Tag Archives: watershed

WWALS @ A Day in the Woods, Gaskins Forest Education Center, Alapaha, GA 2024-04-20

Come see prescribed fire, basket making, longleaf pine trees, snakes, lizards, frogs, and eat food cooked on the spot.

When: Gather 12 PM, launch 1 PM, end 5 PM, Saturday, April 20, 2024

Put In: Gaskins Forest Education Center, 3359 Moore Sawmill Rd., Alapaha, Georgia 31622

GPS: 31.345454, -83.178356

[WWALS Booth at A Day in the Woods 2024-04-20, Gaskins Forest Education Center, Alapaha, Georgia]
WWALS Booth at A Day in the Woods 2024-04-20, Gaskins Forest Education Center, Alapaha, Georgia

Continue reading

Drawing the winner at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Kayak Raffle 2024-04-03

Update 2024-04-04: Video: Raffle drawing for Eddyline Kayak 2024-04-03.

Since all 30 tickets are taken, Chuck Roberts will draw the winning ticket this Wednesday noon-thirty, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, paddle, PFD, lock, and straps.

[Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, 12:30 PM, Wednesday, April 3, 2024]
Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, at Troupville Boat Ramp, for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak, 12:30 PM, Wednesday, April 3, 2024

This one is slightly used. New, a 12-foot Eddyline kayak lists for $1,749.00.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman will bring the box of 30 raffle tickets to Troupville Boat Ramp.

Gretchen Quarterman will fire up the zoom from her desk.

Chuck Roberts will draw the winner, announce the name, and then call the winner to inform them.

If you attend in person and you win, you can carry the kayak home with you.

If you attend by zoom or not at all, we will discuss with you how to get you the kayak.

Thanks to everyone who got tickets! That helps Continue reading

Last call: $100 Eddyline Sandpiper Kayak Raffle Tickets

Update 2024-04-01: Done: Eddyline Kayak Raffle 2024-04-01.

Once somebody gets the last $100 ticket we’ll reach the maximum of 30, and we will draw the winning ticket for the Eddyline Sandpiper kayak.

[Eddyline Sandpiper Kayak $100 Raffle Ticket max 30]
Eddyline Sandpiper Kayak $100 Raffle Ticket max 30

In addition to the slightly-used 12-foot kayak, it includes paddle, PFD, lock, and straps.

New, it lists for $1,749.00.

Tickets are available online.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!

Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28

Update 2024-04-05: Apparently clean rivers after rain 2024-04-04.

We got bad results for Thursday for the Alapaha River. We have few other results, but we know there was much rain Wednesday and Thursday, and that usually washes contamination into the rivers.

If I were you, I would pick something else to do this weekend instead of boating, swimming, or fishing.

Also, Ashburn had yet another spill, although that was probably too far upstream to have much effect. It sure looks like there was some sort of overflow from the city of Alapaha wastewater treatment plant, even though none has yet shown up in the reports.

Instead, join us a week from Saturday for Withlacoochee River Earth Day Cleanup, Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2024-04-13.

Valdosta’s most recent upstream Withlacoochee River results are for Wednesday a week ago. Apparently they did not post their Wednesday results for this week because today is a holiday.

Similarly, most of the usual WWALS testers are off because of the holiday weekend.

[Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28]
Rain and river contamination 2024-03-28

There are no Valdosta Monday results, because, Continue reading

A 19th-century navigable definition does not work for 21st-century river economies

We never had bales of cotton boated down the Withlacoochee River, because there are too many shoals.

[19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy]
19th-century navigable definition; 21st-century river economy

But we do get fishing both from the shore and in paddle and power boats up and down our rivers, and for other recreation, There are massive investments by nearby cities and counties and other organizations in cleaning up the rivers for those purposes.

The state of Georgia needs to revise its 19th-century definition of navigability and passage to match the 21st-century present.

The antique 19th-century definition

The Georgia 1863 definition says a navigable stream “is capable of transporting boats loaded with freight in the regular course of trade either for the whole or a part of the year.” See Georgia Navigability Report, 3rd Edition and O.C.G.A. 44-8-5 (2010)

Some people once tried boating down to the Suwannee to establish commerce. They sold the remains of the boat and returned to the former Lowndes County seat of Troupville, at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Continue reading

Digging at edge of Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27

Who is doing this mysterious digging, and why?

Maybe to plant a fence?

That would be a good thing, to keep trash out of Hightower Creek, which flows into Sugar Creek, past the WaterGoat, into the Withlacoochee River, at the early takeout for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle.

