Maybe this letter will help GA-EPD to upgrade our waterways from Fishing to Recreational for tighter standards on contaminants.Continue reading
There are a couple of new things in what I sent on the deadline day, yesterday. (PDF)
- 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.
- 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.
June 30, 2021
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.
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:
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
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is being quite thorough
about the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards that is required by federal law.
However, several problems were revealed at their online meeting on February 2, 2021.
Some of the GA-EPD slides are inline below, and the rest are on the WWALS website:
You can help:
They want to create a second class of Recreational designation for boating, with more lax restrictions on contamination and only seasonal application; several waterbodies we requested are missing; and they want to declare that 20 river miles downstream from a wastewater permit cannot be Recreational.
Here is the slide defining second-class Recreational for boating: Continue reading
Hooded Pitcher Plants are the answer to Lanier County Sheriff Nick Norton’s question to the Georgia Department of Transportation as to why the ditches were not being mowed on GA 31 between Valdosta and Lakeland.
Gretchen Quarterman, a 10-year “Master Gardener” and the executive director of WWALS Watershed Coalition, tells WCTV Hooded Pitchers live in nutrient-poor bogs, or wetlands. They trap and consume insects to obtain nutrients for survival.Continue reading
A month ago at Beatty Branch:
“Everything in this area depends on groundwater,” said John Quarterman, the Suwannee Riverkeeper in Lowndes County, where Moody is located. “I’m not saying that Moody necessarily did make enough contamination to be a problem, but I can’t tell from this report, and I don’t think it’s our responsibility to determine that they didn’t.”
Photographer Hyosub Shin and Reporter Meris Lutz, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online today and in Sunday’s Atlanta paper newspaper, Contaminated groundwater, a toxic legacy of Georgia’s air bases, 3 January 2019.
Moody Air Force Base tested their own wells, and found them clean. Which is good, but
their wells are much deeper than the wells the rest of us use in the country around here. Moody did not test any of those wells; Continue reading