News 2022

News Stories about WWALS 2022.
For the rest see News.

  • 2022-10-28: Valdosta Today, October 28, 2022, (see WWALS PR), Bird wins Boomerang paddle race: HAHIRA – A Lowndes County favorite wins the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia to Florida and back.

    Home county favorite Kyle “Bird” Chamberlain, of Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, won the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back. He won the $100 First Prize with a time of one hour, sixteen minutes, and 55 seconds to paddle three miles down and three miles back up for six miles total on the astonishingly clear Withlacoochee River.

    Bird said, “I wanna thank my sponsors State Line River Outfitters and Takis for believing in me… they gave me their undivided attention to make sure I had everything needed to win.”

    [First Prize winner Bird Chamberlain with sponsor Will Hart of State Line River Outfitters; Photo: Amy Myers]
    First Prize winner Bird Chamberlain with sponsor Will Hart of State Line River Outfitters; Photo: Amy Myers

    “There were two things I pledged this morning… I gonna win the race and look good doing it. 6 miles in 1hr and 17 min. Thanks Suwannee Riverkeeper for the event. It was fun.”

    [1:16:55 Bird Chamberlain]
    1:16:55 Bird Chamberlain

    Chamberlain added, “Also before the race we picked up trash around the boat ramps there. Was hundred of pounds of trash… pick up after yourselves people it ain’t rocket science.”….

  • 2022-09-13: Ari Melber, MSNBC, September 13, 2022, (WWALS blog post: Bill Gates responds on MSNBC to my criticisms of his farm policies 2022-09-13) Bill Gates On Why AI Will Change Everything And What We Owe Africa | MSNBC Intv W/ Ari Melber,

    Gates: Well, there’s, there are, you know, all these areas, they evolve, they understand how to say use less fertilizer, which is both good economically and good environmentally.

    [Question and three Gates expressions]
    Question and three Gates expressions

  • 2022-08-25: Valdosta Today, August 25, 2022, Georgia Power provides WWAL[S] water testing grant (see WWALS PR),

    [WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman, Georgia Power SW Director Joe Brownlee, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, Georgia Power SREAM Don Hutchinson]
    WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman, Georgia Power SW Director Joe Brownlee, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, Georgia Power SREAM Don Hutchinson

    WWALS and Georgia Power gathered at the Little River to discuss “a great partnership that works for everybody here” with Georgia Power again providing a grant for WWALS water quality testing.

    “We want to say a giant thank-you to Georgia Power for funding our program,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. ”Our water quality program helps us to have clean water, so that when people come to use the river they know when it’s safe to swim or fish or go in their boats.”

    “I want to thank y’all for what you do to keep our rivers clean, and make people aware of our wonderful natural resources,” said Joe Brownlee, Southwest Director, Georgia Power. “And help take care of those natural resources. It’s a great partnership that works for everybody here. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

    “It’s really just an investment in our community,” said Don Hutchinson, South Region External Affairs Manager, Georgia Power. “It’s an investment in the people here, to where the people can come out and use our rivers and stuff and make sure they are clean.”

  • 2022-08-24: Valdosta Today, August 24, 2022, Winners announced in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest (see WWALS PR)

    [Winners: Emmett Carlisle, Best Song from Outside; Tracy Horenbein, Best Americana; David Rodock, First Prize and Best Song from Inside; Kyle Chamberlain, Best Folk, Kevin Stephenson, Best Country]
    Winners: Emmett Carlisle, Best Song from Outside; Tracy Horenbein, Best Americana; David Rodock, First Prize and Best Song from Inside; Kyle Chamberlain, Best Folk, Kevin Stephenson, Best Country

  • 2022-08-16: Albany Herald, August 16, 2022, Finalists selected for Suwanee Riverkeeper songwriting contest (see WWALS PR),

    Aug. 16—HAHIRA — Five finalists have been selected to play at the finals of the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. The finalists come from Tallahassee and Gainesville, Fla., and Lake Park, Valdosta and Adel, Georgia….

