Tag Archives: river

Langdale Park to Sugar Creek Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, 2023-09-09

Come help us remove some deadfalls that are impeding canoe and kayak paddling.

Bring a chainsaw if you really know how to use it.

But you do not have to use a saw to join us.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 1 PM, Saturday, September 9, 2023

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602,

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[Easy and hard deadfalls 2021-05-15]
Easy and hard deadfalls, 2021-05-15

Continue reading

Redesignation as Recreational, Withlacoochee River, GA 37 to Tiger Creek 2023-07-19

Update 2023-07-26: Valdosta notified GA-EPD four days after the latest Knights Creek sewage spill 2023-07-06.

This was unexpected. GA-EPD asked if we wanted to complete redesignating the rest of the Withlacoochee River in the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, for tighter contamination restrictions. We said yes.

[Nomination form and map]
Nomination form and map

What’s the difference? There are three levels of waterbody designations considered every three years in the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards required of each state by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These are Fishing, Recreational, and Drinking. Fishing has the least restrictions on contamination, and Drinking has the most. Nobody drinks out of our Suwannee River Basin rivers, so Recreational is what we want.

If this new request gets approved, that’s 46.3 more Withlacoochee River miles, added to the 23.71 miles redesignated in 2023, that’s 70 river miles.

Since Florida by default designates all rivers as Recreational, that means that if this redesignation happens, all of the Withlacoochee River in the WLRWT will be Recreational. That’s 97.6 river miles in Georgia and Florida.

Her question, received July 19, 2023: Continue reading

Levy County 3RT Sand Mine is in Springshed of Rainbow Springs 2023-07-23

Update 2023-07-24: Draft Conditions from the Planning Commission to the BoCC on SE 23-01 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-07-20.

Levy County is in the territory of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), so I wondered why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) was involved in permitting a sand mine in Levy County.

The only reason I can see is that the mine site is in the springshed of Rainbow Springs, and Rainbow Springs is in Marion County in SWFWMD’s territory.

Which makes it very curious that Rainbow Springs is never mentioned by SWFWMD nor by the Levy County Planning Commission, nor by anybody else represented in the board packet for the July 10th Levy County Planning Commission meeting.

Instead, Levy County staff wrote, “e) Site is not located within one mile corridor (one-half mile on either side) of known geological features with the potential to Impact Manatee Springs or Fanning Springs. Additional study is not recommended to be required.”

Well, maybe not, because the mine site is not in the springshed of Manatee Springs or Fanning Springs.

But according to a Florida state-mandated action plan by a Florida state agency, the mine site is in the springshed of Rainbow Springs.

Sure seems like further study should be required about that.

[Rainbow Springshed and 3RT Sand Mine]
Rainbow Springshed and 3RT Sand Mine

Maps of Florida Aquifer recharge areas going back to at least 1995 appear to show the mine site in a recharge zone. Continue reading

Pictures: Sugar Creek Withlacoochee River on-land cleanup 2023-07-22

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for leading the rerouted on-land Sugar Creek and mostly Withlacoochee River cleanup. Children and experienced adults teamed up to get the job done. We found only one big trash jam and we cleaned that one up.

Phil Hubbard came with boat and chainsaws ready to do a chainsaw cleanup, but due to the reroute there was no chainsawing.

We thanked Valdosta Assistant Utilities Director Jason Barnes for alerting us to the sewage spill contamination in Sugar Creek that caused us to reroute from a cleanup paddle to an on-land cleanup. He arrived before we left, so we thanked him again in person.

[Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22]
Before, WaterGoat, Trashjam, Level log, after, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2023-07-22

Yes, Vivian, there could be alligators. Continue reading

Juneteenth and River Ferries: Speakers in WWALS River Revue 2023-09-22

Update 2023-07-27: Judges announced for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest in WWALS River Revue.

Hahira, GA, July 20, 2023 — We have two excellent speakers for the first-ever WWALS River Revue. Fannie Gibbs will talk about how her extensive family history research ties into Juneteenth and our rivers and creeks. Ken Sulak will talk about “Paddling into the Past: Finding Florida in the 1800s, Trails from Georgia, and Early Border Ferries.”


“We’ve worked with Fannie and Ken for years, and we hope you’ll like what they have to say as much as we do,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

This first-ever WWALS gala is an indoor fundraising gala, with catered sit-down meal, speakers, silent auction, and kayak raffle. It will be held 6-10 PM, Friday, September 22, 2023, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia.

Follow this link for tickets, sponsorship opportunities, how to contribute to the silent auction, and more:

https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsriverrevue2023/ Continue reading

Knights Creek tested too high for E. coli before Valdosta reported the latest spill 2023-07-10

Update 2023-07-26: Valdosta notified GA-EPD four days after the latest Knights Creek sewage spill 2023-07-06.

Update 2023-07-18: Another Valdosta River Street Spill into Hightower Creek 2023-07-17.

Valdosta’s own water quality tests of Knights Creek showed way too high E. coli for the day before Valdosta’s press release about its most recent sewage spill into Knights Creek.

[Map and Report]
Map and Report

I don’t know whether these tests were done by Valdosta’s downstream testing contractors or by their in-house people. If the latter, it seems likely that Valdosta knew of these Monday results before the city issued a press release the next day at 6:24 PM Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Yet there is no mention of them in the press release.

