Lowndes County, Georgia, already has much river, lake, and swamp access. More people need to know about that. Plus there is substantial room for improvement, in access and in water quality, health, and safety.
March 1, 2020
To: David Barth
Cc: George Page, Executive Director
Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Rec. Authority
Re: WWALS vision for
Lowndes County waterways
Dear Dr. Barth and Director Page,
Thank you for the invitation to provide suggestions for resource protection and recreational access for the Rivers and other waterways of Lowndes County, including access, water quality, land acquisition, etc. Please see below a list of such suggested improvements.
For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
Health and Safety
|Tamper-proof trash cans and timely pickup at all boat ramps and public landings||People will put trash in a trash can: see Naylor Beach in Naylor Boat Ramp Park.||$250 – $1500/each|
|Fishing line collection containers at all boat ramps and public landings||To encourage fishing, while fish, turtles, other wildlife, and people, don’t get snagged on old fishing line.||~$100/site for supplies, make your own|
|Cameras at selected problem areas, such as Knights Ferry Boat Ramp||They discourage problem activities such as leaving trash and shooting up signs||~$200+/ per site|
|More cleanups at more locations||Removes trash and gets people involved||Mostly volunteer hours, plus trash pickers, safety vests, trash removal, and overhead organizational staff time.|
|Extend the USGS Flood Inundation Mapper (FIM) to the Little River Confluence.||Need to cover Troupville Boat Ramp Park and future Troupville River Park. https://wwals.net/?p=54161||Valdosta and Lowndes County already paid for LiDAR, so FIM for another mile or two would cost little.|
|Publicize TMDLs (mercury, lead, Fecal coliform, etc.) Most people fishing do not know about these.||Important for people to know limits on eating fish, and so they will help fix those problems.||Minimal. Include in other press releases, etc.|
|Fund the USGS Okapilco Creek at GA 333 Gauge north of Quitman in Brooks County.||Its rainfall and water level and flow metrics would assist in determining what is getting into the Withlacoochee River and when, as well as help convince the sources to ameliorate the problem.||
However, USGS provides $900 towards each of the Skipper Bridge (Withlacoochee River) and Folsom Bridge (LittlRWMD provides $5,900 towards Skipper Bridge, so perhaps they or Brooks County could assist. https://wwals.net/?p=50447 http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=21402
|Timely publish the results of Lowndes County’s Stream Monitoring program.||That program tests areas nobody else does, such as Franks Creek, location of the Hahira LAS.||Minimal, since the county presumably gets the data in electronic form from its contractor Lovell Engineering Assoc. http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=21727|
|Timely publish Valdosta’s chemical tracer and DNA marker water quality test results.||Would help localize sources by type (cattle, horse, pig, human, other).||Minimal, since Valdosta already has the data, which could be added to Valdosta’s online publishing of their bacterial test results. https://preview.tinyurl.com/ya7ksaur|
|Fund more bacterial water quality testing.||To cover gaps such as Sugar Creek, One Mile Branch, Two Mile Branch, and Three Mile Branch See for context: https://wwals.net/?p=53260||
~$100/site* times 10 to 50 sites
*based on SGRC costs, could be significantly reduced with volunteers; WWALS spends about $10/site/test.
The SGRC Regional Water Quality Assessment Project will gather preliminary numbers for areas that have old or no data, all to be uploaded to the AAS website, but there is more to do.
|Fund and implement water quality testing for chemical tracers and DNA markers.||Need to test after each big rain to help narrow down the possible sources.||
$5,000 = $125/test (Jonah Ventures) * 4 sites * at least 10/year.
