Tag Archives: Suwannee River Basin

Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11

Update 2020-07-14: Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11.

Not looking good downstream on the Withlacoochee River. Madison Health unusually tested on a Friday, and found too-high E. coli results at Florida 6, just above Madison Blue Spring: 414 cfu/100 mL. Saturday, WWALS results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp were horrible: 5,233. Nankin Boat Ramp results were merely too high: 600. State Line Boat Ramp was within acceptable limits Saturday, but that contamination probably washed down that far by Sunday and well into Florida by this morning.

[Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for collecting those downstream Withlacoochee River samples, and to Suzy Hall for providing the results. See also What do these numbers mean?

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Friday Conn got 2,100 on Crooked Creek at Devane Road. Remember, Crooked Creek runs into Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84. That 2,100 is actually lower than many results we’ve seen at that location, and Crooked Creek has much less flow than Okapilco Creek. So that number is not enough to account for the 5,233 downstream of Okapilco Creek on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp the next day. Did it come from somewhere else, such as upstream on Okapilco Creek?

This map may help with understanding where all these places are.

[Landings, Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map]
Landings in Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map

However many places the E. coli came from, there is reason to believe that the most likely sources are cattle.

[Little River, Swim Guide]
Little River, Swim Guide

Meanwhile on Saturday, upstream WWALS testers Conn Cole and John S. Quarterman found good results on the Little River at GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp) and GA 122 (Folsom Bridge Landing), as well as at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River (Hagan Bridge Landing). Friday Conn Cole aso got good results on Okapilco Creek at US 84.

Plus, Valdosta’s Friday results for US 41, GA 133, and US 84 are all good. Valdosta did get a high Fecal coliform result for US 41, but we go by E. coli. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting these Valdosta Friday results published this morning.

Back downstream, you don’t even have to count the blue-with-bubbles colonies to see Continue reading

Subaru featured Tom Potter for science, cleanup, outings, and water quality

“If you get people out on the river and they have a positive experience with nature, they will help protect it,” wrote Dr. Tom Potter, pictured during the March 2019 Onemile Branch Cleanup at Drexel Park during Azalea Festival.

Kara Pound, Subaru Drive, Winter 2019, 2019 Subaru Drive Community Champions,

We are thrilled to celebrate these exceptional Subaru owners who embody the Subaru Love Promise by giving their time and talent to help their communities.

[The catch]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Tom Potter at Onemile Branch Cleanup during Azalea Festival, Drexel Park, Valdosta, GA, 2019-03-10.

The Watershed Protector

Tom Potter, 69
Valdosta, Georgia
Vehicle:
Subaru Outback
Volunteering: WWALS Watershed Coalition, which works to protect watersheds in South Georgia and North Florida

“I have a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry and a lengthy background in the science of water quality — I worked as Continue reading

Statement on Environmental Justice –Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS 2020-06-08

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

[Statement on Environmental Justice]
Statement on Environmental Justice
PDF

June 8, 2020

Statement on Environmental Justice

Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. protect the Suwannee River Basin for the sake of every person who visits or lives here. Clean water is essential to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, beliefs, politics, or anything else. However, during the course of our work opposing the Sabal Trail methane pipeline and other advocacy, it became clear that minorities and economically disadvantaged people will disproportionately experience negative effects. We continue to work against such environmental injustice across the entire Suwannee River Basin in dozens of counties in Georgia and Florida. Valuing all the watershed’s inhabitants is entirely compatible with having added concern for those facing added danger.

The killing of George Floyd and many other recent tragedies suffered by people of color show that even if we strive to love our neighbors equally, the threats and injustices they face are not equal. As professionals and volunteers we fight for the human right of clean water. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It appears to us that the economic forces that drive unnecessary pipelines under rivers and through disadvantaged neighborhoods and that have made it so difficult to oppose pipelines and mines are the same forces that have resulted in so many recent tragedies with little justice. We have always stood for nonviolent advocacy, but we cannot condemn the few who have used other means without also pointing to the large corporations that benefit from subsidies, tax breaks, and legal advantages while so many get nothing.

We seek to listen and learn from our colleagues and neighbors. We do not pretend to be experts on racial issues. Nevertheless, we promote clean water to ensure healthy communities, and we are concerned about all members of those communities: especially the most vulnerable. We stand against racism and injustice in any form.

As one small step, we plan to offer swimming and boating lessons especially to minorities and economically disadvantaged people; please contact us about that.

Meanwhile, an election is in progress. Please look at what each candidate says about environmental issues. If a candidate will not stand up to protect rivers and swamps, you may want to look more closely at their promises about people.

Link to this statement: https://wwals.net/2020/06/08/statement-on-environmental-justice-suwannee-riverkeeper-for-wwals-2020-06-08

For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
229-242-0102
contact@suwanneeriverkeeper.org

GA-EPD Listing of Waterbodies, Clean Water Act Section 303(d) 2020-04-03

What Georgia streams are not impaired?

[Georgia impaired waters, map]
Georgia impaired waters, map
Map: GECAP.

Very few, apparently.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has drafted the “Georgia 2020 305(b)/303(d) draft list of waters was prepared in accordance with Sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act and guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

There’s an online public meeting 1PM, Wednesday, May 20, 2020 for questions and comments.

