Tag Archives: quality

Bad Knights Ferry in Valdosta data down to state line, Monday and Wednesday 2020-07-08

This very high Valdosta Monday 1,600 E. coli data for Knights Ferry Boat Ramp and even higher 3,200 for Nankin Boat Ramp help explain the Florida high result downstream on Tuesday, which itself helped explain yesterday’s Florida bacterial alert for the Withlacoochee River.

[Valdosta Monday and Wednesday results]
Valdosta Monday and Wednesday results
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

For how bad those numbers are, see What do these numbers mean?

Valdosta’s Wednesday Nankin result was better, and its Knights Ferry 570 result at least wasn’t as horrible, although that was still higher than the one-time sample 410 limit. Yet Okapilco Creek @ US 84 had actually gotten worse.

So we can hope the Florida downstream good results are a good indicator. But there could be more E. coli still coming down the Withlacoochee River.

WWALS testers are collecting samples today and tomorrow, so we shall see.

Meanwhile, we have to put Knights Ferry Boat Ramp back to red on Swim Guide, because that’s the most recent data we have for it. Nankin just barely squeaks by under 410, so it’s green like all the eight Withlacoochee River “beaches,” except Knights Ferry.

[Red Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, 2020-07-08]
Red Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, 2020-07-08

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting this Valdosta downstream data published. Maybe that can become standard practice, so people will have a better idea of river conditions before the weekend. This is in Valdosta’s own interest, since it usually shows Continue reading

Data behind and after Florida bacterial advisory for Withlacoochee River 2020-07-09

Update 2020-07-10: Bad Knights Ferry in Valdosta data down to state line, Monday and Wednesday 2020-07-08.

Update 2020-07-10 13:00: FDEP Thursday data has been posted, with results back within normal bounds.

Today FDEP posted FDOH data from Tuesday, which shows 471 cfu/100 mL E. coli at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch). Presumably this is what provoked yesterday’s bacterial advisory for the Withlacoochee River from Madison and Hamilton County Health Departments.

[Bad at CR 150, increasing upstream]
Bad at CR 150, increasing upstream
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson, Valdosta also published Wednesday data, which shows higher E. coli readings than usual, higher than the 126 geometric average limit, although still below the 410 single-test limit. See What do these numbers mean?

Update 2020-07-10 13:00: Actually, with the FDEP Thursday data, Swim Guide is all green again for the Withlacoochee River in both Georgia and Florida. And the Little River, too, since we have no updated data yet. We’ll have at least one datapoint collected today or tomorrow on that.

[Green map in Swim Guide]
Green map in Swim Guide

I was mistaken about the WWALS samples for Crooked Creek: those are being collected today, along with some others today and tomorrow. I still won’t be surprised if they’re high in E. coli, although since the rains seem to have died down, I also won’t be surprised if the contamination has already flushed downstream and maybe even been diluted.

But we don’t know. Especially that part about downstream of FL 6: nobody is testing down there.

Floridians, you may want to ask your statehouse delegation and FDEP and other appointed officials to fund and implement regular, frequent, water quality testing all the way to the Gulf. If Valdoosta, GA, can do it on forty river miles to the state line, the great state of Florida can do it.

Oh, and it would help if Valdosta would post its results to the state line a bit more speedily.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Possible bacterial contamination, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton, Madison Co. FL 2020-07-09

Update 2020-07-10: Data behind and after Florida bacterial advisory for Withlacoochee River 2020-07-09.

It’s a Florida Health Department advisory of possible bacterial contamination, so I have set the four Florida Swim Guide “beaches” to red: Sullivan Launch, Florida Campsites, Madison Blue Spring, and Madison Ramp. However, since the advisory only says “Elevated indicators of fecal bacteria” without saying what those indicators are, and I can find no actual data, I have left the Georgia “beaches” green for now: US 84 Landing and Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.

[Swim Guide: red Withlacoochee River in Florida]
Swim Guide: red Withlacoochee River in Florida

Here’s the advisory, received today at 4:38 PM.

Until further information is known regarding possible bacterial contamination of the river, people in the area are urged to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee River. The Florida Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection are conducting water sampling.

Indeed, little seems to be known.

[Possible Bacterial Contamination of Withlacoochee River]
Possible Bacterial Contamination of Withlacoochee River
PDF

I can only guess Madison and Hamilton Health Departments are concerned by all that rain upstream for the past week. That does usually wash E. coli into the Withlacoochee River. Continue reading

Thanks for helping defeat GA HB 545 Right to Harm bill

After an amendment in the Georgia Senate that made it not quite as bad, HB 545 stalled in the House, and time ran out in the Georgia legislature.

So thank you, all who helped defeat this bad bill that would have made it easier for North Carolina-style industrial hog farms to move into Georgia.

That includes voters in Georgia, and anybody from Florida who helped. As we all know, contamination getting into rivers in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia often runs downstream into Florida.

Tomahawk Creek Breach
Waterkeeper Alliance, 20 September 2018, Waterkeepers Identify Multiple CAFO and Coal Ash Spills Following Hurricane Florence

Jessica Szilagyl, AllOnGeorgia, 1 July 2020, Ga Legislature Fails to Give Final Passage to Ag Nuisance/‘Right to Farm’ Bill,

A lobbyist-backed initiative endorsed by the Georgia Farm Bureau that placed rural Georgians in a duel of private property rights against farm protections failed to cross the finish line before the Georgia General Assembly adjourned for the year.

House Bill 545, donned the ‘Right to Farm’ bill, was revised a number of times before the final day of the 2019-2020 legislative session, but lawmakers could not negotiate the measure to a point of consensus in order to change the law.

