Columbia County, FL, Parks Ordinance, No. 2020-08, 2020-06-18

Columbia County Attorney Joel Foreman sent a copy of this ordinance (see PDF) within minutes of being asked, along with this explanation:

Attached is the version of the Ordinance that was signed. The amendment was made at adoption to 78-3(B), adding that the Board would approve any supplemental rules by resolution.

Columbia County, FL BOCC Special Called Meeting 2020-06-18

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson posted the below explanation on facebook (reposted here with permission): Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on WKUB 105.1 FM 2020-06-23

Brian Blount of WKUB asked me to talk about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on 105.1 FM.

[Songwriting Contest on WKUB 105.1 FM]
Songwriting Contest on WKUB 105.1 FM

You can send in a song until July 8 about any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring in the Suwannee River Basin. You can sing about any issue, such as that proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, subject of the previous WKUB interview. But please no partisan politics or specific candidates for office; WWALS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. Also not about the Santa Fe River: it has its own songwriting contest.

Here’s the audio from the July 23rd interview about the Songwriting Contest:

Tickets to listen are $10 online now (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest will be 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Headliners will play, food truck and cash bar, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play.

The Master of Ceremonies will be Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Three judges are ready to hear the finalists play.

All about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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

Bike and Paddle Suwannee River, Hal W. Adams Bridge, 2020-08-29

Bicycles and boats! There’s no shuttle, because we get from the takeout to the put-in on bicycles, on this Suwannee River paddle, with optional river camping.

[Paddle Map: WWALS SRWT]
Paddle Map: WWALS map of Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (SRWT)

Meet at Hal W. Adams Bridge, unload boats and gear. We will have a designated person watch the boasts and gear.

Drive cars to Hardenbergh Public Boat Ramp. Bike about 30 minutes back along CR 354 to Hal W. Adams Bridge, secure bikes, launch boats, paddle to Telford Springs, and cool off a bit.

Paddle to Peacock Slough River Camp. Camp overnight (or paddle through). Call Suwannee River Wilderness Trail for reservations at 800-868-9914.

We can rest at Cow Springs and pass Drew Bridge for historical site and take out at Hardenbergh Bridge.

This outing eliminates putting people at COVID-19 risk by removing the need to shuttle. We will be able to maintain social distancing while paddling and biking.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bring: a bicycle, and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. If you’re going to camp, bring camping gear. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Boats: Kayaks and maybe canoes are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it.

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!

Put In: Hal W. Adams Bridge Ramp, From Mayo, Continue reading

Clean weekend water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-06-28

More good news: the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp tested good Saturday, and the Withlacoochee River tested good last week and Sunday.

[Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps

Thanks to Suzy Hall for the weekend testing. You can help by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.

[Troupville Boat Ramp with foam]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville Boat Ramp with foam 2020-06-27

Suzy Hall took samples both in the foam and in the main flow of the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp Saturday, June 27, 2020. She got 33 cfu/100 mL in the flow and 66 in the foam, both well below the 126 long-term average limit for E. coli.

[State Line Boat Ramp (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, State Line Boat Ramp 2020-06-28

Results were even better at State Line Boat Ramp Sunday: Continue reading

Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.

[Flyer]
Flyer

Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected. Continue reading

Watching over the Waters: WWALS paddles, songwriting contest –VDT 2020-06-27

Amanda M. Usher, Valdosta Daily Times, 27 June 2020, Watching over the Waters: WWALS sponsors paddles, songwriting contest,

[Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA, Withlacoochee River, June 15, 2019.

VALDOSTA — John Quarterman has been around the Suwannee River Basin since his childhood.

Living on land his [grand-]father purchased near rivers and swamps in 1921, he has always felt attracted to rivers and works to keep them clean.

Quarterman is the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper with WWALS Watershed Coalition. WWALS is an acronym for Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little[, Santa Fe,] and Suwannee.

