Tabled by SRWMD: Seven Rivers permit until Nestle co-applicant 2020-08-11

On a motion (by Don Quincey) seconded (I think by Virginia Sanchez), with only one dissenting vote (Richard Schwab), the SRWMD board voted to table the Seven Springs permit application for six months, because they want Nestlé to be a co-applicant.

They do not want the permit to go back to DOAH; they want it to come back to SRWMD.

[SRWMD Board and Nestle (Seven Springs) permit map]
SRWMD Board and Nestle (Seven Springs) permit map
SRWMD Governing Board, l-r, Donald J. Quincey, Jr. Vice Chair; Virginia Sanchez; Richard Schwab, Treasurer (voted nay); Gary F. Jones; Charles Keith; Virginia H. Johns, Chair.

Before they voted, they discussed that they were not in any way disparaging the efforts of SRWMD staff. The lack of Nestlé as co-applicant was the primary reason. A secondary reason was the lack of transparency. For example, there had been no public hearing, and while there were supposedly hundreds of people listening, nobody could see them.

Speaking of transparency, I had to ask to find out who made the motion, who seconded, and who voted nay. Fortunately, the staffer taking names during the fifteen minute recess for people to have sign up for public comment knew 2 out of 3. It’s not a very transparent process when the public doesn’t know who did what. Somebody else also asked could each SRWMD board member say who they were, or maybe the chair could.

Plus, the point of the WWALS letter to SRWMD this morning remains: without a SRWMD board member for the Santa Fe River, approval of this permit would be taxation without representation.

It is odd that Nestlé is not already a co-applicant, since in the board packet for today’s meeting there are 12 pages of Nestlé documents, starting with NWNA Water Consumption Estimates. Continue reading

No water taxation without representation: WWALS to SRWMD against Nestle permit 2020-08-11

Suwannee Riverkeeper wrote to SRWMD this morning about the proposed water withdrawal permit for Nestlé near Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, “This permit would be taxation without representation of river, spring, and aquifer water.

“The SRWMD board should refuse to hear any water withdrawal permit requests in the Santa Fe River Basin, or in the Upper Suwannee Basin (including the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers) until the governor fills the corresponding vacant SRWMD Board seats.”

You can still attend this morning’s 9AM SRWMD board meeting in which the Seven Rivers water withdrawal permit for Nestlé will be heard.

[WWALS to SRWMD: no water taxation without representation]
WWALS to SRWMD: no water taxation without representation
PDF

The Letter

Continue reading

Register to comment: Nestle water withdrawal on SRWMD agenda; staff in favor 2020-08-11

You must register for the webinar and separately register to speak at the SRWMD board meeting 9AM tomorrow morning. And for sound you must call a telephone conferencing number. It’s worth all that to oppose Nestlé’s permit request for more water from the Floridan Aquifer at Ginnie Springs next to the Santa Fe River.

When you register for the webinar:
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3310540859352809487

You will see this:

Request Public Comment

Submit a request on the District website: www.srwmd.org/Comments

That takes you here:
https://www.srwmd.org/FormCenter/District-7/Public-Comment-Request-Form-74

That comment registration form asks you for “Agenda Item/Topic*”.

You may want to enter this:

22. Modification of Water Use Permit Application 2-041-218202-3, Seven Springs Water Company Project, Gilchrist County

That’s the agenda item for the Nestlé water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs next to the Santa Fe River.

And for audio, you will need to call 1-888-585-9008, and when prompted enter:
Conference room number: 704-019-452 #

If you think Nestlé’s planned doubling of bottling lines using that water from the already-depleted Florida Aquifer near the too-low Santa Fe River, please sign up for the webinar and to comment, and then call in tomorrow morning!

[Figure 4.2 -- High SPrings Buildout Space Allocation]
Figure 4.2 — High Springs Buildout Space Allocation

See previous post for more information and more ways you can take action.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Banks Lake Full Corn Moon paddle: sunset, sunrise, and bats! 2020-09-02

Leisurely sunset and moonrise full moon paddle on Banks Lake, our mini-Okefenokee next to Lakeland, GA: with bats!

When: Gather 7:15 PM, launch 7:30 PM, end 9:30 PM, Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.035097, -83.097045

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

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.

Lights: You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. You must wear a PFD. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it. Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the at the outing, or online: wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Cypress boats]
Bobby McKenzie: Cypress boats at sunset at Banks Lake, 2020-08-03.

