Tag Archives: WWALS

About WWALS River Revue on The Spotlight Show, Talk92.1 FM 2023-09-14

Update 2023-09-15: Last call for tickets for WWALS River Revue, on Talk 92.1 FM 2023-09-18.

Join us on The Spotlight Show on talk921.com at 6 PM, Thursday, September 14, 2023.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and “Diamond” Jim Halter will talk about the WWALS River Revue sit-down fundraising dinner, with cash bar, silent auction, and new songs in the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, all 6-10 PM, Friday, September 22, 2023, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia.

Tickets are available only online in advance, by Monday, September 18th:

[The Spotlight Show, WWALS River Revue]
The Spotlight Show, WWALS River Revue

On the radio, we will talk about some of what WWALS does that this fundraiser supports, including water trails, paddle outings including bats on Banks Lake, and cleanups, including chainsaw cleanups. Continue reading

Valdosta spilled 15,000 gallons of wastewater into Knights Creek 2023-08-22

2023-08-25: All 2023 sewage spills into the Suwannee River Basin 2023-08-25.

Yes, another one. Fifth Valdosta sewage spill this year in about the same location, into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, the Alapaha River, and the Suwannee.

I do give credit to the City of Valdosta for limiting it to only 15,000 gallons (although that is still a major spill), and for getting the press release out the next day, and before 5PM. WWALS received it at 2:01 PM.

[Location of the previous spill, and warning sign from a spill before that, Knights Creek, between E. Park Ave. and US 84]
Location of the previous spill, and warning sign from a spill before that, all into Knights Creek, between E. Park Ave. and US 84.

However, as I told WTXL after one of the previous spills, “There have been a number of things they’ve done better lately, they don’t have as bad or as frequent spills as they used to. The ideal number however is none.”

FYI, this spill is not yet in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report.

And looking forward to some new results showing up in Valdosta’s 2023 Knight’s Creek Biological Monitoring Results.


Campfire Cooking at Griffis Fish Camp and Suwannee River paddle, 2023-12-08-10

Join us to camp overnight Friday at Griffis Fish Camp.

On Saturday, paddle 9.5 miles down the Suwannee River from SCFSP through the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the Narrows, and the Sill to Griffis, to camp overnight again.

Each night, build a campfire and start cooking.

When: Arrive 4 PM, Friday, December 8, 2023, sunset 5:26 PM.
Gather 9 AM, Saturday, December 9, 2023, launch 9:30 AM, sunset 5:26 PM
Sunday, December 10, 2023, wake up and head on home.

Campground: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left, in Clinch County.

Campground GPS: 30.78246, -82.443594

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp, 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel to Stephen C. Foster State Park, in Charlton County.

Put In GPS: 30.826833, -82.361333

[Suwannee River, Okefenokee Swamp, Griffis Fish Camp, Campfire Cooking]
Suwannee River, Okefenokee Swamp, Griffis Fish Camp, Campfire Cooking

Continue reading

Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2023-09-09

Update 2023-09-07: Cancelled: Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2023-09-09.

Come help us remove some deadfalls that are impeding canoe and kayak paddling.

Bring a chainsaw if you really know how to use it.

But you do not have to use a saw to join us.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 1 PM, Saturday, September 9, 2023

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602,

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[Easy and hard deadfalls 2021-05-15]
Easy and hard deadfalls, 2021-05-15

Continue reading

Pictures: Sugar Creek Withlacoochee River on-land cleanup 2023-07-22

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for leading the rerouted on-land Sugar Creek and mostly Withlacoochee River cleanup. Children and experienced adults teamed up to get the job done. We found only one big trash jam and we cleaned that one up.

Phil Hubbard came with boat and chainsaws ready to do a chainsaw cleanup, but due to the reroute there was no chainsawing.

We thanked Valdosta Assistant Utilities Director Jason Barnes for alerting us to the sewage spill contamination in Sugar Creek that caused us to reroute from a cleanup paddle to an on-land cleanup. He arrived before we left, so we thanked him again in person.

[Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22]
Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22

Yes, Vivian, there could be alligators. Continue reading

OK Withlacoochee River and Sugar Creek 2023-06-25

Update 2023-06-27: Good Alapaha River 2023-06-25.

The Withlacoochee River tested good for Sunday at four locations, plus Sugar Creek.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide Map 2023-06-25]
Chart, River, Swim Guide Map 2023-06-25

So apparently the Valdosta Wednesday Williams Street One Mile Branch sewage spill, if it ever affected Sugar Creek, has already washed away. We did see a lot of background Fecal coliform bacterial colonies, but those were on plates for all the tested locations, and those bacteria are usually harmless.

Thanks to WWALS testers Cindy and David Vedas, who could not sample most of their sites Thursday, for sampling Sunday instead, and for adding Sugar Creek below the Salty Snapper, at the WaterGoat.

So I would be good with swimming, fishing, and boating on the Withlacoochee River.

Except of course that the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little Rivers are up in or near Action Stage, which means it’s high and fast and there’s little place to pull out onshore if you get capsized by overhanging branches. So you’d probably be better off on the Suwannee or Santa Fe Rivers this weekend.

