Tag Archives: forestry

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading

Aerials of Hodge dirt mine, 10 miles from 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

Yesterday we received some pictures of a dirt mine about ten miles east-southeast of the 3RT Sand Mine site. They show mined pits filled with water, as well as mounds of may be barn waste such as manure, or perhaps residue from a nearby saw mill.

[Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24]
Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

We are not saying there is anything illegal going on at the dirt mine site.

We do wonder that if the activities shown are allowed on a mine site in Levy County, how do we know they won’t happen on the 3RT mine site? And what effect might they have on that much larger proposed mine site?

We are told by a usually reliable source that these aerials were taken January 24, 2024, by a source that wishes to be anonymous, but grants permission for public posting. Continue reading

Hurricane Idalia damage in Suwannee County, FL 2023-09-21

There is little financial recourse for the extensive Hurricane Idalia damage to hoop houses, buildings, row crops, elevators, grain bins, irrigation systems, fences, and tree crops. Most of the insurers had already pulled out. FEMA will help with farmhouses, but not the rest. Many farmers will never recover.

[Collage, Suwannee County Agriculture Meeting 2023-09-21]
Collage, Suwannee County Agriculture Meeting 2023-09-21

County Administrator Gregg Scott noted that almost $900 million revenue that comes to the county because of agriculture, and $60 million of tax revenue “that goes through you”. 97% of Suwannee County farms are owned by local farmers; family farms are important.

Wesley Wainwright, owner of Wainwright Farms, explained much of the damage. Continue reading

Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12

Update 2023-09-26: Curious omissions from the minutes; see Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

The Lowndes County Commission unanimously denied the inappropriate 2.5-acre rezoning proposed on minimum 5-acre and predominantly agriculture, forestry, and conservation Quarterman Road, after five local residents spoke against and nobody for.

[Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12]
Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12

Thanks to all who signed the petition against that rexoning, who called or wrote County Commissioners, who spoke in the Planning Commission or County Commission meetings, and thanks to the County Commisisoners for denying the rezoning.

Among the five who spoke at the County Commission were Gretchen Quarterman (who also took the videos for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)) and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (details on both are below). He made sure the Commissioners had a copy of the WWALS letter that had mysteriously been left out of the board packet; thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay Jones for signing that letter.

This denial comes after two previous denials, both also in an Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, both also provoking many petition signatures and speakers in opposition, including WWALS.

Maybe developers will get the picture that development is not appropriate in such a Character Area, especially when wetlands and waterways are affected.

County Planner

It is interesting the extent to which a development mindset can color a presentation by a County Planner. I was just going to mention one example of that, but as I listened to the LAKE video of his presentation, I kept noticing more examples. Continue reading

Clinch County Resolution against strip mine, for Okefenokee Swamp 2023-09-11

Yesterday, September 11, 2023, the Clinch County Commission unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River against the proposed titanium mine, and set aside $50,000 as cash match for a Dark Sky Observatory next to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR).

[Resolution and Clinch County Commission 2023-09-11]
Resolution and Clinch County Commission 2023-09-11

You can help stop that mine. Ask your city council or county commission to pass a resolution. Here are other things you can do:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The Clinch County resolution includes:
“7. Request the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge from a tentative list to become a full UNESCO World Heritage Site, and support a bill by a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress in support of that move.”

As Chairman Henry Moylan remarked, the UNESCO World Heritage List is a big deal, since it goes through the U.N. and includes sites like the Pyramids and the Grand Canyon. Getting ONWR on it should attract more visitors. That list also includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, and Everglades National Parks, so it’s a bit puzzling why ONWR is not already on there.

Resolution Against Strip Mine in the Okefenokee Swamp
Resolution Against Strip Mine in the Okefenokee Swamp

Video: https://youtu.be/36S7GqrfdWE

The Dark Sky project involves Continue reading

Please keep Quarterman Road in agriculture and forestry –WWALS to Greater Lowndes Planning Commission 2023-08-28

Update 2023-09-17: Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12.

