Tag Archives: Suwannee Riverkeeper

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22

All WWALS test results for Wednesday were clean in Georgia and Florida, but Valdosta got bad results at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

Yet there has been no significant rain since Tuesday, so in the opposite of last time, I’m going to say that E. coli has probably washed downstream and gotten diluted by now.

Make your own decisions, but I would boat on the Withlacoochee River this weekend. And the Alapaha River yet again seems clean. The Little River, probably, according to the one site we tested.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

Valdosta results for last Friday corroborate what I said last time: because of the heavy rains, it would not be a good idea to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River last weekend.

Valdosta even got too high results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Monday, after heavy rains Sunday in Brooks County, presumably because of the usual cattle manure runoff down Okapilco Creek. Continue reading

WWALS at Hahira Honeybee Festival 2021-10-01-02

Join us at the 40th Annual Hahira Honeybee Festival, at the WWALS booth about water quality testing, water trails, paddle outings, holding polluters accountable, all to make sure that water in our area is swimmable, fishable, drinkable. Come help us spread the water word.

Volunteer: You can help at the WWALS booth; send us email to contact@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.
Do you want to parade with us Saturday, with our truck, trailer, and a boat? Need to be lined up by 10AM for the parade at noon.

When: 10AM-6PM, Friday, October 1, 2021
9AM-6PM, Saturday, October 2, 2021

Where: West Main Street, Hahira, Georgia

Theme: “Protecting our Youth Preserving our Future!” honoring the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch located in Hahira Ga.

Event: facebook

Families, Gretchen making rain, Enviroscape
Photo: John S. Quarterman, of Gretchen Quarterman making rain on the Enviroscape for a family, Honeybee 2018. Thanks for the donation of the EnviroScape, Savannah Barry and Nature Coast Biological Station.

Hahira is in between the Little River and the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Suwannee River Headwaters Forest, Clinch and Ware Counties, GA –The Conservation Fund 2021-06-22

Tipped off by a local member of the Board of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), I looked up this Suwannee River Headwaters Land and Water Protection project.

[Suwannee River Headwaters Forest, GA-EPD Determination, Suwannee River in Georgia]
Suwannee River Headwaters Forest, GA-EPD Determination, Suwannee River in Georgia

These acquisitions would protect most of both banks of the Suwannee River from the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to Fargo, which is in turn more than a third of the Suwannee River proper in Georgia (below the East and Middle Forks to the GA-FL line). Continue reading

Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs –SRWMD 2021-09-23

Like me, you may be wondering what is going on at Suwannee Springs since I first reported on the debris there after the July 2020 flooding. In January 2021, the answer was SRWMD would finishing removing the debris “in a few weeks, not months.”

Unfortunately, then there was repeated flooding, and in between floods the COVID-19 pandemic interfered.

So yesterday I asked again, and today Edwin McCook took this picture:

[Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs on 9/23/2021. Suwannee; Springs gauge 53.86'. Photo: Edwin McCook, SRWMD]
Flooding on the Suwannee River at Suwannee Springs on 9/23/2021. Suwannee; Springs gauge 53.86′. Photo: Edwin McCook, SRWMD

As you can see, the river water is close to the top of the spring wall.

Edwin says once the water recedes, the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) will continue planning to remove the debris. They had already reviewed options back in January, so they have a leg up on that planning.

More when I know more.

Meanwhile, the Suwannee Springs USGS gauge reads 53.86′.

That’s well below flood stage, which is 60′. However, you can see by the picture that working inside the spring wall would be difficult with the water that high. Continue reading

Valdosta Stormwater cleanup at Sugar Creek 2021-09-17

Great relief was felt by the WWALS Sugar Creek cleanup crew, because Valdosta Stormwater has taken a hand at the Sugar Creek trashjam!

[Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray]
Trashjam Quartet by Angela Bray

You are all invited to come help clean up Sugar Creek on Saturday, October 9, 2021, at this same location behind the Salty Snapper on Gornto Road.

Meanwhile, thanks to Valdosta Stormwater for not just cleaning up, but starting some repeated steps to find out when this trashjam forms and where it’s coming from.

This is the same trashjam that was pictured in Valdosta’s 2010 Stormwater Master Plan, as discussed with Mayor Scott James on his radio show, August 12, 2021.

Finally, on Friday, September 16, 2021, Valdosta Stormwater Division got hands-on and cleaned up themselves! Continue reading

Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16

Update 2021-09-24: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22.

All the water quality samples WWALS collected Wednesday and Thursday tested good for all three rivers: Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha.

However, later Thursday hard rains fell. As hard as those last Thursday that washed E. coli into the rivers. So there’s a good chance the same thing has already happened, with contamination from livestock manure washing into the rivers.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

So according to the results we have, I have to say all clear for boating, swimming, and fishing.

But according to experience, I’m not going on the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend.

FYI, no sewage spills have been reported. The contamination sources are most likely agricultural.

