Source of the Little River 2020-02-27

The source of the Little River (of the Withlacoochee) is in those trees.

[From Warwick Hwy @ CR 16, 31.749923, -83.767258]
From Warwick Hwy @ CR 16, 31.7499230, -83.7672580

I took this picture from Warwick Highway (CR 249) where CR 16 (Charlie Lamb Road) joins it, in Turner County, Georgia. Perhaps another time I will have time to Continue reading

Repurpose toll road funds for virus relief

Here’s an idea from WWALS member Janet Mikulski Messcher.

To: Governor Ron DeSantis
GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com
800-342-3557

Dear Governor DeSantis,

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please seek ways to shift funding from unnecessary and destructive projects to those that support our current public and community health needs. In particular, the M-CORES legislation, passed in the 2019 session, includes money for the task force process and for construction of three destructive tollroads. There is significant public opposition to these roads which have not been proven to be necessary nor economically viable. Attention should be focused on supporting our public health, including additional testing and research to support development of a vaccine.

If the Legislature returns to Tallahassee for a special session to address the budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that the House and Senate budget leaders consider diverting the $135 million (FY 2019/20 and FY 2020/21) earmarked from the M-CORES tollroads to go to pandemic response efforts and other community health priorities.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Please share this post and send in your letters. Feel free to copy your M-CORES Task Force members.

Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.
Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.

Here are more videos from the Madison County meeting of February 11, 2020, continuing the series that I started yesterday. I do not know whether these speakers support repurposing the funds as above, but Florida Conservation Voters was among the 90 organizations that asked Gov. DeSantis to veto the toll roads bill, as part of the No Toll Roads to Ruin coalition.

Lindsay Cross of Florida Conservation Voters asked the M-CORES Task Force to consider community vision instead of the toll road vision foisted on all of us by a few people in Tallahassee.

The Mayor of Monticello, Troy Avera, had been trying to sit on the fence, but he really doesn’t like a bypass, which would starve his city.

Video: Drift in your song, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

You can send in your song by the deadline of July 8, 2020, for the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Norene Olsen singing Driftin Down the Suwannee at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.
Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Norene Olsen singing Driftin Down the Suwannee
at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Any genre of music is fine. Any lineup of musicians is good, from full bands to single musicians, to a capella, to even spoken word if you’re really brave.

See the 2020 Official Rules.

And here’s the 2020 Entry Form.

[Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Yes, we do have a plan in case stay-at-home for the novel coronavirus pandemic is not over by August. We will take the contest virtual, with finalists playing from their places, judges judging from home, and you watching it all from where you are! But so far we’re planning on being all in one place.

Here’s a video from last year: Continue reading

No Build: Speakers at M-CORES toll road meeting, Madison, FL 2020-02-11

Update 2019-04-03: More speakers, and ask the governor to repurpose toll road money to virus relief.

Many people traveled hours to speak for three minutes in Madison County, Florida, against the toll road boondoggle, on February 11, 2020. I videoed them for WWALS. Here are the first few speakers.

I will add more in coming days, to encourage you all to tell your elected and appointed officials we don’t want resources wasted, farms torn apart, and our rivers and springs polluted by these unnecessary toll roads.

Naylor Boat Ramp & Alapaha River Water Trail signs 2020-04-02

Update 2020-04-04: Improved maps on both signs and better text on Naylor Boat Ramp sign.

The WWALS Trails Committee has drafted these two metal signs to go near the water at the new Naylor Boat Ramp that Lowndes County has built at US 84 with SPLOST VI penny sales tax funds. You can help by commenting on these designs, or by contributing to the cost of the signs.

[Naylor Boat Ramp]
Naylor Boat Ramp
PDF

What do you think should be added, deleted, or edited on the sign above, about this particular boat ramp? Yes, we know the type looks squinchy. That’s because the metal signs will be printed about twice this size.

What do you think of the sign below, about the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)? Continue reading

Request EPA to ask Florida for comment on Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554 2020-03-30

WWALS requests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “EPA regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 to determine that the mining activities of the subject Application may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida and to notify the state of Florida, the district engineer, and the applicant that Florida ‘has 60 days from receipt of EPA’s notice to determine if the proposed discharge will affect the quality of its waters so as to violate any water quality requirement in such state, to notify EPA and the district engineer in writing of its objection to permit issuance, and to request a public hearing.’

