Tag Archives: Hamilton County

Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

Update 2024-04-07: Added names of County Commissioners in the form as passed.

Update 2024-03-16: Atkinson County, GA, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp against the strip mine 2024-03-14.

County opposition to the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp has crossed the GA-FL line.

The Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Florida, on February 20, 2024, passed this resolution. A signed copy is forthcoming.

[Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20]
Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

That makes four counties on the Suwannee River downstream of the Okefenokee Swamp: Ware, Clinch, Echols, and Hamilton.

Plus many other counties and cities.

Resolution 2024-


WHEREAS, Hamilton County takes pride in its rivers, including the Suwannee River to the east and south;

WHEREAS, the citizens of Hamilton County value the natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities afforded by the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River and their watersheds;

WHEREAS, the Okefenokee Swamp is a unique natural, cultural, and economic treasure known worldwide, identified as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a National Natural Landmark, a National Wilderness Area, and a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention;

WHEREAS, the Okefenokee Swamp is the headwaters of the St Marys River and of the Suwannee River, famous worldwide;

WHEREAS, the Suwannee River forms the eastern and southern boundaries of Hamilton County for more than eighty miles;

WHEREAS, Hamilton County hosts several Suwannee River access points, demonstrating commitment to recreation on the Suwannee River through various initiatives;

WHEREAS, the Hamilton County Commission has shown commitment to water quality and waterway recreation through the approval of the Comprehensive Plan, providing protections for the Suwannee River and its watersheds;

WHEREAS, the citizens value the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River for water quality and habitat protection;

WHEREAS, the environmental impact of strip mining in proximity to the Okefenokee Swamp raises significant concerns for the watershed;

WHEREAS, thorough and unbiased review processes are crucial in assessing the potential environmental consequences of mining activities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners:

  1. Support the preservation and protection of the Okefenokee Swamp and its surrounding watersheds.
  2. Advocate for a comprehensive, transparent, and impartial review of any proposed mining activities near the Okefenokee Swamp, including public hearings, public comments, and independent third-party review.
  3. Encourage the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to thoroughly review and assess all mining permit applications to the same degree as a thorough U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Area-Wide Environmental Impact Statement, with public hearings, public comments, and independent third-party review.
  4. Advocate for legislative measures in Georgia to prevent future strip mines near environmentally sensitive areas, including the Okefenokee Swamp and the blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin.
  5. Request the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to engage with the permitting process of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to ensure thorough consideration of environmental impacts.

PASSED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, Hamilton County, Florida, this day of 2024.



Greg Godwin
Ex-officio Clerk

Chairman, Robert E. Brown
District 3

Member, Jimmy Murphy
District 1

Member, Robby Roberson
District 2

Member, Travis Erixton
District 4

Member, Richie McCoy
District 5

Approved as to Form By:

Andrew J. Decker, III
Hamilton County Attorney

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!

Pictures: Suwannee River Wilderness Trail at Lafayette County Florida State Parks Open House Public Meeting 2023-10-26

Learned a few things in this last of the FDEP series of county meetings about state parks, (almost) the only one that also included the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps.

[Posters and personnel]
Posters and personnel

We also talked about the previous day’s meeting, in Hamilton County, which included Big Shoals State Park. Moving the portage around Big Shoals from Columbia County to Hamilton County, on the right bank of the Suwannee River, is now merely a discussion topic, not a plan. They do want to do something to improve the exit from the portage back into the river. The jagged and slippery limestone rocks are a safety issue. One possibility is steps like at the Big Shoals Tract Launch. They didn’t like my suggestion of just put in some posts with a chain for people to use to get down to the river. But steps would be great. Continue reading

Big Shoals State Park, move portage to Hamilton County, meeting 2023-10-25

Today, in White Springs, Florida State Parks is holding a public meeting about Big Shoals State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center.

I have a prior engagement, but you may want to go.

When: 3-7 PM, Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Where: White Springs Tourism Building, 10499 Spring Street, White Springs, Florida 32096

More: https://floridadep.gov/parks/public-participation

[Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25]
Maps and Flyer, Hamilton County Parks Meeting, Big Shoals State Park 2023-10-25

The agenda is basically show up, look at the materials, ask questions. Continue reading

Lafayette County Florida State Parks Open House Public Meeting 2023-10-26

FDEP has been running a series of county meetings about state parks, but this is the only one that also includes the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps. Let’s go see what they are proposing.

You can also send written comments through November 10, 2023, to FlStateParkPlanning@dep.state.fl.us.

[Map and flyer]
Map and flyer

For Lafayette Blue Springs, according to its Executive Summary, the idea is to turn the service road into Allen Mill Pond Trail, to upgrade electricity and buildings in the support area, to manage erosion and replace the boardwalk in the headspring access area, and to renovate the campground elecricity and remove the outhouse and the old Metzger house, plus some proposed additions to its boundary.

