Tag Archives: Lowndes County

Why Withlacoochee River floodplain deannexation from Valdosta? @ GLPC 2021-07-26 2021-07-26

Valdosta should not deannex 310 acres of Withlacoochee River floodplain around Cherry Creek. No good reason for deannexation has been given by the applicant, and there are substantial reasons to be concerned about potential uses of that land if deannexed. Instead, Valdosta and Lowndes County should purchase the entire 530.24 acre property down to the Withlacoochee River to add to a trails system up and down the Withlacoochee River. The advisory Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) at its meeting this Monday should recommend against annexation, and then the Valdosta Mayor and Council should deny.

I am sending a letter to that effect today to Valdosta City Planner Matt Martin, and I recommend you do, as well: mlmartin@valdostacity.com

[Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River]
Public land and Uvalde Land Trust Deannexation request, Withlacoochee River

That deannexation is on the GLPC agenda for this Monday, July 26, 2021. The only land access to the property is through the City of Valdosta, and since that whole area of the river has extensive flood plain and little road access, Lowndes County cannot provide public utilities, fire/police protection, or emergency medical response across the river to the subject property, as the City Planner points out in the agenda sheet. The landowner’s stated purpose would be better served by the property remaining inside the city limits: “to use for wildlife management, and rec. use as it is in a mitgation bank & has no development use.” The City Planner even recommends annexing the rest of the subject property into the city, down to the river. Continue reading

Water Trail signs planted 2021-05-21

Bobby McKenzie has been busy planting water trail signs, both road signs and at-water signs. All these signs were paid for by a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). There was a cash match, so if you want to help with that, you can:
https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwalswatertrailsigns

[Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford's Landings]
Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford’s Landings

Little River

Kinard Bridge Road Landing

We bought road signs from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). GDOT is planting road signs on state and federal highways, but WWALS has to put them on county roads, like Kinard Bridge Road. There are two sets of road signs for each location, for each direction. In this case, for Kinard Bridge Road Landig, the most upstream landing on the Little River in the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Continue reading

Owen Smith Cemetery near Boys Ranch, Hahira, GA 2021-04-26

This is the family cemetery of an early settler family. Starting in 1835, Owen Smith owned land on both sides of the Withlacoochee River and east to Cat Creek and at least briefly across that, too, totalling more than 3,000 acres, according to the Wiregrass Region Digital History Project. It is called the Owen Smith Cemetery by FindaGrave.com.

[Iron fence, 14:31:07, 31.0265649, -83.2880907]
Iron fence, 14:31:07, 31.0265649, -83.2880907

Or earlier, since according to the apparently well-documented Smith-Gray-Dupree family tree on ancestry.com, Owen Smith married Jemima K. Mathis in Lowndes County, Georgia. They were not original settlers, since Lowndes County was established by the Georgia General Assembly in 1825, but they were apparently the first settler holders of much of that land.

The tallest remaining headstone is for Jemima Mathis Smith. The broken one near it was apparently Owen Smith’s. He was born 26 February 1810 in Columbus, North Carolina, died in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 8 September 1901. Continue reading

Hutchinson Mill Pond 2020-12-10

What’s upstream on Hutchinson Mill Creek, which joins the Withlacoochee River just upstream (north) of Hagan Bridge on GA 122 in Lowndes County, Georgia?

[Spillway, Hutchinson Pond, 16:22:31, 31.0554820, -83.3514000]
Spillway, Hutchinson Pond, 16:22:31, 31.0554820, -83.3514000

Hutchinson Pond, in Cook County on Caulie Harris Road, presumably at the site of Hutchinson Mill Pond. Continue reading

2020 ANNUAL REPORT, Lowndes County Impaired Streams Monitoring 2020-04-07

Some good news: “Low level mercury levels are well below acute standards at all sampling points.”

Some bad news: “fecal coliform sampling results indicated all sampling points exceeded water quality standards for the June and September sampling events.”

[Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek]
Cover, Franks Creek and Mud Creek

That’s in the 2020 ANNUAL REPORT from Lovell Enginnering Associates to Lowndes County for its Impaired Streams Monitoring project that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) required the county to do.

Thanks to Lowndes County Engineer Mike Fletcher for sending this report in response to a WWALS open records request. I don’t know why Lowndes County did not publish this report themselves. Maybe they did, and I just haven’t found it online yet.

Working through this data, so far it seems that Franks Creek, which comes down west of Hahira to the Little River, shows spikes in Fecal coliform after rains. Those spikes usually occur downstream of Hahira’s wastewater treatment facility. Continue reading

VDT on Mayor’s Paddle

This one went well. Next year we’ll call it something like the Mayor and Chairman’s paddle. Thanks to everyone who came for supporting WWALS outings and advocacy.

[Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall]
Troupville Boat Ramp, WWTP Outfall; Photos: John S. Quarterman

Down the River: Mayor’s Paddle back on track, Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, 29 March 2021,

VALDOSTA — Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and 40-plus city and Lowndes County residents gathered Saturday for a three-hour trip down the Withlacoochee River.

The Mayor’s Paddle is a fundraiser and kayaking experience that started in 2020 via a partnership with WWALS Watershed Coalition. “Last year, we formed it just to have a conversation with the cities and municipalities to our south, and to anybody who loved the river here,” Matheson said. “It was our way of saying we’re fully and only committed to keeping this waterway clean and useful for everybody in the area.”

