Tag Archives: Okefenokee Swamp

Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Valdosta, Georgia, August 25, 2019 — Everybody had a good time before plaques were awarded for Best in each Genre, from Folk to Funk, at the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, before two finalists won the money prizes, at the Salty Snapper in Valdosta, Saturday afternoon.

Jay Jourden of Ponte Vedra, Florida, swept the awards, winning Best Newgrass Bluegrass, and $50 for Best Song from Outside the Suwannee River Basin, and the $300 First Prize, all for “Save Our Suwannee.” Jay promised to submit a new song next year, before he played it again for the very happy audience.

[Jay Jourden Winning]
Jay Jourden Winning

“Yes, Jay submitted the same song last year,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “But this time he stopped in the middle, said he forgot some verses, and rattled off names of a whole bunch of rivers, all in perfect time. Naming rivers was one of the criteria, and it’s a great song: Save Our Suwannee!”

Dick Grillo of Live Oak, Florida, won both Best Folk/Country, and $50 for Best Song from Inside the Suwannee River Basin, for “Dear ‘Ol Suwannee,” and his cheering section demonstrated it was the loudest. Continue reading

Bring pictures of people, animals, plants, and mining to Charlton County

Please bring pictures (not costumes) and stories of people to the miners meetings this week in Charlton County, Georgia, about the proposed Twin Pines Minerals titanium mine southeast of the Okefenokee Swamp on Trail Ridge.

Little gator on the shore, 09:43:42,, Starting
Little gator on the shore, 2017-12-10.

Here are some types of pictures that would be good:

  • People fishing, paddling, hiking, birding.
  • People holding binoculars and gazing through high-powered spotting scopes and telephone lenses.
  • People just looking at gorgeous landscapes of swamps and trees and animals: cypress, longleaf, gators, bitterns, sand hill cranes, gophers, bears, and all the others.
  • People hunting the waterfowl that fly from their Okefenokee habitat to hunting seasons elsewhere.
  • All the types of folks who make up the hundreds of thousands who visit the swamp or benefit from it every year, spending the million of dollars and generating the tens of millions of economic effects every year, in a stable and economic fashion.

Bring pictures of other titanium mines and the areas surrounding them to show what this area and around it would look like with such extractive misuse.

[Closeup]
Closeup of Chemours mine dredging in Baker County, Florida, on Trail Ridge, viewed from CR 228. More pictures on the WWALS website.

No costumes, just pictures, signs, stories, and handouts.

A few people are proposing this mine to extract profit at everyone else’s expense, threatening all those things people care about in the swamp and the rivers.

Many people involved all these ways with the Okefenokee and the rivers can stop the mine. Continue reading

Finalists selected for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019-08-24

These are the seven Finalists who will play live at the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 1-5 PM, Saturday, August 24, 2019, for you and the Judges to hear, so the Judges can select the winners, at The Salty Snapper in Valdosta, GA.

“We got another awesome line up. Glad I’m not a judge,” said Sara Squires Jones, one of the Committee that selected the Finalists.

[2019-06-23]
You’ll have to wait until the Contest to see the finalists, so here’s a picture of the Committee that picked the Finalists: l-r, Tom H. Johnson Jr., Laura D’Alisera, Scotti Jay (Chair), Sara Squires Jay, Mary Carolyn Pindar, Eileen Box, John S. Quarterman

In the order we received their songs, with what they wrote about themselves: Continue reading

Animals opposing titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2019-08-13-14

Update 2019-08-11: What to bring: pictures and signs (not costumes).

Come early to see the animals assembling on the sidewalk before the miners’ public meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in Folkston and St. George, Georgia. Think of it as Early Okefenokee Halloween!

Alligator

You can bring an animal costume picture and help oppose the mine, also by distributing information outside and asking questions inside. There will be reporters from near and far.

Locals especially please come to the Charlton County Commission meeting Thursday, but no demonstration there, please, just listen and speak. Continue reading

Charlton County Herald on proposed titanium mine near Okefenokee Refuge 2019-07-23

The local newspaper discovered another discrepancy between what the Army Corps announced and what the mining company is saying.

Marla Ogletree, Charlton County Herald, 23 July 2019, Twin Pines seeks permit for heavy mineral mining in Okefenokee area.

