Category Archives: Swamp

Ordinances: Wood pellet plant, Adel, GA 2020-09-21

Thanks to Adel City Clerk Rhonda Rowe, here are the annexation and rezoning ordinances read on September 8. The second reading is this Monday, September 21, 2020, at 5:30 PM, at Adel City Hall. Presumably the Adel City Council will vote after the Public Hearing.

[Ordinances and Application maps]
Ordinances and Application maps

The ordinances refer to exhibits which are in the application she also sent, from the Adel Adel Industrial Development Authority (AIDA), for this annexation and rezoning. We had actually already seen those in the staff report to the Planning Commission.

See the previous post for context. And see you there Monday evening. Continue reading

Wood pellet plant: speakers and documents @ Adel City Council 2020-09-08

Update 2020-09-11: fixed document and map links and added form for comments.

The Adel City Council had no questions after their Public Hearing on annexation and rezoning for a wood pellet plant, Tuesday, September 9, 2020, after thirty minutes of speakers for and against.

That was just the first reading. The second reading will be 5:30 PM, Monday, September 21, 2020, at Adel City Hall.

[Maps and speakers, wood pellet plant, Adel City Council 2020-09-08]
Maps and speakers, wood pellet plant, Adel City Council 2020-09-08

After the meeting I asked the City Manager, the City Clerk, and a couple of City Council members what maps and plans they had looked at. They all said they hadn’t seen any, and maybe I should talk to Economic Development. So I asked her, and she didn’t seem to indicate she’d seen any.

Yet there are maps and plans in the air permit application to GA-EPD, and others reviewed by the Planning Commission, which, as the City Manager pointed out during the meeting, issued a Public Notice of its public hearing on July 6, 2020. I don’t know why these state and county agencies have not published these documents, nor why the City of Adel has not. But those are public documents, so here they are (see Air Quality Permit maps and Planning Commission maps).

Below are videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) of the pellet plant part of the Adel City Council meeting. See also the agenda and the WWALS letter to the Adel City Council. See also some helpful documents by the Dogwood Alliance

And this handy Dogwood Alliance form to send a comment to the Adel City Counci l.

By the way, this kind of work does take time and effort, so feel free to contribute to WWALS. . Continue reading

Adel agenda and WWALS letter 2020-09-08

Update 2020-09-11: Wood pellet plant: speakers and documents @ Adel City Council 2020-09-08.

Here is the agenda for tonight’s Adel City Council meeting:

[Agenda, Adel City Council 2020-09-08]
Agenda, Adel City Council 2020-09-08
PDF

Since it can’t be any of the other items, apparently the wood pellet plant is:
5.B. ANNEXATION AND ZONING OF INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY PROPERTY

I don’t see anything about any previous hearings, nor any of the maps, plans, etc. that usually accompany a rezoning.

You can still use the Dogwood Alliance Action Alert to send in a comment before tonight’s meeting.

Meanwhile, I sent Adel this letter, mostly about water trails:

[WWALS to Adel, Water Trails and pellet plant 2020-09-08]
WWALS to Adel, Water Trails and pellet plant 2020-09-08
PDF

For background, see Adel wood pellet plant sourcing radius: entire Suwannee River basin in Georgia 2020-09-08.

See you in Adel in about an hour and a half.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Adel wood pellet plant sourcing radius: entire Suwannee River basin in Georgia 2020-09-08

Update 2020-09-11: Wood pellet plant: speakers and documents @ Adel City Council 2020-09-08.

Update 2020-09-08: Adel agenda and WWALS letter 2020-09-08

If a company from Houston, Texas, gets its rezoning Tuesday at the Adel, Georgia, City Council, it could take trees from 75 miles around to turn into wood pellets to ship to Europe for burning for electricity. It takes 50 to 100 years for natural forest to regenerate completely. Meanwhile, rain on land without forest runs off faster, carries more sediment and pollution (pesticides, E. coli, etc.), damaging fishing and wildlife. Floods also become more likely.

You can help stop this biomass plant. Before 5:30 PM Tuesday, please, which is when the Adel City Council has this rezoning on its agenda.

[Adel, GA, pellet plant sourcing radius]
Adel, GA, pellet plant sourcing radius (PDF)

That 75-mile sourcing radius around Adel would reach Tallahassee, Florida, and Albany, Georgia, as well as all of the Red Hills longleaf area around Thomasville. It would include all the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia: the Suwannee, Alapaha, Little, Withlacoochee, and Okapilco Rivers, from Fargo and most of the Okefenokee Swamp to Cordele in the north and Moultrie, Quitman, and Valdosta. As well as much of the Suwannee River Basin in Florida, include White Springs, Live Oak, Mayo, Jasper, and Madison. Plus the Ochlockonee and Aucilla Rivers and much of the Flint River on the west, and on the east most of the Satilla River and a bend of the Altamaha River.

