Tag Archives: south Georgia

All WWALS water trails navigable according to GA HB 1397 2024-02-22

Update 2024-02-25: Need to add Sugar Creek, as well as Cat Creek and Franks Creek.

Following up on the December 2023 report of the Fishing Rights Study Committee, that Committee’s Chair, Rep. Burchett of Waycross, who is also the House Majority Whip, this Thursday introduced HB 1397, which defines navigable streams in Georgia.

[Warrior Creek, Okapilco Creek, Deep Creek, Bird Wing Run]
Warrior Creek, Okapilco Creek, Deep Creek, Bird Wing Run

The bill’s list appears to include all of Georgia parts of the WWALS water trails, plus some creeks and an upstream reach of the Alapaha River.

However, the entire Alapahoochee River is missing, https://wwals.net/maps/alapaha-water-trail/arwt-map/arwt-points/#ga-376-bridge, as is the East Fork of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp. The North Fork of the Suwannee River is missing, but it’s so overgrown that’s not surprising.

Considering the inclusion of Okapilco Creek, the bill needs to add Sugar Creek below Baytree Road, which is a nice urban creek with a beach and shoals, https://wwals.net/?p=56221 with the WaterGoat trash trap, https://wwals.net/?p=63876 and will be used this coming Saturday, March 2, as the early takeout for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. https://wwals.net/?p=64095

Similarly, the bill could add add Cat Creek below GA 37 and Franks Creek below GA 122. That would help with finding and fixing E. coli problems seen at bridges on those creeks. WWALS has already started investigating those creek problems and has applied for a testing grant. https://wwals.net/?p=58982

These are the bill’s items in the Suwannee River Basin. If I’ve missed any, somebody let me know. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers and Franks Creek 2024-02-21

We got good results for Wednesday for the Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, and Suwannee Rivers, and Franks Creek.

Valdosta’s recent upstream Withlacoochee River results through Monday are good. Although I recently remarked that Valdosta was better lately about posting its results in a timely manner, Valdosta’s Wednesday results are still not posted.

The rain predicted for yesterday turned out to be a drizzle. No more rain is predicted for a week.

So if you like high, fast, and cold water, this weekend is good for paddling. Maybe fishing. Swimming with a wetsuit.

However, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers are up from previous upstream rains. The Santa Fe River is coming back down. The Suwannee was never especially high. I’d recommend the Ichetucknee, Suwannee, or Santa Fe Rivers for this weekend, or Banks Lake this evening. Continue reading

Ribbon cutting for Water Quality Testing Lab at Valdosta Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant 2024-03-05

Update 2024-02-24: Clean Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers and Franks Creek 2024-02-21.

With this new testing lab, will Valdosta resume testing downstream at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State LIne on the Withlacoochee River, and a US 84 on Okapilco Creek?

Meanwhile, with the current head of Utilities, Valdosta is more timely in posting its upstream water quality results.

[WWTP in WLRWT and Valdosta Utilities]
WWTP in WLRWT and Valdosta Utilities

Received yesterday.

PRESS RELEASE
DATE: Thursday, February 22, 2024
CONTACT: Sharah’ Denton, Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Telephone: (229) 259-3548
sdenton@valdostacity.com

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Withlacoochee Lab Facility

The City of Valdosta is pleased to announce the inauguration of its new Withlacoochee (WPCP) Lab Facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for March 5 at 10 am. The event will take place at the plant’s location, 3182 Wetherington Lane.

Continue reading

Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12

Update 2024-02-23: Ribbon cutting for Water Quality Testing Lab at Valdosta Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant 2024-03-05.

A major spill takes 10,000 gallons, so Tifton spilled less than that at 7,000 gallons, making it a minor spill.

[Tifton Golden Road 7,000-gallon sewage spill into Little River 2024-02-12]
Tifton Golden Road 7,000-gallon sewage spill into Little River 2024-02-12

According to the February 19, 2024, GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, this Tifton spill happened February 12, due to power failure.

Tifton, like Ashburn, may want to invest in some backup generators.

The location given by GA-EPD is 803 E. Golden Road, into “Gum Creek”.

[803 Golden Road, Tifton, Spill of 2024-02-12 in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-02-19]
803 Golden Road, Tifton, Spill of 2024-02-12 in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-02-19

That address is just west of the Golden Road Lift Station that has been the location of previous spills, including:

The excuse each time was power failure or equipment failure. Continue reading

Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20

Update 2024-02-22: Tifton 7,000-gallon sewage spill, Golden Road above Little River 2024-02-12.

