Tag Archives: Blueway

Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

Update 2020-01-15: Georgia Department of Health can’t or won’t do as much as FDOH 2020-01-07.

The Withlacoochee River still looks clean for the Mayor’s Paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge this Saturday.

SRWMD actually tested upstream from there last Wednesday at GA 133. SRWMD’s and FDEP’s test at US 84, Knights Ferry, and State Line Boat Ramp (GA 31) were also clean that day, and the next day FDOH tested at GA 31 and still found it clean. Suzy Hall tested for WWALS this Saturday, and found Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps clean.

[Most recent contamination]
Most recent contamination

The not so good news is that the most recent FDOH tests in Florida, Continue reading

Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, January 13, 2020 — Water quality tests since last Wednesday are looking good for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, and if those continue this Monday and Wednesday, it will be all clear to paddle with the new Mayor of Valdosta, Scott James, this Saturday, January 18, 2020. “We’ll paddle by the site of the projected Troupville River Camp, supported by Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, and Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We’ll also pass the outflow from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which did not spill, although it is in a stretch of the river that was contaminated by Valdosta’s December 2019 record raw sewage spill.”

[Movie: WWTP Outfall, 11:23:17, 30.83622, -83.35924 (15M)]
WWTP Outfall, 2019-06-15 30.8362200, -83.3592400

Mayor Scott James was quoted in Valdosta Today:

“The paddle was requested by me and John was gracious enough to organize it and call it the ‘Mayor’s Paddle.’ It is to show my commitment to zero tolerance for future spills and to show my love for our natural resources.”

“The only way to dispell the stigma of sewage spills that affects the entire Suwannee River Basin, is frequent, regular, water quality sampling with published results,” added Quarterman. “The dozen-county Florida Rivers Task Force to deal with Valdosta sewage wants to promote cross-state-line eco-tourism. We should all be marketing our rivers. We are, with this paddle, and with Troupville River Camp. But we need a solid foundation of testing so we can say when the rivers are clean, and the few (we hope) times when they are not.”

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., parent organization of Suwannee Riverkeeper, will be collecting water quality samples this Wednesday at numerous points on the Withlacoochee River to have current results before the paddle. Lowndes County (which has its own sewer system, that did not spill) is sampling weekly. The Florida Department of Enviromental Protection (FDEP) and the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) are sampling downstream, and SRWMD has even sampled some sites well into Georgia. WWALS is publishing all this data, along with what data Valdosta has supplied in response to open records requests, online:
http://wwals.net/issues/vww/valdosta-spills/#vldrecord2019

On the paddle, WWALS will be sampling above and below the WWTP outfall and at other locations along the route.

Meanwhile, the recent rains have provided plenty of water in the river, several feet more than when we paddled the same route with 300 people in Paddle Georgia in June 2019, so we should have smooth sailing!

How To Paddle with the Mayor

Continue reading

Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

There are two warning signs at each of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps as of yesterday: by Lowndes County, and by WWALS. According to new data from Wednesday evening, those signs may not have been necessary, but at this point better safe than sorry. The new data did not come from Valdosta, nor did the signs.

[County and WWALS warning signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, County and WWALS warning signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, 2020-01-10

Thanks to Lowndes County and Chairman Bill Slaughter for testing at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and for making and planting those tall metal caution signs after the county numbers for Monday, January 6, 2020, were quite high. The county is now doing weekly testing, including at additional locations.

Just in case, WWALS also made signs and placed them. Continue reading

Avoid Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry to Confluence with Suwannee River 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-11: Signs in Georgia on Withlacoochee River and new data; thanks Lowndes County and SRWMD 2020-01-10.

It would be prudent to avoid contact with the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp all the way to the Suwannee River, due to test results from Lowndes County, Georgia, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

[Avoid red area]
Avoid red area.
WWALS Map of Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The problem access points would seem to include Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, and State Line Boat Ramp in Georgia, and in Florida Sullivan Launch, Florida Campsites Ramp, Madison Blue Spring, Madison Boat Ramp, and Allen Ramp on the Withlacoochee River. I believe Hamilton County also has a warning sign upstream on the Suwannee River at Suwannee River Campsites. There’s a sign at Madison Blue Spring, and I’d bet there’s one at Suwannee River State Park Ramp. There will be signs in Georgia today, one way or another.

