Tag Archives: north Florida

Turner Bridge to Cone Bridge Paddle, Suwannee River, 2024-05-18

Join us for a 11.4 mile paddle on the Suwannee River from Turner Bridge to Cone Bridge.

Both ramps are down dirt roads that are usually well maintained. This paddle is appropriate for all levels. Everyone must wear a PFD while on the river. We’ll probably stop along Prospect Church at Hunter Creek for a lunch break.

When: Gather 8:30 AM, launch 9:45 AM, end 3 PM, Saturday, May 18, 2024

Put In: Turner Bridge Ramp, From White Springs, travel north on SE CR 135; cross over SE CR 6 onto NE 180 Boulevard (Woodpecker Route); travel north to NE 38 Trail; turn right and follow road to ramp, in Hamilton County, Florida.

GPS: 30.524333, -82.728167

[Turner Bridge Ramp to, Cone Bridge Road Ramp, Suwannee River, 11.4 miles, 2024-05-18]
Turner Bridge Ramp to, Cone Bridge Road Ramp, Suwannee River, 11.4 miles, 2024-05-18
Note the antique lally columns, which are pillars for a former bridge, made of steel columns filled with concrete. Continue reading

Agendas: WWALS Annual Member Meeting and Quarterly Board Meeting 2024-07-14

Here are the agendas and zoom parameters for the two meetings this evening.

Zoom Registration:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtduCqpjspHtDZFVMrh-7gPdiDKbHFjHCl

WWALS Annual Member Meeting

When: 6 PM, Sunday, July 14, 2024

What: Presentation of Annual Report, and WWALS members elect some board members.

Agenda: 2024-07-14–wwals-annual-member-meeting-agenda.pdf

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

When: 6:30 PM, Sunday, July 14, 2024

What: WWALS Board members elect officers for one year terms, and do the usual board business.

Agenda: 2024-07-14–wwals-quarterly-board-meeting-agenda-no-reports.pdf

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/854738966701213

[The 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin and Estuary in Georgia and Florida --Suwannee Riverkeeper of WWALS]
The 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin and Estuary in Georgia and Florida –Suwannee Riverkeeper of WWALS

WWALS Board members and staff are listed online: Continue reading

FDEP Potable Reuse Workshop 2024-07-15

FDEP has invited all Waterkeepers of Florida to this workshop.

You can attend, too.

[Potable Reuse Workshop 2024-07-15, Florida DEP, Tallahassee and Online, 10 AM EDT]
Potable Reuse Workshop 2024-07-15, Florida DEP, Tallahassee and Online, 10 AM EDT

Workshop Agenda
Monday, July 15, 2024, 10:00 am EDT 
Potable Reuse 

This is a rule development workshop to discuss and receive public input on the development of proposed amendments to portions of Chapters 62-550, 62-555, and 62-610, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and create a new Chapter 62-565, F.A.C. These amendments and new chapter will create a new set of rules for potable reuse. These changes will simplify and clarify existing rule language and establish requirements for potable reuse. Notices of Rule Development were published in 2023 and 2024. Links to those publications can be found on the Water Resource Management rule development information website.

This meeting is open to the public. DEP is hosting this public workshop in person at Bob Martinez Center, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Room 609, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, as well as virtually via GoToWebinar.  To register for the meeting virtually, please visit the following link:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3655798535631207254. Continue reading

Clean Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers except a hot spot near the Suwannee River 2024-07-11

The Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Santa Fe Rivers tested clean, except the Santa Fe at Wanamake (Butler) Ramp, a tenth of a mile up from the Suwannee River.

No sewage spills were reported in the past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida, but in Georgia, Ashburn had yet another spill.

Saturday is supposed to be sunny, and Sunday it might rain late in the day.

So pick a river at a level you like, and happy fishing, swimming, and boating this weekend.

Or join us Saturday morning for Sasser Landing Alapaha River Cleanup, 2024-07-13.

