Tag Archives: Suwannee County

Bad far upstream and far downstream: Withlacoochee, Clyatt Mill Creek, Suwannee, Santa Fe 2020-09-21

Update 2020-09-26: GA 133 and Knights Ferry in 2.5 weeks of Valdosta and Florida water quality data 2020-09-24.

The most diverse set of testing data ever! It’s not bad upstream on the Withlacoochee River, but worse the farther down the Suwannee River, and, surprisingly, also the Santa Fe River.

[Rivers and Results]
Rivers and Results

Valdosta has reported for upstream on the Withlacoochee River for last Wednesday (good) and Friday (bad at GA 133, good at US 84).

Suzy Hall reported for WWALS at Clyatt Mill Creek (not bad, and thanks Langdale Company), and on the Suwannee River at Gibson Park (good for E. coli but very puzzling) and Anderson Spring Launch (good).

Loretta Tennant reported for WWALS on the Santa Fe River at Lemmons Ramp (alert!) and on the Suwannee River at Ivey Metropolitan Park in Branford (bad) and at Yellow Jacket Ramp between Manatee Springs and Fowlers Bluff (horrible). That’s enough to make us wonder if some of what’s getting into the Lower Suwannee River might be coming from the Santa Fe River.

We have no new data from FDEP or other Florida government agencies. Floridians, maybe you’d like to ask your elected and appointed officials for more water quality testing, especially downstream where we’re finding these bad results.

Meanwhile, all the WWALS “beaches” on Swim Guide remain green. That’s because we don’t have as beaches GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River nor as yet anything on the Suwannee River.

[Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers]
Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers
in the WWALS map of all public boat access in the Suwannee River Basin.

Withlacoochee River

Valdosta reported late this afternoon on its usual Continue reading

Pictures: Suwannee River, Dowling Park River Camp 2020-07-18

Bobby McKenzie organized kayak and canoe camping on Saturday July 18, 2020, from Dowling Park Boat Ramp across the Suwannee River and slightly upstream to Dowling Park River Camp and then a bit upstream past Dowling Park Christian Village to a Party beach. Here are some pictures of that much of the expedition.

[Stairs, Platform, Beach, Bathrooms: Dowling Park River Camp]
Stairs, Platform, Beach, Bathrooms: Dowling Park River Camp

Later I’ll post the pictures of the further upstream adventure only three boaters dared to brave.

These pictures concentrate on Dowling Park River Camp, which is the model for the proposed Troupville River Camp just west of Valdosta, Georgia, between the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers.

[Banners on the stairs, 2020:07:18 17:21:28, 30.2464159, -83.2460987]
Banners on the stairs, 2020:07:18 17:21:28, 30.2464159, -83.2460987

There’s also a Google Map showing the approximate locations of these pictures on the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Continue reading

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracers, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-08-05

Here are the chemical tracer and DNA marker test results by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that WWALS has frequently mentioned, for example in Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02.

Below, please also find a summary of those results by WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Thomas Potter.

[Human and Ruminant DNA markers]
Human and Ruminant DNA markers

Thanks to Katrina Yancey of FDEP for sending the data, and for acknowledging that FDEP has no objection to WWALS publishing it. I asked FDEP for whatever they wanted to include, and this is what they sent:

“Thank you for asking, we recently set up our new site so it may be helpful to state that more information may be found at DEP’s webpage for the Suwannee River Basin Sampling Locations (https://floridadep.gov/dear/watershed-monitoring-section/content/suwannee-river-basin-sampling-locations).”

The actual data is on the WWALS website.

WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracer measurements
on Withlacoochee and Suwannee River samples

Dr. Thomas Potter, WWALS Science Committee Chair

After Continue reading

Suwannee Springs work in progress 2020-07-22

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) is removing the debris from Suwannee Springs that was left by recent flooding of the Suwannee River.

