Monthly Archives: May 2019

Veto SB 7103 that would limit Florida local planning, urge 44 groups 2019-05-29

The Florida Governor should veto SB 7103, which would require local citizens to be stuck with big developers’ attorney bills, greatly limiting citizens’ ability to steer local comprehensive planning. This problem goes far beyond the Everglades, even though that’s the main subject of a letter WWALS co-signed, among 44 organizations. Governor DeSantis did not look much like Teddy Roosevelt when he signed the toll road boondoggle bill, but maybe he will veto this other egregious bill.

legal fees

Citing threat to Everglades, 44 groups ask Gov. DeSantis to veto bill, Julie Hauserman, Florida Phoenix, 29 May 2019. Continue reading

Shoals and Springs, Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River 2019-06-01

This Saturday, four shoals (Battery, Wipe-Out, Deer, and Melvin) and four springs (Powerline, Fairy, Corbett, and second-magnitude Suwannacoochee), all on the Withlacoochee River, from Allen Ramp to Suwannee River State Park.

[Shoals and springs]
Shoals and springs

Location of shoals from Chris Mericle, Blackwater River Guide. River mile calculations for them by Shirley Kokidko, both in the interactive map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

For outing details, see: Continue reading

Videos: toll road planning –E.D. Scott R. Koons & Ken Cornell @ NCFRPC 2019-05-23

Last Thursday, NCFRPC E.D. Scott R. Koons noted that Appointments to the task forces for each of the toll road corridors would start soon. Among the types of representatives that are supposed to be appointed, are environmental organizations (two of those listed in the bill are on record opposing it).

[Scott R. Koons, E.D., NCFRPC]
Scott R. Koons, E.D., NCFRPC

Koons also discussed approved funding for a hurricane evacuation study. Why, you may wonder, was the toll road bill, supposedly largely about hurricane evacuation, passed before that study was even started?

Ken Cornell of Alachua County noted “There’s a lot of election cycles before this is going to be done.” Indeed, a new governor could decline to implement this toll road boondoggle, and if enough elected officials on the task forces oppose it, that might even stop it. He also said:

[Planning, Ken Cornell, Alachua County]
Planning, Ken Cornell, Alachua County

Cornell asked for new Executive Committee members to get together before the next Council meeting,

So we can have some discussions at this Council like what we’re doing for Valdosta, and have a united front. Alachua County and I know many others will stand in support of this issue.

Suwannee Riverkeeper stands in support of the counties opposed to the toll roads.

Below are the WWALS videos from that North Central Florida Regional Planning Council meeting in Lake City, FL, with more details. Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Flower and Osprey Moon Paddle 2019-05-18

We saw the pair of nesting ospreys at their nest, on the Banks Lake Full Flower Moon Paddle.

[Osprey, nest, bird watcher]
Osprey, nest, bird watcher

The sunset was impressive.

[Among paddlers]
Among paddlers

The moon came out from behind the clouds.

[Luna paddler]
Luna paddler

Paddlers of all Continue reading

Citizens for water against toll roads @ NCFRPC 2019-05-23

Update 2019-05-28: See also Videos: toll road planning –E.D. Scott R. Koons & Ken Cornell @ NCFRPC 2019-05-23.

Eight citizens from across the region spoke Thursday against the toll road boondoggle, at the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council meeting in Lake City, FL.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, followed by a WWALS video playlist.

See also Continue reading

Slab curing at Naylor Boat Ramp 2019-05-21

The concrete was curing Tuesday, May 21, 2019, that was poured after May 8, following the bed built by April 30.

[With representative human]
With representative human

Many people want to know: when will Lowndes County slide this slab down into the river? I am not Lowndes County Project Manager Chad McLeod, but my guess is Continue reading

WWALS Advisory Committee 2019-05-11

On May 11, we met to organize the WWALS Advisory Committee. Agriculture, Forestry, and Water were big topics. Thanks to Joe West, Assistant Dean of the Campus at the University of Georgia, Tifton, for many good suggestions of Committee members, and the use of his office for the meeting.

Hard at thought, Advisory Committee
Photo: John S. Quarterman, of Advisory Committee Chair Dave Hetzel, WWALS Board Delegate Bret Wagenhorst, Committee Member UGA Tifton Asst. Dean Joe West, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (hat).

We will meet there again on Thursday, June 13, 2019. If you would like to be a WWALS Advisor, helping us out with advocacy, events, legislation, and yes, undraising, let us know. See our Vision, Mission, Goals, Issues, Outings and Events, and Fundraising. Don’t worry: nobody has to try to do all that. Advisors can specialize.

Here Joe West looks out of his office window at the Centennial Garden, which was dedicated one week before, at his suggestion. Continue reading

NCFRPC Meeting, Lake City, FL 2019-05-23

There will be a meeting of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council tonight in Lake City. Citizen Comments would be a good opportunity to ask what are they going to do to stop the Suncoast Connector toll road boondoggle from crossing the Suwannee River, and promote water quality testing and solar power instead.

When: 7PM, Thursday, May 23, 2019

Where: Lake City Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 213 Southwest Commerce Boulevard, Lake City, Florida

Event: facebook

X. CITIZEN COMMENTS

This agenda item provides an opportunity for citizens to address the Council on any matter not included on the agenda. The comment period is limited to three minutes for each individual.

Meeting Notice, Packet

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2019-05-22

In the Gainesville Sun, yesterday, May 22, 2019:

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

Aerial Google map, Crystal River to Monticello and Thomasville
Google map of one likely route of the Suncoast Connector.

One of these three unneeded turnpikes would have to cross the Suwannee River, plowing through counties where we have many members. All this very poorly written bill says about its route is: “Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to 164 Jefferson County.” Apparently that means from Crystal River to Monticello, and on to Thomasville, Georgia, through farms, forests and swamps. If this toll road builds its bypasses, bye-bye local businesses in Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Old Town and Cross City.

Yes, the turnpike bill has a “project development phase” for $45 million and increasing each year, with a Continue reading

Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River: Paddle Georgia Preview, 2019-06-01

Update 2019-05-30: Map of shoals and springs along the way.

Wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River to the Confluence. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are clear springs to explore, such as Suwannacoochee Spring at Ellaville. This is a preview of part of Paddle Georgia 2019.

When: Gather 8:00 AM, launch 9:30 AM, Saturday, June 1, 2019

Put In: Allen Ramp, From Jasper, travel north on US 41 to SR 6; turn left; travel south on SW CR 141 to SW CR 143; turn right and follow SW CR 143 to SW 64 Way and follow to ramp. Also known as CR 143 ramp (SRWMD).

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221333

Take Out: Suwannee River State Park Ramp, 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060, in Suwannee County.
Taking out requires a very brief paddle upstream on the Suwannee River.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Don’t forget a rope in case you need to drag your boat across shoals. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Park: Remember to have $5 cash for the state park fee, for each vehicle that will be shuttled to the take out at Suwannee River State Park.

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21.

Continue reading