WWALS also partners with Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for the Banks Lake Full Moon paddles.

We partner with Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB) for the BIG Little River Paddle Race, coming up April 24, 2021, at Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, and FORB actually does about half the work on that one.

You could say we partner with the downstream Florida counties in advocating that they should be paid back by Valdosta for the expense they’ve gone to in well and river water quality testing since Valdosta’s December 2019 record sewage spill.

We didn’t have many participants from Florida or elsewhere this time. Maybe we’ll have to do another paddle downstream in Florida for that.

Meanwhile, thanks to The Langdale Company for access at Spook Bridge and at the lunch stop. Continue reading

Valdosta meeting, Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2021-04-15

Meeting in the most populous city in its region, on tax day 2021, the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council. Worth attending. 9:45 AM, Thursday, April 15, 2021, Valdosta City Hall Annex, Suite # 206, 300 N Lee St. Valdosta, GA 31601.

[Notice, Region and Assessment]
Notice, Region and Assessment

Georgia’s water councils are nothing like Florida’s Water Management Districts. The Georgia councils have no ability to tax or fine, and no staff. Their appointed and unpaid members just plan, with assistance from GA-EPD staff and some consultants. Continue reading

Ray City and Lakeland wastewater permits, plus Moody AFB

Update 2021-04-02: Ray City sewage spill in Berrien Press 2021-03-24.

Ray City and Lakeland, Georgia, have wastewater permits, and have never had a spill appear in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report since 2015. That’s impressive, since pretty much everything else around them in Georgia has spilled at one time or another. Moody Air Force Base, for example, made statewide and national news for spilling PFAS firefighting chemicals from this wastewater plant and from other locations on base.

[Ray City, Lakeland, both + Moody AFB, WTP maps]
Ray City, Lakeland, both + Moody AFB, WTP maps
in the WWALS map of All Public Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

Ray City WPCP is towards the upper left of the map, about 8.4 creek miles upstream from the Withlacoochee River. Cat Creek reaches the river a bit downstream of Franklinville Landing, towards the lower left.

Moody AFB WPCP is to the right of Franklinville Landing on the map, on Beatty Branch, which in about a mile runs into Cat Creek, a few thousand feet upstream of the Withlacoochee River. currently operated by Lowndes County. See http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=17140.

Lakeland WPCP is towards the right of the map, in the north edge of Lakeland, less than two creek miles upstream from where Big Creek 00311363 reaches the Alapaha River between Pafford’s Landing and Burnt Church Landing.

We have to use a number in the creek name to Continue reading

More contamination after big rains, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-04

As usual, the big rains washed more contamination into the Withlacoochee River, most likely mostly down Okapilco Creek from cattle in Brooks County, Georgia.

However, since the rains were Monday and Tuesday, by the time Madison Health and WWALS tested Thursday, much of it had already started washing downstream. By Thursday it appears to have already been flushed down to the state line and beyond by more rainwater. By now it’s probably down into the Suwannee River, where it may well have been diluted by even more rainwater coming down the Alapaha and Suwannee Rivers.

So above the state line the Withlacoochee is probably OK to boat, swim, and fish this weekend. It may even be safe below the state line by Saturday morning, although we have no data on that.

[Last week, Swim Guide, this week]
Last week, Swim Guide, this week

So on Swim Guide I’ve set red from the state line down into Florida, yet green at Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps, as well as green for Valdosta’s readings upstream Monday before the rains.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

The 3,784 cfu/100 mL E. coli Madison Health got at Florida 6 Thursday is far higher than the 1,000 alert limit. But a year ago on Thursday, March 5, 2020, Madison Health got TNTC (Too Numerous To Count) at all three of State Line, Sullivan Launch, and Florida 6. Plus that Friday Valdosta got 4,600 at the state line and 25,000 at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. So there is still ample room for improvement, but it’s possible that the Best Management Practices (BMPs) the Brooks County dairies have been implementing are starting to work. Continue reading

WWALS booth at Azalea Festival, Valdosta, GA 2021-03-13-14

Come back to Drexel Park to help WWALS celebrate spring with 30,000 of our south Georgia and north Florida friends, at the Azalea Festival in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. We will have information about our outings and advocacy (yes, including Valdosta wastewater), the new Water Trail brochures, and pictures for sale Gretchen took of our rivers, plus a kayak raffle.

Things will be a little different this year: “The Azalea Festival is a 100% all outdoor event. Patrons are encouraged to socially distance and wear masks.”

When: 10AM-6PM Saturday 13 March 2021
10AM-3:30PM Sunday 14 March 2021

Volunteer: If you are a WWALS member and you have had both vaccinations against COVID-19, we could use some help at the WWALS booth.

Where: Drexel Park, 1401 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA, 31601
30.846771, -83.285066
That’s east across Patterson from VSU and north of Brookwood Drive.
It is on One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek, then the Withlacoochee River, the Suwannee River, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Drexel Park is upstream of Wainwright Drive, where WWALS did a cleanup in November 2017, and Valdosta spilled 218,075 gallons of raw sewage in 2019, as well as other years. You can help with cleanups or water quality testing.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Booth, children, kayak]
Booth, children, kayak
Photos: John S. Quarterman, of WWALS at Azalea Festival 2019.

Schedule: Continue reading