Tag Archives: Valdosta City Council

Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills 2024-04-11

Update 2024-05-04: Clean rivers and some creeks, but rain 2024-05-02.

Valdosta knew the Withlacoochee River was filthy on that Friday and Saturday before it issued its press release on Monday, April 15, about its 6.7-million-gallon spill into Spring Branch to that river. We know this because Valdosta, unlike the other cities that spilled during the big rains of April 11, Valdosta puts its followup test results on the city’s website. Those results also show the river is clean, and has been since the Sunday after the spill. But some creeks are still filthy; see below.

[Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills]
Valdosta test results: filthy Withlacoochee River after big spill, many creeks still filthy after smaller spills

For people going to festivals at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park: that location is upstream on the Suwannee River from the Withlacoochee River, and thus is not affected by any of the sewage spills that went into the Withlacoochee. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big rains washed some contamination into the Suwannee River. But that was three weeks ago, and most likely that E. coli was diluted and washed downstream long ago. The biggest thing you have to worry about in the Suwannee River at that park is probably contamination from people on the beach there. Continue reading

Valdosta City Council approved match for a GA-EPD seed grant that WWALS told them about 2023-07-27

Update 2023-08-09: Bad water quality upstream Withlacoochee River 2023-08-07.

Valdosta needs to do what we discussed on WTXL TV last week, and more, related to its chronic sewage problem.

“It’s about finding more problems, doing some testing, finding them so they’ll know what to fix so that’s a good thing,” said John [S.] Quarterman, the Suwa[n]nee Riverkeeper with the WWALS Water Coalition. “And I would think that I’m the one that told them about that grant opportunity in the first place so it’s good to see they’re getting some use out of it.”

[WTXL Reporter Ariel Schiller, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, Knights Creek, Grant for what]
WTXL Reporter Ariel Schiller, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, Knights Creek, Grant for what

Ariel Schiller, WTXL, July 27, 2023, City of Valdosta matches Georgia EPD water planning seed grant,

[Ariel Schiller, WTXL reporter]
Ariel Schiller, WTXL reporter

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The city of Valdosta approved matching funds for a water planning seed grant, the total amount with the grant and matching funds equals $150,000. The WWALS Watershed Coalition says the grant will help them identify more areas that need improvement throughout the city.

Continue reading

Valdosta litter reports: and then what? 2023-01-06

Absentee landlords are letting trash get into Valdosta streets and creeks. What is the City of Valdosta doing about it?

Somebody named Gary McMillan reported two Litter issues on December 6, 2022 and January 6, 2023 through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix app. Both locations are slighlty uphill from One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River, upstream from the proposed Troupville Nature Park.

[Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map]
Trash near Baytree Drive and One Mile Branch map

City Marshalls in each case said they did something, which is good. But they closed out each ticket before reporting the actual outcome.

Both properties are owned by absentee landlords, who also own many other lots throughout Valdosta.

It’s time for the City of Valdosta to enforce its trash ordinances on property owners, especially absentee landlords.

Gary McMillan reported issue 13786041 on December 6, 2022:

Large amount of litter along Baytree Dr. and Jo Ree St. Some trash/litter is associated with a spilling bag of garbage. Much is not associated with the bag, but is typical of this neighborhood.
Continue reading

Schedule for 2023 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) grant applications 2023-01-11

I’ve heard differing opinions about various deadlines for submitting a grant proposal this year to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP), such as for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta, Georgia.

[GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers]
GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers

So I asked GA-DNR, who replied that grant pre-applications will open this fall, and will be announced this spring. The earliest anything might need to be done with GA-DNR about GOSP is informational webinars, which may be scheduled for May or June.

I’m sticking to my opinion that there’s no point proceeding with a grant application until ongoing park maintenance is lined up. It’s my understanding that Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and One Valdosta-Lowndes have the token to find that maintenance money as well as the rest of the required cash match.

Lowndes County already made a huge step forward by buying Helen Tapp’s Land Between the Rivers for eventual addition to the land already owned by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreational Authority (VLPRA) to form the park. I don’t know of anything else pressing the county needs to do at the moment.

Here is this morning’s response from GA-DNR: Continue reading

News again: Valdosta’s 2021 resolution against the strip mine proposed too near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-01-01

Old news is new again.

You can help make this resolution and others affect the miners’ plans:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium

Terry Richards, Yahoo News and Valdosta Daily Times, January 1 2023, Valdosta on record opposing mining operation,

Jan. 1—VALDOSTA — More than a year ago the Valdosta City Council joined lawmakers across South Georgia opposing controversial mining plans near the Okefenokee Swamp.

At the time, the president of the mining company said he was not concerned about local resolutions like the one passed by Valdosta.

“The Valdosta City Council’s resolution has no impact on our plans whatsoever,” said Steve Ingle, president of Twin Pines Minerals, in a statement.

Valdosta City Council voted Nov. 11, 2021 to oppose Twin Pines’ plans to start a mining project near the Okefenokee Swamp, about 75 miles from Valdosta. The vote was 6-0.