This is an environmental justice issue because the plant will go in an African-American part of town and poor people are typically most adversely affected by deforestation.

When a local activist alerted me a few months ago to a proposed biomass plant in Adel, I pointed them to Vicki Weeks of the Dogwood Alliance. She has put together an Action Alert. Please follow that link to send your comment to the entire Adel City Council.

According to K.K. Synder, Georgia Trend, 31 July 2020, Adel | Cook County: Community in Motion,

Houston-based Renewable Biomass Group will construct Continue reading

Pitcher plants, GA 31, Grand Bay –Gretchen Quarterman on WCTV 2020-08-21

Hooded Pitcher Plants are the answer to Lanier County Sheriff Nick Norton’s question to the Georgia Department of Transportation as to why the ditches were not being mowed on GA 31 between Valdosta and Lakeland.

Amber Spradley, WCTV, at GA 31 and Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA), August 22, 2020, GDOT discovers rare plants ahead of road project,

[Clockwise: Amber Spradley, Gretchen Quarterman, potted pitcher plants, Hooded Pitcher Plants]
Clockwise: Amber Spradley, Gretchen Quarterman, potted pitcher plants, Hooded Pitcher Plants

Gretchen Quarterman, a 10-year “Master Gardener” and the executive director of WWALS Watershed Coalition, tells WCTV Hooded Pitchers live in nutrient-poor bogs, or wetlands. They trap and consume insects to obtain nutrients for survival.

Continue reading

Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols radio show 2020-08-18

Here is video of Steve Nichols and Suwannee Riverkeeper talking about the Songwriting Contest on the radio, last Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, 105.9 FM WVGA.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

[Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.]
Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.

The Contest Finals are this Saturday (tomorrow), 7-9 PM, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Scott James of 92.1 FM will be the M.C. The headliner, Dirty Bird and the Flu, will play. Then each of the three judges will play. The finalists will play for the judges and you the audience. Somebody will win the $300 First Prize, and the other prizes.

[First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

There will be a silent auction and kayak raffle tickets will be available. Our top-tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Company, will say a few words, as will our host, the Turner Arts Center, and several WWALS people will speak about programs, projects, stewardship, and advocacy. Each elected official present will get three minutes to speak on any subject; just remember it’s a festival.

Bring your own chairs and tables if you can. We will have some, but if you can bring your own, that will be great. There’s plenty of room to have tables spaced apart. We will be requiring masks when you go up to the WWALS information tables or close to others not in your group.

Food will be by Rico’s Tacos’ food truck. Drinks will be provided by the Pour House.

For much more, follow this link: http://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

Steve Nichols and I also talked about Why care about the waters?, WWALS Cleanups and Outings, Water Quality Testing, Masks at the Contest, and Georgia Beer Company, Top Tier Sponsor.

Why care about the waters?

Video at 3:33. Steve Nichols asked why I was so involved in this water stuff.

A century ago, my grandfather Continue reading

Songwriting Contest on Scott James Radio 2020-08-18

The first of three radio interviews yesterday about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest was at 7:30 AM on the Scott James show, 92.1 FM.

Songwriting on the radio

Scott James will be the M.C. of the Contest, which is this Saturday, 7-9 PM, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

I’m pretty sure M.C. Scott James promised to keep the weather fine this Saturday evening. We will have a couple of tents for the M.C. and the judges.

After Scott James and I talked about that, I asked, “Please bring your own chairs and tables. We will have some, but if you can bring your own, that’s great.”

There’s more below about the Songwriting Contest, about Masks and Distance, and about Georgia Beer Company, Top Tier Sponsor.

We also talked about Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02, WWALS Summary of FDEP chemical and biological tracers, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-08-05, and Troupville River Park, Outings: bike and paddle, full moons, and cleanups. Continue reading

Reed Bingham SP, underrated southern nature lover destination –Forbes 2020-08-07

The Little River Trail mentioned is a hiking trail, but it and Reed Bingham State Park (RBSP) are on the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. RBSP is the site of the annual WWALS and FORB BIG Little River Paddle Race and where last summer FORB invited WWALS to help fifty new boaters paddle.

