Tag Archives: US 84

Bad US 84 Wednesday, good Withlacoochee River Thursday 2022-01-13

Rains last weekend got contamination into the Withlacoochee River upstream at US 84, still showing up Wednesday in Valdosta results. But all the WWALS results for Thursday and downstream Wednesday showed acceptable low levels of E. coli.

So I’d paddle and fish in the Withlacoochee River today. Not so sure about swimming: it’s cold.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Swim Guide

As you can see, Valdosta got bad results at US 84 for both Monday and Wednesday. Continue reading

Bad upstream, watch out below, Withlacoochee River 2021-12-23

Update 2021-12-31: Mostly good, Withlacoochee River 2021-12-30.

Not looking good. The recent rains washed E. coli into the Withlacoochee River, starting way upstream at Hagan Bridge on GA 122 on Thursday, down through US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on Wednesday. We did not see it at Cleary Bluff for Wednesday, downstream from Allen Ramp. Maybe it’s gotten diluted before it got that far. Or maybe it just hadn’t gotten that far by Wednesday.

I’d stay off the Withlacoochee River this weekend.

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

We almost never see high numbers at Hagan Bridge, but that’s what Elizabeth Brunner got for Thursday.

Valdosta results were bad for US 41 for last Friday, even before the rain, much worse there and for GA 133 for Monday after the rain, and bad for all three of US 41, GA 133, and US 84 for Wednesday. Apparently the contamination is traveling downstream.

There have been no sewage spills reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida. Most likely the E. coli came from cows or horses near the river or its creeks: there are quite a few of those even upstream of Hagan Bridge. Plus possibly wild hogs. Continue reading

Bad Upstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-07-02

Update 2021-07-06: Tropical Storm Elsa headed up Suwannee River Basin 2021-07-06

Valdosta has published its upstream results for Friday, which showed very bad water quality at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River.

[Chart, Map]
Chart, Map

There’s been even more rain since then, and more is coming straight at the Suwannee River Basin with Tropical Storm Elsa. Continue reading

Tifton, Ashburn spills, bad downstream 2021-03-03

Update 2021-03-13: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-11.

Tifton and Ashburn, Georgia spilled raw sewage, March 3, 2021, both from places that had spilled before. For once we may have actually seen some of that in downstream water quality results. But they could not have caused the extremely high test result at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp that same day, nor the bad results into Florida the next day: those were most likely the usual cattle manure.

[Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality]
Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality

The high Fecal coliform at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River that same Wednesday could have been from the Tifton spill on the New River upstream, and the high E. coli at GA 133, all in Valdosta’s thrice-weekly testing. It’s about 64 river miles from 2406 N. Ridge Ave. to US 41, and about 70 miles to GA 133, but with the rivers high and fast, it’s conceivable a spill that started in the early morning (or the previous evening) could have moved downstream that fast.

Or with rains over an inch closer upstream on the Withlacoochee River, something else may have washed into the river. Or both.

The only way to be sure would be DNA tests. Valdosta is supposed to be doing those as part of the Consent Order. We are looking forward to seeing results. Continue reading

Spook Bridge in minor flood, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-23

The Withlacoochee River is a tad high for novice paddlers.

[Takeout flooded, eddies upstream, boat parking flooded, muddy entrance road]
Takeout flooded, eddies upstream, boat parking flooded, muddy entrance road

Yesterday the Withlacoochee River was at 107.5′ NAVD 1988 (feet above sea level), or 24′ old-style above the riverbed. Minor flood stage starts at 104′, and Action stage at 99′. With no more rain predicted this week, currently it’s expected to be down about 100.5′ by Saturday noon. Continue reading

Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19

Update 2021-02-26: Very clean Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-25.

Good news downstream on the Withlacoochee River!

Madison Health reported good downstream numbers for Thursday, February 18, 2021, despite more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow. WWALS testers confirmed that for Friday, with good results from Nankin Boat Ramp to below Allen Ramp. It looks like rainwater from upstream is finally diluting and washing down the contamination downstream rain put into the river.

[Good downstream, shoals now underwater, Swim Guide red and green]
Good downstream, shoals now underwater, Swim Guide red and green

We also see no obvious signs of contamination from the last Sunday and Monday Tifton sewage spills, which is not unexpected since they were so far upstream. We don’t know what effect the one upstream of the Little River might have had on Reed Bingham State Park, because we have no volunteers to test that stretch.

