Thanksgiving was a whirlwind and a lot of fun as Ed’s family including niece and nephew visited. The two days before their arrival on November 22, 2022 was quite rainy -a light, humid, constant rain. After the “rain event” my rain gauge read just under 6 inches! Here along the coast in Sewall’s Point the old saying remains: “when it rains, it pours.”
Today, I am sharing my husband Ed’s aerials of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. They were taken area above Sewall’s Point, the St Luice Inlet, and a few of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart -on November 26, 2022 around noon on an incoming tide. Like my previous post , after Hurricane Nicole, the contrast of milky, stirred up ocean water and the dark, fresh, polluted, runoff from area canals and surrounding lands and neighborhoods is extreme.
In my opinion, to witness such events without the discharges from Lake Okeechobee is educational, it makes clear how important not fertilizing and using chemicals on our yards is, and thankfully the tides flush the mouth of the river out over time. When the ACOE starts Lake O discharges, this can go on and on – for months and in worst case scenarios -for years. The river cannot clean out. There have been no major, longstanding discharges from Lake Okeechobee since 2018 and the Sailfish Flats’ seagrass community has been slowly recovering.
Today the lake stands at 16.50 feet. There is a periodic scientists call today of the ACOE when input will be taken regarding lake discharges and other water issues.
Thus Ed and I present these photographs for the record.
-My rain gauge after the rains a few days prior to Thanksgiving on November 24, 2020. almost 6 inches.
As shared in my recent blog post, Hurricane Nicole brought a significant storm surge to the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon region. Many residents experienced flooding and property damage, especially of docks and seawalls.
Today, 11-16-22, my husband, Ed, went up in the RV plane and took pictures to compare to others we took prior to Hurricane Nicole.
It has been quite a time. Nicole hit Florida on November 10, 2022 and Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The river has taken two recent hits.
When Ed got home and I asked him how the river looked, there was a pause and he replied, “just like old times…” meaning “not good.”
Ed’s photos were taking during a rising tide around 1:15 November, 16, 2022. You will see that there is the flushing/cleaning of incoming ocean water from the St. Lucie Inlet. If the estuary is left alone, in time, a few weeks, it will significantly clear up. If the ACOE discharges from Lake Okeechobee, (the Lake is at 16.22 feet) it will not clear. Tomorrow’s (11-17-22) Rivers Coalition meeting at 11am at the City of Stuart Chamber, 121 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart, Fl 34994, will address this issue, also the issue of “sending water south.” The guest speaker will be LTC Todd Polk. I encourage all to attend.
-Sewall’s Point between the SLR/IRL -click on to enlarge.-Ernie Lyons bridge from Sewall’s Point to Hutchinson Island- IRL–Jupiter Narrows far left, SLR-Plume in Atlantic Ocean coming out of St Lucie Inlet
-Erosion at Santa Lucea Beach, Martin County , FL 11-11-22, JTLJust a few days ago, Hurricane Nicole whipped up the Atlantic Ocean and unearthed an ancient Ais Indian burial site at Chastain Beach on Hutchinson Island, near Bathtub Beach and Sailfish Point. Once again, we are reminded of history and those who lived here before us. I would hope, in time, these remains will be sacredly reinterred.
It is important to note that the local native people of Florida did not just live on Hutchinson Island, they utilized our entire coastal area of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. In fact, almost our entire coastal region is designated an “Archaeological Zone.”
-Below: map insert section of Martin County, Florida coast. “An Archaeological Survey of Martin County, Florida, 1995.” The shaded areas denote archaeological zones – areas the native people especially lived in and utilized. This includes Hutchinson Island, Sewall’s Point, parts of Rio, Jensen, Stuart, Palm City, Rocky Point, and Hobe Sound among others. This report was not just to map these areas but also to alert developers. What does this mean? It means that in 1995 the famous archaeologist, Robert Carr, and his team determined such, and this is documented in their publication written for Martin County Government. Ironically, I had just asked my mother for a copy for our study of Palm City so when the unearthing occurred I took note.
