Tag Archives: Valerie Folsom

Good Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, bad Alapaha River 2021-10-14

Something we’ve never seen: the only too-high result is on the Alapaha River for Thursday. We’ve never seen a reading at Lakeland Boat Ramp that high.

The Little and Withlacoochee Rivers tested good for Thursday, which is what we expected since there has been no rain for days.

So in the reverse of what we often say, avoid the Alapaha River and swim, fish, and paddle on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers this weekend, according to the best data we have.

Still looking good for the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up in one week at State Line Boat Ramp.

[Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart + Little + Alapaha River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

You can also see in the charts that Valdosta’s upstream results for last Friday showed extremely high Fecal coliform for US 41 (upstream from Valdosta), GA 133, and US 84, and way-too-high E. coli for GA 133. That somewhat helps explain why our plates for that Thursday (October 7th) for Knights Ferry Boat Ramp showed high background Fecal coliform colonies.

No, we don’t know what it is. There have been no sewage spills reported this past week in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia. Most likely it is some sort of manure runoff, this time coming from far upstream on the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-22

Update 2021-10-01: All Clean, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-09-30.

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

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

Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09

Update 2021-09-17: Good water quality results, then hard rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-09-16.

Like last week, but worse: the Alapaha River would be a better choice for boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend than either the Little or Withlacoochee Rivers.

[Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Awful Plates, Rivers, Swim Guide

Yes, Madison Health today lifted its Health Advisory for the Withlacoochee, because they got good results for Tuesday and Thursday. But WWALS has more recent upstream data, and it’s not pretty. Continue reading

Filthy upstream Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, clean downstream 2021-09-02

Update 2021-09-10: Bad Little, Withlacoochee Rivers, good Alapaha River 2021-09-09.

In a very unusual configuration, the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers at GA 122 showed too much E. coli in Thursday samples, while everywhere downstream tested clean, also clean on the Alapaha River.

Whatever got into the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers upstream is no doubt washing downstream. Probably it will pass by in a day or two.

The Alapaha River would be a better choice for swimming, boating, and fishing this weekend.

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

The Folsom Bridge Gauge on the Little River at GA 122 showed very heavy rain Wednesday, 2.74 inches. Probably the same storm also rained on or above GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River at Hagan Bridge. Something washed into both rivers. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2021-08-26

Update 2021-09-02: Bad at GA-FL Line: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-31.

In a lull between rains, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers showed clean for all our WWALS Wednesday and Thursday test sites.

You could also become a WWALS water quality tester. There’s a testing training coming up September 11, 2021.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide

This is even though Valdosta found results for Wednesday at US 41 too high. We don’t know where that contamination came from. That’s upstream from Sugar Creek, so not from there.

Valdosta also got way too high for Monday at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. Curiously, Valdosta’s Monday result for Okapilco Creek was within range, so if that contamination came out of Okapilco Creek, it had already washed downstream into the Withlacoochee River. Notice Nankin Boat Ramp not as high but still too high on E. coli for that Monday, as the contamination was reaching it. Continue reading

Red US 41, clean downstream 2021-08-12

Update 2021-09-19: Advisory lifted, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-18.

Bad water quality for Thursday at US 41 on the Withlacoochee River, presumably because of the almost 3 and a half inches of rain just upstream at Skipper Bridge. However, still below the 1,000 cfu/100 mL alert limit, and all downstream results were below the 410 one-time test limit. So apparently no bad E. coli washed out of Valdosta’s Sugar Creek. That’s good news for tomorrow morning’s Pop-up Sugar Creek Cleanup.

Plus, since Troupville Boat Ramp at the bottom of the Little River tested zero, that water should dilute anything coming down the Withlacoochee. So chances are the good results for Thursday farther downstream will hold.

Happy fishing, boating, and swimming!

Of course rains from Tropical Storm Fred could change things rapidly, but that’s what we know now.