Comments may also be emailed on or before 4:30 PM June 4, 2020, to Continue reading

Earth Day online with Waterkeepers Florida 2020-04-22

Update 2020-04-23: Video of WKFL Toast to Earth Day and examples of #SuwanneeCleanup.

Join Suwannee Riverkeeper and all of Waterkeepers Florida tomorrow evening to toast clean water in the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day.

WWALS is also celebrating with a distributed cleanup. Go to any convenient river, creek, spring, or swamp, pick up trash, and post pictures or video with the hashtag #SuwanneeCleanup.

When: 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM, Earth Day, Wednesday, April 21, 2020

Where: Facebook livestream in the facebook event.
We will start a watch party.

Also on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91684283854
Dial in: +1 929 205 6099 / Meeting ID: 916 8428 3854#

[WKFL Earth Day Toast]

Physical: State Line Boat Ramp, 6461 Madison Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31601
That’s where Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman will be speaking.
You can come help clean up, provided you keep six feet apart.
Post pictures or video of yourself, and use #SuwanneeCleanup. Continue reading

Gear Swap at Banks Lake: find a new boat, maybe try it out, or get rid of an old one 2020-03-07

Sent to the media Wednesday (see also PDF):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gear Swap at Banks Lake: find a new boat, maybe try it out, or get rid of an old one

[2020-02-26--gear-swap-pr-0001]
2020-02-26–gear-swap-pr-0001

Lakeland, Georgia, February 26, 2020 — Here’s something new: a fun-filled day of promoting paddle activities and trying various boat designs, at Banks Lake on the first Saturday of March. This new event by WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) should help paddlers find a new boat or get rid of an old one. If the owner permits, you can try out a boat right there on Banks Lake. This should help get everyone ready to kick off a new paddling season in the great Suwannee River Basin.

[Bret Miller, NWXpeditions, outfitting a paddler]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of Bret Miller of NWXpeditions, 2020-02-09

WWALS Outings Chair Bobby McKenzie, who thought up this Gear Swap, says, “Many thanks to Continue reading

Cost of reclassifying Georgia rivers from Fishing to Recreational in Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Recently I was asked if there would be water monitoring costs to cities or counties because of upgrading our main Suwannee River Basin waters in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, as we have requested in Georgia’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. Here’s the answer, as best I could determine. And how you can help. For those who wonder why upgrade from Fishing to Recreational, please see the previous blog post.

[Satellite Map]
WWALS Satellite Map of landing in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia

Specifically the question was: would reclassifying rivers or swamp from Fishing to Recreational cause cities or counties to have to spend more money on water quality monitoring, specifically if a wastewater treatment plant had a spill, more money on water quality sampling afterwards?

The brief answer is: probably not.

Recently, I asked James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD. He said that for that case, there should be no change, because sampling after a spill is determined mostly by the number of gallons spilled.

Let me use some NPDES permits I have on hand to illustrate.

Here is the language in NPDES Permit No. GA0020222 for Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, first about number of gallons, then about the required sampling. Continue reading

Last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera headlines Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Last year, Laura D’Alisera of Jacksonville, Florida, won both the $50 prize for best song from outside the Suwannee River Basin, and the $300 First Prize for best song. This year, she’s on the committee that selected the seven finalists who will play for the three judges and you this Saturday, August 24, 2019. But first, Laura and Joe Smothers will entertain you, so come on down, 1-5 PM, to The Salty Sanpper, 1405 Gornto Road, Valdosta, GA, where radio personality Chris Beckham will be our M.C.

Laura D'Alisera (Sara Jay)
Photo: Sara Jay, of Laura D’Alisera winning the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest last year (2018).

Laura said her song is Continue reading

One Week to Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Today is one week from hearing seven finalists play for three judges and you, in the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, at The Salty Snapper in Valdosta, GA, 1-5PM, Saturday, August 24, 2019.

Mike Tappan playing Capt' Curries Blues

Radio personality Chris Beckham will M.C. Headliners Joe Smothers and last year’s $300 First Prize Winner Laura D’Alisera will play before the contestants. There will be copious snacks, a silent auction, and a kayak raffle, and yes, speakers about the WWALS advocacy for which this is a benefit concert.

Here’s last year’s winner in the Blues genre, as well as the winner of the $50 prize for best finalist from within the Suwannee River Basin, Mike Tappan of Valdosta, playing Capt. Curries Blues.

Continue reading

Excluding groundwater makes no sense above the Florida Aquifer –WWALS to EPA 2019-04-15

Approved at the Sunday WWALS board meeting and filed last night via regulations.gov as PDF.


April 15, 2019

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Office of Water Docket
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149,
       Revised Definition of Waters of United States

To Whom it May Concern:

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), also known as Suwannee Riverkeeper, submits the following comments on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) proposed rule entitled “Revised Definition of Waters of United States,” 84 Federal Register 4154-01 (February 14, 2019) (hereinafter “Proposed Rule”).

In addition to supporting the comments of Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), WWALS adds these comments on groundwater.

The Proposed Rule’s categorical exclusion of groundwater makes no sense here above the Floridan Aquifer where surface water and groundwater constantly interchange, and pollutants travelling through groundwater are a frequent source of health, environmental, and economic problems.

[2019-04-15--WWALS-to-EPA-0001]
2019-04-15–WWALS-to-EPA-0001

This proposed exclusion of groundwater is called out repeatedly in the Proposed Rule, starting with this:

Continue reading