Tag Archives: WWALS

Banks Lake Full Buck Moon Paddle, 2021-07-23

Leisurely Sunset and Full Moon Paddle, with bats.

When: Gather 7:35 PM, launch 8:05 PM, moonrise 8:40 PM, sunset 8:34 PM, end 9:30 PM, Friday, July 23, 2021

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County, on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Lights: You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. You must wear a PFD. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it. Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net/outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Cypress boats]
Bobby McKenzie: Cypress boats

2020-08-03. Continue reading

Right to Clean Water, and four more Florida ballot initiatives 2021-05-20

Water as a human right will be on the Florida statewide ballot this fall, if enough Floridians sign the petition.

Plus wetlands protection, iconic species protection including the manatee, a ban on new or expanded toll roads, and a ban on captive wildlife hunting. As the website FL5.ORG says: Keep Florida Alive, Sign all 5.

For each petition, that’s 222,898 signatures to get judicial and financial review, and 891,589 to get it on the ballot.

It’s doable: there are more than 21 million Floridians.

[Sign all 5: Right to Clean Water, Ban new toll roads, and more]
Sign all 5: Right to Clean Water, Ban new toll roads, and more

FLORIDA RIGHT TO CLEAN WATER

This one is the key for the work of Suwannee Riverkeeper. It would make it a lot easier to stop pipelines, mines, and Nestlé and other water withdrawal boondoogles.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FULL TEXT Continue reading

Calling for pictures of swimming, diving, rapids, tubing, water skiing, or surfing, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia

Update 2021-06-21: The real deadline is June 30, 2021.

Calling for pictures, personal experience, or other evidence of swimming or diving in lakes and rivers in the Suwannee River Basin, and evidence of investments in recreation.

[Candidate Recreational waterways, Georgia, legend, Suwannee River Basin]
Candidate Recreational waterways, Georgia, legend, Suwannee River Basin

For a waterway to be redesignated Recreational instead of Fishing, as we requested back in 2019, GA-EPD requires evidence of “Primary Contact Recreation,” which it says is “full immersion contact with water where there is significant risk of ingestion that includes, but is not limited to, swimming, diving, white water boating (class 3+), tubing, water skiing, and surfing.”

Recreational designation would mean tighter restrictions on contamination limits. That should be good for fish, fishing, people who swim, fish, and boat, and for eco-tourism.

Could everyone who has pictures, news reports, or other solid evidence of such activities in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia please send them in. That’s in the Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River, Alapaha River, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, Withlacoochee River, or Little River.

Please use this form:
https://forms.gle/DipPgU2TP5atc2Rf9
If you have difficulties with that, please email them to wwalswatershed@gmail.com.

Also, please send any evidence of investments in recreation along any of these waterways, with dollar amounts, if you have them.

No rush. We thought we had until the end of June, but recently GA-EPD truncated the deadline to May 28th. That’s Friday of this week. GA-EPD has indicated that the end-of-week deadline may be flexible, but please send what you’ve got as fast as you can.

They also applied a bunch of criteria, some of which we were previously unaware of, and tossed out many stretches of the rivers. We asked for an appeal process, but they have not provided one. So feel free to send in pictures and other evidence about all stretches, and we’ll see what we can do with them.

The good news is that still on the candidate list for Recreational redesignation is all of the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee River in Georgia, Banks Lake, and Grand Bay Creek and Trail within the Grand Bay WMA. Also included is most of the Alapaha River within the Alapaha River Water Trail, but not upstream from the Willacoochee River, and not for ten miles downstream from Lakeland.

But almost all of the Withlacoochee River is eliminated, except for Tiger Creek (at Spook Bridge) to the state line, and all of the Little River is eliminated. Also gone is Lake Irma, because Continue reading

Not-so-dry Alapaha River to Suwannee River –Bobby McKenzie 2021-05-07

WWALS members Bobby McKenzie and Russell Allen McBride took advantage of water in the usually-dry lower Alapaha River to paddle from Sasser Landing to the Suwannee River and Gibson Park Boat Ramp.

[Sasser Landing, sun tree, Jennings Bluff Landing, US 41 Alapaha River Landing, twisted tree, Gibson Park Boat Ramp]
Sasser Landing, sun tree, Jennings Bluff Landing, US 41 Alapaha River Landing, twisted tree, Gibson Park Boat Ramp

Along the way, they saw the new still-steep stairs at Jennings Bluff Launch and discovered a US 41 Alapaha River Landing.

These are all on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT). Continue reading

Valdosta FOG Manhole sewage spill 2021-04-26

2021-05-11: two weeks later, Valdosta’s FOG spill shows up on GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report, for two days earlier than in Valdosta’s press release.

This Valdosta sewage spill on Saturday was very small, mostly vacuumed up by the city, and unlikely to get the 1.89 miles down Onemile Branch to Sugar Creek, and the 1.85 miles farther to the Withlacoochee River. I think we can all agree that nobody wants sewage spills caused by Fats, Oils, or Greases. Also don’t dump your face masks into storm drains or waterways.

[FOG in manhole, 1400 Williams Street spill site, creeks to Withlacoochee River]
FOG in manhole, 1400 Williams Street spill site, creeks to Withlacoochee River

Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson prepended this note with the picture you see below: “It is important to note that while this did happen over the weekend, it was not a weather related incident. For our media partners, I am attaching an example of a previous grease blockage in our system so that you can get a visual of how grease build up can block pipes, ultimately leading to a manhole overflow.”

