Category Archives: Swamp

Defeat Suncoast Connector 2019-04-05

Please call your Florida state legislators to ask them to oppose a toll expressway across the Suwannee River, and maybe even across the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee Rivers. Instead, let’s do Amtrak passenger trains for better transportation and solar power for jobs and lower energy prices.

Map, Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife
Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife

This boondoogle would come up from Citrus County to Jefferson County. That’s all the bills (SB 7068 or HB 7113) say about the route.

Defenders of Wildlife has a corridor map that shows Suncoast Connector coming from Crystal River in Citrus County, through Gilchrist and maybe Alachua Counties, possibly crossing the Santa Fe River into Columbia County and the Ichetucknee River into Suwannee County. It would have to cross the Suwannee River somewhere, maybe into Dixie or Lafayette or even Madison County, heading on through Taylor County to Monticello in Jefferson County.

Here’s a better way to improve transportation in the Suwannee River Basin: revive Amtrak through Madison and Lake City. The tracks are already there, so Continue reading

Testing for firefighting chemicals in wells and waterways 2019-01-18

Those firefighting chemicals that leaked from Moody Air Force Base are on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Moody recommends private well owners contact their county representatives for information on testing personal wells.

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk and public information officer, said this is an opportunity for county residents such as Tann to have their water tested. Not only for PFAS but for any other contaminants that might be there.

Indeed, and Lowndes County operates the Moody AFB wastewater treatment plant that spilled into Beatty Branch and Cat Creek. So it’s an opportunity for Lowndes County to help organize testing for these per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), because testing for them isn’t nearly as simple or inexpensive as testing for other contaminants.

Reporter and photographer at Beatty Branch, 2019-01-07, VDT
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, nearby resident Debra Tann, VDT reporter Thomas Lynn and photographer Derrek Vaughn, at Beatty Branch, January 7, 2019. Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Debra Tann and I were back at Beatty Branch on January 7, 2019, this time with the VDT, about the firefighting chemical issue that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the first week of January. This time it was for local reporters. Moody neighbor wants water tested, Continue reading

AJC at Moody AFB about groundwater contamination 2018-12-07

A month ago at Beatty Branch:

“Everything in this area depends on groundwater,” said John Quarterman, the Suwannee Riverkeeper in Lowndes County, where Moody is located. “I’m not saying that Moody necessarily did make enough contamination to be a problem, but I can’t tell from this report, and I don’t think it’s our responsibility to determine that they didn’t.”

[Photographer Hyosub Shin and Reporter Meris Lutz]
Photographer Hyosub Shin and Reporter Meris Lutz, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online today and in Sunday’s Atlanta paper newspaper, Contaminated groundwater, a toxic legacy of Georgia’s air bases, 3 January 2019.

Moody Air Force Base tested their own wells, and found them clean. Which is good, but

[Figure 2 AFFF Area Locations]
Figure 2 AFFF Area Locations
PDF

their wells are much deeper than the wells the rest of us use in the country around here. Moody did not test any of those wells; Continue reading

Suwannee River Car Camping and Paddle 2019-02-15-17

Join us as we camp two nights and paddle the Upper Suwannee River, between the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Fargo, Georgia, around Griffis Fish Camp, on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

When: 4:00 PM, Friday, February 15, 2019, Camping, Griffis Fish Camp

Put In: Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Saturday, February 16, 2019, Griffis Fish Camp to Fargo Boat Ramp
Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Sunday, February 17, 2019, Suwannee River Sill to Griffis Camp

GPS: for Griffis Fish Camp: 30.782505, -82.4436

Take Out: Friday camping,
Saturday take out at Fargo,
Sunday take out at Griffis Camp.

Bring: a tow rope and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Fargo, Griffis, Sill, Maps

Continue reading

Okefenokee Campout and Paddle, Suwannee River, Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA, 2018-12-07-09

Camp two nights and paddle in the Okefenokee Swamp. We will camp Friday and Saturday at Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, Ga. This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp.

When: Friday through Sunday, December 7-9, 2018
9AM, Saturday, December 8, start paddling

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA

GPS: 30.827659, -82.361819

Take Out: Stephen C. Foster State Park

Camping: Make your camp site reservation through Reserve America. Outing leader Shirley Kokidko has site #56. Let’s try to stay close together so we can share a camp fire and group meal Saturday evening. If you want to share a site and split the cost, post it in the comments (meetup, facebook, or blog) so others will see it. If you don’t want to camp, we want you to come out and join us for this paddle.

Paddling: Saturday morning we will meet at the marina at 9 a.m. to shuttle vehicles to the take out at the Sill. We will paddle from Billy’s Lake through the Narrows to the Sill. The current can be swift so you must be able to maneuver you boat around trees in a swift narrow stream. You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. The park rents canoes, kayaks and bicycles. There will be an optional paddle Sunday morning.