Valdosta got even higher results for March 29th, with a note: “Possible cause of high results on 3/29 was substantial rainfall in area.”

But Valdosta also got too-high results for March 30th (above the one-time test limit of 410), on June 13th (above the alert limit of 1,000), and on June 21st (above the one-time test limit). I’m not finding records of rain on Valdosta at all these dates. Plus if that was the cause, why are the too-high results all only for the BELOW location and not the ABOVE location? Has Valdosta had more sewage spills than they have reported?

Speaking of reported, neither this spill nor Valdosta’s previous spill have shown up in the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report. I have asked GA-EPD about that.

These Knights Creek test results are according to data on the city of Valdosta Utilties Department web pages, 2023 Knight’s Creek Biological Monitoring Results. Continue reading

Agendas: WWALS Annual Member and Quarterly Board Meetings 2023-07-09

The public is invited to the WWALS Annual Member and Quarterly Board Meetings, Sunday, July 9, 2023.

Zoom Registration required:

WWALS Annual Member Meeting

When: 6 PM, Sunday, July 9, 2023

What: Presentation of Annual Report, and WWALS members elect some board members.

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

When: 6:30 PM, Sunday, July 9, 2023

What: WWALS Board members elect officers for one year terms, and do the usual board business.

[WWALS Annual Member and Quarterly Board Meetings 2023-07-09]
WWALS Annual Member and Quarterly Board Meetings 2023-07-09

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/226774626912804/ Continue reading

Good Alapaha River 2023-06-25

Update 2023-06-30: Clean Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Little Rivers 2023-06-29.

WWALS tester Kim Tanner, fresh from a long work conference, sampled the Alapaha River Sunday, at Lakeland Boat Ramp and Naylor Park Beach. Both tested very low for E. coli, which is good.

[Lakeland Boat Ramp and Naylor Park Beach 2023-06-25]
Lakeland Boat Ramp and Naylor Park Beach 2023-06-25
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality results, rainfall, and sewage spills, see:

I would be good with swimming, fishing, and boating on the Alapaha River.

Kind of difficult to put in right now at Lakeland Boat Ramp, which is closed until July for renovations, or at Naylor Park Beach, which as you can see is underwater.

Paddle at your own risk, as always.

But don’t try to go from Lakeland to Hotchkiss with small children: it’s too far, with too many deadfalls and rapids. That’s a fine paddle for experience adults with proper provisions.

For where else you can put in on the Alapaha River, see the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

See also: OK Withlacoochee River and Sugar Creek 2023-06-25.

Here’s a live Swim Guide Map. Continue reading

OK Withlacoochee River and Sugar Creek 2023-06-25

Update 2023-06-27: Good Alapaha River 2023-06-25.

The Withlacoochee River tested good for Sunday at four locations, plus Sugar Creek.

[Chart, River, Swim Guide Map 2023-06-25]
Chart, River, Swim Guide Map 2023-06-25

So apparently the Valdosta Wednesday Williams Street One Mile Branch sewage spill, if it ever affected Sugar Creek, has already washed away. We did see a lot of background Fecal coliform bacterial colonies, but those were on plates for all the tested locations, and those bacteria are usually harmless.

Thanks to WWALS testers Cindy and David Vedas, who could not sample most of their sites Thursday, for sampling Sunday instead, and for adding Sugar Creek below the Salty Snapper, at the WaterGoat.

So I would be good with swimming, fishing, and boating on the Withlacoochee River.

Except of course that the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little Rivers are up in or near Action Stage, which means it’s high and fast and there’s little place to pull out onshore if you get capsized by overhanging branches. So you’d probably be better off on the Suwannee or Santa Fe Rivers this weekend.

This is why this weekend’s WWALS chainsaw cleanup has been rescheduled and merged with the regular cleanup next month, Sugar Creek to Troupville, Withlacoochee River Cleanup 2023-07-22.

Paddle at your own risk, as always.

Despite Valdosta’s assertion Saturday evening “Georgia EPD has been notified of the issue,” no new sewage spills have been reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida. Sometimes this means that Valdosta so far only telephoned in a report to GA-EPD, and has not yet submitted a written report. Continue reading

Work in progress at Lakeland Boat Ramp 2023-06-20

Update 2023-06-27: Good Alapaha River 2023-06-25.

Thanks to GA-DNR for silt fences and turbidity curtains during their upgrade of Lakeland Boat Ramp, and for that upgrade.

Also thanks to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) for officially adopting the name Lakeland Boat Ramp as decided back in 2018 by the Lakeland County Commission, as well as Berrien Beach Boat Ramp, also decided in 2018 by the Berrien County Commission, both for the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail. This naming development is specifically thanks to WWALS tester Kimberly Tanner and GA-DNR Boating Access Coordinator Jeff E. Bishop.

[At-water ARWT sign, silt fences and turbidity curtain, Lakeland Boat Ramp, 2023-06-20]
At-water ARWT sign, silt fences and turbidity curtain, Lakeland Boat Ramp, 2023-06-20

When I took these pictures, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the Statenville Gauge read about 7.17 feet (83.27′ NAVD88). Today, Saturday, June 24th, the Alapaha River is almost seven feet higher, at 14.01′ (90.11′ NAVD88), into Action Stage.

So don’t be surprised if GA-DNR’s plan to start work May 30 and end about July 26 gets extended a bit. Continue reading