[Clean Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers 2024-07-11, except a hot spot near the Suwannee]
Clean Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe Rivers 2024-07-11, except a hot spot near the Suwannee

The Withlacoochee is in Action Stage at North Valdosta Road (US 41) and upstream, and soon will be at Pinetta. The Santa Fe River is still at rock bottom in several places. Continue reading

Proposed 2,109-acre rezoning for Planned Unit Development in floodplain –City of Chiefland, FL 2024-07-08

The City of Chiefland has an application for a 2,109-acre Planned Unit Development with a 50-year plan for residential, commercial, industrial, and other uses, in an area now zoned as Agricultural / Rural Residential. It is mostly in the floodplain of Long Pond, and upstream of the Suwannee River.

[2,109-acre 50-year PUD rezoning, in Agricultural / Rural Residential Area, Floodplain upstream from Suwannee River, City of Chiefland, FL 2024-07-08]
2,109-acre 50-year PUD rezoning

A development where “when you live in the development you don’t have to leave” is not a bad idea. But the location is unfortunate.

Fortunately, the applicant pulled the agenda item for yesterday’s Chiefland City Commission meeting. Chiefland City Hall told me he would resubmit when he thinks he’s ready. So watch for it reappearing.

Two weeks before, many citizens asked many questions. The minutes for that June 24, 2024, City Commission meeting says a representative of the applicant answered all the questions, but the minutes do not say what the answers were.

The agenda for July 8 also does not say what the answers were.

If you oppose this rezoning, you can use the time to organize before the application re-appears.

You may want to consider joining the public facebook group RURL Residents United for Rural Levy.

Apparently the connection to the Suwannee River may involve an underground section. Continue reading

Trash cans and chain link fence, Flying J Travel Center, I-75 Exit 2, Lake Park, GA 2024-04-16

Lake Octahatchee near Jennings, Florida, benefits from this cleaner detention pond near Lake Park, Georgia.

It took about three years from when a WWALS member reported it in August 2019 until Dennys and the Flying J at I-75 Exit 2 put in a chain link fence and trash cans in July 2022 to keep trash out of a detention pond.

Thanks again to Lowndes County Code Enforcement, its Director Mindy Bates, the Flying J, Dennys, Dynamis, and Deep South Sanitation for this cleanup and apparently permanent solution.

Also, thanks to all for never complaining that this site got reported and Suwannee Riverkeeper kept following up on it, and for never suggesting that we go do the cleanup work or pay for it.

[Trash cans & chain link fence, Flying J, I-75 Exit 2, In watershed of Lake Octahatchee]
Trash cans & chain link fence, Flying J, I-75 Exit 2, In watershed of Lake Octahatchee

When I checked it again this April, it’s still pretty clean, with almost no trash in the detention pond.

I was mistaken about where that water goes, when I last reported on it, saying it went down Deese Tract Creek into the Withlacoochee River upstream from Sullivan Launch.

According to the USGS The National Map, that detention pond is actually in the watershed of Lake Octahatchee, southeast of Belleville Road (Hamilton County NW CR 145). Most of Lake Octahatchee is owned by the private Octahatchee Club, whose members have houses and fish there.

Lake Octahatchee itself is an endorheic lake, also known as a sink lake or a terminal lake. It does not drain to the Withlacooochee River, nor any other river. It just gradually evaporates.

Which means any trash and accompanying food residue that got there from the Flying J would not even wash on downstream. Continue reading

Bad Franks Creek, unknown rivers, after much rain 2024-07-03

Franks Creek at GA 122 west of Hahira tested far too high for E. coli for Wednesday.

And that’s the smallest set of test results we’ve ever had. Due to the Fourth of July holiday, most of the WWALS testers are on holiday, and Valdosta also did not report any results for this week.

[Bad Franks Creek, Unknown Rivers 2024-07-03 After rain with more rain coming]
Bad Franks Creek, Unknown Rivers 2024-07-03 After rain with more rain coming

No sewage spills were reported in the past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida or Georgia.

Since Saturday, there have been as much as 7 inches of rain on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers and 3 or more on the Little River. More rain is predicted this weekend and all week, although mainly in the evening.

