Stew, Sam, and Dave from south Florida brought fast kayaks to the most upstream put-in on the Withlacoochee River. It was a tad twistier and deadfalled than they expected, but after making only seven miles the first day, they sped up all the way to the Suwannee River.Continue reading
Update 2020-11-27: All green with Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-26.
Something bad was in the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Thursday, which is a big change since our post earlier today. And there is yet another possible source.
WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 933 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry, which is well above the 410 one-time limit.
Yet downstream they got 0 and 33 at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, which is very good. And Monday and Wednesday Valdosta got good results at US 41, GA 133, and US 84.
So what caused that bad KF result?
It could be Continue reading
Update 2020-11-20: Bad at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-19.
Water quality is still looking good in the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers after the big mess last Wednesday. WWALS tested Sunday, and got good quality all the way from Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River down to Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River. Madison Health tested Tuesday, and got good quality from the state line down to FL 6, just above Madison Blue Spring. That continues good results since Thursday. If we have more results today, we will report those tonight or tomorrow morning.
There’s been no rain, so unless the mystery dumper strikes again, so I’ve set all the WWALS “beaches” to green on Swim Guide, and happy swimming, fishing, and boating this weekend!
Valdosta says the Wednesday contamination did not come from the city, and they are looking into a number of ways to find the source. Lowndes County assures us it did not come from them, plus the new force main they are installing does not have anything in it yet, and does not cross any existing sewage mains. The county has asked its installation contractor to keep an eye out. I have even enlisted Waste Management, the new owner of Advanced Disposal Services, which owns the Lowndes County landfill, to keep an eye out for trucks that look like they might be hauling fecal matter. More calls are going out.
Suzy Hall got Continue reading
Dennis J. Price, P.G., sent this proposal to the committee for the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), and that WWALS included in our comments.
They duly noted it in their matrix of comments. But, so far as I can tell, they did not follow any of its recommendations.
See also Dennis’s other letter on this subject.
SE ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
DENNIS J. PRICE, P.G.
P.O. BOX 45
WHITE SPRINGS, FL 32096
cell 362-8189, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 14, 2016
North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership
RE: PROPOSAL FOR THE RECHARGE OF THE UPPER FLORIDAN AQUIFER IN THE NORTH FLORIDA FLATWOODS ENVIRONMENT, HAMILTON, COLUMBIA, UNION, BAKER AND ALACHUA COUNTIES.
My proposal is directed towards those areas in the SRWMD and the SIRWMD that are underlain by the Hawthorn formation resulting in extensive areas containing a surficial aquifer and the intermediate aquifers that exist in the Hawthorn. Recharge to the Floridan is retarded by the presence of the clay layers in the Hawthorn. Very large wetland systems are common in these areas.
Water balance studies were produced twice that I am aware of in the SRWMD, one by Continue reading
Update 2020-11-16: Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14.
We’ve never seen anything quite like this.
Valdosta got 137,600 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Wednesday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. That’s 137 times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000.
That’s far higher than the highest E. coli reading we’ve ever seen for the Withlacoochee River, which was the 39,000 Valdosta got on December 10, 2019, just after its infamous record spill. Which at least makes it unlikely that this contamination is coming from Valdosta.
Even the 85,600 Valdosta got for US 84 Wednesday is higher than that previous record at GA 133, and far above unprecedented for US 84. The previous US 84 record was 1,505 on April 1, after a big rain.
GA 133 is the same place Valdosta keeps finding very high E. coli and Fecal coliform, including 11,600 E. coli Friday a week ago. There has not been any rain. Which makes it very unlikely that this is runoff from farm animals.
Horrendous upstream, clean downstream
Photos: Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Thursday, November 12, 2020.
Yet Valdosta’s Wednesday downstream water quality results were all good, as were those by WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday.
According to the latest water quality results downstream of US 84, things look great for the Withlacoochee River this weekend. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t get in that water without more sampling.
I wish I could tell you what caused this, but so far I can only say a few things it’s not, and then speculate. Continue reading
Second of a series of posts from Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, retired. He is aware that Indian Trailmarker Trees are still speculative. Maybe with enough examples we can all determine whether they are what they seem to be. Please send pictures and locations of any trailmarker trees you may have seen, especially along old trails that crossed the Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Little, Suwannee, or Santa Fe Rivers, such as Old Coffee Road or various versions of El Camino Real.
