Tag Archives: river

Levy County sand mine proposal tabled until February 6 2023-12-05

According to local citizens and WCJB 20 ABC TV, yesterday the Levy County Commission failed to decide on the proposed special exception, even though the meeting went on for more than six hours.

[Levy County Commission failed to decide if sand mine trucks could head for cows]
Levy County Commission failed to decide if sand mine trucks could head for cows

This is about the proposed Special Exception for the 3RT Sand Mine.

Next it will be back at the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, 9 AM, Tuesday, February 6, 2024, in the Levy County Government Center Auditorium, 310 School Street, Bronson, FL 32621.

Meanwhile, you can still Continue reading

Transitioning to 2026 for Right to Clean Water in Florida

Yesterday, December 5, 2023, the Florida campaign for Right to Clean Water announced a temporary setback won’t stop RTCW:

Apparently, the many obstacles put into place against grassroots citizen initiatives have proven successful for the Florida Legislature this time. Despite over 100 active volunteers working toward this common need, we fell short of the number of signed petitions we needed to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

What we WERE able to achieve, by all accounts and professional assessments, is pretty amazing:

Over 100,000 petitions signed, statewide awareness, cross-partisan support, tourism and business support, support from fishing and faith communities, etc.

All thanks to you and your help in spreading the word and sharing the call to action. We are grateful. Especially for all our ambassadors and supporting organizations who have spent so many hours out there, in the Florida heat, not just collecting signatures, but SPREADING THE WORD that there’s finally a solution to our state’s systemic problems in water protection.

[RTCW FL 2026]
RTCW FL 2026

Press Release Campaign update:

We have temporarily halted actively collecting petitions and are in the process of ensuring every single signed form is properly processed to the correct county Supervisor of Elections for final validation, by December 31st.

During this time, Continue reading

Sewage spills: Ashburn, GA, Live Oak, FL 2023-12-01

Live Oak, Florida, was much faster in reporting its Friday sewage spill than was Ashburn, Georgia, in reporting its Sunday-before-last spill.

Probably neither of these spills had any noticeable effect on the nearby Little or Suwannee Rivers, and certainly not on the far-downstream Withlacoochee River.

For more about WWALS water quality testing, see https://wwals.net/issues/testing.

[Ashburn, GA, and Live Oak, FL, sewage spills]
Ashburn, GA, and Live Oak, FL, sewage spills

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 2,000 gallons on November 19, reported on November 28, into Ashburn Branch, which ends up in the Little River far upstream from Tifton. Continue reading

Winner of the VIBE Sea Ghost 130 kayak raffle 2023-11-27

Monday at Banks Lake before we paddled, we drew the winner of the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. It retails for $1,300, but was used only once by Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson before he gave it to WWALS. It comes with paddle, seat, and rudder.

We raffled it for $10 donation per ticket.

[Kayak, drawing, the winner]
Kayak, drawing, the winner

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman had put all the tickets in a box, yes, including the online tickets, which she transcribed onto paper tickets.

WWALS Board Member Kimberly Godden Tanner took the tickets out of envelopes for the places they were donated, such as Alapaha Station Celebration, Florida Folk Festival, various outings, and the WWALS River Revue, plus two more got tickets minutes before. Continue reading

Okefenokee season, fall 2023

Apparently it’s Okefenokee season this fall, with resolutions for the Swamp and against the proposed strip mine, when Clinch County also reserved cash match for a Dark Sky Observatory, one of three natural resources economy projects around the Swamp. There is some movement on listing the Refuge as a UNESCO World Heritage Site including an art auction dinner in Brunswick. Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties held their first-ever collaboration, Okefenokee Gateway Getaway. There were dinners and paddles at all three entrances to the Swamp, including a WWALS paddle to camp at Floyds Island, the most remote spot in Georgia, with people from Miami, Alabama, South Carolina, and Atlanta, and a Georgia Water Coalition panel attended by Suwannee Riverkeeper.

You can still help stop the proposed titanium dioxide strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp:

[Collage of Okefenokee season, fall 2023]
Collage of Okefenokee season, fall 2023

In August, Echols and Clinch Counties passed resolutions for the Swamp and against the proposed titanium dioxide mine. When DeKalb County passed a resolution in November, it mentioned those, and a previous resolution by Waycross and Ware County. Continue reading

Pictures: Arriving Floyd’s Island, Okefenokee Swamp 2023-11-04

Update 2023-11-19: Floyds Island 1838, Hebard Cabin 1925, Okefenokee Swamp 1925-01-01.