That’s DNA tests. Chemical markers $? See: https://wwals.net/?p=53340
|Assist the SGRC 319 grant proposal to GA-EPD about agricultural river contamination of Okapilco Creek.||Affects the Withlacoochee River in south Lowndes County downstream from Okapilco Creek. Many people fish as Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps.||SGRC would be seeking significant in-kind (volunteer) hours for this (WQ testing, landing and paddle clean-up events, etc.) Perhaps people who fish could help.|
|GIS water quality mapping of test stations, rainfall, NPDES and other wastewater permits, stormwater permits, and sewage spills.||Ongoing sporadic river contamination events have been revealed by the wealth of water quality data from WWALS, Valdosta, FDEP, Lowndes County, Quitman, and other sources.||Mostly staff time to automate and augment the WWALS composite spreadsheet with more data, plus analysis time, to find more sources and work on getting them fixed, as well as to alert the public when and where. SGRC is already working on GIS layers for septic tanks and animal agriculture production facilities.|
|Water well testing.||TMDLs, fecal bacteria, arsenic, PFOAs, etc.||Ranging from small to quite significant.|
|Fish contamination testing.||TMDLs, fecal bacteria, PFOAs….||Unknown.|
|Troupville River Park on GA 133 across from Val Tech Road, in the historic site of Troupville, former Lowndes County seat, on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers down to Little River Confluence. https://wwals.net/?p=53453||Purchase the 74.14 acres of Land Between the Rivers to add to 49.36 acre VLPRA park, to create 123-acre nature preserve and multi-use destination park. Outdoor classes on botany, forestry, geology, archaeology, art. Can be implemented in phases.||$123,000 to purchase the land, up to $1.5 million total capex, with GORA as likely grant source, leaving around $150,000 cash match. Plus up to $450,000 annual opex, with reductions possible from in-kind implementation and volunteer maintenance, and could be partly offset by park entrance fee. See also WLRWT.|
|Troupville River Camp, part of Troupville River Park, on both the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers. https://wwals.net/?p=51512||Encourage paddle access and overnight camping, thus promoting eco-tourism. Improve water quality with bathrooms.||Up to $600,000 for the River Camp facilities: air conditioned bathrooms, hot and cold water, 5 screened sleeping platforms, picnic tables, benches, fire pits, paddle boat racks and river access. Opex could be mostly handled by a live-in (six month term) camp host in an RV, and volunteer assistance. See also WLRWT.|
|Little River Road Landing on the Little River.||Public access to the Little River on Lowndes County’s acre on Little River Road would break up the 25-mile paddle from Folsom Bridge to Troupville Boat Ramp, thus encouraging more paddlers.||
Road grading, slight improvements to river access (no boat ramp needed) trash can, fishing line container, trash pickup.
Or put in a boat ramp, from $2,000 (Berrien County model) to $250,000 (GA-DNR model). See WLRWT.
|Fix Folsom Bridge Landing access road off GA 122 to the Little River. A popular fishing spot.||Many potholes. Fixing them would encourage paddling downstream 17 miles to Little River Road Landing, or the 25 miles to Troupville Boat Ramp.||Probably a few thousand dollars of road grading plus perhaps some fill dirt. See WLRWT. Add fishing line collection containers and tamper-proof trash cans.|
|Fix Hagan Bridge Landing access road off GA 122 to the Withlacoochee River. This is a popular fishing spot.||In better shape than Folsom Bridge Landing, but room for improvement. Encourage paddling the quite interesting 5 river miles downstream to Franklinville Landing.||Probably a few thousand dollars of road grading plus perhaps some fill dirt. See WLRWT. Add fishing line collection containers and tamper-proof trash cans.|
|Improve parking and access at Franklinville Landing on the Withlacoochee River. Tyler Bridge is popular for fishing.||Encourage paddling from Hagan Bridge and 5.5 mi. downstream to Staten Road or 5.5 more to Langdale Park Boat Ramp.||Probably a few thousand dollars of road grading plus perhaps some fill dirt. Maybe a bit of riverside access improvement. See WLRWT. Add fishing line collection containers and tamper-proof trash cans.|
|Provide access at Staten Road Landing on the Withlacoochee River. Old access is on private land and posted now.||Encourage paddling from Franklinville Landing, or farther downstream 5.5 river miles to Langdale Park Boat Ramp.||Need stairs or ramp or something at very steep riverbank under southmost bridge, plus posted and graded road right of way access to the river. See WLRWT.|
|At-water signs, Staten Road Landing, with maps of entire water trail and etiquette, safety, checklist, etc.||So people can know what to expect upstream and down, with example pictures.||$65 per set. WWALS already printed and is planting at-water signs for most other access points on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail using a GA-DNR grant. See WLRWT and At-Water Signs.|
