Tag Archives: history

Suwannee River, White Springs, Florida 2024-04-16

Returning from Lake City Tuesday, I stopped by White Springs.

For once the Spring House is full at White Sulphur Springs, one of the earliest Florida tourist attractions. The Suwannee River has risen inside it and all around it. Its entrance is closed for renovations, but you can see it from the street sidewalk.

The ramp is underwater at White Springs Boat Ramp, aka Suwannee River Wayside Park Ramp. That didn’t stop a couple of guys from backing a trailer down the entrance tarmac, preparing to put in their boat with outboard.

[White Springs, Florida, Suwannee River 2024-04-16, White Sulphur Springs Spring House, White Springs Boat Ramp]
White Springs, Florida, Suwannee River 2024-04-16, White Sulphur Springs Spring House, White Springs Boat Ramp

The White Springs gauge read 71.02 feet NAVD88, which is in Action Stage. The river is still rising, above 72 feet today. NOAA predicts it will peak tomorrow, but will still be in Action Stage for a week. Continue reading

A 19th-century navigable definition does not work for 21st-century river economies

We never had bales of cotton boated down the Withlacoochee River, because there are too many shoals.

[19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy]
19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy

But we do get fishing both from the shore and in paddle and power boats up and down our rivers, and for other recreation, There are massive investments by nearby cities and counties and other organizations in cleaning up the rivers for those purposes.

The state of Georgia needs to revise its 19th-century definition of navigability and passage to match the 21st-century present.

The antique 19th-century definition

The Georgia 1863 definition says a navigable stream “is capable of transporting boats loaded with freight in the regular course of trade either for the whole or a part of the year.” See Georgia Navigability Report, 3rd Edition and O.C.G.A. 44-8-5 (2010)

Some people once tried boating down to the Suwannee to establish commerce. They sold the remains of the boat and returned to the former Lowndes County seat of Troupville, at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Continue reading

Video: Paddles through Time: Historical and Archaeological Sites of the Withlacoochee River of South Georgia and North Florida –Tom Baird, WWALS Webinar 2024-02-15

Tom Baird, archaeologist of Tallahassee, Florida, gave the second WWALS Webinar, this one about the history and archaeology of the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida.

“Tom talked about arrowpoints, fish weirs, spears, atlatls, mounds, missions, wood mills, and ghost towns, as well as current threats to the Withlacoochee River and archaeological opportunities,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

[Paddles Through Time by Tom Baird]
Paddles Through Time by Tom Baird

Tom Baird is an education consultant who has previously worked as a high school teacher, community college instructor (oceanography and microbiology), director of a science and environmental center, supervisor of science (K-12) in Pasco Co., FL, Director of Science (PreK-12) in Pinellas Co. FL, Principal of a math/science/technology magnet high school in Pinellas Co., FL, and director of a National Science Foundation program.

Tom was introduced by WWALS President Sara Jay Jones, who received a copy of Tom’s book during the webinar. Continue reading

Paddles through Time: Historical and Archaeological Sites of the Withlacoochee River of South Georgia and North Florida –Tom Baird, WWALS Webinar 2024-02-15

Update 2024-02-16: Video.

Tom Baird, archaeologist of Tallahassee, Florida, will give the second WWALS Webinar about the history and archaeology of the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida.

“Tom will talk about arrowpoints, fish weirs, spears, atlatls, mounds, missions, wood mills, and ghost towns, as well as current threats to the Withlacoochee River and archaeological opportunities,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

[Paddles Through Time by Tom Baird]
Paddles Through Time by Tom Baird

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZErfuuoqTgtGtecqMIzKE5VCGr8wh_6aKjH

Facebook event to encourage others to join the webinar:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1121650522602694/?ref=newsfeed

But you still need to register at the zoom link for the webinar.

Tom Baird is Continue reading

Video: Fannie Gibbs Begins WWALS Webinars 2024-01-11

Thanks, Fannie Marie Jackson Gibbs, for the first WWALS Webinar 2024-01-11.

