Tag Archives: Lanier County

Victory on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1, and more voting for clean water

Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.

There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.

That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.

[Victory: 82%]
Victory: 82%
Special thanks to the Suwannee River Basin cities of Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, for passing resolutions in support.
See also previous blog post.

The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,

The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.

So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.

More voting for clean water to do

As everyone probably knows, there are Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, with the usual early voting and absentee ballots. Both Georgia U.S. Senate seats are in the runoff.

A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.

Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading

WWALS Solstice Light Parade 2020-12-19

Deck your canoe, kayak, jon boat and the like with lights and we’ll do a short excursion out on the lake and bring it back in for fanfare and judging for this end of the year fundraising event. We will have monetary prizes for 1, 2, and 3rd places. We have a 3:00 PM start time to help with onsite boat decorations.

Marking the winter solstice and the ending of 2020 with a decorated evening lighted boat parade and contest with hot chocolate and cookies. Second annual of the first event of its kind in this area.

Please go all out with lights for your boat (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark, and it’s a light parade! It will be very dark after sunset, with no moon, so everyone will see your lighted boats parading.

[Light Parade 2020]
Light Parade 2020
PDF

Prizes! $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize, $50 Third Prize.

Tickets are $10 for each person entering (yes, even for WWALS members; it’s a fundraiser).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-solstice-light-parade-tickets-124630460061
We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

When: Gather 3:00 PM, launch 5:15 PM, end 7:00 PM,
Saturday, December 19, 2020

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635

GPS 31.034824, -83.096725

ARWT: Banks Lake is part of the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: Continue reading

Please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1: dedicate fees to their stated purpose

Update 2020-10-07: On Steve Nichols radio show, with video.

Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.

[Six cities and counties for Amendment 1]
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.

There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.

Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.

Amendment 1 on the ballot

This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Please vote YES.

Addition to Georgia law

Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading

Alapaha River good water quality at Berrien Beach and Lakeland Boat Ramp, also Withlacoochee 2020-09-12

Update 2020-09-16: Bad lower Suwannee, good Withlacoochee and Alapaha 2020-09-14.

Results look good from the Alapaha River Saturday, at Berrien Beach and Lakeland Boat Ramp. Florida Thursday Withlacoochee River results corroborate the WWALS State Line results of that same Thursday we reported last time, and extend them downstream into Florida, also good.

However, more than half an inch of rain fell on Okapilco Creek Thursday, 0.75″ at Spence Field east of Moultrie, and also 0.6″ at Dixie in the west of Brooks County. Is that enough to wash some manure into the creek? We shall see.

[Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers

Berrien Beach

After the Berrien Beach Boat Ramp (and Beach) cleanup, I collected a sample at Continue reading

Pictures: Berrien Beach Boat Ramp Cleanup 2020-09-12

Nine people collected 304 pounds of trash at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp in Berrien County, Georgia, and at Berrien Beach in Lanier County, downstream across the river.

[Boat Ramp, Berrien Beach, bags of trash, bottles]
Boat Ramp, Berrien Beach, bags of trash, bottles

We got a picture with banners early before anybody left, and more later, with the trash and the beautiful Alapaha River. See also the real trash problem, the companies that make it.

[Before]
Before
Photo: John S. Quarterman, L-r: Dan Phillips, Dylan Phillips, Bret Wagenhorst, Bobby McKenzie, Shirley Kokidko, Cindy Leighton, Becky Garber, Donald Roberson.

WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst handed out t-shirts from the Georgia statewide Rivers Alive program, from our last cleanup near this location, Continue reading

Pitcher plants, GA 31, Grand Bay –Gretchen Quarterman on WCTV 2020-08-21

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.

Amber Spradley, WCTV, at GA 31 and Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA), August 22, 2020, GDOT discovers rare plants ahead of road project,

[Clockwise: Amber Spradley, Gretchen Quarterman, potted pitcher plants, Hooded Pitcher Plants]
Clockwise: Amber Spradley, Gretchen Quarterman, potted pitcher plants, Hooded Pitcher Plants

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

Banners at Banks Lake: no paddle in rain 2020-07-05

Rained out: Banks Lake Full Buck Moon Paddle last Sunday.

[Shelby Miller, banners, two attendees]
Shelby Miller, banners, two attendees

Expedition leader Shelby Miller, pictured on the left, called it off at the on-water time, because of more rain coming and chance of lightning on the Banks Lake. There’s another picture with four more people. And, other than me, Shelby, and Shirley Kokidko, that’s all that showed. Quite a few people had said they were coming, several of them reserving boats, but they all cancelled, due to intermittent rain all day.

Don’t worry; we’ll go again next full moon, which is Monday, August 3, 2020.

And meanwhile, come on down to Dowling Park Boat Ramp on the Suwannee River on Saturday July 18, 2020, for Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp, Suwannee River, 2020-07-18.

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Next outings: Full Moon Banks Lake and Suwannee River Camping

Tired of being cooped up inside? Want to get out on the water? WWALS has two outings coming up with plenty of room for physical distancing.

First is an easy evening lake paddle out and back, then overnight camping with a brief upstream paddle.

[Moonrise and River Camp]
Moonrise and River Camp

Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle 2020-07-05

Come see the sun set, the bats come out, and the moon rise over Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, Georgia, on Sunday evening, July 5, in the Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle, If you don’t have a boat, let us know, and we can supply you one. Please be there by 7:30 PM. See previous post for more details.

Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp 2020-07-18

Experience one of the fabled River Camps on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, in Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp. Five screened sleeping platforms! (Bring a tent if you don’t get one reserved.) Air-conditioned bathrooms with hot and cold running water and showers!

Please be at the Dowling Park Boat Ramp by Continue reading

Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle, 2020-07-05

Update 2020-07-07: Rained out.

The July Full Buck Moon will rise over Banks Lake a few minutes before three quarters of an hour after the sun sets, as we paddle leisurely on the lake.

Since there’s no shuttle on this outing, we can all stay 6 feet apart on land 10 feet apart on the water.

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is in the Grand Bay–Banks Lake ecosystem. We usually see birds, bats and alligators. Sunsets are usually spectacular, and the full moon over the tree tops reflected in the lake is a sight to see.

When: Gather 7:30 PM, launch 7:50 PM, Sunday, July 5, 2020.

Moon and sun: Sunset 8:40 PM, Moonrise 8:31 PM
Sunset 8:39 PM, Moonrise 9:26 PM

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.035097, -83.097045

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members, optional during this virus pandemic period. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

[Cypress and boats]
Cypress and boats on Banks Lake Flower Storm Moon Paddle 2020-06-05.

Continue reading

Gator and bats, sunset, no moon, at Banks Lake 2020-06-05

About 35 paddlers saw bats as the sun set over Banks Lake.

[Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader]
Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader

Thanks to WWALS Outings Committee Chair and Board Member Bobby McKenzie, for organizing and leading this outing.

The moon hid behind clouds, but some of us saw a little gator as we started out. I think Helen Crowley spotted it. Continue reading