Tag Archives: Sugar Creek

Horrendous water quality at GA 133 & US 84 Wednesday, clean downstream 2020-11-12

Update 2020-11-16: Better now, Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-11-14.

We’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Valdosta got 137,600 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Wednesday at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River. That’s 137 times the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit of 1,000.

That’s far higher than the highest E. coli reading we’ve ever seen for the Withlacoochee River, which was the 39,000 Valdosta got on December 10, 2019, just after its infamous record spill. Which at least makes it unlikely that this contamination is coming from Valdosta.

Even the 85,600 Valdosta got for US 84 Wednesday is higher than that previous record at GA 133, and far above unprecedented for US 84. The previous US 84 record was 1,505 on April 1, after a big rain.

GA 133 is the same place Valdosta keeps finding very high E. coli and Fecal coliform, including 11,600 E. coli Friday a week ago. There has not been any rain. Which makes it very unlikely that this is runoff from farm animals.

[Horrendous upstream, clean downstream]
Horrendous upstream, clean downstream
Photos: Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Yet Valdosta’s Wednesday downstream water quality results were all good, as were those by WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday.

According to the latest water quality results downstream of US 84, things look great for the Withlacoochee River this weekend. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t get in that water without more sampling.

I wish I could tell you what caused this, but so far I can only say a few things it’s not, and then speculate. Continue reading

Videos: vote for clean water 2020-11-03

From four locations on the Withlacoochee River, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter urge you to go vote today for clean water.

[US 41, NSRR, US 84, Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River]
US 41, NSRR, US 84, Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River

At US 41 (North Valdosta Road), at the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge just downstream from the notorious Sugar Creek, at US 84, downstream from GA 133 where Valdosta often sees high E. coli, and at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, downstream of Okapilco Creek with all those Brooks County dairy cows, we sampled for bacteria and DNA Friday.

Vote for people who will fully fund the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) so they can do some river sampling themselves, and watch over not only Valdosta, but also Quitman, Adel, Tifton, Rochelle, and Ashburn, all of which have spilled sewage into the Suwannee River Basin this year. Maybe then FDEP will be able to do its job, instead of trying to take more tasks from the Army Corps.

Vote for people who will protect the Okefenokee Swamp from strip mining and other threats.

Pick your most important water issue: https://wwals.net/blog/issues/. They could all use elected officials who will support clean water.

We’ve never met anyone who wants to drink dirty water. So please vote for clean water! Continue reading

Bad Knights Ferry water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-30

Before last weekend all the water quality results from Valdosta for Wednesday and Madison Health for Thursday seemed good. But then it rained late Thursday. I tested Friday, and while US 41, just below Sugar Creek, and US 84 were good on the Withlacoochee River, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp was not good at all.

That contamination must have washed downstream. It may have already passed State Line by Monday, and it may never show up in Valdosta or Madison Health results. We shall see what their results for this week say.

But it was there at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Friday. This is a good illustration of why even more frequent testing is needed.

Oh, and vote for clean water.

[US 41, NSRR, US 84, KF]
US 41, NSRR, US 84, KF

At Knights Ferry, I counted 39 + 38 + 39 = 116 * 100 / 3 = 3,866 cfu/100 mL E. coli. I went with Gretchen’s slightly lower counts of 40 + 25 + 39 = 104 * 100 / 3 = 3,466, because there was some doubt whether some E. coli colonies were separate or not. Sara Jay got an even lower 2,633. Whichever, it’s clear they’re all well above the 1,000 Georgia Adopt-A-Stream alert limit. So we’re using the 2,633 3,466 middle number, which is plenty bad. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River Thursday for WWALS Boomerang Saturday 2020-10-22

2020-11-02: Bad Knights Ferry water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-30.

You couldn’t ask for better water or weather conditions than for the WWALS Boomerang tomorrow (Saturday), from Georgia into Florida and back from State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang/

And for the rest of the Withlacoochee and probably the Suwannee River, too. Even the report we got of a spill Monday in Valdosta appears to have been a false alarm. All water quality test results are advisory, since conditions can change rapidly. But no significant rain is expected, so happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend, especially at State Line Boat Ramp!

