Category Archives: Agriculture

A clean week, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-08

Update 2020-05-16: Clean Withlacoochee River 2020-05-13.

Update 2020-05-14: Withlacoochee River Landings on Swim Guide 2020-05-14.

Last week was clean for the Withlacoochee River, and with no rain predicted, probably this weekend and the coming week, too.

Don’t forget to send in your comment on the GA-EPD Valdosta Consent Order.

But remember, Valdosta is not the source of the recent contamination. WWALS is talking to some of the agricultural sources. Please be patient: agriculture takes months or years to fix.

You can help.

[Approaching State Line Ramp --Bobby McKenzie]
Approaching State Line RampBobby McKenzie, 2020-05-10

We’ve seldom seen a week this clean. Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River until next big rain 2020-05-05

2020-05-13: A clean week, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-08.

More good news! The Withlacoochee River is still clean. Of course, all these posts are advisory, because conditions can change at any time, it takes 24 hours to process a sample, and everyone’s reactions are different to E. coli and other pollution.

We can guess the Suwannee River is clean, although nobody is testing it, and it seems to have its own sources of contamination.

This clean spell will probably last until the next big rain, which may be some weeks away. So now’s a good time to get out there on our rivers, where you can easily stay 50 feet apart on the water and six feet on land.

WWALS continues water quality testing, and you can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp]
State Line Boat Ramp Photos: Suzy Hall, downstream, John S. Quarterman of 2019 WWALS Boomerang paddle race, and of Waterkeepers Florida toast to Earth Day, all at State Line Boat Ramp.

We’re even thinking of taking down our yellow diamond Caution signs for now.

[Clean with no rain]
Clean with no rain
For context see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to Madison Health for the most recent results, from Continue reading

Withlacoochee River good despite dirty creek 2020-05-01

Update 2020-05-04: Clean Withlacoochee River, less bad Crooked Creek 2020-05-02.

Update 2020-05-03: WWALS tester Suzy Hall says she got zero (no) E. coli at the GA 31 bridge (State Line Boat Ramp) for yesterday, Saturday, May 2, 2020.

Good news, boaters, fishers, swimmers: apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean this weekend. This is because of much river and Okapilco Creek water coming downstream; flow matters.

WWALS continues sampling, and you can help us afford testing supplies.

[WWALS Water Trail signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, WWALS Water Trail signs at Nankin Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-01

You may have some difficulty getting a boat into the water, but if you do, it appears that the small rain in Brooks County, Georgia, Thursday, April 30, was not big enough Continue reading

High, fast, and dirty: Withlacoochee River, Okapilco and Crooked Creeks 2020-04-25

WWALS testers Conn and Trudy Cole noted for these four Saturday test stations: “All of these were high and flowing fast.” Also dirty. You can help WWALS buy supplies for water quality testing.

[All four dirty]
All four dirty

You don’t even have to be a trained tester to tell none of those Petrifilms looks good, and that bottom row is by far the worst.

cfu/100 mL
E. coli
Where
444 Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp)
1,200 Withlacoochee River @ US 84
900 Okapilco Creek @ US 84
TNTC Crooked Creek @ Devane Road

All four locations were above the 410 single-sample limit, and two were above the 1,000 alert limit.

As expected, every location tested was filthy. Crooked Creek at Devane Road was so much higher that it could only be recorded as Too Many To Count (TNTC). That’s in the left middle of this map, where Continue reading

Video: Sign up to recommend No Build; M-CORES toll road webinars

Floridians moved to Lowndes County, Georgia, after Hurricane Irma, but not because of lack of toll roads. If they had had solar panels and batteries so they wouldn’t be without power for weeks, they might have stayed in Florida, said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman at the meeting in Madison County, Florida, February 11, 2020.

You can recommend No Build this coming week, as M-CORES holds webinars with public comment. See below for how.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman]
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman says No Build.

The Suncoast Connector Task Force webinar is 9:30 AM to 12 noon, Thursday, April 30, 2020. That’s the toll road that would run from Crystal River across the Suwannee River, through farms, forests, and wetlands, building bypasses around towns and cities, to Thomasville, Georgia.

To listen, you have to Continue reading

Videos: Don’t split farms, and don’t harm nature, schools, or aquifer, at M-CORES toll road meeting, Madison, FL 2020-02-11

Toll roads splitting farms would be generational damage, said farmer Ernest Culver of Jackson County, and the Task Force doesn’t take into account churches or schools, not to mention nature, rivers, or the Floridan Aquifer, said Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Columbia County, at the meeting in Madison County, Florida, February 11, 2020.

