Tag Archives: fishing

Okefenokee Swamp on GWC Dirty Dozen because Titanium Mine 2019-11-14

Announced yesterday to press across Georgia and beyond, the titanium mine near Georgia and Florida’s Okefenokee Swamp proposed by Twin Pines Minerals of Alabama made the Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen (see also PDF).

You can still file a comment with the Army Corps and GA-EPD asking them to reject the mine or at least require an Environmental Impact Statement. Convenience for miners is no excuse to risk the fishing, boating, and birding in the swamp and hunting and forestry nearby.

[Closeup]
Closeup of TPM equipment on mine site from GA 94 westbound.
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, November 14, 2019

2019’s
Worst Offenses Against
GEORGIA’S WATER
OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, ST. MARYS AND SUWANNEE RIVERS

Proposed 2,400-Acre Titanium Mine Threatens Signature Landscape of Georgia

INTRODUCTION:

Twenty years ago when chemical giant DuPont proposed mining titanium dioxide ore near the Okefenokee Swamp, opposition to the plan was so strong— Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida passes resolution against titanium mine application near Okefenokee Swamp

Waterkeepers Florida asks the Army Corps to require Twin Pines Minerals to supply all the information missing from its application for a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), to hold Public Hearings, including in Florida, and “to answer how the Corps has or will determine that the Applicant’s proposed mine would not adversely affect the Okefenokee Swamp, the St. Marys River, the Suwannee River, the Floridan Aquifer, or the State of Florida.”

You can also still comment to the Army Corps.

[TPM Equipment closeup, Wayne Morgan]
TPM Equipment closeup Photo: Wayne Morgan for Suwannee Riverkeeper on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.

Continue reading

Cost of reclassifying Georgia rivers from Fishing to Recreational in Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards

Recently I was asked if there would be water monitoring costs to cities or counties because of upgrading our main Suwannee River Basin waters in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, as we have requested in Georgia’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. Here’s the answer, as best I could determine. And how you can help. For those who wonder why upgrade from Fishing to Recreational, please see the previous blog post.

[Satellite Map]
WWALS Satellite Map of landing in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia

Specifically the question was: would reclassifying rivers or swamp from Fishing to Recreational cause cities or counties to have to spend more money on water quality monitoring, specifically if a wastewater treatment plant had a spill, more money on water quality sampling afterwards?

The brief answer is: probably not.

Recently, I asked James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD. He said that for that case, there should be no change, because sampling after a spill is determined mostly by the number of gallons spilled.

Let me use some NPDES permits I have on hand to illustrate.

Here is the language in NPDES Permit No. GA0020222 for Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, first about number of gallons, then about the required sampling. Continue reading

WCTV on mining proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2019-08-21

“Because of the coal plants in Georgia, there’s mercury deposition on the surface of the ground for years. If they go stir all that up, that could run in to the swamp,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman. “Why should we risk the Okefenokee, its boating, its fishing, its birding.”

Quoted by a reporter based in Valdosta, GA for WCTV in Tallahassee, FL, Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 21 August 2019, Heavy mining facility proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge,

[Sign]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Okefenokee NWR Entrance Sign, 2019-07-18

…Last week the Charlton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution of support for the project. County officials said the reason is because Charlton County does not have many industry opportunities of its own, and many residents leave to surrounding counties for work. officials said the 150 jobs created from the project could be beneficial to the county.

The Okefenokee Swamp is the headwater for the Suwannee River, which is why community members across the region are fighting the proposal, saying it could have consequences in both states.

In the proposal, the 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

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

Water amendments passed 2018-11-06

The obvious water constitutional amendments passed resoundingly in both Florida and Georgia.

FL 9 and GA 1, Water Amendments

By well more than the required 60%, Continue reading

Seven more Georgia, Three more Florida, plus slides: ask GA-EPD to tell everyone about spills in Georgia; you can, too! 2018-11-15

Update 2018-12-21: GA-EPD daily online Sewage Spill Reports!

Update 2018-12-14: Now plus a petition individuals can sign.

Update 2018-12-12: Four more Georgia groups make 31: Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us), Atlanta Audubon Society, Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, and No Ash At All—Wayne County.

[More Signatures]

Florida groups: you can sign on, too, like some already have!

Update 2018-11-15: Three more Georgia groups make 27: GARC, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and SELC. Plus slides: Continue reading

WCTV at Hagan Bridge on Withlacoochee sewage spills downstream into Florida 2018-10-02

WCTV came to Hagan Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River to interview Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman about what Madison County and 10 more Florida counties are doing about Valdosta sewage spills into local rivers. Don’t forget the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants 9:30 AM this morning, Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

Enough is enough when it comes to sewage spills in local rivers, Hagan Bridge

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 2 October 2018, North Florida communities look to solve sewage spills in Valdosta, Continue reading

Request GA-EPD to timely publish spill reports 2018-10-02

Update 2018-12-21: GA-EPD has started publishing online each business day a Sewage Spills Report! So that’s item 1 from the Petition. We thank GA-EPD and we await items 2 and 3.

Update 2018-12-14: Now plus a petition individuals can sign.

Update 2018-12-12: Four more Georgia groups make 31: Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us), Atlanta Audubon Society, Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, and No Ash At All—Wayne County.

[More Signatures]

Florida groups: you can sign on, too, like some already have!

Update 2018-11-15: Three more Georgia groups make 27: GARC, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and SELC. Plus slides.

Yes, your organization can still sign on for further signature deliveries until we see daily spill updates on the GA-EPD website.

Update 2018-11-12: Four more Georgia groups make 24:

GA-EPD Richard E. Dunn did answer on November 2, 2018, saying they would look into telling everyone when anyone spills. Yes, your organization can still sign on for further signature deliveries until we see daily spill updates on the GA-EPD website.

Update 2018-11-01: Now plus Paddle Florida, for six Florida signers and fourteen Georgia signers. A copy with all twenty signers went today to GA-EPD Director Richard E. Dunn and Assistant Director Lauren M. Curry. Yes, your organization can still sign on for later delivery.

Update 2018-10-30: Three downstream Florida groups ask the state of Georgia to tell everyone when sewage gets into Georgia rivers. To get in the November 1st copy to GA-EPD, sign here by Halloween. Yes, you can still sign on later.

Update 2018-10-18: Two Florida signers makes sixteen so far. You can still sign here to ask GA-EPD to tell us so we’ll know when they happen.

Update 2018-10-17: Fourteen signers so far. And here are the forty spills since last time. You can still sign here to ask GA-EPD to tell us so we’ll know when they happen.

Update 2018-09-03: The WCTV report and the text of the letter establishing the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force.

On WCTV tonight, Emma Wheeler will report about wastewater, Valdosta, and how at least eight downstream counties in Florida are organizing about it. She asked me for suggestions. My suggestions start with: sign a resolution asking GA-EPD to timely publish spill reports, and help WWALS with its new water quality testing program. And the Florida Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) could have more effect on the Suwannee River Basin than sewage.

Plus let’s not forget the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants 9AM tomorrow morning, October 3, the WWALS Troupville Boat Ramp Cleanup October 13, the WWALS Boomerang paddle race November 3 from Langdale Park Boat Ramp to Sugar Creek and back, and 300 of our closest friends coming to the Withlacoochee River mid-June 2019 in Paddle Georgia.

printed, Resolution

The resolution asks the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) to do what Florida and Alabama already do: publish pollution spill reports online the same day they receive them, with signup for email notices. The first step in fixing pollution is Continue reading