This Tuesday, February 20, 2024, we learned of two small Valdosta sewage spills, each 100 gallons. That’s not enough to get down the creeks to affect the Withlacoochee River, but enough to stink up the neighborhood.

[Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20]
Map, Boone Drive & Knob Hill 100-gallon sewer spills, Valdosta, GA, 2024-02-20

One was on Boone Drive at Baytree Road, next to Valdosta State University and One Mile Branch, which runs into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

The other was at 215 Knob Hill Road on a ditch that runs into Three Mile Branch at the southeast corner of Langdale Park, then into the Withlacoochee River near the southwest corner of the park. That’s the same location as the much larger January 10 spill.

I learned about the Boone Drive spill when I called Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes Tuesday morning about the Knob Hill spill.

Neither of these spills has yet appeared in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. Jason Barnes says he already sent a report on the Boone Drive spill to EPD, and he will send one soon about the new Knob Hill spill. Continue reading

BIG Little River Paddle Tour, Red Roberts Landing, 2024-04-27

WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst will guide a tour of the Little River from Red Roberts Landing to Reed Bingham State Park Lake. All reservations online in advance, limited to 20 paddlers.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM, end 12 PM, Saturday, April 27, 2024

Put In: Red Roberts Landing, 4727 Rountree Bridge Rd., Adel, GA 31620. River left at Rountree Bridge south of Rountree Bridge Road (CR 251) west of Adel; exit 41 off I-75.

GPS: 31.192222, -83.520333

[BIG Little River Paddle Event, Red Roberts Landing, 2024-04-27, led by Dr. Bret Wagenhorst to Reed Bingham State Park]
BIG Little River Paddle Event, Red Roberts Landing, 2024-04-27, led by Dr. Bret Wagenhorst to Reed Bingham State Park

Last year we saw bald cypress, pond cypress, pines, willow, tupelow, river birch, water oak, primrose, fetterbush, sparkleberry, holly, titi, wild grapevines, native wisteria, lichen, resurrection fern, goldenclub, mistletoe, and blooming Spanish moss. We also saw many turtles, some alligators, and a great blue heron. Continue reading

Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21

As crossover day approaches in the Georgia legislature, events are moving faster about the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

In addition to a mining prohibition bill that has been in the legislature since last year, now there is a fine, draft permits, and two new bills, for increased criminal penalties, and for a mining moratorium (with a big catch).

None of these are likely to stop this specific “demonstration” mine, but some of them could prevent any further such mines.

Crossover day is the day by which a bill has to have been passed by one house to get into the other house. It’s February 29 this year, Thursday of next week.

[Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles]
Okefenokee NationaGl Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles
Map courtesy Prof. Can Denizman and students, Valdosta State University.

Draft Permits

As previously mentioned, On February 9, 2024, GA-EPD published draft permits (surface mining, water withdrawal, and air quality). for the applications by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM) to strip mine for titanium dioxide (TiO2) within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, between Moniac and St. George, Georgia. You have until April 9 to comment, and there is a public online meeting on March 5.

Details here:
https://wwals.net/?p=64142

Consent Orders

Back in January, I was told by a former state legislator that these miners be very careful to avoid infractions, because they had a lot of money riding on their venture. A week later, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) issued a Consent Order on TPM, saying back in 2018 the miners had drilled soil samples without a professional geologist or engineer supervising, as required by state law, and they also failed to provide a letter of credit or a performance bond. TPM “voluntarily” agreed to pay a tiny fine of $20,000. For more details, see Russ Bynum, AP, 24 January 2024, Company seeking to mine near Okefenokee will pay $20,000 to settle environmental violation claims.

This is not the first time TPM has been under a Consent Order. Continue reading

Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21

Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, will give the third WWALS Webinar, about the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers: why we protect it and the proposed strip mine that threatens it, as well as a recent Conservation Fund study.

This webinar will be by zoom, noon-1 PM, Thursday, March 21, 2024.

[Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine --Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar]
Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar

“WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper continue our work to protect the Okefenokee Swamp, 85% of which is in the Suwannee River Basin. We conduct outings for direct exposure, we have gotten city council and county commission resolutions passed, and we talk to Georgia state legislators, while expanding the issue into Florida. But the mine site is in the St. Marys River watershed. So I am very pleased that, since she’s been St. Marys Riverkeeper, Emily Floore has taken a strong position and action to support the Swamp and to oppose the mine,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Register in advance with zoom for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdOmtqzkpGt3UGEP7SDw6JJaAVAPt9d30 Continue reading

Boat Motor Tryouts, Troupville Boat Ramp, Little River 2024-02-18

Successful boat trials at Action Stage on the Little River!

Five of us went down to Troupville Boat Ramp, just west of Valdosta, Georgia, to test out some new boat motors.

[9.9hp outboard and 86lb thrust trolling motor (thanks, Wild Green Future) and jon boat (thanks, Flint Riverkeeper) and Bass Fisher (WWALS)]
9.9hp outboard and 86lb thrust trolling motor (thanks, Wild Green Future) and jon boat (thanks, Flint Riverkeeper) and Bass Fisher (WWALS)

Here’s a WWALS video playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKwQ5xfKf-QznYIX_GRvlK7Rc4P_Ms5DG&si=ll_y4evyoJbmxSgu


Successful boat trials at Action Stage on the Little River!
Videos by John S. Quarterman and Russell Allen McBride for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS).

Thanks to Laura D’Alisera for transfering the new WWALS 9.9hp Mercury fourstroke 20-inch shaft electric start outboard motor ten miles from West Marine in Jacksonville Beach to a shipping location, where Phil Hubbard received it Saturday. Thanks to Wild Green Future (WGF) for the generous grant that bought it.

Sunday evening, Russell Allen McBride, Shawn O’Connor, Bobby McKenzie, and I unboxed it, connected it to its fuel supply, and tried it out. Thanks to Flint Riverkeeper for the jon boat.

With that outboard, the jon boat will indeed go upriver easily under these conditions. It took only ten minutes to haul Russell in his kayak up the third of a mile from the Little River Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Also due to WGF, we received an 85lb-thrust Goplus 8 Speed, 36 inch shaft, trolling motor, two Power Queen LiFePO4 12.8V 100Ah, lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, and a Power Queen 14.6V 10A LiFePO4 Battery Charger. Those we put on the WWALS bass fisher chainsawing boat, plus the old WWALS 40lb-thrust mounted on the front. Shawn and I demonstrated that the new motor alone will push that boat upstream in these conditions, and both motors will troll it upstream at a walking pace. Which is all we need to get back to the ramp from the Confluence during chainsaw cleanups.

You’ve already seen the chainsaw WGF paid for from a week ago, Sugar Creek to Troupville Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-11.

We are awaiting a couple more items via the WGF grant. Stay tuned.

This is more preparation for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Saturday, March 2, 2024, starting at Langdale Park. One hopes that the water level will be well below Sunday’s 148′ NAVD 1988 level, or we may have to reschedule for later.

And also preparation for more chainsaw cleanups on other stretches of this and other rivers.

Next: 9AM Sunday, February 25, 2024, we will take the jon boat from Troupville Boat Ramp down around the Confluence and up the Withlacoochee River to Langdale Park, chainsawing any remaining paddle obstacles along the way. That one will be a bit hard to participate in by paddling.

The day before that, Saturday, February 24, please join us for in the morning for Knights Ferry to Nankin on the Withlacoochee River and in the evening for Banks Lake Full Snow Moon Paddle.

There are more pictures below. Continue reading

Pictures: Sugar Creek to Troupville Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-11

Three of us cleared boating passage between the Sugar Creek WaterGoat on the Withlacoochee River behind the Valdosta YMCA and Wood Valley, around the future Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, past the Little River Confluence, then upstream on the Little River to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Thanks to Phil Hubbard for leading, and his Stihl chainsaw and electric chainsaw, to Shawn O’Connor for using his polesaw.

[Sawing Hurricane and other deadfalls, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River, Troupville Boat Ramp 2024-02-11]
Sawing Hurricane and other deadfalls, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River, Troupville Boat Ramp 2024-02-11

I brought the new Husqvarna 460 Rancher 24-inch chainsaw, paid for through a generous grant by Wild Green Future.

That grant also paid for some other things you will see in the near future. Today at Troupville Boat Ramp, at 4:30 PM, we will be trying out some of those things.

The big deadfall between GA 133 and I-75 was underwater, but there were plenty more to work on.

This is all in preparation for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Saturday, March 2, 2024, starting at Langdale Park.

There are more pictures below.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations

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