Tag Archives: Suwannee River Water Management District

Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) meetings 2024-05-24

SRWMD is holding two meetings about springs protection on Friday, May 24, 2024, at 10AM for the Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), and at 1:30 PM for its Santa Fe River BMAP.

[SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM]
SRWMD BMAP meetings, Online May 24, 2024, Suwannee River Basin 10 AM, Santa Fe River Basin 1:30 PM

Everybody knows the main problem and the cause: nitrates from fertilizer leaching through the soil and causing algae blooms in springs such as Madison Blue Spring and Gilchrist Blue Spring, because of too much fertilizer and irrigation using Floridan Aquifer withdrawals.

Nothing much has changed since this article was published in 2018: State geologist Greenhalgh says BMPs don’t work to solve BMAPs. The BMAPs use the same Best Management Practices (BMPs) that were already in use for the previous decades, during which the problem got worse. There is little reason to believe those BMPs alone will improve the situation.

To affect these BMAPs, it’s going to take more than just people showing up or even experts providing opinions. Grasstops are needed: people who can influence the decision makers, both inside SRWMD and FDEP, and elected statewide officials.

But a good first step is for people to show up or send letters of comment. Continue reading

Madison County, Florida, Health advisory for Withlacoochee River about Valdosta sewage spill 2024-04-17

Update 2024-04-18: Dirty creeks, but clean rivers 2024-04-17.

Update 2024-04-18: Updates on Homerville, Quitman, Tifton, and Valdosta in GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report 2024-04-11.

It’s been a long time since the last Health Advisory from the Madison County, Florida, Health Department.

But Valdosta took the risk of guessing how big to make its sewage catch basin, and found out last weekend it was too small.

[Valdosta sewage spill gets Madison Health Advisory 2024-04-17; 1.67 million gallons into Withlacoochee River 2024-04-12]
Valdosta sewage spill gets Madison Health Advisory 2024-04-17; 1.67 million gallons into Withlacoochee River 2024-04-12

WWALS has already been testing the waters. Results soon.

And now FDEP and SRWMD are joining in with Madison DOH.

Received this afternoon.

DOH-MADISON ISSUES HEALTH ADVISORY NEAR WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER

Contact:
Lisa Hayes
Lisa. Hayes@flhealth.gov
850-879-0683

Madison, Fla.— The Florida Department of Health in Madison County (DOH-Madison) has issued a health advisory to residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River in North Florida due to a wastewater overflow in the City of Valdosta, Georgia, from a recent weather event with excessive rain amounts. Drinking water is not affected by this advisory.

Continue reading

Cancelled: Hike Camp Branch to Suwannee Springs 2024-02-03

Update 2024-01-29: Outing cancelled. “We would have been wading. There are two deep gullies east of Rt 129 that will be flooded for awhile.”

Join veteran Florida Trail hiker Randy Madison for a winter hike along creeks and over a historic bridge to Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River near Live Oak, Florida.

This hike will take us down beautiful Camp Branch, also know as Disappearing Creek. Disappearing Creek tumbles down a narrow canyon and disappears into a 15 foot high limestone rock wall before resurfacing and then going under ground again to resurface finally just before emptying into the Suwannee River.

After the descent of Camp Branch and a break at Disappearing Creek, we’ll head down the Suwannee on the Florida Trail to cross Crooked Branch, accend the Greasy Gully to summit Devils Mt, elevation 137ft, then follow the River passing through a scenic area with the hike ambling along the edge of some open cliffs, then a couple nice sandbars before coming in to the Graffiti Bridge, old 129.

We’ll take the blue trail from the Graffiti Bridge back to the Suwannee Springs ruins and our cars. Bring lunch, plenty of water, bug spray and appropriate clothing for the outing.

The hike down Camp Branch is through open forest and can be strenuous, so if you’re not up to uneven terrain and a little bush whacking this may not be a hike for you.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:15 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 3, 2024

Put In: Camp Branch Trailhead. I-75 exit 451, south on US 129, left onto CR 132 SE, right (south) onto SE CR 25A, right onto SE 89th Way, approximately 1 mile to the parking area, 12982 SE 89th Way.