[Trail Ridge Land LLC]
Trail Ridge Land LLC

The story notes the Public Notice says Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) is asking to mine 12,000 acres near the world-famous Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. But Steven Ingle with TPM told the newspaper TPM only owns about 9,000 acres, and they would disturb only part of that.

The story has further discussion about TPM’s claims of low impact. Then:

“Based on the amount of permanent damage, the mining could still [a]ffect the top soil for planting trees, which could then cause issues for natural habitats,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Endangered animals, such as Continue reading

QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium in VDT 2019-07-23

In the Valdosta Daily Times, page 4A, July 24, 2019, and online July 21: QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium (updated here in light of recent developments, with links):

A company wants to mine on Trail Ridge, between the St. Mary’s River and the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee River.

[Suwannee River Basin Landings]
Suwannee River Basin Landings
For much more about the mine application, see wwals.net/pictures/2019-07-12–tpm-usace/.
See also WWALS the interactive google map, Landings on the rivers in the Suwannee River Basin: Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, upper and lower Suwannee River watersheds and Estuary, plus Santa Fe River, by Suwannee Riverkeeper, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

The Charlton County Commission passed Continue reading

Charlton County, GA, BOCC 2019-07-18

Three people came up from Baker County, Florida, to get another copy of the mine application from Twin Pines Minerals (it matches the earlier copy) and then had to leave early. Emily Jones of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) came from Savannah. Suwannee Riverkeeper (I) asked the Charlton County Commissioners to consider asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the application comment date. The Chair of St. Mary’s Riverkeeper spoke. The miners’ lobbyist sat silent.

[Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden]
Thanks for hospitality to Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden.

Since we learned that Twin Pines Minerals still has a hydrogelogical study in process with some unknown completion date, the thirty-day extension GPB announced the next day does not seem adequate, since a key study is missing. Remember to comment on the Corps’ and GA DNR dockets, and see below for the dates, times, and locations of upcoming meetings in Charlton County.

There was nothing on the agenda about the mine, so everything about it was in Continue reading

Water Trails and River Camps @ Paddle Georgia 2019-06-17

Last night at Paddle Georgia, #PaddleGA2019, Gwyneth Moody explained Georgia Water Trails, Edwin McCook explained the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and its River Camps, and Katie Conrad explained the Suwannee Headwaters Project, which is about arranging camping betweent the Okefenokee Swamp and White Springs, in Georgia and Florida. Here are videos of what Edwin and Katie said.

[Georgia Water Trails --Gwyneth Moody]
Georgia Water Trails –Gwyneth Moody

Yes, Edwin left copies of the SRWT Pamphlets, which we will have at the Suwannee Riverkeeper table at Camp Suwannee tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday.

See also the WCTV report of that same day, River Camp between the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers? 2019-06-17.

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

Okefenokee Campout and Paddle, Suwannee River, Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA, 2018-12-07-09

Camp two nights and paddle in the Okefenokee Swamp. We will camp Friday and Saturday at Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, Ga. This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp.

When: Friday through Sunday, December 7-9, 2018
9AM, Saturday, December 8, start paddling

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA

GPS: 30.827659, -82.361819

Take Out: Stephen C. Foster State Park

Camping: Make your camp site reservation through Reserve America. Outing leader Shirley Kokidko has site #56. Let’s try to stay close together so we can share a camp fire and group meal Saturday evening. If you want to share a site and split the cost, post it in the comments (meetup, facebook, or blog) so others will see it. If you don’t want to camp, we want you to come out and join us for this paddle.

Paddling: Saturday morning we will meet at the marina at 9 a.m. to shuttle vehicles to the take out at the Sill. We will paddle from Billy’s Lake through the Narrows to the Sill. The current can be swift so you must be able to maneuver you boat around trees in a swift narrow stream. You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. The park rents canoes, kayaks and bicycles. There will be an optional paddle Sunday morning.

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. And trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

After dark: The park will have a telescope for star gazing Friday night, this is one of the darkest places in the Southeast due to a lack of light pollution in the Okefenokee Swamp. The park also offers a boat tour after dark on Saturday. Telephone reception is mostly non-existent in this remote location so be prepared to put the electronics away and plug into nature.

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!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gretchen photographing Bret and Phil on the dock
Okefenokee Swamp, 2016-12-10

Continue reading