WWALS Advisory Committee 2019-05-11

On May 11, we met to organize the WWALS Advisory Committee. Agriculture, Forestry, and Water were big topics. Thanks to Joe West, Assistant Dean of the Campus at the University of Georgia, Tifton, for many good suggestions of Committee members, and the use of his office for the meeting.

Hard at thought, Advisory Committee
Photo: John S. Quarterman, of Advisory Committee Chair Dave Hetzel, WWALS Board Delegate Bret Wagenhorst, Committee Member UGA Tifton Asst. Dean Joe West, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (hat).

We will meet there again on Thursday, June 13, 2019. If you would like to be a WWALS Advisor, helping us out with advocacy, events, legislation, and yes, undraising, let us know. See our Vision, Mission, Goals, Issues, Outings and Events, and Fundraising. Don’t worry: nobody has to try to do all that. Advisors can specialize.

Here Joe West looks out of his office window at the Centennial Garden, which was dedicated one week before, at his suggestion. Continue reading

NCFRPC Meeting, Lake City, FL 2019-05-23

There will be a meeting of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council tonight in Lake City. Citizen Comments would be a good opportunity to ask what are they going to do to stop the Suncoast Connector toll road boondoggle from crossing the Suwannee River, and promote water quality testing and solar power instead.

When: 7PM, Thursday, May 23, 2019

Where: Lake City Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 213 Southwest Commerce Boulevard, Lake City, Florida

Event: facebook

X. CITIZEN COMMENTS

This agenda item provides an opportunity for citizens to address the Council on any matter not included on the agenda. The comment period is limited to three minutes for each individual.

Meeting Notice, Packet

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2019-05-22

In the Gainesville Sun, yesterday, May 22, 2019:

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

Aerial Google map, Crystal River to Monticello and Thomasville
Google map of one likely route of the Suncoast Connector.

One of these three unneeded turnpikes would have to cross the Suwannee River, plowing through counties where we have many members. All this very poorly written bill says about its route is: “Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to 164 Jefferson County.” Apparently that means from Crystal River to Monticello, and on to Thomasville, Georgia, through farms, forests and swamps. If this toll road builds its bypasses, bye-bye local businesses in Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Old Town and Cross City.

Yes, the turnpike bill has a “project development phase” for $45 million and increasing each year, with a Continue reading

Allen Ramp to SRSP, Withlacoochee River: Paddle Georgia Preview, 2019-06-01

Wild and beautiful Withlacoochee River to the Confluence. We will pass numerous rocky shoals requiring some skills so this outing may not be appropriate for beginners and young children. There are clear springs to explore, such as Suwannacoochee Spring at Ellaville. This is a preview of part of Paddle Georgia 2019.

When: Gather 8:00 AM, launch 9:30 AM, Saturday, June 1, 2019

Put In: Allen Ramp, From Jasper, travel north on US 41 to SR 6; turn left; travel south on SW CR 141 to SW CR 143; turn right and follow SW CR 143 to SW 64 Way and follow to ramp. Also known as CR 143 ramp (SRWMD).

GPS: 30.449167, -83.221333

Take Out: Suwannee River State Park Ramp, 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060, in Suwannee County.
Taking out requires a very brief paddle upstream on the Suwannee River.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Don’t forget a rope in case you need to drag your boat across shoals. 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. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Allen Ramp, 2014-09-21.

Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp Park is not Lola VMA 2019-05-19

If you’re down at the beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84, in the new Lowndes County Naylor Boat Ramp Park, and a game warden should happen to say you need a WMA pass, please tell him you’re in a public park owned by Lowndes County, and if there’s any doubt about that, please consult the Lowndes County Tax Assessors online map, or call Lowndes County, or call me.

[Beach]
Beach, Lowndes County Tax Commission Map, Parcel 0259 030B.

There seems to be some confusion, possibly because the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) map for the Lola Tract WMA does not show any sign of a park.

[ESRI]
Map: ESRI, of the Lola Tract Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

I would imagine this is because, even though Lowndes County bought the park land in late 2015 and the WMA did not appear until late 2017, most likely the WMA agreement was in the works for some time before it was publicly announced, quite possibly from back before the park land sale to the county. So the WMA map is probably just old.

But if you look in the Lowndes County Tax Commissioner online maps, while the land surrounding the park away from the river and the highway is indeed owned by Acree Investments, the park is clearly visible as a carve-out in the lower right corner.

