Final Deadline: July 21, 2020, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Songwriters, one more week to send in that river song you’ve been humming, by midnight, Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

Follow this link to send in a song for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:
https://forms.gle/mvw1pAvCPyqE9JxV8

“Then it will be time to get this show on the stage by Saturday, August 22, 2020,” said Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “We’re just looking for a few more good songs before we choose finalists.”

You could win this year! Maybe a plaque for best in your genre, or $50 for best song from inside the Suwannee River Basin, or $50 for best song from outside.

Or the $300 First Prize!

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020
PDF

“Maybe you were waiting for the food truck? It’s Rico’s Tacos of Valdosta,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “And don’t forget, our headliner is Dirty Bird and the Flu.”

“Just don’t forget to send in your song by Tuesday the 21st,” said Committee member Laura D’Alisera, who won First Prize the first year, after submitting during the extension period. “Really, we mean it this time! By Tuesday, July 21, 2020.”

The three judges are ready to hear your songs, 7-10 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. Headliners will play, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play. M.C.: Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Thanks to Continue reading

Lifted: Florida Withlacoochee River Bacterial Advisory 2020-07-15

Going by the good downstream Florida results FDEP posted yesterday for Monday, July 13, shortly before Tom Mirti announced those results in the SRWMD Board meeting yesterday, as he predicted, Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, Health Departments today lifted the bacterial advisory they posted last Thursday. Not much rain has fallen lately, so results will probably stay good downstream until the next big rain.

[Florida Withlacoochee River Advisory lifted]
Florida Withlacoochee River Advisory lifted
PDF

So I’ve marked State Line Boat Ramp and the Florida “beaches” green on Swim Guide.

[Green State Line and Florida in Swim Guide]
Green State Line and Florida in Swim Guide

We have good Valdosta Monday results for US 84 and upstream, but nothing downstream yet, so Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps remain red. Since there’s been no significant rain lately, and results are good upstream and downstream, chances are Knights Ferry and Nankin are also good, but we can’t change Swim Guide for them until we get new test results. Continue reading

Langdale Park closed, Withlacoochee River, Valdosta, GA 2020-07-14

With the dogs in the truck, I thought I would let them wet their feet in the Withlacoochee River at Langdale Park Boat Ramp.

[Gate]
Gate

Nope, gate closed.

So I called Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA). They said they’re fixing up the entrance road at Langdale Park, with the assistance of Lowndes County. I agreed that it had needed it; plenty of potholes. They said they expected to reopen some time in August, although everything was delayed due to pandemic. Ain’t that the truth. Continue reading

Withlacoochee River contamination –WCTV 2020-07-13

WCTV covered the recent bad water quality results in the Withlacoochee River.

We have no new Withlacoochee River data from Georgia or Florida.

Update 2020-07-14 11:30 AM: Valdosta has updated with Friday downstream results: Knights Ferry, 270 cfu/100 mL E. coli; Nankin, 250; State Line, 280. FDEP just updated at 10:57 AM with these much better Monday results: GA 31, 10; CR 150, 20; FL 6, 60. So maybe those WWALS Saturday bad results at Knights Ferry and Nankin already washed downstream.

But we do have a datapoint on the Alapaha River.

[Naylor Beach, 2020:01:11 14:06:32, 30.9253083, -83.0384972]
Photo: Tasha Ekman LaFace, of Naylor Beach, 2020:01:11 14:06:32, 30.9253083, -83.0384972

Amber Spradley, WCTV, 13 July 2020, Withlacoochee River contaminated in parts of South Georgia and North Florida,

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV)—The Florida Health Department issued an advisory last Friday for parts of North Florida near the Withlacoochee River regarding alarming rates of E. coli.

“Right now, the results are not good,” Suwannee [Riverkeeper] John [S.] Quarterman said.

For counts of E. coli, Quarterman says anything less than 410 is okay, but zero is always ideal.

On Saturday, his team discovered numbers as high as 5,233 just west of Clyattville at the Knights Ferry Boat Ramp in Lowndes County.

“Every time this happens, they immediately point and say it’s Valdosta,” Quarterman said. “Well, this time it’s almost certainly not Valdosta.”

The high data was collected just below the city from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp to Madison Blue Spring in Florida.

“You know it’s something that we’re continuing to keep an eye on, but as far as the numbers around the city of Valdosta, those have all stayed relatively low,” the City of Valdosta’s PIO Ashlyn Johnson said.

City crews test the river three times a week for 40 river miles down to the Georgia-Florida line. Since Valdosta’s major sewage spill last December, they’ve seen no alarming contamination rates in the area.

Well, they found nothing alarming Friday down to US 84, but we haven’t yet seen Valdosta’s results for the lower three stations on the Withlacoochee River, and they certainly have seen alarming contamination previously.

