There was quite a bit of advance notice that the bridge that provides the most upstream paddling access to the Alapahoochee River is being replaced, and now the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has given public notice of a variance for a contractor to replace the bridge according to specifications by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and Echols County, Georgia.
Dan and Dylan Phillips planted posts and later went back and put signs on them for three locations on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).
They plan to finish planting all of the ARWT at-water signs in Georgia soon. Just in Georgia, because these signs, posts, and related brochures were mostly paid for by a generous grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). We also thank the counties of Berrien, Atkinson, Lanier, Lowndes, and Echols for their support for the ARWT, either through a resolution in support of the ARWT, or through permission to plant signs.
All of these locations have the same top sign for the entire Alapaha River Water Trail: Continue reading
A Cone family member asked about the history of Cone Bridge on the Suwannee River. Dr. Ken Sulak writes:
I have been working on writing up the Cone story—on and off over recent months. What I sent is a hodge-podge from various sources. Much yet to be compared and validated and compiled in organized fashion—as best as that can be. However, feel free to send along whatever you wish to your members. But, I would add a caveat that this is a preliminary and partial.
Here is his preliminary and partial Cone Bridge story so far, with a few notes by me:
Well, I very rarely go exploring in a group—almost always solo hiking or paddling, unless I go with one or another friends. However, I have been to the old Cone Bridge site several times. I have a great deal of information on the Cone family. Here is a bit of it:
The Cone clan came to Florida in the early 1840s. They and you are descended from royalty.
The Cones were descended from Conn of the Hundred Battles, the first high king of Ireland in the second century AD. Conn was a powerful king who ruled over northern Ireland and Scotland. Variations in the family name over time are as follows:
Conn = Mac Con = MacHone = MacCone = McCone = Cone family lineage to Virginia in the early 1600s, eventually to Florida in early 1840s, 6 generations later: Conn of the Hundred Battles. Second Century AD, First High King of Ireland
Then I have not gotten into the lineage in Ireland/Scotland until Sir Archibald MacHone, Strathclyde, Scotland 1542-1583. He was the earliest direct progenitor of the Florida Cone lineage. An in that lineage Jared MacCone, Midlothian, Scotland 1675-1659.
And Neil MacCone, Scotland b1625, who immigrated to Isle of Wight, Va, d1679 — [IMMIGRANT TO BRITISH COLONIAL AMERICA] Gen 1.
The first Cone to come to Florida was William Henry Cone Jr. 1777-1857, who moved from Georgia to Blount’s Ferry, Florida, on the Suwannee River, about a mile south of the GA/FL border. He was also known as William Cone III and also Capt. William ‘Billy’ Cone. He got the Captain salutation from service in the war of 1812. He was active in the GA and FL militia during the Seminole Wars and built a blockade at Blount’s Ferry. He took over operation of the ferry in 1843 and 1844, and was postmaster there in 1845.
His descendant, William Haddock Cone 1825-1886 & his nephew Daniel Newnan Cone Jr. 1841-1919, built the original Cone Bridge—which was undoubtedly a timber wagon bridge. It was built in 1881, 17 years before the invention of Lally columns—steel cylinders filled with concrete and used to support steel bridges. Steel truss bridges began to be built in the late 1890s. Continue reading
Update 2020-07-23: Excellent water quality, Withlacoochee River, but raining now 2020-07-22.
We don’t always get zero E. coli on the Withlacoochee River, but when we do, we like it!
That’s zero cfu/100 mL at State Line Boat Ramp Saturday, by WWALS tester Suzy Hall, and zero at FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring Tuesday by Madison Health. With below 410 (that’s good) everywhere upstream in Valdosta Monday, Wednesday, and Friday results.
Plus, we have good results on the Alapaha River, thanks to WWALS testers Tasha Ekman LaFace and Suzy Hall.
Yes, even Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps showed good results all week. We didn’t know that until today, but now we do, thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson getting those numbers posted about 1PM today. Continue reading
The most recent water quality data we have looks good, for both the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, in Georgia and Florida.
But it’s from Monday, June 22, 2020, and there was significant rain on Okapilco Creek Tuesday and Wednesday in Brooks County, and more upstream at Skipper Bridge in Lowndes County, Georgia, on the Withlacoochee River. So conditions may change.