Here is an excerpt from the latest FDEP data, received this morning. The entire updated FDEP spreadsheet is Continue reading

Letter: Valdosta Mayor and Council support Troupville River Camp 2019-12-19

Well, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle sent this letter to GA-DNR week before last, although the part of DNR I talked to Monday was unaware of that. Today I got a copy from the City Clerk and forwarded it to GA-DNR.

[The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching.]
The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching.
PDF

On behalf of the Valdosta City Council, it is with great pleasure that we supply this letter of support for the WWALS Watershed Coalition’s pre-application for grant assistance for the Troupville River Camp in Lowndes County.

The Troupville River Camp would be a great asset to our community. The proposed property is in an excellent location near the Confluence of the Little River with the Withlacoochee River and not far from I-75 and GA Highway 133. The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching. Not only would the Troupville River Camp be a boon to Valdosta and Lowndes County, but also for other communities in South Georgia and North Florida,

We want to make Valdosta a place where people will want to live, work, and play and the Troupville River Camp would help us to achieve that goal. We wholeheartedly recommend and humbly ask for your consideration of the pre-application for grant assistance for the Troupville River Camp in Lowndes County.

This is the letter that Valdosta City Council Continue reading

Videos: Troupville River Camp at Valdosta City Council 2019-12-05

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber described the Troupville River Camp project and the letters received at that time (more have since come in). After brief discussion, the Council approved unanimously the Mayor sending a letter of support.


      7b. Request for letter of support by WWALS
LAKE Video.

In Citizens To Be Heard (CBTH), WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman thanked Council for approving the letter.


      10. CTBH. - Gretchen Quarterman - WWALS ED
LAKE Video.

All the letters received thus far, including Continue reading

Letter: Valdosta Disc Golf Association supports Troupville River Camp 2019-12-30

The president of Valdosta Disc Golf Association (VDGA) offers in-kind design services and maintenance for Troupville River Camp.

[Our club members would be an important partner in helping to keep the River Camp park and grounds clean.]
Our club members would be an important partner in helping to keep the River Camp park and grounds clean.
PDF

My name is Mark Gaither, the current president of the Valdosta Disc Golf Association (VDGA), and on behalf of the club, I would like to offer our support on the construction of the Troupville River Camp. Valdosta currently has Continue reading

Water Trail signs reposted at Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps 2019-12-29

Thanks to Dan Phillips for replanting new and updated copies of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) signs at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp and Nankin Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Knights Ferry Boat Ramp]
Knights Ferry Boat Ramp

The previous signs were stolen. If you want copies of these signs, we’ll be happy to sell them to you for $50 a pair.

Or you can donate to the cost of printing more of these metal signs to go at more access points.

[Nankin Boat Ramp]
Nankin Boat Ramp

The signs at Nankin Boat Ramp are attached to the video surveillance sign so as to be Continue reading

Letter: Lowndes County, GA, Commission supports Troupville River Camp 2019-12-30

The county of the site of the proposed Troupville River Camp supports the project.

[Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.]
Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.
PDF

On behalf of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to express Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.

Quality of life amenities are an integral component of economic development initiatives. The ability to provide a river park for citizens that could also serve as a destination for others is an amazing opportunity for our community. Further, programs proposed that will continue to protect one of South Georgia/North Florida’s most valuable natural resources should not be overlooked in the consideration of this application.

Lowndes County appreciates and admires the initiative demonstrated by WWALS Watershed Coalition. Those associated with the organization are both knowledgeable with regards to preservation and passionate about their mission.

Thank you again for the opportunity to express Lowndes County’s support of their efforts.

I had requested this letter at the last Lowndes County Commission meeting of 2019. As I mentioned, Chairman Bill Slaughter was already familiar with the site. Continue reading

Troupville River Camp at Lowndes County, GA, Commission 2019-12-10

At the last Lowndes County Commission meeting of 2019, as Suwannee Riverkeeper, I complimented Code Enforcement and asked for support for the Troupville River Camp project. 
      8. CWTBH - John S. Quarterman - Troupville River Camp
Video.

A WWALS member had called in a complaint to Lowndes County Code Enforcement back in August, about trash at the bottom of the Flying J parking lot at I-75 Exit 2.. It was a big job, involving removing many truckloads of tires, and completely rebuilding the fence, but it was almost finished when I went by there that same Tuesday morning.

About Troupville River Camp, I summarized the WWALS pre-application to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) for a river camp like those on the Suwannee River, but this one at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta.

This method of asking had been requested Continue reading