  • 2022-08-16: Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, August 16, 2022, City awards local nonprofits ARPA funding, ( WWALS blog post)

    [Council, Committee]
    Council, Committee

  • 2022-08-16: Kilgore News Herald (Texas), August 16, 2022, Finalists selected for Suwanee Riverkeeper songwriting contest (see WWALS PR).
  • 2022-07-28: Laura Young, ECB Publishing, Monticello News, Jefferson County, Florida, Songwriting contest for Suwannee River fans; see WWALS PR.
  • 2022-07-25: Ethan Howland, Utility Dive (and, July 25, 2022, FERC must regulate small-scale LNG export projects to ensure safety, methane oversight, green groups say,

    Dive Brief:

    • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should assert authority over small-scale liquefied natural gas export projects, according to a petition filed Friday by seven environmental groups from Vermont to Florida.
    • The groups, led by the WWALS Watershed Coalition, asked FERC to end its stance that it lacks jurisdiction over LNG projects that aren’t connected to a pipeline or don’t directly load LNG onto ships for export.
    • “Without FERC environmental oversight, no-one knows how much risk inland LNG facilities and trucks and trains from them to export locations pose to nearby houses, schools, hospitals, and businesses,” the groups said. “And no-one knows how much methane leaks from small inland LNG facilities, trucks, or trains contribute to the recently-discovered much greater methane emissions than previously known.”
  • 2022-07-25: Keith Goldberg, Law360, July 25, 2022 (and The Energy Law Blog, August 29, 2022, and JD Supra, August 29, 2022), Enviros Press FERC To Regulate Inland LNG Facilities,

    On July 22, environmental groups petitioned FERC to reverse its previous decisions disclaiming jurisdiction over certain inland LNG facilities. Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), FERC is responsible for authorizing the siting and construction of onshore and near-shore LNG import or export facilities.[3] However, in these previous decisions,[4] FERC concluded that LNG facilities were not subject to its jurisdiction unless: (1) the facility was connected to a pipeline (qualifying as an “LNG terminal”), or (2) the facility was located where ocean-going ships directly load LNG for export (qualifying as an “LNG export facility”). Examples of LNG facilities not subject to FERC’s oversight as a result of these decisions include those receiving imported LNG and shipping it out for use as vehicle fuel, those producing compressed natural gas for export, and those producing LNG that a third party exported, among others.[5]

    In support of the petition, the coalition of environmental groups – led by Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. – argues that FERC frustrated legislative intent under the NGA, misread and conflated the Act’s “LNG Terminals” provision with its “transportation facilities” provision, and incorrectly substituted its policy judgment for that of Congress, among other assertions.

    Pursuant to FERC’s Notice of Petition for Rulemaking, any person who wishes to submit comments on this Petition must do so by September 20, 2022.


    [2]Jurisdiction is established by The Natural Gas Act, specifically 15 U.S.C. § 717r(d)(1) (“Rehearing and review”):

    The United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which a facility subject to section 717b of this title or section 717f of this title is proposed to be constructed, expanded, or operated shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any civil action for the review of an order or action of a Federal agency (other than the Commission) or State administrative agency acting pursuant to Federal law to issue, condition, or deny any permit, license, concurrence, or approval (hereinafter collectively referred to as “permit”) required under Federal law, other than the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.).

    [3] 15 U.S.C. § 717b(a), (e).

    [4] Shell U.S. Gas & Power, LLC (“Shell”), 148 FERC ¶ 61,163 (Sept. 4, 2014), Docket No. RP14-52-000,

    Emera CNG, LLC (“Emera”), 148 FERC ¶ 61,219 (Sept. 19, 2014), Docket No. CP14-114-000,

    Pivotal LNG, Inc. (“Pivotal” or “Pivotal II”), 151 FERC ¶ 61,006 (Apr. 2, 2015), Docket No. RP15-259-000.


  • 2022-07-25: Valdosta Today, July 25, 2022, (see also WWALS PR), Songwriting contest re-opens for submissions,

    HAHIRA – The Fifth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest is re-opening submissions to give an opportunity for new songs.


    Here’s another opportunity for new songs about any river, creek, spring, sink, swamp, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin or Estuary, including the Okefenokee Swamp and the Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, and Suwannee Rivers, (but not the Santa Fe River; that has its own contest).

    Since we’re told some songwriters experienced technical difficulties, we’re re-opening song submissions yet again for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. “”We know there are musicians out there who share our love for nature – especially for our local waterways. Now is the chance to share that inspiration with everybody!” said Organizing Committee Chair and musician Angela Duncan.

