Tag Archives: Alapahoochee River

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

Winner: Raptor, flower, paddling organization, tree base: Within These WWALS #6 2020-05-16

The winner of Within These WWALS #6 is…

Emmy Kidder.

She wins a packet of WWALS photo notecards from that watershed, sent via postal mail from WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst.

Swamps and Springs WWALS picture notecards

Here are the answers to Within These WWALS #6.

Name this native raptor that can dive into water and catch live fish, has white under its wings making it easier to identify from below, and builds its nests atop trees over bodies of water, like this one shown atop a cypress at dusk.

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus.

We paddle by this nest most every time on our Banks Lake Full Moon paddles. The next one is coming up Continue reading

More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16

Gainesville Sun, 12:01 AM, Monday, March 16, 2020, John S. Quarterman: More testing needed to track river pollution (see also PDF),

Fecal bacterial contamination from Georgia probably reached the Gulf of Mexico about March 3, 2020, according to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[Tifton to the Gulf]
Tifton to the Gulf
In the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The good news: we know about that, because of much more water quality monitoring being done since I wrote a column about the issue last year for The Sun.

This recent testing was provoked by a spill of 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage into Sugar Creek near Valdosta, Ga., in December. With no rain, the sewage sat there for a week, and then moved down the Withlacoochee River in about three weekly globs, at least once reaching the Suwannee.

This Valentine’s Day, Valdosta exceeded our request, testing not one but Continue reading

Valdosta Sewage Public Meeting, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-30: Videos.

Update 2020-01-05: Earlier this same Wednesday: Florida Sen. Bill Montford hosting Valdosta sewage public meeting in Madison, FL 2020-01-08.

A Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, about Valdosta’s record-largest raw sewage spill in December 2019, and what to do going forward. Attendees will include the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (presumably its Task Force on this subject), and apparently GA-EPD, EPA, FDEP, SRWMD, and of course Suwannee Riverkeeper. It is a public meeting, so anyone can attend. If it’s run like previous such meetings, anyone can ask questions. We have plenty. I hope you do, too.

When: 6 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Where: General Purpose Room, Valdosta City Hall Annex, 300 North Lee Street, Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook


“What storm events keep you up at night?” Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell asked Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, 2019-10-07.

Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

Trash at GA 135, Alapahoochee River, Echols County, GA 2019-11-08

Elizabeth Reynolds sums it up in her video with her pictures of the trash at the Alapahoochee bridge: “Way to go, humans!“

Who’s interested in a cleanup?

[Mattress]
Mattress

This is about halfway between Lake Park in Lowndes County and Statenville in Echols County, at the GA 376 bridge on the Alapahoochee River.

It’s also about ten miles upstream from Florida, and about a dozen miles from the Alapahoochee Confluence with the Alapaha River. Continue reading

Waterfalls, rapids, and a lawn chair: Statenville to Sasser Landing 2019-07-06

Nineteen paddlers in fifteen boats braved the early morning deluge, which quit just in time to start paddling the Alapaha River from Statenville Boat Ramp to Sasser Landing, past many waterfalls, quite a few shoals, one real rapid, and an incoming river too fast to paddle up. Even a couple of unexpected boat ramps, one of them concrete.

[Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667]
Ronnie, Shirley, Fountain, 13:50:02, 30.6253002, -83.0480667

Around every corner, a waterfall. Continue reading

Fecal coliform worse than E. coli, Valdosta testing 2019-05-07

While the numbers were way down at US 84 on May 7, bacterial counts were up upstream on the Withlacoochee River, and on Mud Swamp Creek; up more in Fecal coliform than E. coli. These readings seem to indicate nonpoint sources.

Withlacoochee

[Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin]
Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin

The high readings are all from stations upstream of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the low reading at US 84 is downstream of the WWTP. Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida met FDEP in Orlando about Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards 2019-04-15

FDEP is analyzing DNA and human tracers such as sucralose monthly at at least three stations: on the Withlacoochee and Alapahoochee Rivers at the Georgia-Florida line, and at the Withlacoochee River Confluence with the Suwannee River at Ellaville. This is what Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) heard in Orlando on April 15th from FDEP’s Tom Frick. I think he may have also said at the Alapaha Confluence with the Suwannee River.

Tom Frick (DEAR), Ken Weaver (Standards), Dave Whiting (Laboratory), Darryl Joyner (WQSP), FDEP
FDEP, left to right: Tom Frick (DEAR), Ken Weaver (Standards), Dave Whiting (Laboratory), Darryl Joyner (WQSP).

I asked Tom Frick about that at the meeting FDEP requested with Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) about the Florida Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards,

Unlike in Georgia, Continue reading

Better bacterial levels in Valdosta WQ data 2019-04-02

All of Valdosta’s water quality sampling stations were below the Georgia state limit for E. coli for the first week of April. Valdosta no longer samples weekly, only once a month. It also no longer samples at the state line.

Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin, Withlacoochee

We got this monthly Valdosta WQ data via open records request, as usual. As I said at the April 10, 2019 meeting between Valdosta and the dozen Florida counties, I also filed the next day open records requests for Valdosta’s permit-required spill-followup test data, and for the engineering study they said they had related to how big the new catch basin needs to be. Yesterday I got the latest monthly data a day late, but only a “working on it” about the other two requests. I will now Continue reading