[Four views of Suwannee Springs]
Four views of Suwannee Springs

When I spoke to Edwin McCook, SRWMD Sr. Land Management Specialist, yesterday, he mentioned that SRWMD is looking into further improvements beyond just the debris removal and fixing the staircase mentioned in the SRWMD PR below. It will probably take a few weeks to decide what more can be done. When we know more, I’ll post more. Continue reading

Bike and Paddle Suwannee River, Hal W. Adams Bridge, 2020-08-29

Canceled due to “the Weather Channel reporting 80% chance of severe weather.” We look forward to seeing you on future outings.

Bicycles and boats! There’s no shuttle, because we get from the takeout to the put-in on bicycles, on this Suwannee River paddle, with optional river camping.

[Paddle Map: WWALS SRWT]
Paddle Map: WWALS map of Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT)

Meet at Hal W. Adams Bridge, unload boats and gear. We will have a designated person watch the boasts and gear.

Drive cars to Hardenbergh Public Boat Ramp. Bike about 30 minutes back along CR 354 to Hal W. Adams Bridge, secure bikes, launch boats, paddle to Telford Springs, and cool off a bit.

Paddle to Peacock Slough River Camp. Camp overnight (or paddle through). Call Suwannee River Wilderness Trail for reservations at 800-868-9914.

We can rest at Cow Springs and pass Drew Bridge for historical site and take out at Hardenbergh Bridge.

This outing eliminates putting people at COVID-19 risk by removing the need to shuttle. We will be able to maintain social distancing while paddling and biking.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bring: a bicycle, and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. If you’re going to camp, bring camping gear. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Boats: Kayaks and maybe canoes are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it.

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!

Put In: Hal W. Adams Bridge Ramp, From Mayo, Continue reading

Next outings: Full Moon Banks Lake and Suwannee River Camping

Tired of being cooped up inside? Want to get out on the water? WWALS has two outings coming up with plenty of room for physical distancing.

First is an easy evening lake paddle out and back, then overnight camping with a brief upstream paddle.

[Moonrise and River Camp]
Moonrise and River Camp

Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle 2020-07-05

Come see the sun set, the bats come out, and the moon rise over Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, Georgia, on Sunday evening, July 5, in the Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle, If you don’t have a boat, let us know, and we can supply you one. Please be there by 7:30 PM. See previous post for more details.

Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp 2020-07-18

Experience one of the fabled River Camps on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, in Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp. Five screened sleeping platforms! (Bring a tent if you don’t get one reserved.) Air-conditioned bathrooms with hot and cold running water and showers!

Please be at the Dowling Park Boat Ramp by Continue reading

Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp, Suwannee River, 2020-07-18

As an introduction to Kayak and Canoe camping, we will visit the Dowling Park River Camp on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

[Ramp]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Ramp to bathrooms at Dowling Park River Camp, 2019-06-20.

We will do a short paddle across from Dowling Park Boat Ramp in Suwannee County to the River Camp in Lafayette County. We will check in with the camp host, set up camp and continue our paddle upstream for 1 mile.

We will use Dowling Park Rivercamp as a base camp while having an intimate outing on the Suwannee River. You will have the comfort of having the boat ramp right across the river in case you forgot something or its just not working out.

Dowling Park River Camp is the model for the Troupville River Camp WWALS is proposing at the confluence of the Little River with the Withlacoochee River just west of Valdosta. Come see it for yourself!

Plus, there’s even a rope swing! There 5 are screened in platforms with fan, lighting and electrical outlets as well as multiple primitive camping sites. Along with a communal pavilion, there are also hot and cold showers and air conditioned bathrooms. There is a Camp Host that you can get firewood ($6 a bundle) and ice ($2 bag) to help lighten you load.

Platforms are available for families first until 6 July, 2020. After that platforms will be available to everyone on a first come basis. To maintain physical distancing, we recommend only families or already closely-associated groups stay in a platform. Everyone else, please bring a tent: primitive Camping is open to all. Message us with any questions/reservations and we will help you get setup.

Also there is no shuttle for this trip.

Dowling Park River Camp is the model for the Troupville River Camp WWALS is proposing at the confluence of the Little River with the Withlacoochee River just west of Valdosta. Come see it for yourself!