    Here is the entry form:

  • 2022-06-16: Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, in Tribune & Georgian (Serving CAMDEN County, Georgia Since 1894), June 16, 2022, Mine faces roadblock at Okefenokee Swamp (WWALS blog post),


    ATLANTA—The Alabama company looking to open a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp is being confronted with an additional hurdle.

    “Thanks to everyone who has supported the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers during this long permitting process,” said John Quarterman, executive director of Suwannee Riverkeepr with the Hahira-based environmental advocacy group Suwannee Riverkeeper WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

    “Special thanks to the Valdosta mayor and council for their resolution of Sept. 11, 2021, supporting the swamp and opposing the mine. This recent decision was one of the requests of that resolution.”

    U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who visited the swamp last year, has lobbied the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop the mine.

    “The Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource,” Ossoff said. “It is a wildlife resource that must be protected.”

    Twin Pines officials have indicated they plan to continue pursuing the project despite the Corps’ decision.

  • 2022-06-07: Army Corps blocks strip mine near Okefenokee,

    “Thanks to Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff for relentlessly pursuing protection of the Okefenokee Swamp, a one-of-a-kind treasure,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We asked all four candidates in the previous Georgia U.S. Senate race for positions on this. Candidate Ossoff was already supportive then, and Senator Ossoff publicly voiced support May 6, 2021, in Valdosta, when I asked him.”

    [Okefenokee Swamp, Mine site, Ossoff, Connor]
    Okefenokee Swamp, Mine site, Ossoff, Connor

    The miners have already said they will pursue their attempt to strip mine near this invaluable blackwater swamp, the largest east of the Mississippi.

    “Thanks to everyone who has supported the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers during this long permitting process,” added Suwannee Riverkeeper. “Special thanks to the Valdosta Mayor and Council for their resolution of September 11, 2021, supporting the Swamp and opposing the mine. This recent decision was one of the requests of that resolution.”

  • 2022-05-30: Valdosta Today, May 30, 2022, Georgia Beer Co. sponsors songwriting contest,

    HAHIRA – Georgia Beer Company has donated a Vibe Yellowfin 120 kayak as a prize for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

    Release: [See WWALS PR]

  • Maria Saporta, Saporta Report, May 30, 2022 6:17 pm (WWALS blog post), Southern Co.’s annual meeting a model for corporate America,

    [Tom Fanning responds to John S. Quarterman]
    Tom Fanning responds to John S. Quarterman

    … “Tom Fanning is really, really good at his job as you have observed — he’s unflappable and always hospitable,” said John Quarterman of Lowndes County (an environmentalist and shareholder) as he addressed the meeting.

    Then Quarterman observed that New Jersey and Massachusetts have more solar power than Georgia.

    “Could it be because they are not wasting money on a nuclear boondoggle?” he asked, adding how much better off Southern Co. would be today if it had used Plant Vogtle dollars to invest in solar and wind energy as well as energy storage….

  • 2022-05-05: Valdosta Today, May 5, 2022, BIG Little River Paddle Race announces winner,

    [Carl Fuller, First Prize Winner]
    Carl Fuller, First Prize Winner

    SUWANNEE RIVER — The winner of the BIG Little River Paddle Race along with other paddlers competed in support of the WWALS river cleanup efforts.

    Release: (see WWALS PR)

  • 2022-05-05: Darik News, May 5, 2022, Big Little River Paddle Race Announced Winner,

    Suwannee River — Winner of the Big Little River Paddle Race with other paddlers competing in support of the WWALS river cleanup efforts.

    Release: (see WWALS PR)

  • 2022-05-03: Adel News (facebook), May 3, 2022, Conservation group files letter of opposition to air permit for second proposed wood pellet plant in Adel.

    [Both pages]

    See WWALS blog post.

  • 2022-04-29: WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman was on WALB TV at 12:30 PM to discuss the BIG Little River Paddle Race the next day.
  • 2022-04-29: Videos: Trash and river paddles, Suwannee Riverkeeper on Scott James Radio 2022-04-29,

    We mostly talked about the trash situation, in which the Mayor of Valdosta promised to get trash cans set out on the city’s own parking lots, starting with the ones across from City Hall. We discussed the cleanup award from GA-DNR I picked up in Atlanta Wednesday. Cleanups are great, but not enough. We also need trash traps to stop the stuff from getting out of the creeks into the rivers. And we need parking lot owners to keep trash from getting of their lots and to set out and clean out trash cans.