[2020-03-30--WWALS-EPA-TPM-FDEP-comment-hearing-0001]
2020-03-30–WWALS-EPA-TPM-FDEP-comment-hearing-0001

We quoted from the Rule the Army Corps says it is using in its comment period for the re-application by an Alabama company to strip mine for titanium near the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and interchanges water with the Floridan Aquifer, all of which affects Florida.

You can also send a letter like this to the EPA, asking for comment from the state of Florida and a public hearing in Florida.

Or you can send a comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting a 120-day extension of their ridiculously brief comment deadline of April 14, 2020, and public hearings, like WWALS did.

Why not both?

WWALS Letter to EPA

Continue reading

Zero E. coli at Nankin and State Line, Withlacoochee River 2020-03-29

A clean river is what we like to see, and the most recent bacterial tests show the Withlacoochee River clean. You can help us keep determining when it is clean.

[Downstream]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Nankin Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, Downstream, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

We haven’t seen this in more than three months: zero (0) cfu/100 mL E. coli at multiple landings on the Withlacoochee River:

[Zero E. coli, Nankin, State Line]
Zero E. coli, Nankin, State Line
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida data, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Madison Florida Health Department get zero at CR 150 (near Sullivan Launch) last Thursday, and only Continue reading

Song submissions open April First (no fooling!): Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Update 2020-04-01: Here is the entry form.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see also PDF)

Song submissions open April First (no fooling!): Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Hahira, Georgia, March 30, 2020 — Bigger and with a new venue, the Turner Center for the Arts, the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest seeks songs. Submissions open Wednesday, April 1, 2020, yes, no fooling!

[Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

“Georgia Beer Co. is back as our top-tier sponsor, which helps us get these new songs about our rivers, swamps, springs, and sinks,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Finalists will play at the Contest, 6-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, judges will judge, at the Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N Patterson St, Valdosta, Georgia, 31601. There will be food and a cash bar, as you watch and listen, and you can browse the artworks at the Turner Center. There will also be a kayak raffle and a silent auction, as well as a range of buttons, stickers, hats, notecards, signs, shirts, and posters for sale: this is a fundraiser for WWALS Watershed Coalition.

Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Kyle Chamberlain and David Rodock playing Alapaha Laphogs at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.
Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Kyle Chamberlain and David Rodock playing Alapaha Laphogs
at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

“I heard so many good things about last year’s Contest when I was in Newfoundland, that this year I’m the organizing committee chair. I’m thrilled at how well it’s all coming together,” said Tom H. Johnson, Jr.

So you’ll know what you’re supporting, there will be talks about WWALS advocacy, from water quality testing to opposing pipelines and mines and plastic water bottles, to promoting water trails and a Troupville River Camp.

“It’s a fun time for a worthy cause!” said 2018 winner and 2019 headliner Laura D’Alisera, scribe for the organizing committee.

Submissions can be songs about any Continue reading

WWALS online store: cards, hats, stickers, raffle, membership

Can’t get your WWALS stickers, hats, or cards at a festival booth? No problem! WWALS has a new online store where you can get all sorts of things that look good and support our stewardship and advocacy: https://wwalswatershed.square.site/

[Storefront]
Storefront

Click on the green “Shop now” button to see the items.

Click on any item to order. Then use the cart to review, and pay like in most online stores. We will ship your order to you.

For example, the WWALS notecards are perfect for sending paper messages to all those friends and relatives you can’t visit right now. Each package of note cards has eight beautiful note cards, on high quality paper, each with an envelope.

Note Cards: Swamps and Springs
Note Cards: Swamps and Springs

In addition to the Swamps and Springs shown above, there are packages with themes of Withlacoochee and Little Rivers, Alapaha River, and Suwannee River.

[Note Cards]
Note Cards

Explaining the note cards, here is WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman at the virtual WWALS booth in the woods: Continue reading

Soon at last: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020

Update 2020-03-30: Song submissions open April First (no fooling!): Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Stay tuned for a press release about the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest! Song submissions will open April 1, 2020 (no fooling!), for the Contest, in which Finalists will play for the Judges and You, Saturday, August 22, 2020.

From last year, here’s headliner Laura D’Alisera finishing up her set.

Gone at Last --Laura D'Alisera and Patrick
Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.,
of Laura D’Alisera and Patrick playing Gone at Last, by Paul Simon,
in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019.

Laura won the first Contest in 2018, and came back to Continue reading