[Ernest Culver & Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson]
Ernest Culver & Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

The idea of repurposing toll roads funds for virus pandemic relief continues to get more at least indirect support. Craig Pitman, Florida Phoenix, 9 April 2020, Does Florida still need that trio of billion-dollar toll roads?,

Florida’s controversial new toll roads hit a potential roadblock this week.

Two of them are supposed to Continue reading

Cleaner at State Line, Withlacoochee River 2020-40-12

Much better water quality Sunday at State Line Boat Ramp than upstream the day before.

Sunday Suzy Hall got 333 cfu/100 mL E. coli at State Line Boat Ramp, which is merely not very good. That’s way better than the extremely bad result she got at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp Saturday, 15.55 river miles upstream on the the Withlacoochee River. WWALS continues to sample. You can help.

[Withlacoochee River]
All photos by Suzy Hall, Withlacoochee River

Suzy remarked: “Both days plenty of boats enjoying the weather. You see the WWALS sign remains, and looks like it probably needs to. Rain seems to wash uglies downstream.”

[WWALS Signs]
WWALS Signs

There wasn’t any more rain over the weekend, but Monday rain fell from half an inch at US 84 to more than an inch upstream. Continue reading

Bad water quality at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2020-04-11

Update 2020-04-14: Cleaner at State Line, Withlacoochee River 2020-04-12.

The Withlacoochee River looks good, but it’s got E. coli, 17,833 cfu/100 mL at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, results for Saturday, April 11, 2020.

How bad? Horrible, since 410 is bad and 1,000 is alert level. See also what do these numbers mean. Suzy drew water downstream at Nankin State Line Boat Ramp Sunday, and I’m going to collect some elsewhere today. You can help.

[Shoals]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry, Upstream Shoals

Suzy Hall said, “I really thought they were not going to be purple, but they are.” Continue reading

Repurpose toll road funds for virus relief

Update 2020-04-16: Videos: No Build: Fire and Traffic at M-CORES toll road meeting, Madison, FL 2020-02-11.

Here’s an idea from WWALS member Janet Mikulski Messcher.

To: Governor Ron DeSantis
GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com
800-342-3557

Dear Governor DeSantis,

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please seek ways to shift funding from unnecessary and destructive projects to those that support our current public and community health needs. In particular, the M-CORES legislation, passed in the 2019 session, includes money for the task force process and for construction of three destructive tollroads. There is significant public opposition to these roads which have not been proven to be necessary nor economically viable. Attention should be focused on supporting our public health, including additional testing and research to support development of a vaccine.

If the Legislature returns to Tallahassee for a special session to address the budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that the House and Senate budget leaders consider diverting the $135 million (FY 2019/20 and FY 2020/21) earmarked from the M-CORES tollroads to go to pandemic response efforts and other community health priorities.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Please share this post and send in your letters. Feel free to copy your M-CORES Task Force members.

Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.
Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.

Here are more videos from the Madison County meeting of February 11, 2020, continuing the series that I started yesterday. I do not know whether these speakers support repurposing the funds as above, but Florida Conservation Voters was among the 90 organizations that asked Gov. DeSantis to veto the toll roads bill, as part of the No Toll Roads to Ruin coalition.

Lindsay Cross of Florida Conservation Voters asked the M-CORES Task Force to consider community vision instead of the toll road vision foisted on all of us by a few people in Tallahassee.

The Mayor of Monticello, Troy Avera, had been trying to sit on the fence, but he really doesn’t like a bypass, which would starve his city.

Again: alert water quality at Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2020-03-18

2020-03-23: Filthy Crooked Creek, clean Okapilco Creek upstream 2020-03-20.

Yet again, over alert level of E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, after elevated levels on Okapilco Creek. WWALS will be testing today. You can help.

[Okapilco Creek and Knights Ferry]
Okapilco Creek and Knights Ferry

Most of the week most of the numbers were green, for less than the 126 cfu/100 mL E. coli that Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, EPA, and FDEP recommend for longterm averages. This was in both Valdosta and Florida Department of Health (really Madison Health) testing. See also what do these numbers mean?

[Good week until Wednesday and Friday]
Good week until Wednesday and Friday
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of all known data sources see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Until numbers started going up on Okapilco Creek Monday, March 16, 2020. The USGS gauge at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River recorded a smidgeon of rain that day. Given the prevailing weather patterns that day, with rain coming in from the west, apparently some rain fell on Brooks County before it got to the river.

I was over at Crooked Creek on Monument Church Road in Brooks County to test on Tuesday, March 17, when rain fell in a gully-washer.

[Closeup Bucket in Crooked Creek]
Closeup Bucket in Crooked Creek

That’s the fastest I’ve seen Crooked Creek, and it Continue reading