Jared Ranahan, Forbes, August 7, 2020, Six Underrated Southern Destinations To Include On A Nature Lover’s Road Trip,

[Forbes: Reed Bingham State Park, Underrated Southern Nature Lover Destination]
Forbes: Reed Bingham State Park, Underrated Southern Nature Lover Destination
“The gopher tortoise is a burrowing animal, and other creatures such as gopher frogs, indigo snakes, … [+] Georgia Department of Natural Resources”

Reed Bingham State Park

For those wishing to encounter a wide array of native Georgian flora and fauna, few destinations compare to Reed Bingham State Park, a 1,613-acre stretch of land located in the depths of rural southern Georgia. The park is rife with hiking trails that showcase the rich biodiversity of the region—the Little River Trail crosses through pristine swamp, offering glimpses of river otters, turtles, and bald cypress trees, while the short Turkey Oak Trail is home to native ectothermic species ranging from indigo snakes to Georgia’s own state reptile, the gopher tortoise. Be sure to spend some time exploring the banks of Reed Bingham Park Lake—this idyllic water feature is a popular local spot for kayaking and fishing.

Continue reading

Video: Final Deadline Today, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-07-21

Steve Nichols helped remind everyone on the radio this morning that the last chance to send in a song is tonight at midnight, through this form:
https://forms.gle/buQjC4e6oEKDoc537

We also talked about water quality testing (including a grant by Georgia Power), water trails, outings, hats, contacting Georgia Governor Kemp about that titanium mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp, and what is Suwannee Riverkeper, anyway?

You can listen to it all in the facebook video by The Morning Drive with Steve Nichols, starting at 2:34:35.

[Georgia Beer Co.]
Georgia Beer Co.

Thanks again to our top-tier sponsor of the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Georgia Beer Co. Continue reading

More than 30 groups organize to save Okefenokee Swamp 2020-07-14

See also Suwannee Riverkeeper’s call last month for people to contact the Georgia governor and other elected officials.

[Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)]
Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see also )

MORE THAN 30 GROUPS ORGANIZE TO SAVE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

[OPA Logo]
OPA Logo

GEORGIA (July 14, 2020) More than 30 national, state, and local organizations have joined forces in the fight to protect the Okefenokee Swamp. The new coalition, known as the Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA), recently formed in response to a new and alarming threat to the Okefenokee in the form of proposed heavy mineral sands mining adjacent to the swamp.

In July 2019, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) seeking authorization to mine the first phase of what would eventually become a 12,000-acre project abutting the southeast corner of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

After the Corps was deluged with letters opposing the project, Twin Pines withdrew that application and submitted a second application to excavate a roughly 900-acre first phase of the mine. The Corps is now weighing whether to approve that second application. Twin Pines must also secure permission from the state of Georgia.

“The new Okefenokee Protection Alliance is the first collaborative effort to have an exclusive focus on the protection of what is arguably our country’s healthiest remaining wetland of significance,” says Christian Hunt, Southeast Program Representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Everyone came together because of Twin Pines’ permit application, but by design we intend to be active over the long-term and address the present threat that we are dealing with today, as well as future threats that stand to compromise the Okefenokee.”

This week, the Okefenokee Protection Alliance introduced a new website and began urging citizens to write Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, asking him to protect Southeast Georgia’s international natural treasure.

“Just as we have reached out to folks to call on the Corps, we are reaching out to folks to call on Governor Kemp because it is not just the Corps that has a say,” says Rena Peck, Executive Director of the Georgia River Network. “We want Governor Kemp to stand with his constituents and all the citizens in Georgia who are concerned about the mine and ask the Corps for an Environmental Impact Statement.”

The Okefenokee has a long history of support from Georgia leaders. A similar proposal to mine near the Swamp in the 1990s was stopped when Gov. Zell Miller and others spoke out against it; in the 1970s, W.S. “Bill” Stuckey, Jr. who represented the 8th District of Georgia in Congress, successfully fought to designate portions of the swamp as a National Wilderness Area.

Stuckey, now a resident of the Georgia coast, said recently, “I’m hopeful that Governor Kemp will step in to protect the Okefenokee Wilderness and stop the mine.”

OPA member organizations and federal agencies have expressed concerns that the mine could alter the hydrology of the area and impair the movement and storage of water within the swamp, the St. Marys and Suwannee rivers and the Floridan Aquifer.

This could lead to an increased risk of uncontrollable wildfires and impact access to the swamp for boating, fishing, birding, hunting and photography. Pollution from the mining operation could also impact the health of groundwater and surface water.

The Floridan Aquifer, which lies beneath the swamp, is the water source for all of south Georgia and most of Florida, and feeds many springs in the region, which are already adversely affected by overpumping. Thus, anything that affects the swamp or the aquifer could have far-reaching consequences.

Continue reading