[Dragline on TPM mine site 2022-09-27 and Valdosta City Council 2021-11-11]
Dragline on TPM mine site 2022-09-27 and Valdosta City Council 2021-11-11

Here is video of that vote and the text of the resolution.
https://wwals.net/?p=57073

All the other similar resolutions are on the WWALS website.

Back to the story: Continue reading

Videos: Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, Trash, Cleanups –Helen Tapp & Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Scott James Radio 2022-12-15

Helen Tapp was still around after Lowndes County bought land from her for a nature preserve, so I asked Scott James to get her on his radio show, in which we talked nature preserve and trash.

[Movie: Thanks --Scott James, Helen Tapp]
Movie: Thanks –Scott James, Helen Tapp

We learned a few new things: the Valdosta YMCA is working on providing Withlacoochee River access just downstream from the railroad bridge and Sugar Creek, with no boardwalk required.

And the Mayor predicts that Valdosta United Way and the City Council will each provide $2,000 towards two additional WaterGoat trash traps.

Helen Tapp discussed that recent purchase to make a nature preserve at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. She and Suwaneee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and Valdosta Mayor Scott James talked about eight miles of river right next to Valdosta, with chainsaw cleanups to make it more accessible down to Troupville River Camp, where the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle will depart March 4, 2023.

These WWALS videos include the rest of the interview, after a cable provider knocked Talk 92.1 FM off the air for the morning. Including Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper on Scott James Radio 92.1 FM 2022-12-15

Update 2022-12-23: Videos: Troupville Nature Park and River Camp, Trash, Cleanups –Helen Tapp & Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Scott James Radio 2022-12-15.

Suwannee Riverkeeper will talk trash, parks, creeks, and rivers on Scott James Talk 92.1 FM radio tomorrow morning, Thursday, 8:30 AM.

[Withlacoochee River cleanup, Radio, Troupville park land purchase, Langdale Park trail clearing]
Withlacoochee River cleanup, Radio, Troupville park land purchase, Langdale Park trail clearing

Topics discussed will probably include: Continue reading

Lowndes County to purchase land for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp @ LCC 2022-12-13

Update 2022-12-12: Videos: Dollar General rezoning legally must be tabled, Troupville land purchase is for a park @ LCC 2022-12-12.

Lowndes County tomorrow will take a big step and buy 77.14 acres down to the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, adjoining the 49.36 acres including Troupville Boat Ramp already owned south of GA 133 by Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA).

The idea is to combine the two tracts into a 126.5-acre Troupville Nature Park, the dream of landowner Helen Tapp, with trails, signage, and an educational pavilion. It will include a Troupville River Camp on the Withlacoochee just upstream from the Confluence. The project still needs ongoing maintenance funds, but this purchase clears a big hurdle after four years of preparation.

That’s 5:30 PM, Tuesday, December 13, 2023, at 327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor, Valdosta, Georgia, 31601.

[Agenda item, map]
Agenda item, map

The price of $121,500 is dirt cheap at $1,575 per acre, because it’s all flood plain, and there was also some discount from the tax-appraised value of $127,347 because of the conservation easement.

Many thanks to landowner Helen Tapp for organizing the conservation easement and for being willing to sell at such a price. This purchase ensures the land won’t turn into a shooting range or some other inappropriate facility. (There already is a shooting range slightly upstream on the Little River.) Continue reading

Valdosta enforces new grease ordinance; how about enforcing its trash ordinances?

I look forward to Valdosta enforcing its trash ordinances like it’s doing with these Fats, Oil, and Grease (FOG) ordinances. No new ordinance is needed, City Marshals just need to enforce the ones already in place.

[Valdosta example: Fats, Oils, and Grease in a manhole]
Valdosta example: Fats, Oils, and Grease in a manhole

Here’s an idea: Roger Budd Co. could set an example by buying trash cans for its parking lots, and keep them cleaned out, like city ordinances require. That would be much smaller capex than these FOG traps. And for both RBC could advertise on its billboards how green its businesses are.

Although any business will be more likely to do that once the City of Valdosta gets around to putting such trash cans on its own city parking lots, starting with across from City Hall.

Meanwhile, I applaud the City of Valdosta pro-actively preventing sewage spills with this new FOG ordinance.

Mackenzie Petrie, WALB, Continue reading

Personnel and trash at Valdosta City Council 2022-08-11

It wasn’t us this time.

Council Sandra Tooley brought up trash, Click ‘n’ Fix, and Valdosta’s favorite excuse for not doing much: “we’re short on staff“ and “A lot of people have a lot of things going on in their departments.” This was in the last five minutes of the August 11, 2022, Valdosta City Council meeting.

[Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash]
Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash

The Mayor said they had a request for an Executive Session, and asked for a motion. Council Tim Carroll wondered why.

Council Sandra Tooley explained, “Citizens have come to me, and they have this thing they like to say, that we do not have enough staff, that we’re short on staff, that we’re not getting things done.”

See for yourself in this excerpt of Valdosta’s own facebook live video of the meeting. Continue reading