For the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, according to its Executive Summary, the intention is to compose a management guidance document for all river camps, replace all wooden staircases, and upgrade the portable restroom and shower buildings, plus consider a designated Fanning Springs River Camp.

For Troy Spring State Park, according to its Executive Summary, multiple upgrades are planned for the Springhead Day Use Area, to the riverfront, and at the south end to convert the stables into a park support structure. There are also some possible acquisitions.

Here is the agenda: 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

Draft 2023 North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP) workshop 2023-09-21

Update 2023-09-14: Now with Agenda.

Return of the massive 2017 North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP) that did nothing to stop lowering water levels or nitrates leaching into springs and rivers.

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, September 21, 2023, Posterboard Session starts at 5:45 p.m. and the Webinar Presentation starts at 6:30 p.m.

Where: SRWMD, 9225 CR 49, Live Oak, FL 32060

Or by webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2570768570283041622

[Potential evaporation map 2019-08-01 with joint SRWMD SJRWMD NFRWSP approval meeting 2017-01-17]
Potential evaporation map 2019-08-01 with joint SRWMD SJRWMD NFRWSP approval meeting 2017-01-17

As I wrote SRWMD and SJRWMD this January, “I have some issues with another level. I noticed repeated assertions in the public meeting that demand or projected demand are just taken as givens. So basically anybody who wants to build a golf course, or start another titanium mine, or plant almond trees that need lots of water, that’s just a given, that’s demand.”

I continue to agree with Dennis J. Price, P.G., of Hamilton County, Florida (now a WWALS Board member), Continue reading

Pictures: Withlacoochee Springs, Shoals, Slough, Sullivan Launch 2023-07-15

Seven shoals, one with a boat, Coffee Spring, second magnitude Hardee Spring, and several islands, and Chitty Bend East Distributary, where some of the Withlacoochee River runs into the woods into some swallets: we saw all of those on our Withlacoochee River paddle from Sullivan Launch to Florida Campsites on a fine July day.

The entire paddle was in north Florida, between Madison County on the right (east) bank and Hamilton County on the left (west) bank, starting in Madison County, ending in Hamilton County.

[Rapids, Spring, Distributary, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-15]
Rapids, Spring, Distributary, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-15

Thanks to Gee Edwards for leading this paddle.

Thanks to Gretchen Quarterman, Karen Lehnart, and Shirley Kokidko for additional pictures.

Pictures are below. Click on any small picture for a bigger one. Latlong links go to the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

The pictures are also on facebook.

See also the facebook video, Seven shoals on the WWALS WIthlacoochee River paddle from Sullivan Shoals to Florida Campsites Ramp, 2023-07-15.

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see Continue reading

Crossings under CR 6 by Nutrien Phosphate Mine 2023-06-10

An anonymous photographer sent these pictures of the Nutrien Phosphate Mine in Hamilton County digging under CR 6 east of Jasper, heading north towards the GA-FL line.

Remember, the same phosphate deposits continue north into Echols County, Georgia.

[Collage, Nutrien Phosphate Mine across CR 6]
Collage, Nutrien Phosphate Mine across CR 6

I don’t know quite where these pictures were taken. But if I had to guess, probably somewhere a bit east of where the label is for Nutrien Phosphate Mine on this SRWT map. Continue reading

Origins of WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper Part 1

People are often confused: what are WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper, where did they come from, how are they related, and what do they do?

Well, it’s a long story. Here is the first of several parts.

[Black and white square WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper logos]
Black and white square WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper logos

You’ll probably see this reposted on Walk Around Lowndes:

Justin Coleman is walking every road and street in Lowndes County, Georgia, and blogging about it, featuring Suwannee Riverkeeper.

What is the mission of WWALS?

Continue reading

WWALS Wins Rivers Alive Adopt-A-Stream cleanup award second year running 2023-04-27

Update 2023-05-19: Fixed boat ramp attribution: Nankin, not Sasser.

Thanks to Georgia Rivers Alive for giving WWALS the 2022 Adopt-A-Stream Award for cleanups. This is the second year running WWALS has won this award.

[Nankin Boat Ramp 2022-12-17, Statenville Boat Ramp 2023-01-07, Adopt-A-Stream Award 2023-04-27]
Adopt-A-Stream Award 2023-04-27
Photos: WWALS, at Nankin Boat Ramp 2022-12-17 and Statenville Boat Ramp 2023-01-07

While we appreciate the award, we’d much rather not have trash to clean up. There is some progress on that. The worst trash offender, Valdosta, has now Continue reading