Here are the recent rain records. Continue reading
Elizabeth Reynolds sums it up in her video with her pictures of the trash at the Alapahoochee bridge: “Way to go, humans!“
Who’s interested in a cleanup?
This is about halfway between Lake Park in Lowndes County and Statenville in Echols County, at the GA 376 bridge on the Alapahoochee River.
It’s also about ten miles upstream from Florida, and about a dozen miles from the Alapahoochee Confluence with the Alapaha River. Continue reading
If this and the 27 news articles on radio, TV, and newspapers in Georgia and Florida, several of them carried by Associated Press across the country, plus the ten op-eds and three editorials, is not enough to establish controversy, I wonder what is. Maybe still more comments and news articles and social media?
Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 13 September 2019, Mining proposal near Okefenokee draws more than 20K comments from public
The Suwannee Riverkeeper, on Thursday, sent 22 pages of questions to the Corps and the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection asking the agency to deny the permit. The Riverkeeper joined the SELC and other organizations and individuals in asking the Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, the highest level of analysis available when a proposed federal action may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
Also in that AJC story:
Commenters expressed concerns ranging from the acres of wetlands that would be lost to what they considered inadequate studies conducted to determine the potential impact of the mine.
In a letter to the Corps, the Southern Environmental Law Center said Continue reading
Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine? PDF
September 12, 2019
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,
Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks USACE:
- to reject the subject Application from Twin Pines Minerals (TPM), given the inappropriate location which would over the years move ever closer to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, combined with the numerous omissions from the Application regarding the wide hydrogeologic, water quality, ecologic, and economic ramifications of the proposed mining, and the numerous other mines relevant to the proposal.
If USACE continues to process the Application, WWALS requests USACE:
- to require a complete hydrogeological assessment and report, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and an economic analysis, with all three covering all the relevant features, mines, and applications in south Georgia and north Florida, including at least those outlined in this letter.
- to accept comments until at least ninety days after all these documents are submitted to USACE and distributed to the public, preferably on USACE’s website, without requiring site visits to Albany to get them.
- to hold public hearings in Georgia and Florida for further independent input and review after sufficient time (months or years) for independent third-party review.
The proposed Charlton County, Georgia, TPM mine site is hydraulically upgradient from the Okefenokee Swamp and within close proximity to the boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), with its 600,000 visits per year for boating, birding, and fishing, with more than $60 million annual economic effects including hundreds of jobs supported directly or indirectly, plus hunt clubs surrounding the Swamp. The Swamp provides ecosystem services of great economic values, including storm protection, water quality provisioning, support for nursery and habitat for commercial fishing species; and carbon storage, plus those hunt clubs depend on the Swamp. Any pollution of the Swamp or change in surface or groundwater levels could adversely affect not only ONWR and nearby areas, but also the Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) near Waycross, in Ware County, GA, and Stephen C. Foster State Park (SCFSP) in Charlton County, via Fargo in Clinch County. Visitors come from Jacksonville, Florida, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, and from much farther away to visit the Okefenokee Swamp. The Swamp is a treasure to the entire nation and the world.
The stigma of a strip mine next to the swamp could cause people to turn away, taking their dollars with them. Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?Continue reading
Nineteen paddlers in fifteen boats braved the early morning deluge, which quit just in time to start paddling the Alapaha River from Statenville Boat Ramp to Sasser Landing, past many waterfalls, quite a few shoals, one real rapid, and an incoming river too fast to paddle up. Even a couple of unexpected boat ramps, one of them concrete.
Around every corner, a waterfall. Continue reading
Last night at Paddle Georgia, #PaddleGA2019, Gwyneth Moody explained Georgia Water Trails, Edwin McCook explained the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps, and Katie Conrad explained the Suwannee Headwaters Project, which is about arranging camping betweent the Okefenokee Swamp and White Springs, in Georgia and Florida. Here are videos of what Edwin and Katie said.
Yes, Edwin left copies of the SRWT Pamphlets, which we will have at the Suwannee Riverkeeper table at Camp Suwannee tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.
See also the WCTV report of that same day, River Camp between the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers? 2019-06-17.