Gator and bats, sunset, no moon, at Banks Lake 2020-06-05

About 35 paddlers saw bats as the sun set over Banks Lake.

[Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader]
Bobby McKenzie, WWALS Outings Committee Chair, this expedition leader

Thanks to WWALS Outings Committee Chair and Board Member Bobby McKenzie, for organizing and leading this outing.

The moon hid behind clouds, but some of us saw a little gator as we started out. I think Helen Crowley spotted it. Continue reading

New WWALS water quality tester Renee Kirkland 2020-06-05

Renee Kirkland has a water quality testing kit, thanks to donations to the water quality testing program.

[Trainer, kit, and tester]
Trainer, kit, and tester

Renee already passed the most recent water quality testing training. Trainer Gretchen Quarterman got Renee to review with her new kit. Renee is already on the WWALS Testing Committee, and now she’s ready to test.

She’s going to start on the Alapaha River, with Mayday Landing and Statenville Boat Ramp.

If you want to become a WWALS water quality tester, please Continue reading

Sturgeons Catching Air –Ken Sulak, USGS, retired 2012-10-01

Why do those prehistoric hundred-pound fish jump so far out of the water? Many reasons, explained in Catching Air—Those Magnificent Jumping Suwannee Sturgeons, by Ken Sulak.

[Page 1 of 3]
Page 1 of 3

Source: Continue reading

Avoid sewage spills: no wipes in the pipes 2020-05-06

Nobody wants any more sewage spills because of Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) or blue gloves or sanitary wipes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road]
Pumper on Cherry Creek Church Road

Valdosta Utilities apparently cleaned up this one in April off of Bemiss Road before it could get into Cherry Creek, since the bacterial sample I took showed very little E. coli. Here’s a Valdosta press release and video on how to prevent such spills.

City issues reminder: “No wipes in the pipes”

The City of Valdosta is asking residents to avoid flushing sanitation wipes even if the package states they are flushable! Paper towels and facial tissues also should not be flushed in local sewer lines as people practice guidelines to combat the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. While the “flushable” wipes concern is not new to wastewater facilities, there is an increased risk to our system recently. Continue reading

Okefenokee Swamp more important than a titanium mine –Suwannee Riverkeeper on WKUB 105.1 FM

The Okefenokee Swamp is a gem, locally, nationally, and internationally, too important to risk for profit by a few miners for paint. This is in a radio interview of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman by Brian Blount of WKUB 105.1 out of Blackshear, Pierce County, Georgia, north of Waycross and the Swamp.

[WKUB 105.1 FM]
WKUB 105.1 FM

Here is an introduction by Wade Scott, and my request for people to ask the Army Corps to deny the permit application by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, or at least to require an Environmental Impact Statement broad enough to cover the whole Swamp and the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, as well as the existing titanium mines in north Florida and south Georgia, plus the phosphate mines current and proposed in north Florida. Continue reading

Sunday and Monday creek and river water quality results 2020-06-01

Conn and Trudy Cole also tested for WWALS Sunday, except at Crooked Creek, which was almost dry under the Devane Road bridge, so it can’t be sending any contamination downstream. At US 84 they got 66 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Okapilco Creek and 33 for the Withlacoochee River. WWALS continues testing, and you can help.

[Dry Crooked Creek @ Devane Road]
Dry Crooked Creek @ Devane Road

On the Little River at GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp) they got 33, similar to the 0 (zero) I got there that same day.

[Rock Bridge]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Rock Bridge on the Little River @ GA 76, 2020-05-31.

Plus we have Valdosta data for Monday and last Wednesday and Friday, all showing pretty clean at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River and upstream. So it was a good weekend for boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers.

[Clean weekend]
Clean weekend
For context, including the entire WWALS composite water quality table of results from both Georgia and Florida, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Valdosta results upstream Friday, May 29, 2020, at GA 133 and US 41 on the Withlacoochee River were oddly higher than downstream, with 265 E. coli. That’s higher than the 126 long-term average limit, but still well below the 410 single-test limit. For Wednesday at Knights Ferry, Valdosta got a weirdly very high Fecal coliform result, 1,400, but a pretty normal 140 E. coli. See Continue reading

Response: Valdosta says it is manhole rehabilitation at One Mile Branch near Sustella Ave. 2020-06-04

Other than to wonder how 9:24 AM (when I asked) to 8:42 PM (when I posted the previous) adds up to a “5.5-6 hour window”, I am posting this exactly as received at 11:40 AM today. -jsq

[Inside manhole]
Inside manhole


Darryl Muse
Attachments
11:40 AM (3 hours ago)
to Scott, Scott, Ashlyn, Tim, Mark, me

Mr. Quarterman, On yesterday the Department, including Mr. Fowler were in the field preparing for anticipated significant rain events over the next several days. As a result, there was no response within the 5.5-6 hour window you noted in your email. Included in this reply is your email to Mr. Fowler so we all can be on the same page as it relates to your request.

Continue reading

One Mile Branch Sewage Spill @ Sustella Ave., VSU 2020-06-02

Update 2020-06-04: Response: Valdosta says it is manhole rehabilitation at One Mile Branch near Sustella Ave. 2020-06-04

Scotti Jay smelled a sewer spill. He found an open manhole, a bunch of hoses, and tracks of large trucks, presumably Valdosta Utilities pumper trucks. We don’t know, because Valdosta has not answered an inquiry from this morning.

[Hose and manhole]
Hose and manhole

This is on Onemile Branch behind the Valdosta State University (VSU) Recreation Center, downstream from Sustella Ave.

The good news from Sara Jay’s water quality testing: she got Continue reading

Clean Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2020-05-31

Update 2020-06-04: Sunday and Monday creek and river water quality results.

I’ve posted green for “Meets water quality standards” on Swim Guide all the way from Cook County Boat Ramp (GA 76) on the Little River for last weekend, and the same past State Line Boat Ramp into Florida for late last week. With little rain lately and none forecast, this clean trend should continue.

[Folsom Bridge (GA 122) in Swim Guide]
Folsom Bridge (GA 122) in Swim Guide

These water samples look clean. And this time that water was clean. Continue reading

Toll Roads webinars are illegal: ask Florida Governor to repurpose funds to pandemic relief 2020-05-28

There’s no point in attending the toll roads webinars: instead ask Florida governor DeSantis to use the toll road funds for pandemic relief.

FDOT didn’t listen to First Amendment Foundation: “All portions of the Sunshine Law continue to apply even during this horrible pandemic. No part of the Law has been suspended or modified as applied to state agencies. As a result, I respectfully request that FDOT exercise patience, cancel any and all M-CORES Task Force meetings, and reschedule the meetings only when members of the Task Force and Florida citizens can fully participate in-person and by all feasible means.

Instead, FDOT scheduled more bogus webinars this week, starting tomorrow.

[FAF to FDOT (1 of 3)]
FAF to FDOT (1 of 3)

Better: please ask Florida governor DeSantis to repurpose toll road funds to pandemic relief.

Thanks to the No Roads to Ruin (NRTR) steering committee, here is the FAF letter to FDOT (PDF).

News coverage: Continue reading