When: Gather 11:30 AM, launch 12 PM, Saturday, July 18, 2020

Put In: Dowling Park Boat Ramp. The boat ramp is on the north side of CR 250 at the Suwannee River, in Suwannee County, Florida.
That’s an hour south of Valdosta, GA, an hour west of Lake City, a little more than an hour east of Tallahassee, and an hour and a half northwest of Gainesville, FL. It’s only about half an hour from Live Oak, Madison, or Mayo.

GPS: 30.244833, -83.249

Take Out: Dowling Park Boat Ramp

Bring: a tent, plus 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.

Boats: Kayaks and maybe canoes are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it.

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

[Elevated]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Elevated sleeping platform at Dowling Park River Camp, 2019-06-20.

Continue reading

Cleaner Withlacoochee Monday, Tuesday; Suwannee unknown 2020-03-03

Update 2020-03-06: Special meeting to approve an RFP for an environmental attorney –Madison BOCC 2020-03-06

Tuesday data from Lowndes County, Georgia, shows much better water quality in Okapilco Creek upstream from Quitman and in the Withlacoochee River downstream. Remember, Lowndes County has its own sewer system, which did not spill. And one of Lowndes County’s results for the previous week is very interesting.

All the maps and charts in this post are on the WWALS website in a PDF for printing. They’re also on facebook.

The most recent data we have from Valdosta and Florida is for Monday. WWALS has not tested this week because of rain, but soon. You can help.

Yesterday and today, five inches of rain fell on Tifton, and all that water is washing downstream, with the Withlacoochee already in flood at Pinetta.

[Quitman to Withlacoochee River]
Map: Quitman to Withlacoochee River.
In the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

In the above map, northeast of Quitman near Okapilco Creek, are the Quitman sewage settling ponds, which Continue reading

Madison County fed up with contaminated water –WCTV 2020-02-26

Update 2020-02-29: Avoid Withlacoochee River Knights Ferry to Suwannee River Dowling Park 2020-02-27

See below for the rest of the story around yesterday’s TV report. You can help.

Amber Spradley, WCTV, 26 February 2020 (Posted: Thu 5:06 AM, Feb 27, 2020 | Updated: Thu 5:55 PM, Feb 27, 2020), Madison community fed up with contaminated water,

MADISON, Fla. (WCTV) — Madison County Board of Commissioners held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the county’s high levels of E. coli and other contaminants in the Withlacoochee River and wells.

[Fallout continues]
Fallout continues
Still from video of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman testing the Withlacoochee at Troupville Boat Ramp, taken by Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 15 January 2020, Withlacoochee River tested ahead of Mayor’s Paddle.

Board members say it’s fallout from multiple sewage spills happening in south Georgia, particularly the sewage spill in Valdosta last December.

It resulted in more than seven million gallons of sewage leaking into the Withlacoochee River.

[Still advised not to drink]
Still advised not to drink

Since then, Continue reading

Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19

Update 2020-02-21: Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19.

Florida testing shows the contamination Suzy Hall detected Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River appears to have reached the state line and into Florida the next day, at least as far as Florida 6, which is just upstream from Madison Blue Spring.

The day after, Wednesday, February 18, 2020, levels were above normal but not alarming that far down (other than at the state line), and there was a hot spot at CR 250 (Dowling Park Ramp).

[Downstream into Florida]
Downstream into Florida
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

As usual, you can help.

Once again, upstream on the Withlacoochee, US 84 and above, Valdosta and WWALS testing Monday showed nothing remotely as high as these downstream results. And my spot check on the feeder creek at US 84 that runs into Okapilco Creek showed nothing out of the ordinary. Which leaves the prime suspect still the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), which is near Okapilco Creek, south of US 84. And Okapilco Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River between US 84 and Knights Ferry. I have scheduled an appointment to go investigate the Quitman LAS.

Despite leaving messages at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) the past two days, I’ve gotten no response from them. Ironically, the Florida agencies communicate with WWALS Continue reading