Tag Archives: watershed

High and fast: Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River, 2023-02-04

Expedition leader Will Hart says about tomorrow’s paddle from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park on the Withlacoochee River,

“Water levels are higher now than expected when the outing was planned. All of the springs and shoals will be under water at this level, however we are still on to paddle. The river will also be a bit murky with some floating debris due to runoff from the woods. At these levels it is considered “not for beginners” due to the current and fast flow.

“It will also be a little strenuous paddling up the last 1/4 mile at the Suwannee River confluence at this level.”

If you don’t want to try that last quarter mile upstream part, there is an earlier takeout available.

[Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03]
Withlacoochee River with Melvin Shoals downstream. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2023-02-03

Follow this link for the rest of the outing details:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

HPS II withdraws phosphate mining application from Bradford County, Florida 2023-01-19

After many years of massive opposition, HPS II Thursday withdrew its application for a phosphate mine “without the County taking any formal action on it.”

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

Union County, where HPS II also wanted to mine, rejected its application there, changed the Union County Comprehensive Plan to limit mining, and, with the assistance of Alachua County, maintained legal defense against the mine, until HPS II dropped its lawsuit last June.

So it seems safe to finally say the HPS II phosphate mine is dead.

Congratulations to all the opponents, especially Bradford Environmental Forum, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club, and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it drains ito the New River and the Santa Fe River in the Suwannee River Basin, above the Floridan Aquifer. Update 2023-01-24: Added detail. Our opposition has included attending demonstrations, speaking at County Commission meetings in Union and Bradford Counties, writing letters to those Commissions, organizing Southwings small plane overflights of the mine site with opposition members from Union County and OSFR, publishing photographs from such overflights, attending coordination meetings as far away as Tampa, and attending nationwide meetings against phosphate mining. See https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/. In December 2018, the first official action of the newly-formed Waterkeepers Florida was a a Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida.

HPS II withdrawing their rezoning application does raise questions about where phosphate miners will aim next. Continue reading

Public Comment on land use plan for titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp –GA-EPD 2023-01-19

GA-EPD is providing more public comment opportunity than it has been promising for the past year. It has opened a comment period on Twin Pines Minerals Mining Land Use Plan, after which it will do what it previously promised: issue a draft permit and open a comment period on that.

You can object now to that titanium dioxide strip mine for white paint far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and sits above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida. You can email or paper mail your comments, or join one of two zoom webinars.

The comment deadline is 60 days after the notice of yesterday, so apparently Monday, March 20, 2023.

[Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012]
Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012

The Twin Pines Minerals Draft Mining Land Use Plan and Associated Documents for Public Comment are on the GA-EPD website, and also on the WWALS website.

Here is the public notice: 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

Pictures: Another Knights Ferry to Nankin Cleanup, Withlacoochee River 2022-12-17

Eight WWALS volunteers braved a cold winter’s day on another WWALS Withlacoochee River Cleanup from Knights Ferry to Nankin Boat Ramps, because we couldn’t get it all two weeks before.

After a big on-land cleanup and a floating trash jam, we also saw the wood piers of old Knights Ferry Bridge, Floating Marsh Pennywort, invasive Flowering Cleome houtteana, many private landings, Redland Creek, many rocks, many interesting trees, and Nankin Shoals.

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for organizing, and volunteers Suzy Hall, Will Hart, Amy Myers, Gretchen Quarterman Scott, and Calvin.

[Composite, Another KF to Nankin Cleanup, 2022-12-17]
Composite, Another KF to Nankin Cleanup, 2022-12-17

Where did this styrofoam, plastic bottles, and cans come from? Almost certainly the City of Valdosta. See Valdosta Mayor Scott James on trash at Hightower Creek 2022-12-15.

There’s at least that much more trash on the river that we’ll have to come back to get. At least Valdosta has started to stop trash from getting into the river. They have much more to do:

Here’s a summary in a WWALS video playlist by Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman:

Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Cold Moon paddle 2022-12-07

Quite a few happy boaters, on a balmy weekday at an early start time, saw the sun set and the moon already rising, on the Banks Lake Full Cold Moon Paddle.

Thanks to Shirley Kokidko for leading it.

[Banners, Kayak Raffle Winner, Sunset, Moonrise, Banks Lake 2022-12-07]
Banners, Kayak Raffle Winner, Sunset, Moonrise, Banks Lake 2022-12-07

The next one is Friday, January 6, 2023.

Please make your boat reservations in advance. If we know more boats are wanted than the limited number at Banks Lake Outdoors, we can bring more, but not if we don’t know.

And please get there before the safety lecture. If you show up after that, we don’t like to, but we will turn you away. Gather time and paddle time are posted for each paddle outing. The safety lecture is before we paddle. Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-12-01

Little rain, no new sewage spills reported, and good test results: happy swimming, fishing, and boating this weekend!

Maybe you’d like to join us on the WWALS Trashjam cleanup, Knights Ferry to Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2022-12-03.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide map]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide map 2022-12-01

We all took last week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, since there was no rain that week. Except thanks to Suzy Hall for testing Knights Ferry and Nankin last Saturday. She got very low E. coli.

Valdosta got high results at US 41 three times and most recently at GA 133 on Monday, which is the most recent date for which Valdosta has published results. While that contamination has probably washed downstream and gotten diluted by now, we have no more recent results for that location. There’s not enough water to boat there, anyway. Continue reading

GAGives and WWALS –VDT 2022-11-23

Brittanye Blake, Valdosta Daily Times, November 23, 2022, GAgives reaches out to S.Ga nonprofits,

[Advocacy, donations, music --Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS E.D. @ Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2022]
Advocacy, donations, music –Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS E.D. @ Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2022

They quoted WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman, “ We have a lot to be thankful for in our area with these rivers and growing community of people to realize their value so we are hoping that the community to share their resources to help support us. We are grateful for everyone who supports us because $10 a month or more to a nonprofit truly goes a long way.”

You can donate here all month, not just Tuesday:

Also, facebook offers, “Become a recurring donor and Meta will match your donation up to $100 dollars.”

VALDOSTA — Georgia Center for Nonprofits hosts the 11th year of GAgives on GivingTuesday to provide nonprofits a platform for donations.

Continue reading

Tickets: Floyd’s Island Okefenokee Camping, 2022-11-19

Update 2022-11-08: Tickets for the Refuge fee:
Because of the time change from DST to EST, the sun will set at 5:30 PM, so Shirley has moved the gather and launch times an hour earlier, to “give everyone time to get to Floyd’s and set up camp before it gets dark. Saturday we will be on the water by 9 a.m. so come early enough (8 AM) to have your boat loaded. Remember to have a bow line on your kayak to tie off at Minnie’s Shelter, the only rest stop. It may also come in handy if we have to get out and drag through low spots. If we want a campfire, it helps to carry firewood. I’ll bring some that we can divide up and everyone can carry a piece or two. Sunday will be a leisurely launch time.”

This is primitive, wilderness camping and paddling at its best.

To come on this outing be sure that you are comfortable paddling your loaded boat for 9 miles against a moderate current with only 1 stopping point to get out for a break. Minnie’s Lake platform is the 4 mile lunch stop, then 5 more miles to Floyd’s Island.

Yes, there will be alligators in the heart of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

[Gator and kayak]
Gator and kayak

Continue reading

Headliner Sweet William Billy Ennis @ Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2022-08-20

Thanks, Sweet William Billy Ennis, for winning last year and returning this year to headline the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

[Dying Man Blues --Sweet William Billy Ennis]
Dying Man Blues –Sweet William Billy Ennis

Here’s a WWALS video playlist: Continue reading