Tag Archives: Hamilton County

Two reappointed to SRWMD so quorum for Wednesday Budget Public Hearing 2019-09-18

Sudden quorum for Budget Public Hearing, Pilgrim’s Pride withdrawal as Renewal rather than Modification, and Nestlé still not on the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) agenda for this Wednesday afternoon at 3PM. But don’t let that stop you from asking SRWMD to deny Nestlé’s application for more water from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, and to revisit Nestlé’s withdrawal permit from Madison Blue Spring on the Withlacoochee River.

[Apparently two have been reappointed]
Apparently two have been reappointed

Apparently the Florida Governor has reappointed two SRWMD board members, Charles Keith and Richard Schwab, since they show up again on the SRWMD Current Governing Board Members web page.

I don’t know whether they were reappointed to the same slots or not, since there was no announcement that I have found. Charles Keith was At Large and Richard Schwab was Coastal River Basin.

So they’re back up to Continue reading

Free boat rental at WWALS Boomerang, from Georgia to Florida and Back Again 2019-10-26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Valdosta, GA, September 16, 2019 — Two outfitters will have boats for free rental; thanks, NWXpeditions and VSU Core! Or bring your own, of course. Again this year, Boy Scouts of America, South Georgia Council, will be there. TNT Hot Dogs will have food, and paddlers each get a ticket for a beer at Georgia Beer Company. “There’s still time for more sponsors to sign up!” said Boomerang mastermind Bobby McKenzie, “And you can wear your Halloween costumes!”

[Flyer]
Flyer
PDF

“This is the sort of cross-state-line ecotourism all the local counties say they want to promote, maybe including some friendly Georgia-Florida rivalry,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, “Paddle racing and leisurely paddling on the idyllic blackwater Withlacoochee River. Plenty of water, no deadfalls, plus shoals!”

Gathering at 11AM, Saturday, October 26, 2019, at State Line Ramp in Georgia, we will paddle into Florida, with staggered starts for turnarounds at 1, 2, and 3 miles, then back to where we started.

Tickets are $20 until October 15th, then $30.

Vendor space is free for nonprofits vested in conservation or stewardship of our waters. There is a $20 fee for for-profit vendors, and because it’s a park a selling permit is required. Thanks to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) for use of State Line Boat Ramp.

Sponsors get their name and logo on a banner, in announcements, and in flyers, with various other perks at different levels of sponsorship.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2019 is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2019-10-26–boomerang/

Continue reading

Comments: 20,338 on titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –USACE 2019-09-12

If this and the 27 news articles on radio, TV, and newspapers in Georgia and Florida, several of them carried by Associated Press across the country, plus the ten op-eds and three editorials, is not enough to establish controversy, I wonder what is. Maybe still more comments and news articles and social media?

[Public Notice: 20,338 comments]
Public Notice: 20,338 comments
PDF

Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 13 September 2019, Mining proposal near Okefenokee draws more than 20K comments from public

The Suwannee Riverkeeper, on Thursday, sent 22 pages of questions to the Corps and the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection asking the agency to deny the permit. The Riverkeeper joined the SELC and other organizations and individuals in asking the Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, the highest level of analysis available when a proposed federal action may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

Also in that AJC story:

Commenters expressed concerns ranging from the acres of wetlands that would be lost to what they considered inadequate studies conducted to determine the potential impact of the mine.

In a letter to the Corps, the Southern Environmental Law Center said Continue reading

Deny or EIS, titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS 2019-09-12

Sent just now as PDF. You can still send in your comments today.

[Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?]
Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine? PDF


September 12, 2019

To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
       Attention: Ms. Holly Ross,  holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil
       1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia  31707

Cc: Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, stephen.wiedl@dnr.ga.gov
       Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division,
       Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554

Dear Colonel Hibner,

Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks USACE:

  • to reject the subject Application from Twin Pines Minerals (TPM), given the inappropriate location which would over the years move ever closer to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, combined with the numerous omissions from the Application regarding the wide hydrogeologic, water quality, ecologic, and economic ramifications of the proposed mining, and the numerous other mines relevant to the proposal.

If USACE continues to process the Application, WWALS requests USACE:

  • to require a complete hydrogeological assessment and report, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and an economic analysis, with all three covering all the relevant features, mines, and applications in south Georgia and north Florida, including at least those outlined in this letter.
  • to accept comments until at least ninety days after all these documents are submitted to USACE and distributed to the public, preferably on USACE’s website, without requiring site visits to Albany to get them.
  • to hold public hearings in Georgia and Florida for further independent input and review after sufficient time (months or years) for independent third-party review.