Update 2023-09-09: Packet: Board of Health appointment, two rezonings, 4 water, mosquitoes @ LCC 2023-09-11.

Thanks to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) for voting 7:1 to recommend denial of a proposed rezoning on Quarterman Road that would have injected 2.5-acre lots into a 5-acre minimum agricultural and forestry area.

[WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28]
WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28

Thanks to all the neighbors and others who helped get that done, with a petition, by speaking in the Public Hearing, and by calling and writing their Commissioners.

GLPC only recommends. The actual decision will be by the Lowndes County Commission at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, September 12, 2023, in Commission Chambers, second floor, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601. You can speak in that Public Hearing, as well as call and write your County Commissioners, and sign the petition.

Meanwhile, thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay for sending the letter below to GLPC. Continue reading

Nominating Okefenokee NWR for UNESCO World Heritage List –WWALS 2023-06-28

This is what we sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their bid to make the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Remember, you can still help stop a strip mine from locating near the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

[The WWALS letter 2023-06-28 and the old-growth cypress 2021-01-10]
The WWALS letter 2023-06-28 and the old-growth cypress 2021-01-10

It features an old-growth cypress stand with trees 400-500 years old.

[NW: Big Cypress Camp Island, Little Cooter Lake, 30.682969, -82.200123]
NW: Big Cypress Camp Island, Little Cooter Lake, 30.6829690, -82.2001230 seen on a Southwings flight for Suwannee Riverkeeper 2021-01-10.

The WWALS letter

In web form below, and also in PDF and with attachments.

See also the previous WWALS letter of January 26, 2021.

And, among the references cited, thanks to WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter for spotting G. Ronnie Best, et al., “An Old-Growth Cypress Stand in Okefenokee Swamp,” University of Florida, 1984. https://cfw.essie.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/312/2020/07/Best-etal-1984-OldGrowthCypressStandInOkefenokeeSwamp-BookChapter.pdf

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Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03

The plaintiffs’ case is based on the Lowndes County Commission not agreeing with county staff’s recommendation to approve the rezoning, as well as “evidence supporting their petition and codes relating to the Unified Development Land Code.”

Maybe this is the “enhanced facade” that Dollar General offered in the Public Hearing after which the County Commission denied the rezoning, on January 1, 2023.

[Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS]
Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS

Also the plaintiffs say all the public comments were “generalized and speculative”. Huh, I sure thought I heard a bunch of quite specific public comments. The letter WWALS sent to the Commission before that Public Hearing was quite specific, for example, in saying the allegation that the closest effect on nearby property owners would be on their residences was hogwash, given that stormwater from the subject site runs west under GA 122 onto neighboring property much closer than that residence.

There was speculation in various comments, but it was based on easily documented history of Dollar General and of property development in Lowndes County.

After a story by a Valdosta Daily Times reporter, that local organ of record weighed in with an editorial supporting the citizens. Continue reading

Gopher Tortoise Day –FFWCC

Yesterday was actually Florida Gopher Tortoise Day, but as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says, “you can celebrate gopher tortoises by making your yard tortoise friendly and participating in our new recognition program.”

Georgians, you won’t get a sign, but you can also make your yards gopher-friendly for Gopherus polyphemus.

Gopher Tortoise Friendly Yard Recognition Program

[Gopher tortoise in human habitat --FFWCC]
Gopher tortoise in human habitat –FFWCC

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Packet: Six Additional Documents by Morven Solar @ Brooks County Commission 2023-02-06

Here are the six additional document Pine Gate Renewables sent to the Brooks County Commission on the day of the Public Hearing for Morven Solar.

[Six additional documents, Morven Solar 2023-02-06]
Six additional documents, Morven Solar 2023-02-06

Interestingly, none of these documents say Pine Gate would not use herbicides on the project. The Maintenance and Operations document does say Continue reading