Tag Archives: Gus Cleary

Clean again: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-15

Boring can be good, if it’s a clean Withlacoochee River, especially for the fourth week in a row.

And clean is the news from Valdosta for upstream Wednesday, from WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps Thursday, from Madison Health for State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6, also for Thursday, and from WWALS tester Gus Cleary for Cleary Bluff, between Allen Ramp and the Suwannee River, again for Thursday.

[Clean chart, plates, steps, Swim Guide]
Clean chart, plates, steps, Swim Guide

Very little rain fell by Thursday, or today, on the Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, or Suwannee Rivers. Which with these test results mean clean as near as we can tell.

So happy boating, swimming, and fishing! Continue reading

Clean week, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-08

Update 2021-04-16: Clean again: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-15.

No spills, little rain, clean rivers!

[Chart, clean plates, fruit, Swim Guide]
Chart, clean plates, fruit, Swim Guide

Samples by WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps came out about as clean as you can get, and actually zero at State Line. Also zero at Cleary Bluff downstream of Allen Ramp by Gus Cleary.

And there was little rain yesterday, and none so far today.

So happy boating, fishing, and swimming this weekend!

But what is this fruit? Continue reading

Little Rain, Still Clean, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-01

Update 2021-04-10: Clean week, Withlacoochee River 2021-04-08.

The rain came gently Wednesday, and the Withlacoochee River was still clean Thursday, April 1, 2021, no joke.

[Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide]
Clean results, Withlacoochee River down and up, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for testing Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps, and to Gus Cleary for testing at Cleary Bluff below Allen Ramp. All came out zero or within one E. coli colony of zero. Can’t ask for much better than that.

We have no new results from Madison Health since Thursday a week ago, and nothing new from Valdosta since Monday.

So according to the data we have, all from WWALS, happy boating, swimming, and fishing in the Withlacoochee River this weekend, at least if you don’t mind a bit of chill! Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River 2021-03-25

Update 2021-03-29: Still clean last week, filthy Friday before, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-26.

Clean everywhere, according to five WWALS testers who sampled spots on 80 Withlacoochee River miles Thursday, plus two on the Little River and one on the Alapaha River.

The latest we have from Madison Health is for Tuesday, and from Valdosta is for Friday a week ago, but those were clean, too. There’s been little to no recent rain, so probably nothing bad has washed into the rivers.

Good news for this morning’s paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge that Scott James calls the Mayor’s Paddle.

Laissez les bon bateaux rouler! Continue reading

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-11

Update 2021-03-19: Clean week despite rain, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-18.

A rare simple all clear for Withlacoochee River water quality: all good for boating, swimming, and fishing.

[Clean, good, go]
Clean, good, go

We seldom see test plates this clean. Gus Cleary got zero (0) E. coli colonies on any of his three test plates for Thursday, March 11, 2021. They don’t look much different from his control plate. Most importantly: no blue colonies with bubbles. That’s at his place downstream of Allen Landing.

[Clean plates]
Clean plates

Also for Thursday, Madison Health also got very clean results at State Line, Sullivan Launch, and Florida 6.

Upstream, the most recent we have from Valdosta is for Monday, but that was all clear at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Since there has been no rain all week, probably the Withlacoochee River remains clean. Continue reading

Tifton, Ashburn spills, bad downstream 2021-03-03

Update 2021-03-13: All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-11.

Tifton and Ashburn, Georgia spilled raw sewage, March 3, 2021, both from places that had spilled before. For once we may have actually seen some of that in downstream water quality results. But they could not have caused the extremely high test result at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp that same day, nor the bad results into Florida the next day: those were most likely the usual cattle manure.

[Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality]
Ashburn, Tifton spills and water quality

The high Fecal coliform at US 41 and GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River that same Wednesday could have been from the Tifton spill on the New River upstream, and the high E. coli at GA 133, all in Valdosta’s thrice-weekly testing. It’s about 64 river miles from 2406 N. Ridge Ave. to US 41, and about 70 miles to GA 133, but with the rivers high and fast, it’s conceivable a spill that started in the early morning (or the previous evening) could have moved downstream that fast.

Or with rains over an inch closer upstream on the Withlacoochee River, something else may have washed into the river. Or both.

The only way to be sure would be DNA tests. Valdosta is supposed to be doing those as part of the Consent Order. We are looking forward to seeing results. Continue reading

Very clean Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-25

Update 2021-03-05: More contamination after big rains, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-04.

The Bachrachs got something we haven’t seen for a long while on the Withlacoochee River: zero E. coli in their water samples at Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps, for Thursday, February 25, 2021. Madison Health got almost as low numbers for the same day at State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6. Madison Health got almost as low numbers for Tuesday, and new WWALS testers Gus Cleary got even lower at NE Withla Bluffs Way downstream from Allen Ramp.

[Clean chart, clean plates, State Line, Nankin, Swim Guide]
Clean chart, clean plates, State Line, Nankin, Swim Guide
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results, rainfall, and spills, see:

Valdosta got clean upstream for last Monday and Friday a week ago, and Michael and Jacob Bachrach and Gus got clean downstream for that Friday.

So this has been a clean week, the cleanest we’ve seen in a long while. Apparently all that rainwater has finally diluted and washed downstream any previous contamination.

Happy boating, fishing, and swimming!

But beware: with the rivers in flood stage, if you’re not an expert, avoid them still. Even if you are an expert, wear your PFD and don’t go alone. Continue reading

Clean downstream Friday Withlacoochee River 2021-02-19

Update 2021-02-26: Very clean Thursday, Withlacoochee River 2021-02-25.

Good news downstream on the Withlacoochee River!

Madison Health reported good downstream numbers for Thursday, February 18, 2021, despite more than an inch of rain at every gauge we follow. WWALS testers confirmed that for Friday, with good results from Nankin Boat Ramp to below Allen Ramp. It looks like rainwater from upstream is finally diluting and washing down the contamination downstream rain put into the river.

[Good downstream, shoals now underwater, Swim Guide red and green]
Good downstream, shoals now underwater, Swim Guide red and green

We also see no obvious signs of contamination from the last Sunday and Monday Tifton sewage spills, which is not unexpected since they were so far upstream. We don’t know what effect the one upstream of the Little River might have had on Reed Bingham State Park, because we have no volunteers to test that stretch.

The weather is looking good for the Mayor’s Paddle from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge on Saturday, February 27, 2021. It didn’t rain yesterday, and the only rain predicted for the next week is for Monday. So risks of contamination are low. However, the rivers are very high, still expected to be ten feet higher than we’ve ever paddled that stretch before. That’s not necessarily a problem for paddling, because it’s a long wide stretch with no real risks of getting lost in the floodplain, no deadfalls, and few overhanging branches. However, we will have to check to see if we can even get in by land at Spook Bridge and the midpoint, not to mention at Troupville Boat Ramp. The US 84 gauge prediction is 107 feet NAVD 88 for Thursday, which is about 27 feet higher than when we rescheduled Thursday three weeks ago. We will go look and let you all know. Continue reading