Tag Archives: Gretchen Quarterman

Pictures: Family fun cleanup, Sugar Creek, Onemile Branch, Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2021-10-09

Saturday’s River and Creek Cleanup went well. Here are pictures from Troupville Boat Ramp up from Land Between the Rivers on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, from Sugar Creek at the Salty Snapper, and from Drexel Park on Onemile Branch.

[Troupville, Sugar Creek, Chairman and Mayor doing work, Drexel Park]
Troupville, Sugar Creek, Chairman and Mayor doing work, Drexel Park

Thanks to recent cleanups by Valdosta Stormwater, Sugar Creek wasn’t bad, but we found plenty of trash between the Salty Snapper parking lot and the creek, and Scotti and Sara hauled up from the woods a tire with rim and a satellite dish.

Thanks to Stafford, the owner of the parking lot on St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek, keeping it much cleaner, there should be less trash coming down Sugar Creek.

Thanks to weeksly cleanups by Lowndes County Litter Control, Troupville Boat Ramp itself was pretty clean, but there was no shortage of trash to pick up downstream at Land Between the Rivers. Thanks to landowner Helen Tapp for getting her hunting lease to hold off for the day.

You don’t see this very often: Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta Mayor Scott James doing actual work together.

Later, they told everyone they were working together to purchase Helen’s land to add to the existing park to form a bigger nature park with a Troupville River Camp. Continue reading

Pictures: Hahira Honeybee 2021-10-02

First time we were a dignitary in the parade at the 40th Annual Hahira Honeybee Festival.

[Parade Float, WWALS Booth]
Parade Float, WWALS Booth

Here’s a video Gretchen took:

Continue reading

Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16

Update 2021-09-24: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22.

All the water quality samples WWALS collected Wednesday and Thursday tested good for all three rivers: Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha.

However, later Thursday hard rains fell. As hard as those last Thursday that washed E. coli into the rivers. So there’s a good chance the same thing has already happened, with contamination from livestock manure washing into the rivers.

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

So according to the results we have, I have to say all clear for boating, swimming, and fishing.

But according to experience, I’m not going on the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend.

FYI, no sewage spills have been reported. The contamination sources are most likely agricultural.

The Alapaha River is probably still good. And we have a paddle coming up Monday evening on Banks Lake, which is not downstream from anything, so it should be clean as usual. https://wwals.net/?p=56630 Continue reading

A lot of titanium, but only one Okefenokee Swamp –U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock 2021-08-28

“We have a lot of titanium, but we only have one Okefenokee Swamp,” said U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, very early Saturday morning in Valdosta, Georgia.

[U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Gretchen Quarterman]
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Gretchen Quarterman

That’s WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman with the Senator.

You can ask the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to reject the five permit applications they got from the miners, or at least to thoroughly examine them, with independent third-party review.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

The Senator left with contact information for the Charlton County Commission. If you know any of them, you could talk to them, too.

Later that same morning, Continue reading

Training: Water Quality Testing 2021-09-11

Chemical and Bacterial training by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) methods. Yes, you can also use these methods in Florida to report via AAS.

If you’d like to get trained and do testing for WWALS, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7

Yes, training is difficult in this pandemic situation, but Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online. With last year’s generous grant from Georgia Power WWALS has purchased enough testing kits so that trainees can have one to use during the training.

[Table of testers]
Table of testers
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman 2021-02-13.

In the form, remember to say where you can test. We need testers pretty much everywhere:

  • In Georgia on the Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, especially upstream in Lanier, Berrien, and Atkinson Counties. Plus on Okapilco and Crooked and Piscola Creeks in Brooks County, on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek in and near Valdosta. And upstream on the Little River in Brooks, Cook, Colquitt, and Tift Counties.
  • In Florida on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers, and on creeks that run into them, especially in Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties.
  • We need testers even where we already have testers, because everybody needs time off.

For the testing story so far, and more context, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

We look forward to you getting trained and joining our testing team!

When: 9 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, September 11, 2021

Where: Zoom then physically distanced practical training in very small groups, for example at Onemile Branch in Drexel Park in Valdosta.

Free: to everyone. But if you want to test for WWALS, you need to become a WWALS member.
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Continue reading

Four miles an hour, Nankin to Sullivan, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-07

Update 2021-08-16: Two Withlacoochee River 360-degree transits by WWALS on Earthviews 2021-08-16.

Rain poured during the shuttle from Nankin Boat Ramp to Sullivan Launch, but the weather relented as we started to paddle, just as expedition leader and weatherman Bobby McKenzie predicted.

22 people paddled in 21 boats, entering Florida three times, past McIntyre Spring, Arnold Springs, the Valdosta Railway Trestle, and Horn Bridge. Only a few took out at State Line Boat Ramp, because they were musicians and they had a gig that same evening.

Almost all continued past PCA and Jumping Gully Creek to Sullivan Launch for a total of 14.22 miles in barely four hours. Subtract half an hour for the lunch stop at State Line Boat Ramp, and that’s 3.5 hours, for 4 miles per hour.

[Valdosta Railway Trestle in the middle]
Valdosta Railway Trestle in the middle

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman left her boat in the truck until the last minute, because she did not want to paddle in the rain. WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. and Mary Carolyn Pindar drove four hours for this outing, so they were going to paddle anyway, as was I. Continue reading

Pictures: Juneteenth @ Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation 2021-06-19

Fannie Gibbs of Macedonia Community Foundation invited WWALS to their Juneteenth celebration at Reed Bingham State Park Lake. So we took boats and volunteers and got people in boats on the lake.

Including Fannie, in a boat, with a paddle, in the rain!

[Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper]
Juneteenth at Reed Bingham State Park Lake with Macedonia Community Foundation and Suwannee Riverkeeper

Thanks especially to Fannie Gibbs for inviting WWALS. We will keep writing joint grant proposals until we get some funded for boating and swimming lessons, historical research, and paddle outings designed around African-American waterway history. Meanwhile, we will keep doing things like this anyway. 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

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

Training: Water Quality Testing, All, mostly online, 2021-05-08

Chemical and Bacteriological water testing training for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream standards by our local trainers.

If you’d like to get trained and do testing for WWALS, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7

Yes, training is difficult in this pandemic situation, but Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online. With last year’s generous grant from Georgia Power WWALS has purchased enough testing kits so that trainees can have one to use during the training.

[Test kit]
Test kit
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman 2021-02-13.

In the form, remember to say where you can test. We need testers pretty much everywhere:

  • In Georgia on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, especially upstream in Lanier, Berrien, and Atkinson Counties, on Okapilco and Crooked and Piscola Creeks in Brooks County, on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek in and near Valdosta, and upstream on the Little River in Brooks, Cook, and Colquitt Counties, including where we already have testers, because everybody needs time off.
  • In Florida on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers, and on creeks that run into them, especially in Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties.

For the testing story so far, see Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02.

For much more context and recent testing results, see https://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

We look forward to you getting trained and joining our testing team!

When: 9 AM, Saturday, May 8, 2021

Put In: Mostly online via zoom.

Free: This training is free.

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, Continue reading