Tag Archives: Suwannee River State Park

SRWMD Lands to reject conservation easement offer on Withlacoochee River 2022-12-13

One item on the Lands Committee agenda seems slightly different from business as usual at the $68 million-annual-budget Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[Agenda and Stafford Tract, SRWMD Lands, 2022-12-13]
Agenda and Stafford Tract, SRWMD Lands, 2022-12-13

As near as I can tell, even though this offer checks almost all the boxes, SRWMD doesn’t want to deal with it because it adjoins Suwannee River State Park (SRSP), while it’s across the Withlacoochee River from the SRWMD-owned land in the Twin Rivers State Forest Ellaville Tract. So SRWMD has sent the landowner to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

If you want to attend, it’s Tuesday December 13, 2022, at District Headquarters, or via gotowebinar. The Board meets at 9AM, and the Lands Committee meets afterwards, usually around noon. Continue reading

County Bridge, Hillman Bridge, Suwannee River 2022-11-26

More old bridge history from Ken Sulak, retired from USGS: Ellaville County Bridge, the ferry before that, the log boom, and Hillman Bridge, plus the Ellaville Gauge turns out to be one of the oldest, all on the Suwannee River near the Withlacoochee River Confluence.

You can see these sights on the WWALS paddle, Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04.

[Abutment, Piling of Ellaville County Bridge, Suwannee River]
Abutment, Piling of Ellaville County Bridge, Suwannee River

Ken wrote,

The Ellaville ‘County Bridge’ over the Suwannee was built in 1908. The ‘County Bridge’ was parallel to and just upstream of the RR trestle. Continue reading

Pictures: Five Holes Cleanup 2018-02-10

That was a fun cleanup, down at Five Holes, a chain of linked swallets on the Suwannee River. We walked up from Suwannee River Campsites.

[Swallets, Suwannee River]
Swallets, Suwannee River

Five Holes is in Suwannee River State Park. Back then we needed permission and got it (thanks, Craig Liney). We hear it’s now public access. Update 2022-05-28: Actually, Five Holes is closed for renovation. However, we have permission from the Park Manager for an outing there in August; stay tuned. Continue reading

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracers, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-08-05

Here are the chemical tracer and DNA marker test results by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that WWALS has frequently mentioned, for example in Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02.

Below, please also find a summary of those results by WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Thomas Potter.

[Human and Ruminant DNA markers]
Human and Ruminant DNA markers

Thanks to Katrina Yancey of FDEP for sending the data, and for acknowledging that FDEP has no objection to WWALS publishing it. I asked FDEP for whatever they wanted to include, and this is what they sent:

“Thank you for asking, we recently set up our new site so it may be helpful to state that more information may be found at DEP’s webpage for the Suwannee River Basin Sampling Locations (https://floridadep.gov/dear/watershed-monitoring-section/content/suwannee-river-basin-sampling-locations).”

The actual data is on the WWALS website.

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracer measurements
on Withlacoochee and Suwannee River samples

Dr. Thomas Potter, WWALS Science Committee Chair

After Continue reading

Still bad Saturday: Withlacoochee and Suwannee River to Mayo and Luraville 2020-02-29

Update 2020-03-02: Suwannee River contamination running downstream to the Gulf 2020-03-01.

Still bad water quality all the way to Luraville and Mayo, according to FDOH Friday for the Withlacoochee River and SRWMD Saturday for the Suwannee River.

A catalog of WWALS, Valdosta, Lowndes County, FDEP, FDOH, and SRWMD results is at wwals.net/issues/testing/. You can help.

[2020-02-29--excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results]
2020-02-29–excerpt-WWALS-composite-wq-results
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

A couple days ago I remarked that nobody knew the water quality of the Suwannee River downstream from Dowling Park, because nobody had tested that. Saturday SRWMD did test down at the Hal W. Adams Bridge on FL 51, between Mayo and Luraville, and the result was above the alert level of 1,000, while at Dowling Park it was back below the too-high level of 410. Apparently something was moving down the Suwannee River.

We still don’t know what’s going on downstream of FL 51, for example at US 27 (Branford) or CR 340 (Rock Bluff Ramp). This is more evidence that we need regular, frequent, testing at all these locations, not just after a spill or other upstream alert.

Thanks to Katelyn Potter of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for forwarding the Florida updates late Sunday evening. Thanks to SRWMD and Madison Health for testing on a weekend, and to Florida Department of Health (FDOH) for helping. Thanks to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Julie Espy for posting results on an FDEP web page. No update on Valdosta’s results website for Friday yet.

WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole got Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River Knights Ferry to Suwannee River Dowling Park 2020-02-27

The good news: both Valdosta and FDEP are posting testing results on their websites. There’s a catalog of those and WWALS’ results at wwals.net/issues/testing/.

The better news: Valdosta is testing three times a week, FDOH once a week, and FDEP is testing again, after saying it wouldn’t.

The really bad news: Thursday test results say stay off the Withlacoochee River at least from Knights Ferry on down, and the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee Confluence at least down to Dowling Park.

The WWALS results from my Monday samples may help explain this contamination, and it looks like you can see it flow from Crooked Creek through Okapilco Creek to the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee. You can help.

[Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27]
Rain driving contamination down 2020-02-27.
Extract from WWALS composite water quality test results from Georgia and Florida.

But Valdosta’s Wednesday results also show contamination at US 41, upstream of Valdosta. And FDEP shows a spike at Dowling Park again. So there are multiple sources, not only in Brooks County, Georgia, but also elsewhere. The good news for Valdosta is it doesn’t seem to be coming from Valdosta.

WWALS continues to work on locating sources of contamination. For example, two of us visited the Quitman Land Application Site Wednesday. More on that in another blog post. WWALS testers will be sampling this weekend.

I took samples on Crooked Creek again Continue reading

Better: Valdosta and Quitman, Withlacoochee River, Suwanneee River past Santa Fe River 2020-02-22

Something is still getting into Okapilco Creek, and even more into its tributary Crooked Creek. For last week, we could follow it downstream way into Florida, using data from WWALS, Valdosta, and Florida Departments of Health. Fortunately, Friday the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers were within health limits from US 41 above Valdosta down past Branford. You can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp]
State Line Boat Ramp
Photo: Suzy Hall. Somebody stole all our signs from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, but we will reprint and replant. If you want a sign to hang on your wall, you can just buy it from WWALS; prices are reasonable.

Possible sources of contamination getting into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on down include (but are not limited to) the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), a sewage settling pond and another sewage pond, and lots of cows. We continue testing to find out.

[Quitman Land Application Site]
Quitman Land Application Site
in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Whatever it was, it went way down the Suwannee mid-week last week, maybe even as far as Rock Bluff Ramp at CR 340 below Branford. Yet what I detected on Crooked Creek Friday didn’t even make much of a mark on Continue reading

Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19

Update 2020-02-21: Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19.

Florida testing shows the contamination Suzy Hall detected Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River appears to have reached the state line and into Florida the next day, at least as far as Florida 6, which is just upstream from Madison Blue Spring.

The day after, Wednesday, February 18, 2020, levels were above normal but not alarming that far down (other than at the state line), and there was a hot spot at CR 250 (Dowling Park Ramp).

[Downstream into Florida]
Downstream into Florida
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

As usual, you can help.

Once again, upstream on the Withlacoochee, US 84 and above, Valdosta and WWALS testing Monday showed nothing remotely as high as these downstream results. And my spot check on the feeder creek at US 84 that runs into Okapilco Creek showed nothing out of the ordinary. Which leaves the prime suspect still the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), which is near Okapilco Creek, south of US 84. And Okapilco Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River between US 84 and Knights Ferry. I have scheduled an appointment to go investigate the Quitman LAS.

Despite leaving messages at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) the past two days, I’ve gotten no response from them. Ironically, the Florida agencies communicate with WWALS Continue reading

Moms for Clean Water, Allen Ramp, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton Co., FL 2019-06-01

Five #MomsforCleanWater took pictures before paddling from Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, past Powerline Spring, Fairy Spring, and Corbett Spring in Hamilton County, as well as four shoals, inclding the infamous Melvin Shoals, and second magnitude Suwannacoochee Spring in Madison County, all in Florida.

[Cathy and Debra #MomsforCleanWater]
Cathy and Debra #MomsforCleanWater

You can print the PDF of the form they’re holding and post your own selfie, hashtags #MomsforCleanWater #SuwanneeRiverkeeper. Waterkeepers Florida has a handy web form to send your picture on to the First Lady of Florida. Continue reading

Shoals and Springs, Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2019-06-01

This Saturday, four shoals (Battery, Wipe-Out, Deer, and Melvin) and four springs (Powerline, Fairy, Corbett, and second-magnitude Suwannacoochee), all on the Withlacoochee River, from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park.

[Shoals and springs]
Shoals and springs

Location of shoals from Chris Mericle, Blackwater River Guide. River mile calculations for them by Shirley Kokidko, both in the interactive map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

For outing details, see: Continue reading