Category Archives: Springs

Paddle Georgia discovers the Withlacoochee River

Would you like to paddle the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers for a week in June 2019 with 300 of your closest friends? Our rivers topped Paddle Georgia’s poll of six destinations. Joe Cook, Mr. Paddle Georgia, called me back in July about this possibility. That’s why on July 5, 2018, I blogged A week on the Withlacoochee River in June?

Shoals on the Withlacoochee River
Paddle Georgia discovering the Withlacoochee River has rapids.

It turns out there was a story in the Continue reading

Florida Waterkeepers United visit FDEP 2018-08-01

Seven of the fourteen Florida Waterkeepers visited the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to express our serious concern and a sense of urgency to protect and restore Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs, and aquifer, especially about resiliency after hurricanes, harmful algal blooms, BMAPs, and phosphate mines. I congratulated Noah Valenstein on his meteoric rise: only two and a half years ago he was just starting as head of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), and now he’s the head of FDEP.

L-R: Andy Hayslip (Tampa), Georgia Ackerman (Apalachicola), Marty Baum (Indian), Jen Lomberk (Matanzas), Drew Bartlett (FDEP), Whitney Gray (FDEP), Rick Frey (St. Marys), Lisa Rinaman (St. Johns), Noah Valenstein (Sec., FDEP), Shannon Blankinship
L-R: Andy Hayslip (Tampa Bay Waterkeeper), Georgia Ackerman (Apalachicola Riverkeeper), Marty Baum (Indian Riverkeeper), Jen Lomberk (Matanzas Riverkeeper), Drew Bartlett (Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration, FDEP), Whitney Gray (Administrator, Florida Resilient Coastlines, FDEP), Rick Frey (St. Marys Riverkeeper), Lisa Rinaman (St. Johns Riverkeeper), Noah Valenstein (Secretary, FDEP), Shannon Blankinship (Advocacy Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper), John S. Quarterman (hat, Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom Frick (back, Director, Division of Environmental Restoration, FDEP); Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS

Press Release: Florida Waterkeepers Unite at FDEP

Continue reading

World’s largest phosphate company after 20 years loses to DeSoto County, FL

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Mosaic Co., market cap $11.5 billion, just lost to DeSoto County, Florida, annual budget $84.3 million. Maybe this will help Bradford County to do the right thing about phosphate mines.

Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times, 26 July 2018, Mosaic spent 20 years planning new phosphate mine. DeSoto County has rejected it,

Mosaic Co., the world’s largest phosphate company, has spent two decades lining up a new mine in DeSoto County as part of a broader effort to move its operations south.

W across PCS Phosphate Mine,
Photo: Jim Tatum on Southwings flight for WWALS, 2016-10-22: W across PCS Phosphate Mine, 30.4429360, -82.7851800

But DeSoto County commissioners last week slammed the door in the company’s face, voting 4-1 against rezoning 18,000 acres from agricultural to mining.

A major concern: Continue reading

BMAP petition letters including from a Florida state springs expert

Unlike FDEP’s BMAP plans, “When a new building code is final in Florida, [Rusty] Payton [CEO, Florida Home Builders Association] said, “there’s always six months between the final rule and the date the rule takes effect.” Because of his organization’s petition for more time to file a protest, none of Florida’s new Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) have gone into effect yet, which gives spring and river advocates (and FDEP) more time to try to fix them.

Dinah Voyles Pulver, Daily Commercial, 30 July 2018, Groups protest new Florida springs action plans,

A sweeping effort to adopt action plans to improve water quality in 13 springs systems across the state is on hold after a dozen groups and individuals asked to intervene with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, including one of the department’s own springs experts.

Thomas Greenhalgh, a hydrogeologist with the department’s Florida Geological Survey, is one of two people who asked for an administrative hearing on one of the 13 “basin management action plans” signed by Noah Valenstein in late June.

Suiting up, Thomas Greenhalgh
Thomas Greenhalgh suiting up before releasing dye into the Dead River of the Alapaha River to go into the Dead River Sink, 2016-06-22, Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

“There are many claims and statements in the BMAP that I believe are inaccurate and unsubstantiated,” wrote Greenhalgh in seeking a state hearing on the plan for the Suwannee River, where he owns property.

He’s not alone.

In addition Continue reading

A week on the Withlacoochee River in June?

Somebody asked recently whether it is possible to paddle a week on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia in June. Sure, as long as you start not too far upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), you can paddle past shoals and little-known Georgia springs into the Florida springs heartland, and then continue a day or two on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT). WWALS has paddled many of the most interesting stretches multiple times, often in June.

Troupville to Suwannee River Rendezvous
Troupville to Suwannee River Rendezvous

Here’s some history of the Withlacoochee River: fishing weirs, shoals, ghost towns, and springs.

