All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.
It could use some markers to keep people on it and off private property, and maybe some loaner kayak wheels, but there is public access to the Withlacoochee River off of Gornto Road in Valdosta.
Tea-colored water, 16:22:37,, Withlacoochee River 30.8623900, -83.3224600
And a very nice blackwater river it is. Continue reading
The regular attendees said there would be no fireworks this time. Yet it was a very interesting meeting, especially once the County Attorney asked for scheduling a date to select the consulting engineer about the phosphate mine. The Commissioners and staff discussed August 8 in the morning or August 17 in the evening. Public comment preferred the latter. The County Attorney strongly advised they go ahead and decide when so there will be plenty of time to advertise it. The decision: Thursday evening, August 17, 2017.
Below are links to each WWALS video, followed by a video playlist. See also the agenda.
The crowd was very attentive to every word about wastewater and flood prevention, with officials from the City of Valdosta presenting in the first of a new quarterly WWALS speaker series. If you didn’t come, you can see and hear in these videos Henry Hicks about wastewater, Emily Davenport about flood prevention, Tim Carroll about solar power, and Sementha Mathews about how to get more information from Valdosta. WWALS Treasurer and acting Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman opened and closed the meeting.
Each talk had many small but important stories, so we will probably blog more posts about those. Meanwhile, here are the videos: see for yourself! Continue reading
Update 2016-10-23: Seen from the air.
Update 2016-10-19: PDF flyer.
Come hear about the $60 million in wastewater fixes Valdosta just finished, what remains to be done, and what they’re doing about flood prevention for the entire Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida. You can ask questions in this first of a new WWALS Quarterly Speaker Series, and the people organizing this work will be there to answer:
- Henry Hicks, Utilities Director, about wastewater
- Emily Davenport, Assistant Director of Engineering, about flooding, and
- Tim Carroll, Valdosta City Council, about solar power for utilities.
When: 6PM Thursday October 27th
Where: Valdosta City Hall Annex
300 N Lee St.
Valdosta, GA 31601 Continue reading
Back in 2009, Lowndes County spent hundreds of times more in infrastructure repairs than the $40,000 that Valdosta is asking as a match to build an online flood warning map, beyond just fixing sewer system spills to dealing with the rest of the flooding problem. At recent meetings, some County Commissioners seemed reluctant to authorize the request because the proposed map mostly covers subdivisions in Valdosta. But the entire county was affected by road closures in 2009, so maybe Commissioners could ask to expand the map to cover the whole county, which could also help find sources of the flooding problem. Sources and effects extend all the way to the edges of the county, as you can see in this a google map I built back then:
Roads closed in Lowndes County, Georgia, as of 9:38 a.m April 6th, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. This map shows locations and terrain. It’s a Google map, so it’s interactive: you can zoom and pan and change to satellite view, street map, street view, etc. Some of the locations are guesstimates from the cryptic descriptions in the VDT article. The one green blob is the one reopening mentioned in the article: “North Valdosta Road Withlacoochee River Bridge opened at 10 p.m. Sunday.”
How much would it cost to fund the Okapilco Creek gage so it won’t go offline July 31st? About $13,600/year, more or less, mostly for field and office labor and administration, with only 10% for the field equipment. Since this gage is located in Brooks County, Georgia, the most likely funding body (after USGS itself) would be the Brooks County Commission. Yes, it’s in WWALS watersheds; no, WWALS doesn’t plan to take on funding streamgages. If some funding organization appeared that wanted to pass the funds through WWALS, which is a 501(c)(3) educational institution, that would be possible. But this seems more like a government issue.Continue reading
Boating on our rivers and water trails for them, issues and education: you can help with the fun and work of WWALS! Here’s much of what can be done laid out in a list of a dozen WWALS Goals for 2015. The board has at least one opening right now, and the committees always could use more members. You can apply through the online form.
See also the monthly newsletter, the news about WWALS, and of course the website with blog, facebook the page and group, and WWALS on twitter, Youtube, and the membership google group. You can become a member or corporate sponsor of WWALS online right now.
The WWALS Executive Committee 11 March 2015 recommended Continue reading
Spilling sewage into the Withlacoochee River apparently wasn’t enough for Valdosta: in February it also spilled three times into the Alapaha River watershed. At least once this was due to rains directly on Valdosta, for which the levee proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers on Sugar Creek at the Withlacoochee River wouldn’t help. It’s time for Valdosta to move along with fixing its wastewater problems. More transparency from Valdosta would also help. And I, for one, would like to see that promised Corps flooding study of the entire Suwannee River Basin.
In three different reports in February, Valdosta mentioned sewage overflows into either Knights Creek or Dukes Bay Canal, without mentioning that those flow into Mud Swamp Creek, which joins with Grand Bay Creek to form the Alapahoochee River, which joins the Alapaha River, which flows into the Suwannee River. The Florida Department of Health apparently didn’t know that, since it didn’t mention the Alapaha River in its advisories for counties downstream. But Valdosta should know, according to its own SWMP Update Phase 1 Final Report, Section 2 Methodology, 2011-01-14, that about half of Valdosta is drained by Knights Creek and Dukes Bay Canal: Continue reading
A surprising number of the Board’s nine goals for 2014 have been accomplished, and some new ones have already been added. What goals should WWALS have for 2015?
Goals accomplished include becoming an IRS 501(c)(3) and raising money for and purchasing insurance. Some we’ve been doing right along: cleanups, including Rivers Alive. Some are so much the core of what WWALS does that we didn’t even list them as goals, but we’ve been doing them anyway: monthly outings and indoor events.