The Alapaha River is probably still good. And we have a paddle coming up Monday evening on Banks Lake, which is not downstream from anything, so it should be clean as usual. https://wwals.net/?p=56630 Continue reading

River and Creek Cleanup 2021-10-09

River and Creek Cleanup, WWALS, Lowndes County, Valdosta 2021-10-09 (PDF)

Hahira, GA, September 16, 2020 — WWALS has found some of the sources of the infamous trashjam on Sugar Creek, and at least one upstream property owner has made progress in stopping litter before it escapes. But there are other sources, and trash still collects back of the Salty Snapper.

Downstream on the Withlacoochee River, flood waters spread that trash all over the Land Between the Rivers at the Little River Confluence, where one day there will be a River Camp and a River Park. You are invited to join us at Troupville Boat Ramp to walk downstream and help clean up that property, too. Valdosta and Lowndes County also have cleanup locations that same day.

“If you are looking to help make a difference, these locations need the most help, 9AM, Saturday, October 9, 2021!” said WWALS member Bobby McKenzie, who has been on this trash case for a year now.

[Flyer]
Flyer

No boats necessary, although if you want to bring a boat, there are water cleanup opportunities. 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.

This event is part of the Georgia Rivers Alive cleanup program.

Also participating will be Current Problems from Gainesville, Florida.

Update 2021-09-17: facebook event.

Update 2021-09-20: meetup.

The WWALS locations are:

  • Salty Snapper (Sugar Creek)
    Address: Parking lot, Salty Snapper, 1405 Gornto Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602.
    GPS: 30.861809, -83.318841
  • Land Between the Rivers (Little and Withlacoochee Rivers) @ Troupville Boat Ramp
    Address: 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602, west of I-75 exit 18.
    GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536
    It will be hunting season. Please wear hunting orange. Do not cross the river. WWALS will have sign-in sheets that are also event waivers so our insurance will cover you.

The Valdosta Locations are:

Continue reading

More questions about strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp –GA-EPD to miners 2021-09-10

GA-EPD last Friday sent another request for clarifications to the miners about their proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Meanwhile, you can ask GA-EPD to reject the five permit applications from Twin Pines Minerals for that strip mine, or at least to thoroughly study with independent review potential effects of that mine on the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee River, and the Floridan Aquifer.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Rivers, Swamp and mine site, GA-EPD cover letter]
Rivers, Swamp and mine site, GA-EPD cover letter

Most of the new questions are about how bentonite clay will be used. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has actually been asking about that since December 5, 2019.

A question GA-EPD did not ask is what if the clay gets into waterways with fish? Bentonite in small particles can get into the gills of fish and suffocate them, and bentonite can also deplete oxygen: see Identification of Oxygen-Depleting Components in MX-80 Bentonite, Torbjörn Carlsson and Arto Muurine, Cambridge University Press, 01 February 2011.

GA-EPD also asked about water draining into the Floridan Aquifer or into rivers, or water moving in the other direction.

Exhibit I Modeling the GW Flow System Comments James L. Kennedy Ph.D., P.G.

Continue reading

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation 2021-08-31

It’s a long-term vision, with strategies for funding and implementation, which includes everything needed for a Troupville River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, and other river parks and trails. This Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) Master Plan is based on both a statistically-representative survey and an anecdotal qualitative survey, which came up with very similar results.

[Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities]
Strategy 6: Access to Rivers, Provide Additional Amenities

These are the presentation slides used by David Barth in the September 13, 2021, Lowndes County Commission Work Session. His Barth & Associates helped develop the plan for the Valdosta-Lowndes Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA).

It’s our understanding that the WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01 is incorporated in this VLPRA Master Plan, including Troupville River Camp, Troupville River Park, and other river recommendations.

After the slides, see also some more recent WWALS recommendations.

VLPRA Master Plan Presentation Slides

See also PDF. Thanks to Jessica Catlett of VLPRA for sending these slides.

You can see David Barth present the slides in videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE). Continue reading

Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers in GA-EPD Triennial Review Update 2021-09-13

We appear to be the poster child for Recreational redesignation of waterbodies by GA-EPD.

[Prioritization of Nominated Waterbodies]
Prioritization of Nominated Waterbodies; blue marks prioritized waterbodies.

That’s a slide from today’s update meeting.

Not all our blue prioritized waterbodies were redesignated: not Banks Lake nor Grand Bay. But the Withlacoochee and Alapaha segments were redesignated. We may have gotten more river miles redesignated than anywhere else in Georgia.

[Stretches redesignated Recreational]
Stretches redesignated Recreational on the GA-EPD map.

As you can see, GA-EPD stuck to considering swimming as most important for what they call primary recreation, which is what they require for Recreational redesignation. Thanks to all of you who sent in swimming pictures and locations. You can keep sending those in, especially for the Suwannee River. Thanks to those cities and counties and Chambers of Commerce that sent in letters of support. Continue reading