[Chart, State Line, Boomerang, FL-6]
Chart, State Line, Boomerang, FL-6

The weather prediction at Clyattville, GA, is for 70 degrees at 9AM, and 80 at noon, partly cloudy, with little chance of rain. There’s also been little rain for a week, so nothing much has washed into the rivers.

Those pesky shoals should be easier this year. The water level yesterday at the USGS Quitman Gauge was 2.3′ (85.81 feet NAVD88). The Thursday before last year’s Boomerang, October 24, 2019, it was 1.65″ (85.15 feet NAVD88). So the Withlacoochee River is about 2/3 of a foot or 8 inches higher than it was last year.

All that plus clean river water! Continue reading

Suwannee paddle for Visit Suwannee County + FL 6 & State Line 2020-10-16

The movie extras took a side trip up Sugar Creek on a 1.5 mile paddle down the Suwannee River from Suwannee Springs, after the old 93rd Drive bridge, pursued by the Suwannee County Sheriff, to the Suwannee Canoe Outpost at the Music Park.

[Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen]
Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen, departing Suwannee Springs beach

Thanks to Charissa Setzer of Visit Suwannee County, Florida for the invitation for paddlers to be videoed for a tourism advertisement.

Thanks to Bret Miller of NWXpeditions and Mylinda Greene for the mini-distanced-shuttle. Thanks to Dawn and Lisa of Madison Outpost Adventures for joining us, along with Steven E. Scott of Luxury Lawns, Gretchen Quarterman, and John S. Quarterman.

NWX and MOA along with VSU CORE are outfitter sponsors of the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up next Saturday, October 24, 2020, at State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Third Annual WWALS Boomerang]
Third Annual WWALS Boomerang

Thanks to Steve of Suwannee Canoe Outpost for the take-out hospitality.

Also thanks to the Sheriff’s deputy for helping carry my boat up at Suwannee Canoe Outpost.

See also facebook pictures by

All us paddlers are now officially models, since we each signed a model release.

Suwannee Springs

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

Two or more sources last Tuesday, advisory lifted Monday, Withlacoochee River 2020-10-05

Update 2020-10-16: Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

It was harsh, but it went by fast. Except there seem to have been at least two sources of contamination.

The Health Advisory has been lifted for the Withlacoochee River, and I’ve set all the Withlacoochee “beaches” green again on Swim Guide.

[Lifted, Green on Swim Guide, Sources]
Lifted, Green on Swim Guide, Sources

The contamination that reached the GA-FL line on October 1st appears to have started from Continue reading

The real trash problem: the companies that make it

People shouldn’t litter, but individuals are not the real litter problem. The companies that make all those throwaway items are the problem. There are fixes, which we can implement. One fix Georgians can vote on right now: vote Yes on Amendment 1 please!

There was no lack of trash on the Alapaha River in September, at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp in Berrien County and at Berrien Beach in Lanier County. We found the usual cigarette butts, shotgun shells, and yes, a few used diapers.

Plus tires. To help stop tires being dumped by rivers, please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 to stop fee diversions.

We found fewer shotgun shells and tires but more of everything else at Twomile Branch in Valdosta, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River in August.

Come to the big cleanup this Saturday on the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers in Lowndes County and on Sugar Creek, Onemile Branch, and Twomile Branch in Valdosta October 10, 2020!

We expect as usual the most numerous items will be plastic and glass bottles and cans.

[Bottles]
Bottles

Sure people shouldn’t litter, but Anheuser-Busch and other beer makers, as well as Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Walmart, should stop making and selling disposable bottles and cans.

Fifty years ago those things had deposits on them, and people would collect them for the cash. In economic downturns such as right now, that could be useful to a lot of people, and a lot more cleanups would happen. Sure, there was still trash back then, but not as much.

People still do in Hawaii and nine other states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, plus Guam. They don’t have nearly as big of a litter problem.

But Georgia or Florida do not have such container deposits. Maybe we should change that.

