Lowndes County takes over Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River Gauges with help from SRWMD 2019-10-21

Funding is shifting from Valdosta to Lowndes County for the Skipper Bridge Road Withlacoochee River gauge, adding to the county’s traditional since 2009 funding of the Folsom Bridge GA 122 Little River gauge. That’s $8,300 and $14,200, respectively, with another $5,900 for the Skipper Bridge Gauge from the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) puts in $900 towards each gauge, or $1800 total. SRWMD and USGS previously assisted Valdosta in funding the Skipper Bridge Road gauge.

Skipper Bridge Road Withlacoochee River Gauge NWS graph

This change will be discussed this morning at 8:30 AM and voted on at 5:30 PM Tuesday, October 22, 2019, by the Lowndes County Commission. The reason for this change is: Continue reading

Four Freedoms Trail, Withlacoochee River, Madison County, Florida 2019-10-17

Here’s the Withlacoochee River from the only public access near State Line Shoals: the Madison County, Florida, Four Freedoms Trail. It’s on the former right of way of the Valdosta Railway, formerly Valdosta Southern Railway (VSO), formerly Georgia and Florida Railroad, built in the late 19th century as Florida Midland and Georgia Railroad. The same Valdosta Railway is still in use from Valdosta to Clyattville, Lowndes County, Georgia.

[RR Trestle, 2019:10:17 15:59:24, 30.6294432, -83.3186451]
RR Trestle, 2019:10:17 15:59:24, 30.6294432, -83.3186451

You can paddle down the river to the Four Freedoms Trail from Nankin Boat Ramp, about six miles, past McIntyre Spring.

Or upstream about four miles from State Line Ramp, although that could be challenging right now with the Withlacoochee River this low.

All these points are on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Continue reading

Agenda: WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2019-10-20

Here’s the agenda for today’s WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting.

See also PDF.

If you’re going to dial in, the meeting will make a lot more sense with this agenda in front of you. If you’re coming to the physical meeting, there will be paper copies available.

Agenda

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

2:00-4:00 PM, Sunday, 20 October 2019

South Georgia Regional Library, 2906 Julia Dr, Valdosta, GA 31602

Dial-in Number: (712) 770-5505

Meeting ID: 855-676

http://wwals.net/?p=48840

https://www.facebook.com/events/2157102204370851/

Addition of Santa Fe River subbasin, WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race, Budget, water quality monitoring, water trails, BIG Little River Paddle Race, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Alapaha Quest, outings, festivals, projects and programs, pipelines, LNG export, titanium mines, phosphate mines, Bill of Rights for Nature, and more.

Invited to attend: WWALS members, especially committee members, and the general public.

All WWALS Board Members are expected to attend in person or by telephone.

The more done on the board list, the less time we have to spend in this meeting.

[Banner]
WWALS Banner. Yes, we will be updating it again to insert Santa Fe before Suwannee.

Board Members:

Continue reading

Videos: Chemours titanium mine expansion, Bradford BOCC 2019-10-17

Here are videos of all the speakers, for, against, staff, and Commissioners, at the Thursday Bradford County Commission about Chemours expanding onto SRWMD land in a new Trail Ridge South Mine.

I especially recommend the Commissioner Comments, in which each Commissioner explains his position before the vote.

You’ve already seen the 3 to 2 Bradford BOCC vote for the Chemours Trail Ridge South titanium mine on SRWMD land.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, followed by a WWALS video playlist. The videos are unedited. The only gaps are Continue reading

Chemours titanium mine expansion, Bradford BOCC 2019-10-17

Update 2019-10-19: The rest of the WWALS videos of the entire Public Hearing.

Bradford BOCC voted 3:2 for the Chemours Trail Ridge South titanium mine on SRWMD land. Commissioner Chris Dougherty (District 3) made the motion, Kenny Thompson (District 2) seconded, Frank Durrance (District 5) aye, Danny Riddick (District 4) nay, Ross Chandler (District 1) nay.

[Commissioners and staff]
Commissioners and staff

Here’s the WWALS video:


Chemours titanium mine expansion, Bradford BOCC 2019-10-17
Video by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS), Bradford County Courthouse, Starke, Florida.

I will post more videos later of the two hours of public comment, including numerous specific citations of faults with the mining application, as well as the very professional-seeming Chemours slide show, which nonetheless omitted important features such as the FDEP Consent Order and whether Twin Pines Minerals is involved.

This is not the end of the story. Several speakers warned them they were setting themselves up for lawsuits about the improper notice of last night’s Public Hearing. According to Chemours, they still need many permits: Continue reading

Okefenokee Camping and Paddle, Griffis Fish Camp 2019-12-06-08

Come camp at Griffis Fish Camp Friday, paddle 14 miles to Fargo Saturday, camp again, and paddle 7.5 miles Sunday from Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp, back to camp, all on the blackwater Suwannee River. And see the drawing for the kayak raffle for a Perception Swifty Deluxe 95 Angler Sit Inside Kayak!

We will deliver the kayak, Drawing Raffle Ticket Winner
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS. WWALS Kayak Raffle Drawing at Griffis Fish Camp, 2018-12-09.

When: 4:00 PM Friday, December 6, 2019, camp at Griffis Fish Camp
9:00 AM Saturday, December 7, 2019, paddle down to Fargo Ramp
8:30 AM Sunday, December 8, 2019, paddle from Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp back to camp

Where: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631, in Clinch County.
From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left.

GPS: 30.728505, -82.4436

[Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman, 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767]
Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members for each day. So if you paddle Saturday and Sunday and you are not a member, that will be $20. Becoming a member is only $25…. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Park fees: Griffis Fish Camp charges for camping or river put-in.
There is a $5 park entry fee at Stephen C. Foster State Park.

