Tag Archives: Georgia Power

Good Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, bad Alapaha River 2021-10-14

Something we’ve never seen: the only too-high result is on the Alapaha River for Thursday. We’ve never seen a reading at Lakeland Boat Ramp that high.

The Little and Withlacoochee Rivers tested good for Thursday, which is what we expected since there has been no rain for days.

So in the reverse of what we often say, avoid the Alapaha River and swim, fish, and paddle on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend, according to the best data we have.

Still looking good for the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up in one week at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

You can also see in the charts that Valdosta’s upstream results for last Friday showed extremely high Fecal coliform for US 41 (upstream from Valdosta), GA 133, and US 84, and way-too-high E. coli for GA 133. That somewhat helps explain why our plates for that Thursday (October 7th) for Knights Ferry Boat Ramp showed high background Fecal coliform colonies.

No, we don’t know what it is. There have been no sewage spills reported this past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia. Most likely it is some sort of manure runoff, this time coming from far upstream on the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Clean rivers again 2021-10-07

2021-10-15: Good Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, bad Alapaha River 2021-10-14.

Another clean week on the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers, according to all the water quality test results we have. So happy swimming, boating, and fishing!

There was some rain today, which could wash some contamination into the rivers. But it wasn’t nearly as much rain as before previous contamination events.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide

And the water levels are coming down to where they should be just right for WWALS Boomerang paddle race, coming up in two weeks at State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading

All Clean, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-09-30

Update 2021-10-08: Clean rivers again 2021-10-07.

All clear for swimming, boating, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River, and also the Little and Alapaha Rivers, by all the water quality results we have available.

Of course, conditions could change, but no rain is predicted until Monday. So there’s nothing to wash any cattle manure down Okapilco Creek, or any trash down Sugar Creek (more on that in a later post). And no sewage spills have been reported.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

Valdosta results up through Wednesday concur with WWALS Wednesday and Thursday results: all well below the 410 one-time E. coli test result limit. Continue reading

Filthy upstream Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, clean downstream 2021-09-02

Update 2021-09-10: Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09.

In a very unusual configuration, the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers at GA 122 showed too much E. coli in Thursday samples, while everywhere downstream tested clean, also clean on the Alapaha River.

Whatever got into the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers upstream is no doubt washing downstream. Probably it will pass by in a day or two.

The Alapaha River would be a better choice for swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

The Folsom Bridge Gauge on the Little River at GA 122 showed very heavy rain Wednesday, 2.74 inches. Probably the same storm also rained on or above GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River at Hagan Bridge. Something washed into both rivers. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2021-08-26

Update 2021-09-02: Bad at GA-FL Line: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-31.

In a lull between rains, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers showed clean for all our WWALS Wednesday and Thursday test sites.

You could also become a WWALS water quality tester. There’s a testing training coming up September 11, 2021.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide

This is even though Valdosta found results for Wednesday at US 41 too high. We don’t know where that contamination came from. That’s upstream from Sugar Creek, so not from there.

Valdosta also got way too high for Monday at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. Curiously, Valdosta’s Monday result for Okapilco Creek was within range, so if that contamination came out of Okapilco Creek, it had already washed downstream into the Withlacoochee River. Notice Nankin Boat Ramp not as high but still too high on E. coli for that Monday, as the contamination was reaching it. Continue reading

Good upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-07-29

Update 2021-08-06: Clean up and down: Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-08-05.

All the E. coli test results we have for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers are good, all the way down below Allen Ramp almost to the Suwannee River. We don’t test for Fecal coliform, so we don’t know what happened with that sky-high Fecal coliform result Madison Health got for Tuesday. However, from the WWALS test results we have for Wednesday and Thursday, all these rivers seem clean, with two sites tested on each of the Little and Alapaha Rivers, and six on the Withlacoochee.

[Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

We have no new results from Valdosta or Madison Health since yesterday’s post. Apparently Valdosta does have some new results, but they’re having some sort of website problem. Madison Health seems to only test Tuesdays, and only at the state line anymore. That’s too bad, because they both test Fecal coliform, and we do not.

This is yet another example of how the state of Florida needs to step up, fund, and implement regular testing of all the rivers from the state line to the Gulf. Then we might know how far which contamination blob got. We’d also have a better chance tracking it back to its source. Floridians, please ask your statehouse delegation to make it so. Continue reading

Clean Rivers after Tuesday blip and before Thursday rains 2021-07-01

Update 2021-07-06: Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02.

The Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are remarkably clean by samples Thursday, July 1, 2021. No sewage spills have been reported for Georgia.

Some bad news: something caused high E. coli in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 on Tuesday. And Starke, Florida, had two more small spills above the Santa Fe River, but nothing like the big one that Florida city had a week ago.

The good news: according to those Tuesday tests, whatever was in the Withlacoochee River at GA 133 was not coming from Valdosta’s Mulch Yard off of Val-Tech Road. And by Thursday samples, whatever it was was gone by then.

So by the results we have right now, it’s clear for swimming, diving, fishing, and boating.

And still more good news: Madison Health has lifted its former Bacterial Advisory for the Withlacoochee River.

But beware: many inches of rain fell later Thursday and today. That usually washes more contamination into the rivers. See Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27 https://wwals.net/?p=55966

[Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide]
Chart, rivers, results, Swim Guide

Just don’t say we didn’t mention those rains yesterday and today, which in Brooks County started even earlier, and have been very heavy. If we’re all lucky, most of what manure would wash off has already washed off. We shall see.