The publication provides the following designating these Archaeological Zones.
I am reminded to share an old blog post of mine about the Indian Mound, still visible, in Ft Pierce. Tuckahoe, in Jensen, is also an ancient Indian mound. Most of course were disrespectfully carted away to construct roads.
“The Ais were a tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the Atlantic Coast of Florida. They ranged from present day Cape Canaveral to the St. Lucie Inlet, in the present day counties of Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and northernmost Martin. They lived in villages and towns along the shores of the great lagoon called Rio de Ais by the Spanish, and now called the Indian River.” -House of Refuge exhibit
Not just after a hurricane, but every day, we should remember those who were here before us and how they lived- in tune and respecting Nature. The best place to learn about the Ais people is at the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island near to where the recent artifacts and bones were unearthed.
What became “Hurricane Nicole” was first labeled a “subtropical” storm…
I texted my brother Todd, (eyeonlakeo.com) inquiring and he sent me a NOAA article about tropical, subtropical, and extratropical storms. Hmmm?
When I posted a video on Facebook as Nicole approached, showing South Sewall’s Point Road underwater, I was asked: “Is this the worst it has ever flooded?” This got me thinking about my photo archives so I pulled out old pictures of the November Thanksgiving Day Storm that former Sewall’s Point Mayor, and friend, Don Winer shared with me.
Below are videos of Sewall’s Point from November 9, 2022 as Hurricane Nicole approached the east cost of Florida. Next, are photos from 1984 after the Thanksgiving Day Flood. Both storms are for the Florida November record books -that’s for sure! Looking at the photographs, and considering all the variables, what do you think? Nichole or Thanksgiving Day Storm?
-Above: Sewall’s Point is a peninsula in Martin County, FL surrounded by the Indian River Lagoon on the east and St Lucie River on the west. The east side is lower in elevation and sometimes experiences flooding. The town of Sewall’s Point is working hard to change this and the new work in the area of Mandalay held up according to Mayor Tompeck.
I. HURRICANE NICOLE, made landfall late November 9, 2022. Storm surge proceeded impact. JTL
-At Ridgeview 11-9-22 at 11:48am
-Riverview 11-9-22 at 11:42am
-Below: Entrance to South SP Rd. November 9, 2022 at 11:51pm
-North Sewall’ Point Road at entrance to Indialuice, approaching midnight after landfall. Courtesy of my brother law Mike Flaugh and my sister, Jenny Flaugh.
Sewall’s Point Park, post storm, November 10, 2022.
II. THANKSGIVING DAY STORM, November 22, 1984
Subject: Thanks Giving Day Flood 1984, Sewall’s Point Florida.
Flood photos attached.
If you look carefully you will see some pointed towards the entrance to High Point when they had the white brick pillars on each side of the entrance. Some look up the side streets to where you can see South River Road and how far up the side street the flood came. Some are at Mandalay and you can read the street sign. Some are by Kiplinger’s looking from the road to the river. Some look north up SP Road and others were taken as the flood receded.
Below added 11-12-22 an email from Mark Perry, Executive Director of Florida Oceanographic -this history is so interesting!
“Great Blog on the comparison of Hurricane Nicole and the Thanksgiving Day Storm of 1984. Florida Oceanographic established the St. Lucie Inlet Coastal Weather Station at the House of Refuge in October 1984, just before the “Thanksgiving Day Storm”. The weather Station has been upgraded over the years and is a display at the House of Refuge showing “real” time weather conditions to visitors while providing weather to over 200 callers each day, boaters, fishermen,etc.. The weather information is also valuable to ocean and coastal research efforts and reporting pending storm conditions. I recall the major storm surge and how glad I was that our weather station held up. Back then we used a TR180 computer and a Realistic answering machine from Radio Shack. Do you rember George Gross? He and his father (Chemistry professor at FIT) were the owners of the 1st Radio Shack in Stuart. George was on our Board at the time and he along with Bill Chase (also FIT computer teacher) installed the first coastal weather station in October 1984. It was the first in our area and it is still going (with updated equipment of course);
I am posting the aerial photographs below for comparison after Tropical Storm or Hurricane Nicole arrives. The St Luice River will surely be impacted. At this time, as much as ten inches of rain is predicted in some areas. Follow TS/Hurricane Nicole on EYEONLAKEO.COM
Although I have no aerials for November 2022, I have three unpublished October aerials to share. They were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch. One can see from the photographs the impact from canals C-23, C-24, C-44 and “local basin” runoff that accompanied Hurricane Ian that struck southwest Florida as a category 4 storm on September 28, 2022 – impacting the entire state. For weeks, the rains from Ian filled the St Lucie River. But by October 28th the river is clearing up.