Continue reading

Pictures: Banks Lake Full Moon Paddle with Jupiter and Saturn 2020-08-03

Not bad for a weekday: thirteen boaters signed in at the Banks Lake Full Sturgeon Moon paddle 2020-08-03, and about half of them were new paddlers who borrowed boats, thanks to free rental from Banks Lake Outdoors, organized by WWALS Outings Chair Bobby McKenzie, who was also the leader of this outing.

[Banners]
Banners
Photo: John S. Quarterman, of (l-r) Bobby McKenzie, Jenna Sullivan, Donald Roberson, Helen Crowley, not sure, Shelby Miller, probably Jenn and Bill New, Shirley Kokidko, and I’m really bad on names.

Bobby McKenzie wrote about his pictures on facebook, which is where I got all the rest of the pictures in this post:

These full moon paddles never get old. Tonight we pulled out all the stops! We had Golden Sunset, Jupiter AND Saturn, Lightning storm in the distance, bats galore, and epic golden moon rise. If you weren’t here tonight, you definitely missed out!

You don’t see this every day: the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter lined up at moonrise.

[Moon, Jupiter, Saturn]
Bobby McKenzie: Moon, Jupiter, Saturn

There were bats. Bobby has a video on facebook. Continue reading

WWALS concurs, good to boat, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06

WWALS testers Jacob and Michael Bachrach also got good results from their Thursday samples: 66 cfu/100 mL E. coli at State Line Boat Ramp and zero (0) at Nankin and Knights Ferry Boat Ramps. Can’t get much better than that!

WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall did remark that the Petrifilms for State Line showed quite a bit of other Fecal coliforms. But we can’t quantify those with the Petrifilm method, and we go by E. coli.

Of course, something else could have gotten into the river since Thursday. All of these results are always merely advisory.

But as far as we can tell, it’s a great weekend for boating on the Withlacoochee River!

[Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line]
Good WWALS results, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line
For context and the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see: http://wwals.net/issues/testing/

As you can see, the WWALS 66 at State Line was quite similar to the Madison Health 10. The Florida agencies use laboratories with more precision in their results than WWALS can get with Petrifilms: 66 is the lowest WWALS can show before zero.

These Thursday WWALS results at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line corroborate what Valdosta got Wednesday at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line, shifted downstream somewhat due to water flow and a day later. Note Valdosta got slightly higher results at Nankin Wednesday, and WWALS got slightly higher at State Line, which is about what we would expect from water flow.

Until the next big rain (or dumping or, we sure hope not, sewage spill), water quality will probably remain good.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Reed Bingham SP, underrated southern nature lover destination –Forbes 2020-08-07

The Little River Trail mentioned is a hiking trail, but it and Reed Bingham State Park (RBSP) are on the WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. RBSP is the site of the annual WWALS and FORB BIG Little River Paddle Race and where last summer FORB invited WWALS to help fifty new boaters paddle.

Jared Ranahan, Forbes, August 7, 2020, Six Underrated Southern Destinations To Include On A Nature Lover’s Road Trip,

[Forbes: Reed Bingham State Park, Underrated Southern Nature Lover Destination]
Forbes: Reed Bingham State Park, Underrated Southern Nature Lover Destination
“The gopher tortoise is a burrowing animal, and other creatures such as gopher frogs, indigo snakes, … [+] Georgia Department of Natural Resources”

Reed Bingham State Park

For those wishing to encounter a wide array of native Georgian flora and fauna, few destinations compare to Reed Bingham State Park, a 1,613-acre stretch of land located in the depths of rural southern Georgia. The park is rife with hiking trails that showcase the rich biodiversity of the region—the Little River Trail crosses through pristine swamp, offering glimpses of river otters, turtles, and bald cypress trees, while the short Turkey Oak Trail is home to native ectothermic species ranging from indigo snakes to Georgia’s own state reptile, the gopher tortoise. Be sure to spend some time exploring the banks of Reed Bingham Park Lake—this idyllic water feature is a popular local spot for kayaking and fishing.