  • 2022-04-27: Videos: WWALS Adopt-A-Stream Award from GA-DNR 2022-04-27
  • 2022-04-21: Julianne Amaya, CBS4, Gainesville, Florida, Thursday, April 21, 2022, Petition calls for ‘rights to clean and healthy waters’ in Florida,

    [CBS 4 News: Poe Springs Then and Now]
    CBS 4 News: Poe Springs Then and Now

    North Florida Central leaders are pushing for the Right to Clean and Healthy Water amendment to be on the ballot in 2024.

    To get the amendment on the 2024 ballot, 900,000 people would have to sign a petition.

  • 2022-04-20: Release (see WWALS PR), Valdosta Today, April 20 2022, Submissions are open for songwriting contest

    VALDOSTA — The Fifth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest is now open for anyone who wishes to submit a song.

  • 2022-04-19: Release (see WWALS PR), Tifton Gazette, April 19, 2022, BIG Little River Paddle Race returns
  • 2022-04-18: Release (see WWALS PR), Valdosta Daily Times, April 18, 2022, BIG Little River Paddle Race returns

    [Below the bridge (BW)]
    Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of the 2019 race start.

    Adel, Georgia, April 12, 2022 — After pandemic and bad weather the previous two years, the BIG Little Paddle Race is back this year.

    You could win in any of a dozen categories, or up to $300 if you beat the previous winning record time. But you are not required to race: it’s a nice spring paddle anyway! On Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, it’s the ninth tenth annual BIG Little River Paddle Race. There will be lunch and tickets will be available for the annual kayak raffle. You can just paddle along this scenic three-mile stretch of tea-colored river on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail among cypress trees, turtles, birds, and yes, alligators. (Don’t pet the alligators and they aren’t likely to bother you.) This race also has fierce competitors, with one past winner finishing in barely more than half an hour….

  • 2022-04-18: Takyia Price, Fox31 WFXL (also NewsBreak and SpotOnGeorgia; see WWALS PR), April 18, 2022, Song submissions open for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2022-04-18

    [Open song submissions 2022-04-18]
    Photo: WWALS Watershed Coalition

    Submissions for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest are now open.

    The event is a fundraiser for WWALS Watershed Coalition.

    Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman says that “Submissions can be songs about any river, stream, spring, sink, swamp, lake, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin or Estuary (except not the Santa Fe Basin; that has its own contest).”

    On Saturday, August 20, finalists will play at the Contest from 7-10 PM, and judges will deliberate at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 N. Patterson St., in Valdosta.

    The first place winner will be awarded a $300 cash prize.

    Attendees are invited to dine and browse the artworks at the Turner Center.

    In addition, there will also be a cash bar, kayak raffle and a silent auction, as well as a range of novelties for sale.

    “There’s always room for a new song about the Suwannee River, or other rivers in the Basin or Estuary!” said 2018 winner and 2019 headliner Laura D’Alisera, now a member of the WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee.

    Judging is based on integrity, historical value, and/or present value of the waters, originality of lyrics and music, and performance.

    Extra credit will be given for naming the most rivers (springs, etc.) and the contestants’ use of storytelling about the history and/or attributes of the Suwannee River Basin.

    “We had a blast and heard some great music from the community last year, and we are looking forward to some fine submissions for 2022!” said Josh Duncan, a Judge last year, and Scribe of the Committee….

  • 2022-04-15: Residents can help keep rivers clean –Katherine Ball in Valdosta Daily Times 2022-04-15,

    …Although these bodies of water are grand and vast, keeping them clean, starts at a local level. Clean, fresh water should be a top priority, not just for politicians and public officials, but for citizens as well. Everyone needs clean water, which is why stewardship of Earth and our waterways is everyone’s job. Without respect for nature, it will not provide for us.

    In order to have fun in our local waters, they must first, be clean. Not just clear of chemicals, but clean of trash and debris, as well. Every level plays an integral part in the existence and systemic flow of our rivers and with that comes individual responsibilities for each of them.

    It is never too early to begin teaching stewardship and implementing conservation efforts for future generations. Like the kids who came before me, the current youth of Valdosta and Lowndes County deserve enjoyable outdoor experiences on our waters, like I did, growing up within the city limits.