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. And trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

After dark: The park will have a telescope for star gazing Friday night, this is one of the darkest places in the Southeast due to a lack of light pollution in the Okefenokee Swamp. The park also offers a boat tour after dark on Saturday. Telephone reception is mostly non-existent in this remote location so be prepared to put the electronics away and plug into nature.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gretchen photographing Bret and Phil on the dock
Okefenokee Swamp, 2016-12-10

Continue reading

Rivers bigger and more important that previously thought 2018-06-28

Rivers and streams cover more of the earth’s surface than previously thought, and likely interchange more CO2 and other gases with the atmosphere than previously thought. WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter found this paper.

George H. Allen and Tamlin M. Pavelsky, Science, 28 Jun 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0636 Global extent of rivers and streams,

Abstract

The turbulent surfaces of rivers and streams are natural hotspots of biogeochemical exchange with the atmosphere. At the global scale, the total river-atmosphere flux of trace gasses such as CO2 depends on the proportion of Earth’s surface that is covered by the fluvial network, yet the total surface area of rivers and streams is poorly constrained. We used a global database of planform river hydromorphology and a statistical approach to show that global river and stream surface area at mean annual discharge is 773,000 ± 79,000 km2 (0.58 ± 0.06%) of Earth’s non-glaciated land surface, an area 44 ± 15% larger than previous spatial estimates. We found that rivers and streams likely play a greater role in controlling land-atmosphere fluxes than currently represented in global carbon budgets.

Fig. 1. Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database, Figure
Fig. 1. The Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database contains more than 58 million measurements of planform river geometry. The line plot on the right shows observed river coverage as a percentage of land area by latitude, and the bottom insets show GRWL at increasing zoom. The rightmost inset shows GRWL orthogonals over which river width was calculated, with only every eighth orthogonal shown for clarity.

You can see the lower Suwannee River in the above figure.

The authors zoom in on the Amazon River Basin in Brazil, but those last two zooms could easily be Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west. You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee. Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer.


Irwin County, 1885a, GeorgiaInfo, Rand McNally Map of Georgia, 1885

Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Pg 12., quoted in Ray City History Blog, 18 October 2010, More About Troupville, GA and the Withlacoochee River,

THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER.

VALDOSTA, Ga., January 19. -[Special.]- Away up near the northern limit of the great wiregrass section there is a big cypress swamp. They call them bays there. From this bay emerges Continue reading

SELC against proposed suspension of Clean Water Rule 2017-12-13

Yesterday, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) submitted a sixteen-page letter against the EPA’s proposed suspension of the Clean Water Rule, on behalf fifty-six organizations including WWALS.10

Struggling to eliminate, Letter Much of that letter could as easily apply to today’s foregone vote to eliminate the FCC’s net neutrality rule. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s “‘unalterably closed’” views should have been enough for him to recuse himself. The three FCC Commissioners for the elimination of net neutrality made it clear they were not paying attention to the millions of public comments, despite requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act to do so. Chairman Pai with perhaps unintentional irony even argued that there was no need to hold public hearings since far more people commented online, which of course is only possible through an open Internet. Nevermind that the FCC appears to be ignoring those comments.

Similarly, the EPA does not seem to be paying attention to the “more than 680,000 public comments” on the Clean Water Rule repeal beyond taking only six days to come up with a two year delay in implementation of that rule.

The SELC letter to the EPA even cites two cases against the FCC when it says: Continue reading

One alligator, some turtles, many birds: cold and clear Okefenokee Outing

If you weren’t among the small but hardy group of paddlers yesterday, you missed more birds than I’ve ever seen in the Okefenokee Swamp on a sunny cold December morning. We did draw the winner for the kayak raffle; we’ll announce that once we get a return telephone call.

Getting out, 12:59:19,, Minnie Lake

Before even entering the Stephen C. Foster State Park, we saw a great blue heron, the bird on the WWALS banner, plus a wild hog. Inside, we saw Continue reading

Last chance before kayak raffle drawn at Okefenokee Suwannee River Outing 2017-12-10

You may have seen this kayak at the Brooks County Skillet Fest, the Berrien County Harvest Fest, the Alapaha Station Celebration, the Hahira Honeybee, or Suwannee Hulaween, and now there are only a few days to get a raffle ticket for it, before we draw the winner 9AM this Sunday in the Okefenokee Swamp on the monthly WWALS paddle outing.

Raffle kayak, Hulaween

You can put your donation in online and get your kayak raffle tickets. All proceeds go to support the work of WWALS Watershed Coalition, because Malibu Kayaks generously donated the kayak.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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