The Withlacoochee was in Action Stage Wednesday at Skipper Bridge, and is right now at North Valdosta Road. At US 84, it looks like maybe it has peaked 5 feet below Action Stage. It’s still rising at Pinetta and Lee, although far below Action Stage.

The Santa Fe River did not get much rain, and in many places such as near Fort White is at its low threshold, as is the Ichetucknee River.

If you want little chance of contamination washed in, and don’t mind really low water, try the Santa Fe or the Ichetucknee Rivers.

So pick your desired water level and tolerance for E. coli risk, and go in the morning. Happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend! Continue reading

Suwannee River Basin in a map of 1776

Welcome to the “Great Swamp of Owaquaphenoga whose Highland is inhabited by an Old Apalachean Tribe who keep the Avenue Secret”.

[Rio San Juan, or Siguane 1776, Map of the Southern British Colonies in America]
Rio San Juan, or Seguane 1776, Map of the Southern British Colonies in America

Maybe we can conserve the Okefenokee Swamp so it will be known to all in another 250 years.

The coasts on that old map are not bad, although the scale is off towards Cape St. Blas. I like “Broken Coast,” a name which seems to have fallen out of favor. That’s southeast from the Rio San Juan, or Seguane, which is the Suwannee River.

There is no mention of the Santa Fe, Withlacoochee, or Alapaha Rivers.

Of course, the GA-FL line wasn’t necessarily where it is now until the not-really-complete survey of 1799. The Orr-Whitner line of 1859 was not accepted by FLorida until 1861, by Georgia in 1866, and the U.S. Congress in 1872.

Maybe they got the scale way wrong and the High Land is Floyds Island, Billys Island, etc. in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp.

Or if they got the scale right, Continue reading

Human noise and song birds: WWALS Webinar by Dr. Erin Grabarczyk of VSU 2024-07-11

Ever wonder why there seem to be fewer birds?

According to the VSU Sound Ecology Lab, “Rapid human-driven habitat loss and modification are leading causes of decreased biodiversity and species extinction.”

Dr. Erin Grabarczyk researches some more subtle human effects on birds, “I’m interested in how animals respond to human-generated environmental change. Specifically, my research aims to link the effects of anthropogenic noise on singing behavior, signal transmission, and song perception in song birds, with the goal of connecting each of these in analysis of communication in a social context.”

Dr. Grabarczyk will give a WWALS Webinar at noon, Thursday, July 11, 2024.

[Human noise and song birds, Dr. Erin Grabarczyk of VSU, WWALS Webinar by zoom, Noon-1 PM, Thursday, 2024-07-11]
Human noise and song birds, Dr. Erin Grabarczyk of VSU, WWALS Webinar by zoom, Noon-1 PM, Thursday, 2024-07-11

Register in advance with zoom for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pde-hpj4tEtL4VbpQVvbIBC0zVbBRHKv9

In addition to her research so far, she will mention some new research she is starting in the Suwannee River Basin.

WWALS Board President Sara Jay Jones will give a brief introduction, Dr. Grabarczyk will speak for about 45 minutes, and we will have questions and answers. Continue reading

Federal Railroad Administration 281-page FOIA response on FECR LNG by Rail request 2024-06-07

Update 2024-07-01: LNG by Rail on FECR through Martin County, according to FRA –Cecile Scofield to Martin County, FL BOCC 2024-06-18.

For years we’ve been trying to FOIA information from FRA about FECR’s project to ship liquid natural gas (LNG) by rail through densely-populated areas. After four months, two FOIAs, and further correspondence, we finally got quite a bit.

It confirms in detail much of what Cecile Scofield has been saying for years. LNG liquefaction plants and the railroad are owned by the same company, and there are safety concerns about their plan to ship LNG by rail up and down Florida to export to the world and by land across the U.S.

Yet many important safety details were redacted.

[Fortress Investment Group (FIG) affiliates exporting LNG to the world: Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and New Fortress Energy (NFE)]
Fortress Investment Group (FIG) affiliates exporting LNG to the world: Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and New Fortress Energy (NFE)

FECR’s plan is to ship LNG up and down Florida, out through ports from Miami to Jacksonville, and to ship it all over the U.S. Continue reading