Tag Archives: river

High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04

Expedition leader Will Hart says about tomorrow’s paddle from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park on the Withlacoochee River,

“Water levels are higher now than expected when the outing was planned. All of the springs and shoals will be under water at this level, however we are still on to paddle. The river will also be a bit murky with some floating debris due to runoff from the woods. At these levels it is considered “not for beginners” due to the current and fast flow.

“It will also be a little strenuous paddling up the last 1/4 mile at the Suwannee River confluence at this level.”

If you don’t want to try that last quarter mile upstream part, there is an earlier takeout available.

[Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03]
Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03

Follow this link for the rest of the outing details:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Videos: Valdosta trash on the Withlacoochee River 2022-12-17

Update 2023-01-26: Valdosta needs more trash traps, but can’t expect volunteers to clean them 2023-01-26.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman interviewed Russell Allen McBride on a cold winter’s day on another WWALS Withlacoochee River Cleanup from Knights Ferry to Nankin Boat Ramps.

[Floating trash jam and banners 2022-12-17]
Floating trash jam and banners 2022-12-17

Many of us eight volunteers recognized the trash as having the same brand names as what we frequently find in Sugar Creek, Hightower Creek, One Mile Branch, Two Mile Branch, and Three Mile Branch in Valdosta. Beer cans, plastic bottles, and, worst of all, styrofoam, which breaks into small pieces that wildlife eat and cannot digest.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:

Continue reading

Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26

Thank you, Lowndes County Commission, and all the opposition speakers and writers, for this win written up in the local newspaper of record.

This win keeps some trash out of the Withlacoochee River, upstream from Valdosta and Florida, while stopping a foothold for further development too close to the river, avoiding clearcutting, impervious surface, and the flooding that would have caused.

Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, January 26, 2023, County nixes planned Dollar General,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County residents felt heard as a contentious zoning request for a rural Dollar General was denied by the Lowndes County Commission.

[Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River]
Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River

Teramore Development, the retail real estate company behind the request, petitioned to rezone three acres of the 35-acre property from Estate Agricultural to Crossroads Commercial.

Continue reading

Agenda: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2023-01-26

Update 2023-01-26: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26.

Tonight I will ask them to take up Valdosta trash as an issue like they previously successfully took up Valdosta sewage.

I will ask them to oppose the proposed titanium strip mine and to support the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and the Floridan Aquifer.

And I will ask them to ask SRWMD and SJRWMD to add a water budget and constraints on water withdrawals to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP).

[When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Now I am composing a letter to send them before the meeting. Continue reading

HPS II withdraws phosphate mining application from Bradford County, Florida 2023-01-19

After many years of massive opposition, HPS II Thursday withdrew its application for a phosphate mine “without the County taking any formal action on it.”

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

Union County, where HPS II also wanted to mine, rejected its application there, changed the Union County Comprehensive Plan to limit mining, and, with the assistance of Alachua County, maintained legal defense against the mine, until HPS II dropped its lawsuit last June.

So it seems safe to finally say the HPS II phosphate mine is dead.

Congratulations to all the opponents, especially Bradford Environmental Forum, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club, and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it drains ito the New River and the Santa Fe River in the Suwannee River Basin, above the Floridan Aquifer. Update 2023-01-24: Added detail. Our opposition has included attending demonstrations, speaking at County Commission meetings in Union and Bradford Counties, writing letters to those Commissions, organizing Southwings small plane overflights of the mine site with opposition members from Union County and OSFR, publishing photographs from such overflights, attending coordination meetings as far away as Tampa, and attending nationwide meetings against phosphate mining. See https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/. In December 2018, the first official action of the newly-formed Waterkeepers Florida was a a Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida.

HPS II withdrawing their rezoning application does raise questions about where phosphate miners will aim next. Continue reading

Public Comment on land use plan for titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp –GA-EPD 2023-01-19

GA-EPD is providing more public comment opportunity than it has been promising for the past year. It has opened a comment period on Twin Pines Minerals Mining Land Use Plan, after which it will do what it previously promised: issue a draft permit and open a comment period on that.