[VMA]
Map: Lowndes County Tax Commissioner, Acree Investments parcel 0259 030A.

How can private land be a WMA patroled by Georgia state game wardens? According to its state web page:

“Lola Tract is a Voluntary Public Access (VPA) property. Since 2014 through a USDA grant, the Wildlife Resources Division has been able to enhance and add to its WMA program through additional temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities.”

So Acree Investments owns the WMA land, but the state runs it as Lola Tract VPA.

But the park is not part of the VPA. The VPA access road starts just north of the Naylor Boat Ramp:

[New entrance to Lola Tract VPA]
New entrance to Lola Tract VPA

Unless you go up that road beyond the boat ramp, you are still in the park. Where you do not owe the state anything to picnic, fish, swim, paddle, etc. on the beach.

Seems like Georgia DNR should fix their map for Lola Tract WMA.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Naylor Boat Ramp, Water Trails, and Paddle Georgia: WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2019-05-13

Thanks and invitations from WWALS to the Lowndes County Commission, delivered in a letter via email and on paper Monday morning and in Citizens Wishing To Be Heard Tuesday evening.

WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2019-05-14

I thanked

I invited the Commissioners to pass Water Trail resolutions (see below).

And I invited them to Paddle Georgia and the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Letter

Continue reading

Statenville to Sasser Landing, Alapaha River, 2019-07-06

Experience the wilderness of the Alapaha River Water Trail on this 10.4 mile section with shoals. This run includes a side-jaunt up the Alapahoochee River to Turket Creek Waterfall, one of our favorite spots.

Or maybe a different stretch, or a different river, or a lake, if the water is really low. Check back before we paddle to see where we settle on for July.

When: 9:00 AM gather, 10:00 AM launch, Saturday, July 6, 2019

Put In: Statenville Boat Ramp, 206 GA 94 West, Statenville, GA 31648, in Echols County.

GPS: 30.70426, -83.03275

Take Out: Sasser Landing.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, 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. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

600x450 Waterfall closeup, in Statenville to Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 15 February 2015
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Turket Creek Waterfall closeup, in Statenville to Sasser Landing on the Alapaha River, 15 February 2015.

We last did this February 15, 2015, when there was plenty of water, at 9.99 feet (86.09′ NAVD88) on the Statenville gauge, and only three hours paddle time. We’ll probably see opposite, low, conditions this time. Continue reading

Georgia water data online portal: GOMAS 2019-05-16

Thanks, GA-EPD, for another very useful online dataset: GOMAS, the Georgia Environmental Monitoring and Assessment System, with a plethora of water data.

[Front page]
Front page of GOMAS.

GOMAS seems to have all the water quality data reported by permitted wastewater facilities throughout the state, including some not required, apparently including at least some of Valdosta’s creek monitoring data.

GOMAS lets you find locations with data either Continue reading

Videos: Parker Pond water withdrawals, BMAPs, Valdosta, and Testing @ SRWMD 2019-05-14

The deputy went in to see what the ruckus was about. It was Lu Merritt, Mike Roth, Jim Tatum, Mike Kern, and then me, in extensive discussion about a water withdrawal permit request, that Jim Tatum called Words of Truth to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board.

On the agenda for that Monday, 14 May 2019:

20. Approval of New Water Use Permit 2-001-234425-1, Authorizing a Maximum 0.1462 mgd of Groundwater for Agricultural Use at the Parker Pond Project, Alachua County

I was actually there for this later item:

30. Valdosta Wastewater Update

In interaction with Tom Mirti, I confirmed that FDEP is doing DNA and sucralose (human waste marker) testing monthly at the GA-FL line on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha (not Alapahoochee) Rivers, and at the Withlacoochee Confluence with the Suwannee River. However, SRWMD has no plans for doing complementary weeks.

I found the public relations method research by Katelyn Potter to be fascinating.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, with some notes, followed by a WWALS video playlist. Continue reading

SRWMD Water Quality Monitoring 2019-04-25

Confirmed today by telephone: FDEP is analyzing DNA and human tracers such as sucralose monthly at at least three stations: on the Withlacoochee and Alapahoochee Rivers at the Georgia-Florida line, and at the Withlacoochee River Confluence with the Suwannee River at Ellaville. Those are the top center left blue stars on this map.

[Surface water Trend Stations]
Surface water Trend Stations

Confirmed by: Darlene Velez, Water Resources Chief, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

This is what Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) heard in Orlando on April 15th from Continue reading