This is why this weekend’s WWALS chainsaw cleanup has been rescheduled and merged with the regular cleanup next month, Sugar Creek to Troupville, Withlacoochee River Cleanup 2023-07-22.

Paddle at your own risk, as always.

Despite Valdosta’s assertion Saturday evening “Georgia EPD has been notified of the issue,” no new sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida. Sometimes this means that Valdosta so far only telephoned in a report to GA-EPD, and has not yet submitted a written report. Continue reading

Veto Florida fertilizer preemption

Please ask the Florida Governor to veto the part of the budget bill that could end up with preemption of local fertilizer bans.

You can use this handy Waterkeepers Florida form to do that: https://waterkeepersflorida.good.do/stopthefertilizerpreemption/

[Veto fertilizer ban preemption]

Who would benefit by the bill? Phosphate mines.

As everyone knows, fertilizer nitrates leaching through the soil into our springs and rivers is the main cause of the algae blooms that crowd out native vegetation and starve fish and manatees in the Suwannee River Basin. The state’s Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) won’t solve that problem. Counties and cities can pass ordinances to address the problem, but not so easily the relevant part of this bill becomes law.

The relevant part of line item 146 of SB 2500 reads: Continue reading

Agenda: Tifton, GA, meeting, Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council 2023-05-24

Update 2023-05-16: Rivers and mining: WWALS comments on Suwannee-Satilla Draft Regional Water Plan 2023-05-15.

We have an agenda for the May 24, 2023, meeting of the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Commission (SSRWPC) in Tifton, Georgia.

Note the SRWMD presentation about Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs), as in the ongoing SRWMD peer review of the Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFLs.

SSRWPC will also be discussing their Lake Beatrice water storage and Alapaha River replenishment scheme, which has assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Don’t wait until the SSRWPC meeting to get your comments in on their Georgia Regional Water Plan by May 15, 2023.

[The attendees: Sheri Almer and Cliff Lewis of GA-EPD, Emory Gawlik and Shayne Wood of GDM Smith, Council Mac McCall, Chair Scott Downing, Foreground Bert Early of Georgia Forestry, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Emily Ducker and Sean King of SRWMD --John S. Quarterman Suwannee Riverkeeper]
SSRWPC meeting 2023-03-14.

Received this morning in response to a WWALS request, Cliff Lewis wrote:

Agenda for the upcoming meeting is below. See you then. Continue reading

BIG Little River Paddle Event, Red Roberts Landing, 2023-04-29

Update 2023-04-20: Ten days until BIG Little River Paddle Event, 2023-04-29.

WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst will guide a tour of the Little River from Red Roberts Landing to Reed Bingham State Park Lake.

Paddlers will learn about natural history of the river, from flora and fauna to aspects of rivers and black water: oxbows, tannic acid, river foam, hairpin curves and breakthroughs, sloughs, silt deposition sides, etc. If more than 8 boats sign up, we will add another tour guide.

The tour will make stops at various locations for short learning experiences. The tour will last at least 1.5 hours, and possibly up to 2.5-3 hours depending on water level, paddle speed, and number of questions. There will be a briefing before and after on land.

Registration is online in advance:

This is a WWALS members-only event. If you are not a WWALS member, you can become one at the event, or online:

There is no charge for this paddle, other than a $5 park entrance fee and any boat rental fees to the park. Please contact the park in advance about any boat rentals.

Paddlers are encouraged to donate to this WWALS fundraiser. Sponsors will be listed on a sign at the event and in social media and other postings.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 3 PM, Saturday, April 29, 2023

Put In: Red Roberts Landing, 4727 Rountree Bridge Rd., Adel, GA 31620. Take I-75 exit 41, head west onto Roundtree Bridge Road, then right to stay on Roundtree Bridge Road (CR 251). After 4.7 miles, turn left just before the Little River, into the park entrance at Red Roberts Landing, in Cook County, Georgia.

GPS: 31.192222, -83.520333

[Bret Wagenhorst, paddlers on the Little River, 2022]
Bret Wagenhorst, paddlers on the Little River, 2022 Continue reading

Florida Right to Hunt and Fish breezing through legislature towards 2024 ballot 2023-03-27

Georgia has it, among 23 states, including all states in the southeast, except for Florida.

Looks like it’s coming to Florida: a state constitutional amendment for a Right to Hunt and Fish. Identical bills are speeding through the state House and Senate towards getting this amendment on the 2024 ballot.

[Ballotpedia, 23 states have Right to Hunt and Fish as of November 2020]
Ballotpedia, 23 states have Right to Hunt and Fish as of November 2020

And what good is a Right to Hunt and Fish without clean water for the fish and wildlife? Floridians, please sign the petition for Right to Clean Water, also intended for the 2024 ballot.

Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, Tampa Bay Times, March 27, 2023, updated March 29, Hunting, fishing could be enshrined in Florida Constitution under proposal: If approved, the proposal could be on the November 2024 ballot. Continue reading