Here is a list of access points on the Withlacoochee River with recommended water levels.

Troupville Boat Ramp, Hahira GA 122 Little River Gauge, 137-144′ NAVD88

Your first put in will actually be on the Little River, slightly upstream from its confluence, at Troupville Boat Ramp.

27 April 2016, GA 122 Hahira Little River Gauge 70.9′ (140.6′ NAVD88).
Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA) fixed the Troupville access road back in April 2016.

Boatramp
Photo: Julie Bowland

21 April 2018, GA 122 Hahira Little River Gauge 7.2′ (140′ NAVD88).
WWALS did a cleanup at Troupville, in which you can see our water trail signs. See also some history of Troupville, the previous county seat of Lowndes County, Georgia.

Scouts and all, Sign
At Troupville Boat Ramp, by the signs for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) that Phil Hubbard planted yesterday (2018-04-20).

Georgia Springs on the Withlacoochee River

Three of the six second-magnitude springs in Georgia used to be in Brooks County, Georgia, before somebody apparently tried to Continue reading

Running Springs painting by Julie Bowland for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest today 2018-06-23

WWALS Scout and VSU Art Professor Julie Bowland donated this painting of Running Spring for auction 1-5PM this afternoon at The Salty Snapper, 1405 Gornto Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602, in the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Springs, painting by Julie Bowland

Come on down to hear new songs about our rivers, with a buffet and cash bar! Plus you could get this painting, maybe even for Continue reading

Final Suwannee River BMAP 2018-05-22

Did you know the Final Suwannee River BMAP was released last week? Apparently not many others did, either. Here’s the letter I sent FDEP about that.

Suwannee River BMAP and PFA boundaries, The Problem


PDF

 June 4, 2018

Nitrate above and below ground, Pages Mr. Noah Valenstein, Secretary
Dept. of Environmental Protection Continue reading

Help stop two bad Florida water bills: HB 1149 and SB 1308

Remember the Florida bill with the bad amendment, withdrawn because you called? Well, the bill itself, HB 1149, is bad enough, and near to a vote.

Please sign Margaret Tolbert’s petition against that and another bad bill, HB 1308.

Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring,
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, from the Suwannee River, of Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring, 2017-06-24.

According to a March 1, 2018, Tampa Bay Times article:

“Cynthia Barnett, the author of three books on water and an environmental fellow in residence at the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service, said the bills are based on a faulty assumption concerning how much water Florida needs for its future growth.

The bills say that Florida will need Continue reading

Call Florida House today to stop bad springs amendment 2018-03-01

Update 2018-03-02: The amendment was withdrawn, thanks to all of you who called!

They’re going to vote tomorrow (Friday), so call today or very early tomorrow and ask your state rep to vote against Amendment 246447 by Rep. Ingoglia on HB 1149. That amendment would force septic tanks to be installed near springs while putting off useful actions for years during further “review” and “study”.

Contact numbers for them are here: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx

Or here are all the ones in the Suwannee River Basin listed on a web page.

2015 onsite sewage final report
Illustration from the “2015 final report written as part of the study originally authorized in Specific Appropriation 1682 of chapter 2008-152, Laws of Florida”.

On House Bill 1149, a general environmental regulation bill, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-35) this afternoon introduced Amendment 246447 which includes for example:

(3) As part of the pilot program, the department, in coordination with the Department of Health, must:

(a) Review and build upon Continue reading

Five Holes Cleanup and Site Exploration, Suwannee River 2018-02-10

Update 2018-02-10: It’s a Go!.

Join us to clean up and scout a chain of springs and sinks next to the Suwannee River. If it looks good, we may plan a bigger outing later in the year.

No boat required; we’re going by land.

This 5 Holes site exploration is immediately after the Organizing Committee meeting for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest; you can come to either or both.

When: 3PM, Saturday, February 10, 2018

Where: CR 141 Boat Ramp, aka Florida Campsites Ramp, in Suwannee River State Park.

GPS: 30.414, -83.159167

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members. For non-members, it is $10.00, per decision of the WWALS board at its 14 January 2018 meeting for all WWALS outings scheduled since then. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today! If you want to pay for membership or the outing at the site, please bring cash.

Event: facebook meetup

The waters fine! at Five Holes
Photo by John S. Quarterman for WWALS, along with many more, from August 15, 2015.

Bring: swimming gear (suit, goggles, etc.), and a change of warm clothes. A rope wouldn’t hurt. Trash pickers and trash bags: this is a cleanup. Most of us do not plan to paddle, but if you want to, you can put in at the boat ramp and paddle upstream to 5 Holes; in that case bring Continue reading