Camping: If you want to camp at the State Park, reserve well in advance through ReserveAmerica.
If you don’t want to camp, there are cabins at the State Park, and the nearby Eco-Lodge has heated hotel rooms.

Event: facebook, meetup Continue reading

Still $20 until midnight tonight: WWALS Boomerang 2019-10-15

Today, October 15, 2019, is the last day for $20 early bird tickets for the WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race from Georgia into Florida and back again. After midnight, the price goes up to $30.

Everybody cropped, Everybody
Photo: Jay Blanton of Georgia Photography Fanatic. Everybody still at WWALS Boomerang after the awards, 2018-11-03.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2019 is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2019-10-26–boomerang/

Continue reading

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2019-10-20

Announcement
WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

2 to 4 PM, Sunday, 20 October 2019
South Georgia Regional Library, 2906 Julia Dr, Valdosta, GA 31602
Dial-in Number: (712) 770-5505
Meeting ID: 855-676
facebook event

Addition of Santa Fe River subbasin, WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race, Budget, water quality monitoring, water trails, BIG Little River Paddle Race, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Alapaha Quest, outings, festivals, projects and programs, pipelines, LNG export, titanium mines, phosphate mines, Bill of Rights for Nature, and more.

[Banner]
WWALS Banner. Yes, we will be updating it again to insert Santa Fe before Suwannee.

Invited to attend: WWALS members, especially committee members, and the general public.
All WWALS Board Members are expected to attend in person or by telephone.
The more done on the board list, the less time we have to spend in this meeting.

See the WWALS website for board members and committees.

The agenda will be available later.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Titanium mine expansion on SRWMD land SE of Starke, Bradford County, Florida 2019-10-17

What is the point of SRWMD buying land if it’s going to let it be strip-mined for titanium?

[Bradford County Property Appraiser]
Bradford County Property Appraiser

Yet that’s what the Bradford County, FL, Commission is considering approving this Thursday evening for Chemours, expanding one of the same mines Chemours and Twin Pines Minerals LLC are under a Florida Consent Order for numerous violations.

We hear that this Chemours expansion application for its Trailridge Mine southeast of Starke includes items like a Master Mining Plan and some of what they intend to do with wastewater, which the Twin Pines Minerals application does not for a similar mine near the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, GA, farther north up Trail Ridge, that ancient beach full of stuff miners want to exploit.

[Twin Pines site (north) to Chemours Trailridge Mine (south)]
Twin Pines site (north in center top) to Chemours Trailridge Mine (south).
See also proposed HPS II phosphate mine site left of center, and existing Nutrien (PCS) phosphate mine in Hamilton County, FL upper left.
Note Jacksonville on the right in the east and Gainesville bottom center.
The Santa Fe River starts near the subject property, and flows west (left) to the Suwannee River.

We don’t know, because the application is not on Bradford County’s website.

When: 6:30 PM, Thursday, October 17, 2019

Where: BRADFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 945 North Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091

Event: BEF facebook event
WWALS facebook event

Here is the agenda item:

  1. PUBLIC HEARING – Randy Andrews, Zoning Director.
    Chemours Company FC, LLC – Thomas O. Ingram of Sodi & Ingram, PLLC and Daniel LeJeune of Kleinfelder, as acting agents for The Chemours Company FC LLC., and Connie Henderson, Representative for The Chemours FC, LLC.
    • Consider approval of a Special Use application — SU 19-02, for a Special Permit for mining submitted by The Chemours Company FC, LLC on lands owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District.

SRWMD owns 2,213.60 acres from just south of Chemours down to a sort of triangle-shaped 107.49-acre bit north of the Keystone Heights Airport.

[Google map]
WWALS Google map with SRWMD property roughly sketched.

That Airport is also known as Keystone Airpark, 42J, 29.8447500,-82.0475278. The purple-shaded left part of this WWALS google map is the Santa Fe River Basin, and this Chemours mine expansion appears to be entirely within it.

If you want to speak, here are the rules:

  1. Public Comments:
    • Three (3) minutes per speaker;
    • Complete and turn in a public comment card to speak before the start of meeting; (COMMENT CARDS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE MEETING BEGINS)
    • State your name and address into the record before speaking;
    • Do not speak from the audience;
    • Address your questions to the Board, not county staff;
    • Refrain from demands for an immediate board response;
    • No boisterous behavior; and
    • No personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks.

WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper know about this Chemours mine expansion application due to a report by Jim Tatum of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR). OSFR got their information from Bradford Environmental Forum (BEF). Paul Still of BEF says BEF plans to put a copy of the application on the BEF website as soon as they can sort out the logistics of getting a multi-megabyte file uploaded on slow rural broadband links.

This aerial I took on October 5th looks south across the Chemours Maxville Mine (the second one counting south from the state line), with Kingsley Lake in the distance.

[Closer, 122702, 12:27:01, 30.1685423, -82.0663337]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight 2019-10-05, pilot Allen Nodorft, Closer, 122702, 12:27:01, 30.1685423, -82.0663337

Those six settling ponds are on the divide between the St. Johns River Basin on the left and the Santa Fe River Basin on the right. So the right-hand side of the picture is in the Santa Fe River Basin. The SRWMD mine of the Bradford County application is in the haze near the horizon.

Do we want more of the Santa Fe River Basin to look like this?

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Shirley practicing at Banks Lake 2019-10-12

Shirley Kokidko, taking out at Banks Lake, where we will paddle tonight to see the sun set and the full moon rise. It’s free to WWALS members, and only $10 per person for non-members. Boats will be available at the lake for free rental from NWXpeditions.

[Loading boat]
Loading boat

Follow the link for details about this evening’s outing. Continue reading