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

The rest of the article is about the 7.26 million gallon catch basin at the entrance of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Continue reading

Vacant board slots and mining reclamation: SRWMD Board Packet 2020-07-14

Nothing about Nestlé on a pretty routine Suwannee River Water Management District Board Meeting, this morning at 9AM.

There is an offer to donate previously-mined land to the state, near the Alapaha River.

And three board seats are still vacant.

[Alapaha CE (Bearden) Property Offer, Springs Protection]
Alapaha CE (Bearden) Property Offer, Springs Protection
PDF

Packet with agenda: PDF

The Meeting will be conducted via GoTo Webinar for Presentations Only

GoTo Webinar Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/178251034013180939

Separate Call-In Number for Audio
Audio: Toll Free 1-888-585-9008 – Conference Room Number: 704-019-452 #

[Three Vacant Board Slots]
Three Vacant Board Slots

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Headliner: Dirty Bird and the Flu; song deadline today, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Update 2020-07-15: Final Deadline: July 21, 2020, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, July 14, 2020 — Our headliner is Dirty Bird and the Flu, “Funky-blues-soul-fusion born straight out of the South Georgia swamps and a charismatic front-man who catches comparisons of all the famous soul singers, Dirty Bird and the Flu is not your typical fare! Come see us live – no two shows are ever the same!”

[Dirty Bird and the Flu]
Dirty Bird and the Flu

“Songwriters, there’s still time to send in a song by the extended deadline of midnight today, Tuesday, July 14, 2020,” said Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “We have some songs, but we’d like more to choose from.”

Follow this link to send in a song for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, on August 22, 2020:
https://forms.gle/mvw1pAvCPyqE9JxV8

This year you could win a plaque for best in your genre, or $50 for best song from inside the Suwannee River Basin, or $50 for best song from outside. Or the $300 First Prize!

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030
Or $12 at the door. Children under 12 free. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

“Dirty Bird and the Flu look a lot like this finalist from last year, who won Best Funk Song,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Continue reading

Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11

Update 2020-07-14: Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11.

Not looking good downstream on the Withlacoochee River. Madison Health unusually tested on a Friday, and found too-high E. coli results at Florida 6, just above Madison Blue Spring: 414 cfu/100 mL. Saturday, WWALS results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp were horrible: 5,233. Nankin Boat Ramp results were merely too high: 600. State Line Boat Ramp was within acceptable limits Saturday, but that contamination probably washed down that far by Sunday and well into Florida by this morning.

[Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for collecting those downstream Withlacoochee River samples, and to Suzy Hall for providing the results. See also What do these numbers mean?

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Friday Conn got 2,100 on Crooked Creek at Devane Road. Remember, Crooked Creek runs into Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84. That 2,100 is actually lower than many results we’ve seen at that location, and Crooked Creek has much less flow than Okapilco Creek. So that number is not enough to account for the 5,233 downstream of Okapilco Creek on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp the next day. Did it come from somewhere else, such as upstream on Okapilco Creek?

This map may help with understanding where all these places are.

[Landings, Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map]
Landings in Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map

However many places the E. coli came from, there is reason to believe that the most likely sources are cattle.

[Little River, Swim Guide]
Little River, Swim Guide

Meanwhile on Saturday, upstream WWALS testers Conn Cole and John S. Quarterman found good results on the Little River at GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp) and GA 122 (Folsom Bridge Landing), as well as at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River (Hagan Bridge Landing). Friday Conn Cole aso got good results on Okapilco Creek at US 84.

Plus, Valdosta’s Friday results for US 41, GA 133, and US 84 are all good. Valdosta did get a high Fecal coliform result for US 41, but we go by E. coli. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting these Valdosta Friday results published this morning.

Back downstream, you don’t even have to count the blue-with-bubbles colonies to see Continue reading

Reports for WWALS Annual Member Meeting and Board Meeting 2020-07-12

Today at 2PM, WWALS will elect some new board members and new officers, in two meetings, both online, Sunday, July 12, 2020.

The full agendas with reports are online now, so those of you who attend the meetings can follow along.

When: 2PM, Sunday, July 12, 2020

Where: Online: Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89625948199?pwd=aklhZnNnVlRLQ1RnV0ZFTlkxSFM4QT09
ZOOM Meeting ID: 896 2594 8199
Password: Annual
One tap mobile: +19294362866,,89625948199#,,,,0#,,828964#
Dial In: +1 929 436 2866 Meeting ID: 896 2594 8199 Meeting Password: 828964

Event: facebook

WWALS Annual Member Meeting

[WWALS Annual Member Meeting]
WWALS Annual Member Meeting

WWALS Members will hear and approve an annual report, and then elect some board members, at the WWALS Annual Member Meeting, to be held online this year, at 2PM, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Finally, we will select and announce the kayak raffle winner!

Then stay tuned for the board meeting with election of officers, financial report, etc. Continue reading

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!