This Tuesday, February 20, 2024, we learned of two small Valdosta sewage spills,
each 100 gallons.
That’s not enough to get down the creeks to affect the Withlacoochee River,
but enough to stink up the neighborhood.
One was on Boone Drive at Baytree Road, next to Valdosta State University
and One Mile Branch, which runs into Sugar Creek and the Withlacoochee River.
The other was at 215 Knob Hill Road on a ditch that runs into Three Mile Branch at the southeast corner of Langdale Park, then into the Withlacoochee River
near the southwest corner of the park.
That’s the same location as the
much larger January 10 spill.
I learned about the Boone Drive spill when I called Valdosta Acting Utilities Director Jason Barnes Tuesday morning about the Knob Hill spill.
Neither of these spills has yet appeared in the
GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.
Jason Barnes says he already sent a report on the Boone Drive spill to EPD,
and he will send one soon about the new Knob Hill spill. Continue reading →
Last year we saw bald cypress, pond cypress, pines, willow, tupelow, river birch, water oak, primrose, fetterbush, sparkleberry, holly, titi, wild grapevines, native wisteria, lichen, resurrection fern, goldenclub, mistletoe, and blooming Spanish moss.
We also saw many turtles, some alligators, and a great blue heron.
Continue reading →
Successful boat trials at Action Stage on the Little River!
Videos by John S. Quarterman and Russell Allen McBride for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS).
Thanks to Laura D’Alisera for transfering the new WWALS 9.9hp Mercury fourstroke 20-inch shaft electric start outboard motor ten miles from West Marine in Jacksonville Beach to a shipping location, where Phil Hubbard received it Saturday.
Thanks to Wild Green Future (WGF) for the generous grant that bought it.
Sunday evening, Russell Allen McBride, Shawn O’Connor, Bobby McKenzie, and I
unboxed it, connected it to its fuel supply, and tried it out.
Thanks to Flint Riverkeeper for the jon boat.
With that outboard, the jon boat will indeed go upriver easily under these conditions.
It took only ten minutes to haul Russell in his kayak up the third of a mile from the Little River Confluence to Troupville Boat Ramp.
Also due to WGF, we received an 85lb-thrust Goplus 8 Speed, 36 inch shaft, trolling motor, two
Power Queen LiFePO4 12.8V 100Ah, lithium-iron-phosphate batteries,
and a Power Queen 14.6V 10A LiFePO4 Battery Charger.
Those we put on the WWALS bass fisher chainsawing boat,
plus the old WWALS 40lb-thrust mounted on the front.
Shawn and I demonstrated that the new motor alone will push that boat upstream
in these conditions, and both motors will troll it upstream at a walking pace.
Which is all we need to get back to the ramp from the Confluence during chainsaw cleanups.
And also preparation for more chainsaw cleanups on other stretches of this and other rivers.
Next: 9AM Sunday, February 25, 2024, we will take the jon boat from Troupville Boat Ramp
down around the Confluence and up the Withlacoochee River to Langdale Park,
chainsawing any remaining paddle obstacles along the way.
That one will be a bit hard to participate in by paddling.
Three of us cleared boating passage between the Sugar Creek WaterGoat
on the Withlacoochee River
behind the Valdosta YMCA and Wood Valley,
around the future Troupville Nature Park and River Camp,
past the Little River Confluence, then upstream on the Little River to Troupville Boat Ramp.
Thanks to Phil Hubbard for leading, and his Stihl chainsaw and electric chainsaw,
to Shawn O’Connor for using his polesaw.
Phil Royce drove an hour from Live Oak, Florida,
and Gary Koch drove two hours from Ocala, Florida,
saying it was better to stop trash upstream.
In addition to regulars Russell Allen McBride and Bobby McKenzie,
Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson came to see us off; he’s second from left in the banner picture.
More on that in a later post.
These pictures are by Phil Royce.
Phil had to leave early, so his portage pictures are before we came along and sawed a river passage.
Tom Baird, archaeologist of Tallahassee, Florida, gave the second WWALS Webinar,
this one about the history and archaeology of the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and Florida.
“Tom talked about arrowpoints, fish weirs, spears, atlatls,
mounds, missions, wood mills, and ghost towns, as well as current threats to the Withlacoochee River and archaeological opportunities,”
said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.
Tom Baird is an education consultant who has previously worked as
a high school teacher, community college instructor
(oceanography and microbiology), director of a science and
environmental center, supervisor of science (K-12) in Pasco Co., FL,
Director of Science (PreK-12) in Pinellas Co. FL,
Principal of a math/science/technology magnet high school in
Pinellas Co., FL, and director of a National Science Foundation program.
Tom was introduced by WWALS President Sara Jay Jones,
who received a copy of Tom’s book during the webinar. Continue reading →
“However, if you want to support the advocacy and activities of WWALS,
there is also a paid ticket through eventbrite. Or become a member or sponsor. Anyway, come down and paddle, see the sights, and have fun!”
These chainsaw cleanups are in preparation for the
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, March 2, 2024,
which will run from Langdale Park three miles to the early takeout at Sugar Creek,
then another four miles to Troupville Boat Ramp.
Come help clean up the Withlacoochee River behind the Valdosta YMCA and onwards to the Little River Confluence, then upstream on the Little River to Troupville Boat Ramp.
Bring a chainsaw if you really know how to use it, but you do not have to saw to join us.
You can help by taking pictures, moving sawed branches out of the way, or collecting trash.
We’ve already done this stretch more than once,
but we know there’s at least one big deadfall between GA 133 and I-75,
and we do not know what Hurricane Idalia added.
Bring a rope on each end of your boat in case of portages.
When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 4 PM, Sunday, February 11, 2024
Put In: Meet at the back of the Berta’s Pizza Kitchen parking lot, 1405 Gornto Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602 and we’ll go to the put-in from there.