Alligators and pitcher plants on the Suwannee River to Floyds Island, logging railroad, Indian mound, and tents there, and somebody fell over in a chair.

[IG: Collage, SCFSP to Floyds Island, Okefenokee Swamp, 2023-11-04]
IG: Collage, SCFSP to Floyds Island, Okefenokee Swamp, 2023-11-04

People came to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge from as far away as Miami, Alabama, South Carolina, Savannah, and Atlanta, as well as from Williston, White Springs, Pearson, Douglas, and Hahira.

Thanks to Shirley Kokidko for organizing, and for Randy Madison for leading when Shirley could not go. Continue reading

Scotti and Sara Jay discovered One Mile Branch fish kill, leading to GA-EPD Consent Order 2023-09-23

Thanks to Scotti Jay Jones for discovering and photographing a fish kill on One Mile Branch a year ago, and for taking water quality samples. Thanks to Sara Jay Jones for plating those samples. Suwannee Riverkeeper reported all that to GA-EPD.

One year later, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD), levied a Consent Order on the City of Valdosta for that fish kill and various sewage spills.

[IG: Sara and Scotti Jay Jones, the GA-EPD Consent Order, location map, and fish kill]
IG: Sara and Scotti Jay Jones, the GA-EPD Consent Order, location map, and fish kill

Maybe that Consent Order and its requirements for Standard Operating Procedures will help prevent sewage spills from getting into One Mile Branch, Hightower Creek, and Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, as well as into Knights Creek into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River. There have also been many personnel changes in the Valdosta City government, and the current Acting Utilities Director so far seems like a big improvement.

And you can join Scotti and Sara and WWALS at Iche Nippy Dip Day Swim and Paddle, Ichetucknee River, Ichetucknee Headspring, 2024-01-06.

Below are links and snippets for previous WWALS blog posts during that year. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2023-11-09

Update 2023-11-17: Mostly clean Withlacoochee River 2023-11-16.

The rivers were still clean, in yet another week with no rain: the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers. Even famously filthy Crawford Branch was clean. However, notoriously dirty Sugar Creek was dirty, but it did not seem to affect the Withlacoochee River much.

No rain is predicted for this weekend.

In the last week, no new sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

So happy swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-09]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide Map 2023-11-09

Heather Brasell got good results for Continue reading

Georgia Conservationists meet in Waycross to protect the Okefenokee from mining 2023-11-10

“Beyond Trail Ridge, cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin value the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River, and are passing resolutions supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and legislation protecting it, including the City of Valdosta and Clinch and Echols Counties,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.


The Georgia Water Coalition hosted its Fall Member meeting in Waycross November 8—10, 2023. Conservationists from around the state learned more about the Okefenokee and how to protect it from risky mining operations.

Attendees toured the Okefenokee Swamp Park, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and the St. Marys River. During the member meeting at South Georgia State College, Georgia Water Coalition members learned about how mining proposals along Trail Ridge threaten the Okefenokee.

[Boats and inside]
Mike Worley, CEO, Georgia Wildlife Federation welcomes Georgia Water Coalition members at the Okefenokee Swamp Park, and inside Okefenokee NWR Manager Michael Lusk, Alice Keys of One Hundred Miles, St. Marys Riverkeeper Emily Floore, Local resident Charlene McIntosh Carter of Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins and Campground, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Photo: Southwings.

“The Okefenokee touches everyone that touches its dark waters,” Continue reading

Sand Mine Special Exception Levy County Commission 2023-12-05

It’s back: the proposed Special Exception for the 3RT Sand Mine.

This time it will be at the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, 9 AM, Tuesday, December 5, 2023, in the Levy County Government Center Auditorium, 310 School Street, Bronson, FL 32621.

[Cows, mining trucks, and Public Notice]
Cows, mining trucks, and Public Notice

Meanwhile, you can still sign on to this change.org opposition petition by Kim Wheeler:

And you can send written comments up to five days before the Public Hearing; see below.

The mine site is still in the springshed of Rainbow Springs.

You may not think that these are enough: Continue reading