You can object now to that titanium dioxide strip mine for white paint far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and sits above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida. You can email or paper mail your comments, or join one of two zoom webinars.

The comment deadline is 60 days after the notice of yesterday, so apparently Monday, March 20, 2023.

[Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012]
Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012

The Twin Pines Minerals Draft Mining Land Use Plan and Associated Documents for Public Comment are on the GA-EPD website, and also on the WWALS website.

Here is the public notice: Continue reading

Valdosta litter reports: and then what? 2023-01-06

Absentee landlords are letting trash get into Valdosta streets and creeks. What is the City of Valdosta doing about it?

Somebody named Gary McMillan reported two Litter issues on December 6, 2022 and January 6, 2023 through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix app. Both locations are slighlty uphill from One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, upstream from the proposed Troupville Nature Park.

[Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map]
Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map

City Marshalls in each case said they did something, which is good. But they closed out each ticket before reporting the actual outcome.

Both properties are owned by absentee landlords, who also own many other lots throughout Valdosta.

It’s time for the City of Valdosta to enforce its trash ordinances on property owners, especially absentee landlords.

Gary McMillan reported issue 13786041 on December 6, 2022:

Large amount of litter along Baytree Dr. and Jo Ree St. Some trash/litter is associated with a spilling bag of garbage. Much is not associated with the bag, but is typical of this neighborhood.
Continue reading

Pictures: Statenville & Sasser Cleanup, Alapaha River 2023-01-07

We took advantage of a rapidly warming winter day to clean up two Alapaha River Water Trail boat ramps Statenville in Georgia, and Sasser in Florida.

Thanks to Echols County, Georgia, Bailiff Bill Rogers and four probationers for cleaning up before we even got to Statenville Boat Ramp, and for disposing of the trash. We moved along pretty quickly.

Two of our number stayed behind to boat downstream a bit from Statenville and bring trash back up.

[Statenville, Sasser, trash, banners 2023-01-07]
Statenville, Sasser, trash, banners 2023-01-07

The rest of us went on down to Sasser Landing, near Jennings, Florida. I asked a Hamilton County Deputy where we could take that trash, and he said in the dumpster at the jail in Jasper.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped clean up, to Will Hart for leading this outing, to Amy Meyers, Suzy Hall, and Russell Allen McBride for pictures, and to Bobby McKenzie for hauling the Sasser trash to the jail. Russell remarked that most of the Sasser trash was from illegal dumping.

I noted that the Alapaha River was in general much cleaner than the Withlacoochee, and lacking the obvious signatures of Valdosta trash: for example we found no Zacadoo’s in the Alapaha. Continue reading

Agenda: WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2023-01-08

Here is the agenda, as well as the zoom parameters, for the WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting, WWALS President Sara Jay presiding, January 8, 2023. The public is invited.


One tap mobile: +13092053325,,89308028204#,,,,*392346#

[Three-page agenda 2023-01-08]
Three-page agenda 2023-01-08

We will be discussing Continue reading

Lowndes County buys Troupville land for Nature Park and River Camp 2022-12-30

Suwannee Riverkeeper features in the image the Valdosta Daily Times used with the story.

County acquires Troupeville[sic] land for nature reserve, By Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, Dec 30, 2022,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County is doing its part to preserve nature with the purchase of 71.47 acres of land between the Little River Confluence and the Withlacoochee River.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper banner at a Troupville cleanup. Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter is second from right, back row. WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman is by the left end of the banner.]
Suwannee Riverkeeper banner at a Troupville cleanup.
Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter is second from right, back row.
WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman is by the left end of the banner.

The county purchased the land from Between the Rivers LLC. for $121,500 with the intention of setting it aside as a nature preserve. The Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreation Authority owns the land between that property and Highway 133.

In her letter to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board of Trustees, sixth generation owner and property seller Helen Tapp spoke of Continue reading