Tag Archives: Alapaha River

WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01

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.

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

March 1, 2020

To: David Barth
Barth Associates
david@barthassoc.com

Cc: George Page, Executive Director
Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Rec. Authority
gpage@vlpra.com

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
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
/s
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

Health and Safety

Continue reading

Capitol Conservation Day 2021-03-03

No need to trek to Atlanta this year to show Georgia state legislators that many people and organizations throughout the state care about water. Capitol Conservation Day is online, this Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

When: 12-1:30 PM, Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Where: Online: register here
https://nwf-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAodumqpzgsHtNgHr3nLG6rX7m4gw_7fY_f

Event: facebook
Don’t forget to register, then you can click Going on the facebook event to encourage others.

What: Experts from the Georgia Water Coalition will brief you on important legislative issues. Then you will put your new skills and information to work! Following the event, meet with your local legislators virtually to advocate in support of important legislation.

[2019 and 2020]
2019 and 2020

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

WWALS water trail signs on WALB TV about river levels 2021-02-18

Update 2021-02-21: Water levels discussed in Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19.

Hat tip to Suzy Hall for spotting the WWALS water trail signs at Troupville Boat Ramp on TV yesterday.

[Left: Troupville Boat Ramp; Right: YMCA, Statenville Boat Ramp]
Left: Troupville Boat Ramp; Right: YMCA, Statenville Boat Ramp

Yes, that’s the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) sign at Troupville Boat Ramp. Jennifer Morejon, WALB TV, February 18, 2021, Heavy rain causing river level concerns for South Georgia.

Water levels and rainfall are indeed a concern, especially as they affect water quality. See for example this week’s Tifton Sewage Spills 2021-02-16. Continue reading

Redesignating waterways as Recreational –GA-EPD Triennial Review Meeting 2021-02-02

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is being quite thorough about the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards that is required by federal law. However, several problems were revealed at their online meeting on February 2, 2021. Some of the GA-EPD slides are inline below, and the rest are on the WWALS website:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2021-02-02–ga-epd-triennial-review

[Second-class Recreational, maps, wastewater]
Second-class Recreational, maps, wastewater

They want to create a second class of Recreational designation for boating, with more lax restrictions on contamination and only seasonal application; several waterbodies we requested are missing; and they want to declare that 20 river miles downstream from a wastewater permit cannot be Recreational.

Second-class Recreational designation

Here is the slide defining second-class Recreational for boating: Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18

Update 2021-01-26: Bad Friday after rain, Better Sunday, Withlacoochee River 2021-01-24.

Thanks to WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach, we know the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp was finally low enough to test, and tested good. Ditto Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, all from Thursday a week ago. This corroborated what Madison Health found at the state line and downstream that same day.

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide]
Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line, chart, Gibson Park, Swim Guide

Meanwhile, this Monday, Suzy Hall tested Gibson Park Ramp on the Suwannee River, and found it good. The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for upstream Wednesday aweek ago, but those were good for US 41, GA 133, and US 84. I did ask Valdosta yesterday for an update, but so far nothing.

There’s been no significant rain since last week. So, as far as we know, good to go, for boating, swimming, and fishing, in the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers.

The Swim Guide map of WWALS “beaches” now includes Gibson Park Ramp, which, even though it is on the Suwannee River, is the last downstream stop on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

The Langdale Park and US 84 “beaches” show up yellow for historically mixed results, because those most recent Valdosta tests at US 41 and US 84 (and GA 31) are now more than a week old. Continue reading

Training: Water Quality Testing, All, mostly online, 2021-02-13

Update 2021-02-18: Pictures.

Chemical and Bacteriological water testing training for Georgia Adopt-A-Stream standards by our local trainers.

If you’d like to get trained and do testing for WWALS, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7

Yes, training is difficult in this pandemic situation, but Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online. With last year’s generous grant from Georgia Power WWALS has purchased enough testing kits so that trainees can have one to use during the training.

[Kit]
Kit

In the form, remember to say where you can test. We need testers pretty much everywhere: Continue reading

Much better Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-01-09

Update 2021-01-12: Contaminated Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers 2021-01-04; cleaner 2021-01-09.

