Tag Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Four paddling Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River, to the Gulf

The paddlers are currently in the Okefenokee Swamp, expecting to stay at Mixon’s Hammock, just downstream from Stephen C. Foster State Park, tomorrow. Thanks to Visit Dixie County for a place to park their shuttle vehicle for when they arrive at the end of their journey. We will continue to provide the paddlers information and assistance as they travel down the Suwannee River.

[Pictures and Map]
Pictures and Map; see also WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.


Team to Paddle 340 Miles across Georgia and Florida’s Three Threatened Waterways

For Immediate Release (Gastonia, NC) — Four friends are embarking on an ambitious expedition to paddle 340 miles from Fort Clinch State Park on the Atlantic Ocean, up the St. Mary’s River, through the incomparable Okefenokee Swamp, and down the Suwannee River to the Gulf of Mexico. Why? For fun…and to help raise awareness for these beautiful and threatened waterways. Trip dates are January 20 — February 16, 2021.

The team consists of Continue reading

Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12

Update 2021-01-21: Clean Withlacoochee 2020-01-14 and Suwannee River tests 2021-01-18.

It’s lifted: the bacterial advisory from Madison and Hamilton Health Departments, because of two successive good sets of results from Madison Health on the Withlacoochee River, the lastest for Tuesday. And Valdosta got good results upstream for Monday. All of which corroborates the Thursday Madison Health, Friday Valdosta, and Saturday WWALS results.

[Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map]
Lifted, Chart, Markers, Map

We also have more DNA marker data from FDEP, for Wednesday, January 6, 2021, which shows continued high ruminant DNA marker results on the Withlacoochee River, this time for Horn Bridge at the State Line, plus CR 150 at Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 just above Madison Blue Spring. Plus some clarifications of what I wrote in the previous blog post.

Before we get into all that, happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River! Continue reading

Contaminated Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee Rivers 2021-01-04; cleaner 2021-01-09

Update 2021-01-14: see clarifications and updates in Withlacoochee advisory lifted; more FDEP DNA marker and chemical tracer data 2021-01-12.

The Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Suwannee Rivers were contaminated with E. coli Monday, January 4, 2021, all the way from US 41 at North Valdosta Road to US 90 below the Withlacoochee River Confluence, and probably farther downstream, according to Valdosta, Madison Health, and FDEP data for that day. We also have preliminary DNA marker results from FDEP.

The culprit? Ruminants. The only ruminants numerous enough to cause the sky-high DNA marker results for the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers? Cattle.

This is a good example of how when testing happens upstream and down, we can all tell what is going on. Florida needs to fund frequent, regular, closely-spaced water quality testing from the state line to the Gulf. Continue reading

Quitman, GA, April 2020 spill cause of contamination in Withlacoochee River? 2020-04-24

The recent Georgia spills are now in the WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality data.

Other than the very large December 2019 Valdosta spill, none of the spills (except one) obviously correlate with high E. coli as tested.

Which one? The April 24, 2020, Quitman spill, which may have been seen four days later at Running Springs on the Suwannee River.

[Withlacoochee, Quitman spill, Running Springs, Suwannee]
Withlacoochee, Quitman spill, Running Springs, Suwannee

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

Video: Waterkeepers Florida toast Earth Day 2020-04-22

The facebook livestream didn’t happen, but here’s YouTube video of yesterday’s Waterkeepers Florida Toast to Earth Day. Most of the fourteen Waterkeepers of Florida spoke.

And you can still pick up trash for Earth Day and post pictures or videos with hashtag #SuwanneeCleanup, as some WWALS members already did.

The Suwannee Riverkeeper segment is at 6:35.

[Intro]
Intro

I was at the Withlacoochee River at State Line Boat Ramp, 6461 Madison Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31601. You can’t see in the video, but only a few minutes before, the place was hopping with activity: a guy on a very loud four-wheeler, people in SUVs with beers, two trailers pulling out boats, the former police chief of Live Oak, Florida, and a group of young people hiking back from down the river. All declined to get on the boat ramp to be in the video. They were mostly staying apart from other groups.

[Caution signs]
Caution signs

We put up these Caution signs because Continue reading

More testing needed to track river pollution –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2020-03-16

Gainesville Sun, 12:01 AM, Monday, March 16, 2020, John S. Quarterman: More testing needed to track river pollution (see also PDF),

Fecal bacterial contamination from Georgia probably reached the Gulf of Mexico about March 3, 2020, according to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[Tifton to the Gulf]
Tifton to the Gulf
In the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

The good news: we know about that, because of much more water quality monitoring being done since I wrote a column about the issue last year for The Sun.

This recent testing was provoked by a spill of 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage into Sugar Creek near Valdosta, Ga., in December. With no rain, the sewage sat there for a week, and then moved down the Withlacoochee River in about three weekly globs, at least once reaching the Suwannee.

This Valentine’s Day, Valdosta exceeded our request, testing not one but Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west. You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee. Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer.


Irwin County, 1885a, GeorgiaInfo, Rand McNally Map of Georgia, 1885

Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Pg 12., quoted in Ray City History Blog, 18 October 2010, More About Troupville, GA and the Withlacoochee River,

THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER.

VALDOSTA, Ga., January 19. -[Special.]- Away up near the northern limit of the great wiregrass section there is a big cypress swamp. They call them bays there. From this bay emerges Continue reading

No five-month extension for Sabal Trail, FERC 2018-01-26

Instead of giving Sabal Trail a five-month extension, FERC should revoke Sabal Trail’s Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, as the U.S. District Court already ordered. Sabal Trail no longer has the customers for 90+% of its gas on which that FERC’s February 2 Order depended, not since Sabal Trail dropped Duke Energy Florida (DEF) from its customer index on New Year’s Day.

Tillerson and Czaputowicz
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz shake hands during a joint press conference after their meeting in Warsaw on January 27, 2018. / AFP / Wojtek RADWANSKI

It’s time to stop the fossil fuel industry using Sabal Trail as a political tool to undermine the overall energy stability and security of the U.S. southeast for the profit of a few companies from Texas and Canada. Just like the U.S. State Department recommends for Europe, FERC should seek to diversify energy supplies by getting on with solar power onshore and wind power offshore in the Sunshine State, Georgia, and everywhere else.

Suwannee FGT M&R Yard KMI JEP, Suwannee County
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS on Southwings flight June 21, 2016, of site of Sabal Trail Suwannee County M&R Station connecting to Florida Gas Transmission (FGT).

What’s that “one additional M&R facility,” Sabal Trail? Is it the one in Suwannee County to feed your fracked gas through Continue reading

Banks Lake Drained 2017-12-28

Every few years Banks Lake gets drained is an effort to stymie unwanted aquatic vegetation.

Way back, From GA 122

About the usual problem species, Georgia Invasive Species Task Force says:

Hydrilla verticillata forms dense mats at the surface of the water. The dense mats can Continue reading