    Valdosta has excellent ordinances pertaining to trash distribution and pick-up, so together, we can all work to maintain and enforce clean local parking lots, clean greenways, and as a result, cleaner waterways. Let’s continue to preserve our rivers and keep them clean, so Valdosta’s future generations will appreciate their memories of our beautiful town, the way I do.

    Katherine Ball is a musician and WWALS member.

  • 2022-04-14: Calendar for April 14, 2022, Moultrie Observer, BIG Little River Paddle Race

    The BIG Little River Paddle Race returns this year after cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

    The race will be held Saturday, April 30, at Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie. Gather at 8 a.m. at Red Roberts Landing, 4727 Rountree Bridge Road, Adel.

    Proceeds from the event will benefit its sponsor, the WWALS Watershed Coalition.

    For more information, visit Register through that same website no later than Thursday, April 28. Registration fee is $30.

  • 2022-04-13 Valdosta Today, April 13, 2022, BIG Little Paddle Race is back in Reed Bingham,

    The BIG Little Paddle Race is back after two years with a dozen categories to win prizes, a kayak raffle, and lunch will be available.

    [Tandem female canoe, orange (BW)]
    Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of 2019 First female tandem kayak: Megan Robinson & Lily Robinson, of Tifton, GA.

    Release: (see WWALS PR)….

  • 2022-04-05: Release (WWALS PR), Valdosta Today, April 5, 2022, WWALS working to protect clean water: HAHIRA – WWALS invites you to participate in a webinar discussing the addition of RTCW into the Georgia constitution.

    Hahira, Georgia, April 5, 2022 — Trying to protect clean water with current laws and regulations is like trying to defend free speech without the First Amendment. Montana, Pennsylvania, and just last year New York have enshrined Rights to Clean Water, Air, Land, and a Healthy Environment (RTCW) in their constitutions alongside free speech and other basic rights. Florida has a statewide petition signing right now for the 2024 ballot. How can Georgia get RTCW into its constitution? Why should it? And what would such an amendment consist of? This webinar explores those questions. We invite your participation and feedback.

    [RTCW, Speakers]
    RTCW, Speakers

    The zoom meeting will be Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

    Register in advance for this meeting:

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • 2022-02-19: Valdosta Today, February 19, 2022, Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle approved for Feb. 19,

    With water levels and temperatures deemed satisfactory, the Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle at the Withlacoochee River will go ahead on Saturday, February 19, 2022.

    [Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]

    Release: (see WWALS PR)…

  • 2022-02-10: Kyra Purvis, Fox31, Thursday, February 10, 2022, Major titanium mining company commits to protecting the Okefenokee swamp,

    The conversation involving the protection of the Okefenokee Swamp from mining companies has not been short lived.

    Back in the early 2000’s the swamp was considered by DuPont for the same strip mine, but was soon after recanted following concerns from the community.

    Now, Twin Pines Management is making an effort at building that same mine and Okefenokee River experts say it will do more harm then good.

    “The mine would sit on top of the Floridan Aquifer which all of south Georgia, most of Florida, bits of South Carolina, and Alabama drink from,” said John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

    Thursday, one of the only licensed titanium miners in the United States, has vowed not to continue its involvement with the project, saying in a public statement:

    With respect to mining activities of others, particularly Twin Pines, Chemours has no role in the proposed Twin Pines project in Charlton County, Georgia. We have no previous, existing, or future interest in acquiring, and no plans or intent to acquire, the project or the company. We have no intention or plans, now and for the foreseeable future (the next five to ten years), of doing business with Twin Pines, including buying from the project or any titanium the project produces. ~The Chemours Company

  • 2022-01-27: Release (WWALS PR), Valdosta Today, January 27, 2022, Third Annual Mayor, Chairman’s Paddle rescheduled.

    An unusual cold snap is expected this Saturday, too cold for novice paddlers. So we’re rescheduling three weeks later, for Saturday, February 19, 2022. Everything else is the same; only the date has changed….

    [Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]
    Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout

  • 2021-01-19: Release (WWALS PR), Valdosta Today, January 19, 2022, Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle

    The Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission partner with WWALS for the third annual Withlacoochee River paddle.

    600x338 Troupville Boat Ramp, 10:11:58, 30.8513640, -83.3473960, Starting, in Pictures: Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, Mayor's Paddle, by John S. Quarterman, for, 27 March 2021 Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, Mayor’s Paddle, by John S. Quarterman, for, 27 March 2021,