Thanks for your reply. The trailmarker tree thing is an offshoot of my research on historic settler fords, ferries and bridges. Certainly early settlers traded with Seminoles and followed their trails. This Motte map is one of the few I have encountered that shows trails from GA coming into FL. There has also been more published on the ‘Alachua Trail’ figured in the next map. But that is of less interest to me because folks using that trail were primarily headed to the St. Johns River area—a distinct migration thing from the GA and SC folks headed for ‘Middle Florida’ where the best farm land and ample water was available.
I have been trying to confine my studies and field explorations to that area—but have inevitably gotten involved with what was happening in S GA. I have made several foot and solo kayak trips to the GA/FL border, and up into GA a bit now.
Many coming south from GA crossed into Spanish FL at Warners (Beauforts, Hornes) Ferry over the Withlacoochee, then headed south to Deadman’s Bay (Steinhatchee) to boil down salt water to make several barrels full of salt to take back to GA in wagons. This is one of the several ‘Old Salt Trails’ that later immigrant settlers used. All six of the so-far discovered trailmarker trees fall right on one of the dotted trails in this map
Warners Ferry or Horn’s Ferry was near where the current Horn Bridge is over the Withlacoochee River just upstream of State Line Boat Ramp and the GA-FL line.
I asked Ken a few questions, including: Continue reading
Here are four of the five active permit applications to GA-EPD from Twin Pines Minerals related to the proposed titanium mine far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and interchanges water with the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink. Apparently there is also an air quality permit application. Since the Army Corps has abdicated oversight of this mine, you can ask the Georgia government to reject these permits.
Figure 75: Proposed Project Aquatic Feature Impact Areas Map –Twin Pines Minerals
Here is the relevant passage from GA-EPD’s responses to my open records request. I have interleaved links to where the files for each application are on the WWALS google drive.
Here is a summary of the permit applications in the GA EPD Watershed Protection Branch: Continue reading
Here’s the first of a series of posts from Dr. Ken Sulak, USGS, retired, whom you may remember we’ve quoted before about sturgeon jumping in the Suwannee River. He’s got several new pursuits that entwine with Suwannee River Basin rivers, and he’s asking for your assistance. He is aware that Indian Trailmarker Trees are still speculative. Maybe with enough examples we can all determine whether they are what they seem to be.
WWALS riverrats –
While exploring old bridge and ferry sites along the Suwannee River and its tributaries, I have encountered five unmistakable Indian Trailmarker Trees (and Brack Barker has shown me a sixth). I won’t say I discovered these, because some human first shaped each, and thousands of Indians and early settlers used these manmade landmarks to navigate through South Georgia and Florida’s 27 million acres of seemingly endless and trackless primordial Longleaf Pine Forest. Sure, there were Indian trails that the settlers also followed, like the Alachua Trail and the Old Salt Road (plural). But that was not necessarily easy. No welcome to Florida signs back then, no road signs, no road maps, no GPS — although the sun and stars provided compass directions.
The noted naturalist Herbert Stoddard came to Florida with his family as a small boy in 1893. Florida became a US Territory in 1822, with settlers arriving in droves thereafter. But even as late as 1893, there were few real roads to follow. Stoddard recalls: “Came a long ride in a horse-drawn wagon over bumpy, one-track roads through the longleaf woods … They were crooked as snakes, for every time a pine tree fell across the road, Continue reading
Update 2020-11-06: Odd water quality upstream, Withlacoochee River 2020-11-04
Any amount is too much, but that 2,000 gallons Tuesday was probably not enough to affect Reed Bingham State Park Lake much, nor anything downstream from it. However, we don’t know, because nobody was testing on Willow Creek or the Little River above RBSP. Any spill is too much raw sewage into waterways.
Unlike some other cities recently, Tifton did timely report this spill, which appeared in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report the day after it happened.
From four locations on the Withlacoochee River, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter urge you to go vote today for clean water.
At US 41 (North Valdosta Road), at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge just downstream from the notorious Sugar Creek, at US 84, downstream from GA 133 where Valdosta often sees high E. coli, and at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, downstream of Okapilco Creek with all those Brooks County dairy cows, we sampled for bacteria and DNA Friday.
Vote for people who will fully fund the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) so they can do some river sampling themselves, and watch over not only Valdosta, but also Quitman, Adel, Tifton, Rochelle, and Ashburn, all of which have spilled sewage into the Suwannee River Basin this year. Maybe then FDEP will be able to do its job, instead of trying to take more tasks from the Army Corps.
Vote for people who will protect the Okefenokee Swamp from strip mining and other threats.
Pick your most important water issue: https://wwals.net/blog/issues/. They could all use elected officials who will support clean water.
We’ve never met anyone who wants to drink dirty water. So please vote for clean water! Continue reading