Continue reading

Five Finalists Chosen for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see also PDF)

Five Finalists Chosen for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Hahira, Georgia, August 7, 2020 — The organizing committee has reviewed the songs received, and chosen five finalists, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:

  • Brian Barker, from Live Oak, FL, with a Folk Rock song, “The River.”
  • Ronni Dillon, from Waycross, GA, with a Folk-Alternative song, “Okefenokee Memory.”
  • Sweet William Billy Ennis, from Palatka, FL, with a Folk song, “Choctaw Spirits of the Suwannee.”
  • Kathy Lou Gilman, from Kingsland, GA, with an American Music Revival song, “The River Song (My love, my Suwannee).”
  • Scott Perkins, from Smyrna, GA, with a Southern Boogie song, “Hoochie-Coochie for the Withlacoochee.”

Our headliner, Dirty Bird and the Flu, will play first, and then each of the three judges will play a song. The finalists will play, and the judges will select winners of the $300 First Prize, the $50 prize for best song from within the Suwannee River Basin, the $50 prize for best song from outside, and plaques for each musical genre.

“We are pleased to get all this far-flung interest by songwriters,” said WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr., who was also recently elected president of WWALS.

“The judges are equally far-flung,” said Committee member Laura D’Alisera, who won the contest its first year. “Emmy Law is from Nashville, Tennessee, Cindy Bear is from Jacksonville, Florida, and J.J. Rolle is from Valdosta, Georgia.”

“We invite everyone local and far to come listen,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We will also be livestreaming to online ticket holders.”

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online, or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables in front of the stage, contact song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

Scott James, of 92.1 FM Radio, will be the M.C. at the Contest Finals. They will be from 7-10 PM on Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601, just north of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. Rico’s Tacos will provide food, and the Pour House will provide drinks. There will be a silent auction and kayak raffle tickets will be available.

Our top-tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Company, will say a few words, as will our host, the Turner Arts Center, and several WWALS people will speak about programs, projects, stewardship, and advocacy. Each elected official present will get three minutes to speak on any subject; just remember it’s a festival.

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

Due to the virus pandemic situation and executive orders by the Georgia Governor, we will be requiring all attendees to maintain physical distancing, except with those in their party, and we will be requiring all to wear masks when near others not in their party.

Everything else about the Songwriting Contest is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
WWALS Watershed Coalition
song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org
850-290-2350
229-242-0102
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632

===

GA 133 Friday bad again? But good everywhere else, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06

Update 2020-08-08: WWALS concurs, good to boat, Withlacoochee River 2020-08-06.

The good news: all green for boating, fishing, swimming, etc. from Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River @ GA 76 and on the Withlacoochee River from US 41 through the GA-FL line past Madison Blue Spring. Thanks to Madison Health and the City of Valdosta for testing, and to WWALS testers Trudy and Conn Cole for finding zero E. coli on the Little River @ GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp).

The bad news: last Friday, again there was massive fecal bacterial contamination in the Withlacoochee River @ GA 133, far higher than the 410 cfu/100 mL single-test limit and twice the 1,000 alert limit. See also What do these numbers mean?.

The better news: a usually reliable source tells me that GA-EPD has found the culprit and is dealing with it. And the culprit was not governmental; it was a private company. More on that when I know more.

[Map: All green on Swim Guide]
Map: All green on Swim Guide.

It’s really strange that such a high concentration of fecal bacteria at GA 133 did not show up downstream. Where did it come from? It’s not runoff: there was no rain, except way up at Skipper Bridge, which should have showed runoff contamination at US 41 before GA 133 if that was the source.

It’s not Valdosta or Lowndes County: they had no spills.

It’s almost like somebody dumped some septic tank or RV liquids into the river. Continue reading

Nestle water withdrawal on SRWMD agenda; staff in favor 2020-08-11

Update 2020-08-10: Register to comment: Nestle water withdrawal on SRWMD agenda; staff in favor 2020-08-11

Nestlé water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs next to the Santa Fe River is back on the SRWMD agenda for Tuesday morning, with staff in favor this time. Please speak up now!

[Seven Springs Water Company Project, 2-041-218202-3, August 2020]
Seven Springs Water Company Project, 2-041-218202-3, August 2020
PDF

That’s 9AM, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, online only; see below for how. As near as I can tell, the main difference is the withdrawal request is reduced by 14.58% from 1.1520 million gallons/day to 0.9840 MGD. I still don’t see why a Swiss company should profit from sucking up Floridan Aquifer water to sell us back plastic bottles that we then have to clean up from springs and rivers.

If you don’t think a 14.58% reduction is enough, you can still Continue reading