The weather is looking good for the Mayor’s Paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge on Saturday, February 27, 2021. It didn’t rain yesterday, and the only rain predicted for the next week is for Monday. So risks of contamination are low. However, the rivers are very high, still expected to be ten feet higher than we’ve ever paddled that stretch before. That’s not necessarily a problem for paddling, because it’s a long wide stretch with no real risks of getting lost in the floodplain, no deadfalls, and few overhanging branches. However, we will have to check to see if we can even get in by land at Spook Bridge and the midpoint, not to mention at Troupville Boat Ramp. The US 84 gauge prediction is 107 feet NAVD 88 for Thursday, which is about 27 feet higher than when we rescheduled Thursday three weeks ago. We will go look and let you all know. Continue reading

Not looking good, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-16

Update 2021-02-21: Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19.

As usual, heavy rains washed contamination into the Withlacoochee River, first detected by Madison Health Tuesday at State Line and FL 6, although oddly Sullivan Launch @ CR 150 was within the one-time sample limit for E. coli.

[Chart, Gauges, Swim Guide map]
Chart, Gauges, Swim Guide map

The good news: with so much rain, the contamination will probably be diluted and washed downstream rapidly.

The bad news: more rain likely coming. And there’s more cattle manure that can wash down Okapilco Creek into the Withlacoochee River. Plus with the Withlacoochee River rising in Valdosta, and more rain falling on Valdosta and Quitman, will we see manhole sewage spills?

We hope to have WWALS results for today ready by tomorrow (Friday), and most likely FDEP will publish Madison Health results, as well. Possibly even Valdosta will publish their Wednesday results by Friday.

We also have a surprising spot check in Drexel Park, and Valdosta’s last week results, which fit with the Madison Health and WWALS results. Continue reading

Spook Bridge, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line: all good, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-31

Update 2020-02-06: Clean Forty Miles, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-04.

All my Sunday tests, from Spook Bridge (just below US 84) to State Line, were good, well below the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time E. coli limit. Spook Bridge and State Line were below the 126 average limit. But there are two catches: rain and downstream. So I wouldn’t go boating, swimming, or fishing until I see more test results. The Madison and Hamilton Health bacterial advisory is still in effect, and will probably remain so until they see two sets of clean Florida tests.

[Chart, Plates, River, Swim Guide]
Chart, Plates, River, Swim Guide

The catch: the contamination Suzy Hall’s Sunday WWALS test still showed Saturday at State Line must have washed downstream. We have no new tests from Madison Health yet. They probably tested today (Tuesday), so maybe we’ll get those tomorrow. Continue reading

Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24

Update 2021-01-29: Very bad, health advisory, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-28.

As expected, the big rains Friday caused contamination on the Withlacoochee River, according to Valdosta’s upstream data for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Everything was clean the day before, both upstream and down. We don’t know about downstream again until I tested Sunday. While Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps were not as clean as we like, they were well within the one-time test limit of 410 cfu/100 mL E. coli. So it appears that if the downstream sites were contaminated Friday, most of that had already washed away in the rest of the rainwater by Sunday.

[KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide]
KF, Nankin, SL, chart, Swim Guide

Apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean again, although we do not have many datapoints yet. Be warned more rain is expected today. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18

Update 2021-01-26: Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24.

Thanks to WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach, we know the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp was finally low enough to test, and tested good. Ditto Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, all from Thursday a week ago. This corroborated what Madison Health found at the state line and downstream that same day.

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide]
Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide

Meanwhile, this Monday, Suzy Hall tested Gibson Park Ramp on the Suwannee River, and found it good. The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for upstream Wednesday aweek ago, but those were good for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. I did ask Valdosta yesterday for an update, but so far nothing.

There’s been no significant rain since last week. So, as far as we know, good to go, for boating, swimming, and fishing, in the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers.

The Swim Guide map of WWALS “beaches” now includes Gibson Park Ramp, which, even though it is on the Suwannee River, is the last downstream stop on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

The Langdale Park and US 84 “beaches” show up yellow for historically mixed results, because those most recent Valdosta tests at US 41 and US 84 (and GA 31) are now more than a week old. Continue reading