There’s more detail in the story.

Brief version: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The existing law was not broken, and now the bad fake fix has been defeated.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Central Florida Water Initiative Rulemaking Workshop 2020-07-09

Whatever happens in this workshop will no doubt be used as a precedent later for rules affecting the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[CFWI Workshop scheduled for July 9, 2020]
CFWI Workshop scheduled for July 9, 2020
PDF

The three water management districts not named in that announcement are Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

SRWMD is not among the three. But remember, SJRWMD and SRWMD in 2017 jointly approved a North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan back in 2017.

Text of the Notice

Continue reading

Clean Little and Withlacoochee Rivers to GA-FL line 2020-07-03

Update 2020-07-10: Data behind Florida bacterial advisory for Withlacoochee River 2020-07-09.

Update 2020-07-09: Possible bacterial contamination, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton, Madison Co. FL 2020-07-09.

Thanks to new WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach assisting Suzy Hall, results for samples taken Friday, July 3, 2020, are all green for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. The samples I took upstream were also good: zero for Hagan Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River, and 333 for Folsom Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Little River.

Suzy did remark, “The mosquitoes got a little annoying at Nankin!”

You can help by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.

[Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing]
Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing

There was quite a bit of rain Friday, but almost all upstream on the Little River and upstream of Okapilco Creek at Moultrie (or Okapilco River, as Colquitt County calls it). While there was heavy rain at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River at the east side of Brooks County, meanwhile on the west side of Brooks at Dixie there was not much rain. So if we’re lucky, not much Continue reading

Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality –Waterkeepers Florida 2020-07-01

Plus FL SB 712 still doesn’t fund or implement regular, frequent, water quality monitoring from the state line to the Gulf, like Valdosta, GA, is doing three times weekly on 40 miles of the Withlacoochee River to the state line.

Jen Lomberk, Orlando Sentinel, 1 July 2020, Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality,

[Orlando Sentinel screenshot]
Orlando Sentinel screenshot

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 — the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” — an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark.

This bill has been praised by its supporters (”Sen. Mayfield: Clean Waterways Act would be major step forward,” June 30 online) as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking back at the cuts and rollbacks that our environmental regulations were subjected to under the last state administration, that really isn’t saying much. Jen Lomberk Jen Lomberk (Courtesy photo)

At 111 pages, the bill largely pays lip service to most of Florida’s major sources of pollution, but lacks the specificity and enforceability to actually solve any of the problems.

Proponents of the bill claim that it implements recommendations of the Blue Green Algae Task Force, but even those common sense, albeit vague recommendations will not be nearly achieved through the implementation of SB 712. For example, the Task Force recommended that projected changes in demographics, land use, and hydrology should be incorporated into the BMAP process.

Think about it. We have 1,000 people moving to our state every day. That means that over the 20-year life of a BMAP, millions of people will have Continue reading

Clean weekend water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-06-28

2020-07-04: Clean Little and Withlacoochee Rivers to GA-FL line 2020-07-03

More good news: the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp tested good Saturday, and the Withlacoochee River tested good last week and Sunday.

[Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps

Thanks to Suzy Hall for the weekend testing. You can help by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.

[Troupville Boat Ramp with foam]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville Boat Ramp with foam 2020-06-27

Suzy Hall took samples both in the foam and in the main flow of the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp Saturday, June 27, 2020. She got 33 cfu/100 mL in the flow and 66 in the foam, both well below the 126 long-term average limit for E. coli.

[State Line Boat Ramp (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, State Line Boat Ramp 2020-06-28

Results were even better at State Line Boat Ramp Sunday: Continue reading

Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.

[Flyer]
Flyer

Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected. Continue reading

Watching over the Waters: WWALS paddles, songwriting contest –VDT 2020-06-27

Amanda M. Usher, Valdosta Daily Times, 27 June 2020, Watching over the Waters: WWALS sponsors paddles, songwriting contest,

[Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA, Withlacoochee River, June 15, 2019.

VALDOSTA — John Quarterman has been around the Suwannee River Basin since his childhood.

Living on land his [grand-]father purchased near rivers and swamps in 1921, he has always felt attracted to rivers and works to keep them clean.

Quarterman is the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper with WWALS Watershed Coalition. WWALS is an acronym for Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little[, Santa Fe,] and Suwannee.

The coalition was established in June 2012 to eliminate issues with rivers and creeks such as sewage spills, he said. Quarterman became the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper in 201[6].

WWALS Watershed Coalition serves a significant purpose of water quality testing, he said. The City of Valdosta tests waters three times a week from U.S. 41 North to the southern state line, he said.

Through the years, the group has hosted cleanups at the Troupville boat ramp and holds two or three paddles monthly.

[Lakeland cleanup, Alapaha River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Rivers Alive Cleanup, Pafford’s Landing near Lakeland, GA, Alapaha River, October 12, 2019.

“We’re not just a paddling organization,” Quarterman said. “… We do paddles, but we’re also an advocacy organization. We want to do conservation of stewardship.”

Quarterman is about awareness. He strives to bring attention to the rivers’ existence and informing people they can make use of the recreational rivers by boating or fishing.

“Getting people out there on the rivers to see what it is they are trying to conserve and protect is really important because until you see it for yourself, you’re not really appreciating the beauty of these rivers,” he said.

The rest of the article is about the upcoming paddle outings at Banks Lake at 7:30 PM Sunday, July 5, and at Dowling Park River Camp; for that one please be at Dowling Park Boat Ramp a 11:30 AM, Saturday, July 18, with camping gear.

The article concludes with the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at Turner Center Art Park, 605 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA.

Come on down!

Thanks Amanda M. Usher, for Continue reading