No, recycling will not solve this problem. There’s no market for plastic to recycle, and recycling has been pushed by big oil for years as an excuse to make more plastic throw-away containers. Laura Sullivan, NPR, 11 September 2020, How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

You’ve probably seen the famous ‘Crying Indian’ ad from 1971: Continue reading

Cleanups, Testing, WWALS Boomerang on Steve Nichols radio show 2020-10-06

Steve Nichols and Suwannee Riverkeeper will ask again: does anybody want to drink dirty water? That’s 8:30 AM tomorrow, October 6, 2020, on 105.9 FM WVGA. In addition to water quality testing, we’ll also discuss the big cleanup coming up this Saturday on three rivers and many creeks, and the Third Annual WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back. Plus some other outings.

[Water Quality Testing]
Water Quality Testing 2020-08-18

WVGA FM says:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

You can listen at 105.9 FM, on the WVGA Live apps, through ValdostaToday.com (link on front page), on Alexa devices, or you can stream in-studio video at the official Morning Drive Facebook page.

When: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Where: 105.9 FM WVGA (see above for how to listen)

Event: facebook

Thanks to Steve Nichols for helping promote the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, which went very well.

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, in conjunction with Lowndes County, WWALS will be doing a three-location cleanup at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, on Sugar Creek down to the Withlacoochee River, and at Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, plus Valdosta is organizing several creek cleanups.
https://wwals.net/?p=53557

[Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks]
Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks

On Saturday, October 24, 2020, there’s the Third Annual WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back.

Tickets to the WWALS Boomerang are $20 online through Ocotber 15, then $30 at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-boomerang-paddle-race-2020-tickets-118844038719?aff=efbeventtix

For much more, follow this link: wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang/ Continue reading

River and Creek Cleanup, Lowndes County, Valdosta, and WWALS 2020-10-10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (See also PDF)

River and Creek Cleanup, Lowndes County, Valdosta, and WWALS 2020-10-10

Hahira, GA, September 8, 2020 — Lowndes County has three rivers, all great for fishing, boating, and swimming, and Valdosta has many creeks. Everyone enjoys our waterways better when they are clean. Here’s a fun opportunity to get outside and clean them up.

[Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks]
Flyer: Cleanup on three rivers, many creeks

Lowndes County, the City of Valdosta, and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) are jointly organizing a three-river cleanup in the county, at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River, at Sugar Creek on the Withlacoochee River, and at Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, plus cleanups in Valdosta on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek.

Please join us, from 9 AM to 11 AM, on Saturday, October 10, 2020. No boat required, although if you want to bring a boat, there are water cleanup opportunities at each river location and some of the creeks.

Please bring sturdy mud boots or shoes, long pants and clothes that can get wet or dirty, insect repellant, a refillable water bottle, and an emergency phone number. Trash bags and trash pickers will be provided, as well as drinking water and snacks, but bring your own if you can.

Please maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from people not in your household. Please wear a mask when near people not in your household. We will have extra masks.

Events: Facebook, meetup.

The Valdosta Locations are:

Continue reading

Valdosta concurs last week, but not week before, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-28

Update 2020-09-05: OK this weekend and last, Withlacoochee River 2020-09-03.

Fast changes in water quality in the Withlacoochee River, Okapilco Creek, especially at GA 133 and Knights Ferry, as well as Twomile Branch and Sugar Creek: we could use still more testers to handle all this. The good news is that Valdosta’s results for last week (unlike week before last) are good for the Withlacoochee River.

Valdosta’s results for week before last are a good (bad?) example of how fast Withlacoochee River water quality can change. On Thursday, August 27, 2020, WWALS got excellent results at all three of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. Later we learned Madison Health also got excellent results at GA 31 (State Line), CR 150 (Sullivan Launch), and FL 6 (Madison Blue Spring).

[Good last week, bad previous week]
Good last week, bad previous week

Yet the next day, Valdosta got horrible results at K.F., Nankin, and State Line on Friday, August 28 21, 2020. This is why all our water quality posts are merely advisory. Good one day doesn’t necessarily mean good the next day. Continue reading