[Fannie Gibbs, first WWALS Webinar and sample slides]
Fannie Gibbs, first WWALS Webinar and sample slides

Fannie Marie Jackson Gibbs of Brooks County, Georgia, has long been active in issues near the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, especially involving African-American family history. She talked about Brooks County Georgia Settlers, family history, Old and New Macedonia Cemeteries, the Little River, Okapilco Creek, the annual Juneteenth celebrations she organizes at Reed Bingham State Park Lake where WWALS brings boats, and the ongoing sewage problems in Quitman.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Valdosta city trash, parking lots, ordinances, WaterGoat, and cleanups –WTXL TV 2023-12-18

Update 2024-03-06: WTXL TV report and Pictures: Valdosta WWTP water quality lab ribbon cutting 2024-03-05.

Valdosta is the main waterway trash problem in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida. Which gives the City government an opportunity to fix that problem.

[Valdosta trash is not like other cities]
Valdosta trash is not like other cities

Malia Thomas, WTXL, December 18, 2023, Area group pushes code enforcement for dealing with Valdosta’s trash,

WWALS Watershed Coalition is pushing the City of Valdosta to strictly enforce ordinances as a means of keeping the streets clean.

The video starts with WTXL Reporter Malia Thomas pointing at trash in a parking lot. Continue reading

Tour of Ichetucknee Springs 2023-12-14

Thanks to Rangers Cole and Owen for an informative tour of Grassy Hole, Mill Pond Spring, and Devils Eye Spring on the Ichetucknee River.

[Three springs on the Ichetucknee River: Grassy Hole, Mill Pond, and Devils Eye 2023-12-14]
Three springs on the Ichetucknee River: Grassy Hole, Mill Pond, and Devils Eye, 2023-12-14; see the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail, including the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee Rivers.

This tour was part of the agenda of Stacie Greco’s Santa Fe River Springs Protection Forum.

Join us to paddle past these springs this Saturday on Iche Nippy Dip Day Swim and Paddle, Ichetucknee River 2024-01-06.

Apparently there was quite a town at Mill Pond Spring, formed around the undershot water wheel of the mill. Hurricanes, economic changes, and wars caused the demise of the town.

Water lettuce, the main topic of the Forum, is cultivated in nurseries at Devils Eye Spring.

Here’s a video on YouTube of some highlights of the tour.
https://youtu.be/WthagPBbUvI

Or on facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Wwalswatershed/videos/1019535769126733

There are more pictures below.

Or on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/Wwalswatershed/posts/pfbid02DqDjVAdDJtnS7ZyYu84KSM5eqNEn24kBAeDeCyUUY1GD1AaHqhqqZdDh4TjQNAmSl Continue reading

Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01

Update 2024-02-28: Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26.

Here is the Final Report with Recommendations after four public input meetings and a decision meeting of the Georgia House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources.

[Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash]
Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash

Basically, they want to preserve both fishing rights (and private property rights) while preserving boating right of passage. The Study Committee found right of passage tied to navigability, so its key recommendations are to determine and delineate which parts of which rivers and streams are navigable.

If you know Committee Chair Rep. James Burchett or any of the committee members, please contact them asking for maximum navigability while preserving private property rights. Or contact your Georgia state house member.
http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west.

[Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map]
Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map

You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee.

Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer. Continue reading

Fannie Gibbs Begins WWALS Webinars 2024-01-11

Update 2024-01-14: Video: Fannie Gibbs Begins WWALS Webinars 2024-01-11.

Hahira, Georgia, December 26, 2023 — WWALS Webinars is a new monthly series of lunchtime talks via zoom about topics related to the Suwannee River Basin.

On Thursday, January 11, 2024, from noon to 1PM, we are starting with Fannie Marie Jackson Gibbs of Brooks County, Georgia, long active in issues near the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers, especially involving African-American family history. She will talk about the ongoing sewage problems in Quitman, the annual Juneteenth celebrations she organizes at Reed Bingham State Park Lake where WWALS brings boats, family history, and anything else she wants to discuss.

[Fannie Gibbs in a boat at Reed Bingham State Park, Junteenth 2020]
Fannie Gibbs in a boat at Reed Bingham State Park, Junteenth 2020

“We thank Fannie Gibbs for speaking at WWALS River Revue 2023 in September, and we welcome her back to speak longer in this first WWALS Webinar,” said WWALS President Sara Jay Jones.

“I’m honored to have worked with Fannie for many years, and I hope you will all zoom in to hear what she has to say,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAuf-igpjsuG9JKDeCUtmqgxujGcIkFZIz3 Continue reading