Friday results by Madison Health and Saturday results by WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach show much improved Withlacoochee River Water Quality, from Nankin Boat Ramp through State Line Boat Ramp and Sullivan Launch down to FL 6.

Madison and Hamilton County Health Departments will probably wait until they get another good result of their own, probably for today or tomorrow, before they lift their health advisory.

However, WWALS already sees two good results in a row, so happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River!

We have no new Alapaha River results since the clean WWALS result for Sasser Landing Wednesday, but since there’s been no significant rain since then, the Alapaha is also probably clean for swimming, fishing, and boating.

[Ramps, Plates, Chart, Map]
Ramps, Plates, Chart, Map

We have no new results from Valdosta since Monday a week ago, when all of three upstream locations were still bad. Chances are those locations have also cleared up, but we don’t know. Continue reading

Bad Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07

Update 2021-01-11: Much better Withlacoochee River water quality 2021-01-09.

The latest Withlacoochee River results still show mostly bad water quality, surprisingly good at the State Line on Wednesday, but bad downstream. The Madison and Hamilton County Health advisory for the Withlacoochee River is still in place.

However, Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River tested OK for Wednesday.

[Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha]
Bad Withlacoochee, good Alapaha

The Madison Health Wednesday tests were not as horrible as for Tuesday, but they still got too high at Sullivan Launch (CR 150) and FL 6. Some of that could be from the Quitman or Tifton sewage spills, but probably most of it is from Continue reading

Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05

Update 2021-01-08: Bad Withlacoochee, OK Alapaha 2021-01-07.

Now with Madison and Hamilton Health advisory.

Monday Valdosta upstream water quality results are bad, and Tuesday Madison Health downstream results are worse. If I were you I would not swim, fish, or boat the Withlacoochee River until better results come in. Plus we have reports that Running Spring on the Suwannee River is brown like it usually is after contamination comes down the Withlacoochee River.

[Bad water quality, bad map on Swim Guide, Withlacoochee River]
Bad water quality, bad map on Swim Guide, Withlacoochee River

Madison and Hamilton Health have issued a joint health advisory.

[Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River]
Health Advisory, Withlacoochee River
PDF

It’s not clear how much of this is due to Tifton’s three weekend sewage spills into the New River and how much is from cattle, pig, and horse manure runoff. Probably mostly the latter. We have ordered some new DNA test kits, but they’re not here yet.

The slightly good news about this sitution is that before the GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report and all the new testing by Valdosta, Madison Health, WWALS, and others, this kind of thing may have been going on after every big rain for years, and nobody knew. Also, as Valdosta was quick to point out, at least their Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant did not spill. Maybe the new catch basin helped.

However, it seems like Valdosta could at least fix the potholes in the middle of Mildred Street, where the Saturday spill apparently was. Continue reading

Sewage Spills: Quitman, Valdosta, Tifton 2021-01-03

Update 2021-01-06: Bad up and down: Withlacoochee River 2021-01-05.

Tifton spilled raw sewage three times over the weekend, all into the New River, upstream of the Withlacoochee River. As already reported, Valdosta spilled into Knights Creek, which goes into Mud Swamp Creek, the Alapahoochee River, and the Alapaha River just above Sasser Landing. We have no water quality data downstream of any of those spills.

Plus Quitman finally reported a spill from more than a week ago, but downstream water quality on the Withlacoochee River the next day was actually better than the day before.

However, the big rains in between drove plenty of contamination, probably mostly cow, pig, and horse manure, into the Withlacoochee, with even Madison Health showing too-high E. coli at State Line for December 29, 2020.

The even bigger rains this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday probably have done the same.

So I’d recommend avoiding not just the Withlacoochee River, but also the Alapaha River for a few days, until better test results come in.

[Spills and little data]
Spills and little data

The one recent datapoint we have is WWALS tester Tasha Ekman LaFace’s record-high for that location 1,333 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Naylor Park Beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84. But that can’t be from the Valdosta sewage spill, since Naylor Beach is way upstream of the Alapahoochee River Confluence with the Alapaha River. However, Naylor Beach is not a long way downstream from Lakeland, so it will be interesting if we hear about any spills from there. Continue reading