GPS: 30.3779, -82.8788

[Map and about]
Camp Branch and Suwannee Springs in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail.

Continue reading

Three Clean Rivers 2024-01-17

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

Update 2024-01-24: More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10.

Update 2024-01-20: Plus clean Alapaha River, for four clean rivers.

We got good results for Wednesday for three rivers: Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe. Valdosta’s Wednesday upstream Withlacoochee River results concur.

After the light drizzle today, no rain is predicted for the weekend.

So if you like cold weather and high water, happy fishing, paddling, and maybe even swimming this weekend.

Due to high water levels, we have rescheduled this Sunday’s chainsaw cleanup to be a week later. See Try again: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2024-01-27.

So the next WWALS paddle is the Banks Lake Full Wolf Moon Paddle, 2024-01-25.

[Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17]
Chart, Four Clean Rivers, Map 2024-01-17

Sewage Spills

No sewage spills were reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida since the last week.

Ashburn, Georgia, had yet another sewage spill into Ashburn Branch from its MLK Lift Station. It showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Thursday, January 18, 2024, as happening that same day. This spill 1,500 gallons for Spill Primary Cause “Other”. Ashburn Branch joins the Little River upstream of the Coverdale Highway Bridge, and far upstream of Reed Bingham State Park.

Valdosta’s 100,000 gallon sewage spill into Three Mile Branch to the Withlacoochee River showed up in GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report for Wednesday, January 16, 2024. It shows the spill location as “213 Knob Dr/1020 Williamsburg Dr.”

I talked to Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes about this spill Wednesday in Atlanta. He says the sewage came up out of a manhole at 213 Knob Hill Drive, which he considers the “backside of Williamsburg Drive.” Also, it turns out it was not a collapsed sewer line. Utilities found rocks and some sort of lid in the pipe. They don’t know how that stuff got in there. I’m beginning to wonder whether it was vandalism. Continue reading

SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04

As Craig Pittman pointed out, SWFWMD issued a permit for the 3RT Sand Mine in Levy County. But that ERP says nothing about Rainbow Springs or FDEP’s Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for the Rainbow Springs springshed. That ERP does not even mention that the mine site is in an aquifer recharge zone.

What is the use of BMAPs, or of Rainbow Springs being an Outstanding Florida Water, if FDEP’s own SWFWMD can issue a permit for a strip mine without mentioning either?

[SWFWMD ERP for 3RT Sand Mine does not mention Rainbow Springs springshed]
SWFWMD ERP for 3RT Sand Mine does not mention Rainbow Springs springshed

Maybe you’d like to ask about that at FDEP’s meeting about Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23. Sure, such meetings are usually public tellings at which the state ignores what citizens say.

But you can use that meeting as a forum to demonstrate opposition to the mine, so you can bring that up at the February 6 Levy County Commission meeting.

Craig Pittman, Florida Phoenix, January 4, 2024, Florida observatory may be forced to shut down if county OKs sand mine:
Neighbors and astronomers join forces to ask Levy County to nix mining proposal
UF’s Rosemary Hill Observatory in Levy County would be next door to the proposed sand mine.

Pittman set up his story with an aside about Jake from State Farm and good neighbors, and then:

The idea of what constitutes a good neighbor came up last week when I first heard about a dispute that’s been going on in Levy County. It involves a wealthy farmer, a dirty mine, a lot of trucks, and the stars in the heavens.

Continue reading

SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04.

It makes no mention of the Rainbow Springs springshed or its Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

[Collage, SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19]
Collage, SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19

That’s Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) No. 43046299.000 issued to Ryan Thomas for the 3RT Sand Mine on April 19, 2023, by FDEP’s Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).

Maybe you’d like to mention that to the Levy County Commission before or at its February 6 Levy County Commission meeting.

Before then, maybe you’d like to ask about that ERP at FDEP’s meeting about Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23. Sure, such meetings are usually public tellings at which the state ignores what citizens say. But you can use it to build your case for the Levy BOCC.

You can find that ERP in http://www18.swfwmd.state.fl.us/erp/erp/search/ERPSearch.aspx or on the WWALS website.

For more, see SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04.