Continue reading

Videos: BIG Little River Paddle Race, Wes James, WAAC 92.9 FM 2021-04-20

Update 2021-04-25: BIG Little River Paddle Race is cancelled due to weather.

Postponed due to weather to 2PM, Sunday, April 25, 2021: BIG Little River Paddle Race.

Wes James asked some questions I hadn’t thought of about the BIG Little River Paddle Race last night on WAAC 92.9 FM radio, about boat size, for example.

Remember to get your tickets, and if you want to you can rent a boat, both online in advance:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2021-04-24–blrpr

We are watching the weather, as discussed in the first video. While today the prediction is for thunderstorms Saturday, it’s also for those not starting until afternoon, when everybody will be off the river anyway, in which case no problem. Also, we’ve frequently seen such predictions move a day or so later, so we shall see. So far, so good.

Agenda: WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2021-04-18

Here is the agenda for the WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting.

[Agenda]
Agenda
PDF: just agenda or agenda with reports.

The public is invited. We will be discussing the BIG Little River Paddle Race, Songwriting Contest, cleanups, outings, water quality testing, opposition to mines, water withdrawals, coal ash, and pellet plants, promotion of solar power, and of course finances.

That’s for the entire 10,000 square mile Suwannee River Basin, in Georgia and Florida, including the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, Little times two, New times two, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers, and all their creeks, springs, sinks, ponds, and swamps, such as Grand Bay, Banks Lake and the Okefenokee Swamp.

We will be meeting online by zoom, so you don’t even have to go anywhere.

When: 2-4 PM, Sunday, April 18, 2021

Where: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89308028204?pwd=VmwyMzVTMVR6WGJxbUFUSlFXWFRWQT09
ZOOM Meeting ID: 893 0802 8204 Password: 392346
One tap mobile: +19294362866,,89308028204#,,,,,,0#,,392346#
Dial In: +1 929 436 2866 Meeting ID: 893 0802 8204 Meeting Password: 392346

Event: facebook

Much of the work of WWALS is done by committees of members, and many of them have some good results to report. If you’d like to join a committee, please fill out the application.

[WWALS Logo]
WWALS Logo

The board itself does most of its business online via email, but it’s good to have these gatherings once a quarter.

The current board members, officers, and staff are listed on the Board web page.

Agenda

PDF: just agenda or agenda with reports. Continue reading

Little Rain, Still Clean, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-01

Update 2021-04-10: Clean week, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-08.

The rain came gently Wednesday, and the Withlacoochee River was still clean Thursday, April 1, 2021, no joke.

[Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide]
Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for testing Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and to Gus Cleary for testing at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. All came out zero or within one E. coli colony of zero. Can’t ask for much better than that.

We have no new results from Madison Health since Thursday a week ago, and nothing new from Valdosta since Monday.

So according to the data we have, all from WWALS, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in the Withlacoochee River this weekend, at least if you don’t mind a bit of chill! Continue reading

Help SRWMD reject Nestle permit 2021-02-23

You can help the Suwannee River Water Management District Board uphold the public interest and reject Nestlé’s water withdrawal permit application.

[Agenda, Board, No Permit]
Agenda, Board, No Permit

Even SRWMD’s legal counsel only recommends approving the Seven Springs permit “under protest.” The DOAH judge’s Order is actually only a RECOMMENDATION, and the District filed eighteen pages of exceptions to that Order. The judge disallowed most of those exceptions, but SRWMD is still holding open the possibility of appeal with that “under protest”.

The Judge’s Order dances around the basic question: is putting water in plastic bottles after taking it from the Floridan Aquifer next to a depleted river and springs, all for profit of a Swiss company, in the public interest? Florida law and the judge attempt to narrow what can be considered down what can be considered for the public interest to what is in Florida rules or a handbook, even though none of those adequately address the real issues. The plain fact is that a contract to sell water does not determine any public interst in cleaning up plastic bottles from our springs and rivers, nor does it determine any public interest in lower springs and rivers, with bad effects on wildlife, public use of those waters, and eventually on drinking water.

The SRWMD board can deny this permit because it is not in the public interest. You can help them do so.

It almost looks like the SRWMD counsel is asking people to come protest, since he repeatedly mentions that Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) filed legal motions and both Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Michael Roth spoke in the legal hearing. Disclosure: WWALS has provided some financial support for OSFR’s legal actions in this matter.

If you’re going to attend this Special Meeting in person, get there early to get a spot. To attend online, be sure to sign up for both the webinar and cal in for audio. If you want to comment, you must also sign up for that separately. Don’t wait for the second day: if that happens at all, there will be no public comment.

So come early on the first day, in person or online, Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

The entire SRWMD Special Meeting Board packet is on the WWALS website: https://www.wwals.net/pictures/2021-02-23–srwmd-nestle-special-meeting-packet/

Here is the agenda, with how to attend online: Continue reading

Little River Road acre, Lowndes County, GA 2021-02-06

Our rivers are different every time. Especially summer mid-day and winter sunset.

[Summer, Winter]
Summer, Winter

This is the Little River, at the end of Little River Road, where Lowndes County owns an acre.

That acre is 17.24 river miles downstream from Folsom Bridge @ GA 122. That’s long but doable if the river is high.

It’s 7.7 more miles downstream to Troupville Boat Ramp @ GA 133. That’s a normal day’s paddling.

So this acre is about 2/3 of the 25 river miles between Folsom Bridge and Troupville Boat Ramp. 25 miles is too long or almost anybody to paddle in a day. So public access at the Little River Road acre would be a good thing. Continue reading