The proposed Charlton County, Georgia, TPM mine site is hydraulically upgradient from the Okefenokee Swamp and within close proximity to the boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), with its 600,000 visits per year for boating, birding, and fishing, with more than $60 million annual economic effects including hundreds of jobs supported directly or indirectly, plus hunt clubs surrounding the Swamp. The Swamp provides ecosystem services of great economic values, including storm protection, water quality provisioning, support for nursery and habitat for commercial fishing species; and carbon storage, plus those hunt clubs depend on the Swamp. Any pollution of the Swamp or change in surface or groundwater levels could adversely affect not only ONWR and nearby areas, but also the Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) near Waycross, in Ware County, GA, and Stephen C. Foster State Park (SCFSP) in Charlton County, via Fargo in Clinch County. Visitors come from Jacksonville, Florida, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, and from much farther away to visit the Okefenokee Swamp. The Swamp is a treasure to the entire nation and the world.

The stigma of a strip mine next to the swamp could cause people to turn away, taking their dollars with them. Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?

Continue reading

Rescheduled: SRWMD Board due to lack of Quorum 2019-09-18

We recommend Dennis J. Price, Practicing Geologist of Hamilton County, Florida, for the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board.

[Dennis Price explains, 13:50:12, 30.57871, -83.05231]
Dennis Price explains, 13:50:12, 30.5787100, -83.0523100
Photo: John S. Quarterman, January 27, 2018, at the Dead River Sink, off the Alapaha River

Received 11:23 AM this morning via email:

SEPTEMBER 10 GOVERNING BOARD MEETING RESCHEDULED

LIVE OAK, FLA., Sept. 10, 2019 — The Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board meeting for September 10, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at the District Headquarters has been rescheduled. The rescheduled meeting will be held on September 18, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at the District Headquarters.

[Rescinded and Timed Out]
Rescinded and Timed Out

That notice doesn’t say why, but this does. Cindy Swirko, Gainesville Sun, Posted Sep 8, 2019 at 2:50 PM Updated Sep 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM, Suwannee district to discuss budget without full board, Continue reading

PCS Phosphate Mine dragline access permit application SAJ-1984-04652 2019-10-15

It may be useful to keep tabs on last year’s USACE expansion application of the PCS (now Nutrien) phosphate mine in Hamilton County, FL.

Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, SAJ-1984-04652 (MOD-JPF), Published Oct. 15, 2018, Expiration date: 11/14/2018

[Location Map]
Location Map
PDF

Here are the rest of the maps from that document. Continue reading

WWALS Boomerang: Paddle and a Pint, from Georgia to Florida and Back Again 2019-08-08

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Valdosta, GA, August 8, 2019 — Join us for a fun filled day of paddle racing and leisurely paddling on the idyllic blackwater Withlacoochee River. Plenty of water, no deadfalls, plus shoals! We will paddle from State Line Ramp in Georgia, with staggered starts for turnarounds in Florida at 1, 2, and 3 miles, then back to where we started. Tickets are $20 until October 15th, then $30.

“Sign up to race and get a beer for participating!” said Boomerang mastermind Bobby McKenzie. “Thanks to Georgia Beer Company!”

Vendors vested in conservation or stewardship of our waters already signed up include VSU CORE, Boy Scouts, and TNT Hot Dogs. Nonprofit vendors are free, and $20 fee for for-profit vendors.

“This is good ecotourism for Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia, and Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Maybe we can get a little friendly state-line rivalry going on!”

McKenzie added, “Also another fun opportunity to wear your Halloween Costumes!”

Sponsors get their name and logo on a banner, in announcements, and in flyers, with various other perks at different levels of sponsorship.

[Simple Flyer]
Simple Flyer

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2019 is here: Continue reading

Dowling Park River Camp, Suwannee River, Lafayette County, FL 2019-06-20

Some features were surprising at Dowling Park River Camp, during #PaddleGA2019.

[From below]
From below

The bathrooms are on wheels! Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

Agenda: Florida Counties meet Valdosta about sewage 2019-07-10

Here’s the agenda for tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Valdosta City Council, with business of Valdosta Utilities presenting to the dozen Florida counties. You may wonder why you haven’t seen this City Council meeting on Valdosta’s website or in the Valdosta Daily Times. Well, Georgia Open Meetings law only requires one notice on the front of the venue and a notice to the newspaper of record 24 hours in advance.

When: 6PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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

Event: facebook

[071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001]
071019-Special-Called-Meeting-Agenda-0001
PDF

Maybe Valdosta should consider that elected official embarassment does not outweigh informing the public.

Thanks to Valdosta City Clerk Teresa Bolden for the agenda. See also Continue reading