 -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/

Meeting: Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19.

Maybe you’d like to ask FDEP some questions about the springsheds of Rainbow Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, or Madison Blue Spring, among many others.

What does it mean for a spring to be declared an Outstanding Florida Water and a Basin Management Plan (BMAP) issued for it if that springshed is not protected from, for example, a sand mine?

[OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed]
OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed

Public Notice

Notice: 27937666

Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearing

Department: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited.

DATE AND TIME: January 23, 2024 10 AM EDT

PLACE: Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/240858353506612832

Subject: This is an Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Action Plans (BMAP) update meeting to which the public is invited. The BMAPs are the means for implementation of the adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide information on the nitrogen source inventory loading tool (NSILT) updates, as well as an overview of the 2025 BMAP updates.

Continue reading

Hike Camp Branch to Suwannee Springs 2024-02-03

Update 2024-01-29: Cancelled: Hike Camp Branch to Suwannee Springs 2024-02-03.

Join veteran Florida Trail hiker Randy Madison for a winter hike along creeks and over a historic bridge to Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River near Live Oak, Florida.

Update 2023-10-30: Meet and park at Suwannee Springs and Randy will lead a small caravan to the trailhead.

This hike will take us down beautiful Camp Branch, also know as Disappearing Creek. Disappearing Creek tumbles down a narrow canyon and disappears into a 15 foot high limestone rock wall before resurfacing and then going under ground again to resurface finally just before emptying into the Suwannee River.

After the descent of Camp Branch and a break at Disappearing Creek, we’ll head down the Suwannee on the Florida Trail to cross Crooked Branch, accend the Greasy Gully to summit Devils Mt, elevation 137ft, then follow the River passing through a scenic area with the hike ambling along the edge of some open cliffs, then a couple nice sandbars before coming in to the Graffiti Bridge, old 129.

We’ll take the blue trail from the Graffiti Bridge back to the Suwannee Springs ruins and our cars. Bring lunch, plenty of water, bug spray and appropriate clothing for the outing.

The hike down Camp Branch is through open forest and can be strenuous, so if you’re not up to uneven terrain and a little bush whacking this may not be a hike for you.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:15 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 3, 2024

Meet and Take Out Here: Suwannee Springs, 3243 91st Dr., Live Oak, FL 32060

GPS: 30.394478, -82.934538

[Map and about]
Camp Branch and Suwannee Springs in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail.

Continue reading

North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan in SRWMD presentation to NCFRPC –Columbia County Observer 2023-10-09

Thanks to Stew Lilker for recording and analysis of a presentation about water planning in the Suwannee and St. Johns River Basins.

To answer his question: No, there won’t be enough water, unless water withdrawals are limited, which neither of the Suwannee nor St. Johns River Water Management Districts seem inclined to do.

Please sign the petition to get Right to Clean and Healthy Waters on the ballot:
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org

[SRWMD, NFRWSP]
SRWMD, NFRWSP

Stew Lilker, Columbia County Observer, October 9, 2023, North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan: Just a Suggestion – Will There Be Enough Water in the Future?

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (the east side of the Suwannee River Water Management District and the top half of the St. Johns River Water Management District) is being updated. The Plan focuses on the sustainability of resources. It is just a plan, and water users “are not required to implement” any options identified in the Plan.

Well, slide 24 seems to indicate some requirements. Maybe local governments don’t have to implement exactly what NFRWSP says, but I’d bet they will be strongly recommended to do so. Continue reading

Videos: Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council in Valdosta 2023-09-27

Yesterday I presented slides about the draft VSU & WWALS GA-EPD Seed Grant application to the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council at their meeting in Valdosta. The slides for that presentation are on the WWALS website.

[Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023]
Collage @ SSRWPC 27 September 2023

The longest item in the agenda was about the Lake Beatrice project. For more about that, see Videos: Lake Beatrice, Alapaha River, GA-EPD Seed Grants @ SSRWPC 2023-03-14.

Also, Cliff Lewis of GA-EPD talked about gradual relaxation of the moratorium on water withdrawals in the Flint River Basin and its effect on mussels.

Here is the agenda: Continue reading