berkley Drive, on March 25, 2023.

Many good things have happened since then.

However, there is still plenty the City needs to do about trash.

[Collage @ Two Mile Branch Cleanup 2023-03-25]
Collage @ Two Mile Branch Cleanup 2023-03-25

Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading, neighbor Jan Powell for rustling up some participants and helping at the table, to City Engineer Ben O’Dowd, City Council Tim Carroll, and Mayor Scott James Matheson for helping, along with quite a few other volunteers.

See also facebook photosets and videos by:

Some of the things the Engineer and Mayor promised have happened. Continue reading

Cleanup: Two Mile Branch at Berkley Drive, Valdosta, GA 2022-03-25

Update 2023-07-12: Pictures: Two Mile Branch Berkley Drive Cleanup 2023-03-25.

Update 2023-03-29: Valdosta Creek Trash Tour 2023-03-29.

Valdosta, Georgia, March 9, 2023 — Come help get trash out of the woods by Two Mile Branch, upstream and downstream from Berkley Drive, in this joint cleanup by WWALS and the City of Valdosta.

[Two Mile Branch at Berkley Drive cleanup]

Valdosta City Engineer Benjamin O’Dowd said, Continue reading

Valdosta and Florida water quality data after Valdosta record raw sewage spill 2019-12-16

Update 2019-12-17: WWALS Water Quality Testing US 84 & FL Campsites, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-16.

Here is Valdosta’s water quality testing data since the spill was discovered.

Apparently the spill was so bad it actually went upstream on Hightower Creek to St. Augustine Road, judging by the 1530 Fecal coliform cfu/100 ml reading on December 10th and 1275 on December 11th. Sugar Creek at Gornto Road was 5100 that day, and 8100 on December 11th. A reading of 1000 indicates a real problem. This was far worse.

The good news is that the levels are decreasing at those sampling stations.

The better news is that the sewage had not made it downstream even as far as US 84 (Valdosta sampling) or anywhere on the Withlacoochee or Suwannee Rivers in Florida (SRWMD sampling) as of December 15, 2019. (WWALS already got SRWMD’s data from Wednesday, December 12, 2019 last week and published it).

[Testing locations]
Testing locations

You may notice a big gap between US 84 and CR 150 (Sullivan Launch). We have already published some WWALS data for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, in which we also did not yet see the Valdosta sewage. More will follow today.

You can donate to help pay for the Petrifilms and other equipment.

Also notice that the Florida Department of Health titles this: “SITUATION REPORT – Dec 3 2019 Valdosta Sewage Spill”. So apparently Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill started Tuesday, December 3rd, not Continue reading

Sugar Creek, Gornto Road, after Valdosta record sewage spill 2019-12-12

Update 2019-12-17: Valdosta and Florida water quality data after Valdosta record raw sewage spill 2019-12-16.

Sara Jay took this video of Sugar Creek at Gornto Road, near The Salty Snapper and the YMCA, on Thursday, December 12, 2019, after Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill.

As you can hear and see in the video, Sugar Creek, which usually runs clear, is cloudy from lime and dark at the edges out of the current.

[Edge]
Edge

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City of Valdosta Water Quality Testing, Gornto Rd., US 84 2019-12-12

Update 2019-12-14: Sugar Creek, Gornto Road, after Valdosta record sewage spill 2019-12-12.

Finally, some testing data from the City of Valdosta, which indicates Sugar Creek yesterday was pretty dirty at Gornto Road, but the Withlacoochee River was not yet dirty at US 84, after Valdosta’s worst-ever sewage spill.

Thanks to Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber for sending this data after I visited him in his office this afternoon. He also explained why we found no E. coli Wednesday at Knights Ferry, Nankin, or State Line: the sewage is moving very slowly due to low creek and river levels.

[Signs, 13:43:03, 30.859734, -83.317029]
Valdosta Caution Sewage Spill and bridge Signs, 13:43:03, 30.8597340, -83.3170290

Received 6:44 PM, December 13, 2019:

Good Evening Mr. Quarterman,

Please see below the test results that were received today from the sampling Thursday afternoon. Continue reading

Valdosta rainbarrels to reduce runoff

Gretchen got a rainbarrel from the City of Valdosta, I got some concrete blocks, we set the barrel on the blocks and connected it to a PVC pipe from a raingutter. In about 20 minutes of rain, the 50-gallon rainbarrel was full. We don’t even live in Valdosta, but rainbarrels are also about preventing sewage spills; read on.

City of Valdosta Stormwater Division, Raining
Photograph: John S. Quarterman at Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia.

Within an hour we had a hose hooked up and we used some of the water in transplanting trees.

Video, more pictures, and more links to materials from the city of Valdosta and the state of Georgia on a separate LAKE blog post.

Part of Valdosta’s incentive for this Stormwater Education Outreach can be inferred from Continue reading

WWALS clean sweep at site of old Troupville, GA 2018-04-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, April 23, 2018 — Fifty children and adults helped WWALS clean up the site of old Troupville Saturday, with permission and thanks from the landowner where that former Lowndes County seat goes down to the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta.

Cleanup leader WWALS member Bobby McKenzie said:

We met at the signs for safety/execution briefing. I was able to talk about the signs and water trail to 50 folks and when I asked who knew about the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers and being able to kayak them, only 2 folks were aware. Now 50 more folks are aware…and half were kids…but some of the best kind of kids…Boy and Girl Scouts!

Scouts and all, Sign
Photo: Bobby McKenzie for WWALS 2018-04-21, at Troupville Boat Ramp, by the WWALS signs for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) that Phil Hubbard planted 2018-04-20.

Landowner Helen Tapp, whose family LLC gave permission for this cleanup, added:

What a fabulous turn-out of Earth Day workers! Thank you so much for Continue reading