The coalition was established in June 2012 to eliminate issues with rivers and creeks such as sewage spills, he said. Quarterman became the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper in 201[6].

WWALS Watershed Coalition serves a significant purpose of water quality testing, he said. The City of Valdosta tests waters three times a week from U.S. 41 North to the southern state line, he said.

Through the years, the group has hosted cleanups at the Troupville boat ramp and holds two or three paddles monthly.

[Lakeland cleanup, Alapaha River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Rivers Alive Cleanup, Pafford’s Landing near Lakeland, GA, Alapaha River, October 12, 2019.

“We’re not just a paddling organization,” Quarterman said. “… We do paddles, but we’re also an advocacy organization. We want to do conservation of stewardship.”

Quarterman is about awareness. He strives to bring attention to the rivers’ existence and informing people they can make use of the recreational rivers by boating or fishing.

“Getting people out there on the rivers to see what it is they are trying to conserve and protect is really important because until you see it for yourself, you’re not really appreciating the beauty of these rivers,” he said.

The rest of the article is about the upcoming paddle outings at Banks Lake at 7:30 PM Sunday, July 5, and at Dowling Park River Camp; for that one please be at Dowling Park Boat Ramp a 11:30 AM, Saturday, July 18, with camping gear.

The article concludes with the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at Turner Center Art Park, 605 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA.

Come on down!

Thanks Amanda M. Usher, for Continue reading

Video: Dear Ol’ Suwannee –Dick Grillo; send your song for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020-08-22

Last year, Dick Grillo sang his song “Dear Ol’ Suwannee,” and got written up in the Suwannee Democrat for that song, Live Oak’s Grillo wins at Songwriting Contest. He won Best Song from Inside the Suwannee River Basin with a $50 prize, and a plaque for Best Folk/Country song.

This year, you can send in your song until July 8, for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, on August 22, 2020.

[Dick Grillo Singing 'Dear Ol' Suwannee' in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Dick Grillo Singing ‘Dear Ol’ Suwannee’ in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019.

The three judges are ready to hear your songs, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. Headliners will play, food truck and cash bar, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play M.C.: Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online (children under 12 free), or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

Songs can be about the Suwannee River, or the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, Little, New, Dead, or Gopher Rivers, Okapilco, Piscola, etc. Creeks, the Okefenokee Swamp, Grand Bay, or springs, sinks, swamps, or ponds. (But not the Santa Fe River; which has its own contest.)

Here’s Dick Grillo last year with Dear Ol’ Suwannee: Continue reading

WWALS Annual Member Meeting and Board Meeting 2020-07-12

WWALS will elect some new board members and new officers in two meetings on Sunday, July 12, 2020, both online. Plus a kayak raffle winner!

When: 2PM, Sunday, July 12, 2020

Where: Online: see zoom parameters

Event: facebook

WWALS Annual Member Meeting

[WWALS Annual Member Meeting]
WWALS Annual Member Meeting

WWALS Members will hear and approve an annual report, and then elect some board members, at the WWALS Annual Member Meeting, to be held online this year, at 2PM, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Finally, we will select and announce the kayak raffle winner! Continue reading

Next outings: Full Moon Banks Lake and Suwannee River Camping

Tired of being cooped up inside? Want to get out on the water? WWALS has two outings coming up with plenty of room for physical distancing.

First is an easy evening lake paddle out and back, then overnight camping with a brief upstream paddle.

[Moonrise and River Camp]
Moonrise and River Camp

Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle 2020-07-05

Come see the sun set, the bats come out, and the moon rise over Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, Georgia, on Sunday evening, July 5, in the Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle, If you don’t have a boat, let us know, and we can supply you one. Please be there by 7:30 PM. See previous post for more details.

Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp 2020-07-18

Experience one of the fabled River Camps on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, in Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp. Five screened sleeping platforms! (Bring a tent if you don’t get one reserved.) Air-conditioned bathrooms with hot and cold running water and showers!

Please be at the Dowling Park Boat Ramp by Continue reading