With a dozen tests this week, we’re burning through testing materials. Thanks to Joe Brownlee, Southwest Director, Georgia Power, for another generous water quality testing grant that helps make this possible. Continue reading

Upgrade Suwannee River Basin rivers to Recreational –WWALS to GA-EPD 2021-06-30

There are a couple of new things in what I sent on the deadline day, yesterday. (PDF)

  1. Funds are now available to buy the private land at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, which was the main impediment to plans for the Troupville River Camp and Troupville River Park.
  2. Stakeholders in the One Valdosta-Lowndes initiative met and decided their number one community and economic development priority is: Troupville River Camp.

For what this is all about, see Calling for pictures of swimming, diving, rapids, tubing, water skiing, or surfing, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia.

[Rivers, Letter]
Rivers, Letter


June 30, 2021

To: EPD.Comments@dnr.ga.gov
Elizabeth Booth, Environmental Protection Division
Watershed Protection Branch,
Watershed Planning & Monitoring Program,
Suite 1152 East, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Georgia Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Dear Ms. Booth,

Once again I would like to commend you and all the GA-EPD staff for your diligence in this Triennial Review process. I thank you for your consideration of the request by WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) to upgrade GA EPD’s designated use of the Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers, as well as Grand Bay WMA, Banks Lake NWR, and the Okefenokee NWR, from Fishing to Recreational, to set higher water quality standards for these bodies of water.

In the interests of saving you and me time, I will try to merely summarize the arguments I have already made, while adding some material you may not have previously seen.

Year-Round

As you know WWALS would prefer that redesignation applied uniformly, year-round. As you mentioned in the recent EPD zoom meeting on this subject, perhaps one reason Florida has all its rivers as Recreational by default is its climate. South Georgia, like north Florida (and unlike north Georgia) has a subtropical climate in which we are not surprised by 80-degree weather in January. People swim, dive, fish, and boat on our rivers year-round. Some people even prefer to be on and in the water in the winter because there are fewer insects. I have recently been reminded that local churches also use them for immersion baptisms, which can happen in any season of the year.

Recreational Data Spreadsheet

Per request of EPD, please find attached a Recreational Data Spreadsheet, which is also online here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1g9gLcNnbRx4H9djZAlKd1ZaB7zrlmDbz/view?usp=sharing

In that spreadsheet are examples of swimming and diving locations, including almost every boat ramp or landing, plus selected sandbars, beaches, and springs. Also included are a few examples of rapids. None of them are Class III, but at least two are Class II+, and as Gwyneth Moody pointed out on the recent zoom, people frequently capsize in those.

Included for every location in that spreadsheet is a link to further information, mostly to one of our three river trails (“blue trails”):

Continue reading

Georgia Power Grants Again to WWALS for Water Quality Testing 2021-06-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (PDF)

Another Generous Water Quality Testing Grant from Georgia Power to WWALS

Valdosta, GA, June 23, 2021 — “It’s really exciting to receive another generous grant from Georgia Power to help us continue with as well as increase our testing base,” said WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall. “This is huge towards helping to keep tabs on the water health for this watershed.”

[Presentation and Play, Alapaha River, Naylor Beach]
WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman receives the envelope from Mary Beth and Elizabeth Brownlee via Hazel, Elleanor and Lindsey Williams; back: Suzy and Abbie Hall, at Naylor Beach on the Alapaha River in Naylor Boat Ramp Park, Lowndes County, Georgia. More pictures here:
https://wwals.net/pictures/gretchen/2021-06-21–wwals-naylor-ga-power/

“The Georgia Power Foundation is committed to environmental stewardship and supports efforts focused on improving waterways, lakes and streams across Georgia,” said Georgia Power Southwest Director Joe Brownlee, “We’ve learned that we can do more when we work together with local organizations where we serve, so we felt that supporting the WWALS efforts to perform quality testing in our local watershed fit perfectly with our goals. I think it goes without saying that we all want clean water to drink, bathe, and occasionally even play in. At Georgia Power, we have an employee volunteer organization called the ‘Citizens of Georgia Power’; one of the projects that they chose to work on this year was a clean-up on the Alapaha River landing in Lakeland. So when WWALS reached out and said they had a clean-up in Naylor it seemed like a great project, and thanks to the testing kits we knew the water was clean, which allowed our treasures (our children) to play a little while we cleaned up.”

“Clean water is a benefit to everyone,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “The grant presentation by Elizabeth Brownlee was non-traditional, but most exceptional. The envelope got a little wet as it passed through little hands and got dropped in the water, however, the result was excellent. Funding for a second year for the WWALS water quality testing program is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Georgia Power!”

“We are thrilled that, Continue reading

Pictures: Twomile Branch Cleanup 2020-08-29

It was fun and productive: cleaning up Twomile Branch and Sugar Creek, plus a bit of the Withlacoochee River.

And we got a statewide award while we were there!

[Bucket, need boat, Withlacoochee River, spider, bottle, handoff, Great Blue Heron, trash, Volunteer of the Year --GA AAS]
Bucket, need boat, Withlacoochee River, spider, bottle, handoff, Great Blue Heron, trash, Volunteer of the Year –GA AAS

The award was the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Volunteer of the Year Award, for all the WWALS water quality testing volunteers, many of whom were at this cleanup. Thanks again to Georgia Power for the grant for testing equipment. WWALS is doing an AAS testing training this Saturday.

Join us for another cleanup at Sugar Creek on Saturday, October 10, 2020, or any of several other river and creek locations that same day, in conjunction with Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta. Or help us clean up this Saturday, September 12, 2020, at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp, northeast of Nashville, Georgia, on the Alapaha River.

Thanks to Nic Llinas and Sean of Current Problems for coming up from Gainesville, Florida, to bucket fish in Twomile Branch. Continue reading