[Chart, upstream plates, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide 2021-08-12]
Chart, upstream plates, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide 2021-08-12

Despite significant rain Wednesday on both sides of Brooks County (Dixie on the west and Withlacoochee River @ US 84 on the east), apparently nothing bad came down Okapilco Creek, and Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps all tested good for Thursday. Continue reading

Clean up and down: Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-08-05

Update 2021-08-13: Red US 41, clean downstream 2021-08-12.

All clear for tomorrow’s paddle from Nankin to State Line Boat Ramp, with continuation to Sullivan Launch, on the Withlacoochee River. As always, conditions could change, but all the WWALS water quality tests for Thursday are good at 11 sites on three rivers, including at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Swim Guide

Madison Health did get a too-high E. coli result for Tuesday at State Line. Although that was higher than the 410 cfu/100 mL one-time test limit, it was still below the 1,000 alert limit. The WWALS test at the same location and upstream for Thursday, and the WWALS test downstream at Cleary Bluff for Wednesday, all were much cleaner.

Valdosta’s Friday and Monday test results were also clean upstream and downstream all the way to the GA-FL line.

So I would guess that one Madison Health result was due to the rains in Brooks County Monday; more than half an inch on the US 84 Withlacoochee gauge. Probably they washed something down Okapilco Creek. There are no reports of sewage spills in the past week.

We did have a similar rain in the same place yesterday, but if that washed anything into the river, it should be gone downstream by tomorrow. So just don’t drink the river water and you should be OK. Continue reading

Good upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-07-29

Update 2021-08-06: Clean up and down: Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha Rivers 2021-08-05.

All the E. coli test results we have for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers are good, all the way down below Allen Ramp almost to the Suwannee River. We don’t test for Fecal coliform, so we don’t know what happened with that sky-high Fecal coliform result Madison Health got for Tuesday. However, from the WWALS test results we have for Wednesday and Thursday, all these rivers seem clean, with two sites tested on each of the Little and Alapaha Rivers, and six on the Withlacoochee.

[Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Chart, Franks Creek, Alapaha River, Little River, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

We have no new results from Valdosta or Madison Health since yesterday’s post. Apparently Valdosta does have some new results, but they’re having some sort of website problem. Madison Health seems to only test Tuesdays, and only at the state line anymore. That’s too bad, because they both test Fecal coliform, and we do not.

This is yet another example of how the state of Florida needs to step up, fund, and implement regular testing of all the rivers from the state line to the Gulf. Then we might know how far which contamination blob got. We’d also have a better chance tracking it back to its source. Floridians, please ask your statehouse delegation to make it so. Continue reading

WWALS Watershed Coalition thanks Atkinson Commission for support –WFXL TV 2021-07-09

Alapaha River Water Trail and GA-EPD Recreational redesignation of the Alapaha River at Atkinson County Commission last Thursday made the news.

Typhani Gray, Fox 31 WFXL, 9 July 2021, WWALS Watershed Coalition thanks Atkinson Commission for support,

[Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, Alapaha River Water Trail, Suwannee Riverkeeper at Atkinson County Commission, Reporter Typhani Gray and Tester Valerie Folsom, ARWT road sign]
Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, Alapaha River Water Trail, Suwannee Riverkeeper at Atkinson County Commission, Reporter Typhani Gray and Tester Valerie Folsom, ARWT road sign

WWALS Watershed Coalition was started after organizers were concerned about sewage spills, and roads being closed because of trees being down in the river.

Most of that was in the Withlacoochee River around 2009, but the Alapaha River did have water quality issues back then.

The organization came to the Atkinson County Board of Commissioners to thank them for the Alapaha River Water Trail contribution.

In 2018 commissions passed a resolution supporting the water trail.

Here is that Atkinson County Commission resolution of 18 January 2018 supporting the Alapaha River Water Trail.

This trail runs for more than 100 miles on the Alapaha River all the way down to Florida.

Atkinson County has one landing on Georgia 135 that’s called Willacoochee [Landing].

According to John Quarterman, the Watershed Coalition has expanded its organization and is now tests waters to make it safer for people to swim and fish.

Valerie Folsom, who tests in Atkinson County at Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135, also spoke to the Atkinson County Commission about the latest test results. Continue reading