[Digging in the Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27]
Digging in the Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27

It’s about time something happened there, where I videoed Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson in December 2022 saying something needed to be done. According to Valdosta City ordinances, it is the parking lot owner’s responsiblity to keep trash from escaping the property, no matter where it came from.

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for spotting this digging.

Thanks to Gretchen Quarterman for photographing. She noted, “Enterprise guy was on parking lot. He knew nothing about it.”

It seems unlikely to be the City of Valdosta, considering how reluctant they are to do anything on private property.

Maybe it’s the parking lot manager, Stafford Development Company. Continue reading

Four more Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

Update 2024-02-22: Some Knights Creek plans in Valdosta Boone Drive and Knob Hill small sewage spills 2024-02-20.

Update 2024-01-31: Spill from Chemours Trail Ridge South TiO2 mine SE of Starke, FL 2024-01-30.

Four small Valdosta sewage spills appeared in the January 26, 2024 GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report, all listed as happening December 17, 2023, and as “Did not enter State waters”.

[Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17]
Four small Valdosta sewage spills 2023-12-17

However, Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes confirms that these spills did happen. Which you can see for yourself in the pictures I took on January 23 of the Mile Street spill locations.

The most unusual part of these spill reports is that bit for “WATERWAY IMPACTED”: “Did not enter State waters”. That means these spills were stopped and contained before they could reach Knights Creek or Cherry Creek. Which is impressive considering that Sunday, December 17, 2024, saw more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow, after more than half an inch the previous day. (See below for one reservation about one of these spills.)

Nobody is going to be happy until the number of Valdosta sewage spills is zero. And WWALS continues watching closely.

However, watching also includes complimenting Valdosta Utilities when things go right. So, congratulations, Valdosta Utilities, for catching these spills before they did any damage.

Curiously, these spills did not appear in the next day’s Sewage Spills Report, or in any later days. Considering recent typos in those GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports, I’m assuming those later omissions are due to EPD’s problems with lack of staffing and funding.

Let’s look at each of these spills. Continue reading

Meeting: Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19.

Maybe you’d like to ask FDEP some questions about the springsheds of Rainbow Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, or Madison Blue Spring, among many others.

What does it mean for a spring to be declared an Outstanding Florida Water and a Basin Management Plan (BMAP) issued for it if that springshed is not protected from, for example, a sand mine?

[OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed]
OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed

Public Notice

Notice: 27937666

Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearing


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited.

DATE AND TIME: January 23, 2024 10 AM EDT

PLACE: Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/240858353506612832

Subject: This is an Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Action Plans (BMAP) update meeting to which the public is invited. The BMAPs are the means for implementation of the adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide information on the nitrogen source inventory loading tool (NSILT) updates, as well as an overview of the 2025 BMAP updates.

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PFAS in the Santa Fe River Basin in Florida

Some people are interested in whether PFAS from titanium dioxide (TiO2) mines or other sources is getting into the New or Santa Fe Rivers in Florida.

For example, the new Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine southeast of Starke, Florida, appears to drain into Double Run Creek, which runs into the Santa Fe River.

[PFAS in Santa Fe River from TiO2 Mines?]
PFAS in Santa Fe River from TiO2 Mines?
Detail from WWALS map of the Suwannee River Water Trail.

We don’t know about those rivers yet, because nobody has tested them. We do have a few datapoints for a few city drinking water systems, and they’re all clean, although Newberry, just outside the Basin, is not.

No doubt it is possible to find that data in FDEP’s Oculus Document Management System, in the same way it is possible to win a jackpot in Las Vegas. If you already know about six very specific parameters, sure, Oculus will find it. Continue reading

Winner of the VIBE Sea Ghost 130 kayak raffle 2023-11-27

Update 2023-12-13: Raffle kayak delivered to winner Janet Martin 2023-12-12.

Monday at Banks Lake before we paddled, we drew the winner of the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. It retails for $1,300, but was used only once by Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson before he gave it to WWALS. It comes with paddle, seat, and rudder.

We raffled it for $10 donation per ticket.

[Kayak, drawing, the winner]
Kayak, drawing, the winner

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman had put all the tickets in a box, yes, including the online tickets, which she transcribed onto paper tickets.

WWALS Board Member Kimberly Godden Tanner took the tickets out of envelopes for the places they were donated, such as Alapaha Station Celebration, Florida Folk Festival, various outings, and the WWALS River Revue, plus two more got tickets minutes before. Continue reading