|Improve access to Shadrick Sink from the Withlacoochee River and by land in Lowndes County’s 96.61 acres at 3526 River Chase Drive. Could be a good fishing location.||Teaching opportunity about sinkholes transferring surface water for miles underground, at least as far as Valdosta’s water wells on Guest Road. Only 1.5 miles upstream from Langdale Park Boat Ramp.||A paddle boat ramp at the river, in the $2,000 Berrien County model, plus some dirt road grading and fill dirt. Also some at-water signs and road signs. See WLRWT and At-Water Signs and Road Signs. Add fishing line collection containers and tamper-proof trash cans.|
|Clear sandbar and deadfalls at Langdale Park Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.||Encourage paddling from Franklinville and Staten Road Landings or 3.1 mi. to Sugar Creek Landing; 6.8 to Troupville.||Mostly volunteer time. See WLRWT. Add fishing line collection containers.|
|Sugar Creek Landing at Gornto Road on the Withlacoochee River, next to the YMCA.||Convenient short paddle downstream from Langdale Park Boat Ramp, and onwards 4 miles to Troupville Boat Ramp.||Lowndes County already owns a strip of land from Gornto Road to the river. Needs boundaries posted, and improvements to riverside and access across a thousand feet of cypress knees. See WLRWT and At-Water Signs.|
|At-water signs, Sugar Creek Landing, with maps of entire water trail and etiquette, safety, checklist, etc.||So people can know what to expect upstream and down, with example pictures.||$65 per set. WWALS already printed and is planting at-water signs for most other access points on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail using a GA-DNR grant. See WLRWT and At-Water Signs.|
|Spook Bridge Landing at Old Quitman Highway on the Withlacoochee River. Downstream 8.24 miles down to Knights Ferry Boat Ramp.||Good distance 11.3 river miles from Troupville Boat Ramp, greatly preferable to highway abutment access at US 84.||Land purchase or easement from Langdale Company, significant entrance road and river access improvements, plus trash can, trash pickup. Add fishing line collection containers and tamper-proof trash cans.|
|At-water signs, Spook Bridge Landing, with maps of entire water trail and etiquette, safety, checklist, etc.||So people can know what to expect upstream and down, with example pictures.||$65 per set. WWALS already printed and is planting at-water signs for most other access points on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail using a GA-DNR grant. See WLRWT and At-Water Signs.|
|Clear Grand Bay Canoe trails in Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area.||They’re not practical to paddle now. If they were, more people would paddle.||Probably volunteer hours with clippers and chainsaws. See ARWT.|
|At-water signs, Grand Bay Boat Ramps (both of them), with maps and description of entire water trail plus etiquette, safety, checklist, etc.||So people can know what to expect upstream and down, with example pictures.||$65 per set. WWALS already printed and is planting at-water signs for most other access points on the Alapaha River Water Trail using a GA-DNR grant. See ARWT and At-Water Signs.|
|Water Trail road signs, pointing to turnoffs to reach the water access. Different from WWALS at-water signs.||So people know river and swamp access is available. See Staten Road, Sugar Creek, and Spook Bridge Landings, and Grand Bay.||Lowndes County Public Works already planted road signs at Knights Ferry (stolen), Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. Need to finish road signs for public landings. See WLRWT and Road Signs.|
WLRWT: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail https://wwals.net/maps/withlacoochee-river-water-trail/ See also Figure 1 and Figure 1.1.
Road Signs: WWALS already paid for and planted ARWT road signs. https://wwals.net/?p=42782 WWALS purchased WLRWT road signs for upstream locations from GDOT with GA-DNR grant money. https://wwals.net/?p=54281
Figure 1: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail in Lowndes County.
Lowndes County’s Little River Road acre is highlighted.
Spook Bridge is just south of US 84 Landing. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1n4Q4zSxir_T8o4kdkOCRxeCeOrA&ll=30.79523696530492%2C-83.27210285173685&z=11
Figure 1.1: Shadrick Sink, Langdale Park Boat Ramp, Troupville Boat Ramp, in WLRWT map.
Figure 1.2: Top at-water sign for Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
Figure 1.3: Bottom at-water sign for Langdale Park Boat Ramp on Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
Figure 2: Alapaha River Water Trail in Lowndes County.
Naylor Boat Ramp is highlighted: the only public access to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County. https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1xo8NYUn9oGVnelSxq0W3WR99Jyw&ll=30.82475983541852%2C-83.23119507631178&z=11
Figure 2.1: Top at-water sign for Alapaha River Water Trail.
Figure 2.2: Bottom at-water sign for Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River Water Trail.
Figure 3: All Landings, Lowndes County.
See WLRWT, ARWT.
Naylor Boat Ramp is highlighted: the only public access to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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