Post Ian, Lake Okeechobee was not discharged into the St Lucie. The impacts of Nicole we do not know at this time, but whatever they are, they will not be good.
-Across the Everglades was written in 1897 by Hugh Laussat Willoughby, Thurlow Library.“Hugh Laussat Willoughby, a Sewall’s Point winter resident for 32 years, was one of the Treasure Coast’s most colorful characters,” writes my mother Sandra Thurlow in her book Sewall’s Point, The History of a Peninsular Community on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
While in my youth, the stories I heard about Hugh Willoughby really shaped my Weltanschauung. My historian mother often referred to him a “braggart,” but he certainly earned it! He led a life of adventure even “at home.” He flew an early airplane over the St Lucie River taking some the first aerials photographs; he partnered with Captain Henry Sewall for whom Sewall’s Point is named, together they developed Port Sewall. As a kid, I thought that parts of the War Hawk aeroplane Willoughby built could be found at his Sewall’s Point property on the St Lucie River, Mandalay. Willoughby’s life was the stuff of dreams and he lived in my hometown. I still think of him every time I take a walk. Over the past few years, I watched the remains of his beautiful estate get developed and endured witnessing the clueless developer tear down the ancient night blooming cactus vines and giant old trees…
So why am I speaking of Hugh Willoughby? I am writing this blog today because right now Willoughby’s memory is being honored for another famous and remarkable accomplishment of his -in 1897, he crossed the Florida Everglades and in 1898 wrote Acrossthe Everglades, an American classic.As I write, a team of adventurers and scientists, are retracing a modern day Willoughby path. Their website reads: “In recognition of the 125th anniversary of Hugh Willoughby’s daring Everglades crossing and the 75th anniversary of the creation of Everglades National Park: The Willoughby Expedition.”
Willoughby was the first to test Everglades’ waters, this team will test for many substances but one especially Willoughby would never have imagined, micro-plastics. Another, through the help of Dr Fred Sklar, SFWMD, invasive apple snails.
The group pushed off from the Harney River on October 27th, and as of October 31, 2022 at 12:26 pm, the team was located, along the Tamiami Trail’s L-29 Canal. Of course when Willoughby explored these waters 125 years ago Florida was a wilderness unlike today. In fact today, cities, airports, and roads have been built out into the once Everglades. These are the words of Chief Navigator Charlie Arazoza explaining to me the path from today until the last day:
“The 31st we come out of the wilderness and into civilization. We launch from the North bank of the Tamiami canal across from the bridge and paddle to the Tamiami Canal Park on 6th Street and 127 ave. Straight line canal paddling with several portages, come for the day or come for a slice. Halloween at Belen!
On the 1st of November we leave the park and paddle down the Tamiami, hang a left at the Palmetto, come through Blue Lagoon and spend the night under the LeJeune overpass into the airport. Join us for the paddle, or join us for a drink when it’s over.
The last day of the expedition, we launch under the overpass, paddle 50 yards, and get out again to drag our boats across Melreese golf course around the last floodgate. That puts us less than a mile from the river and then down the river we go. Final destination, Bayside.”
You can follow along on their website and on November 19th they will be giving a report of their travels at 1pm at the Cox Science Center in West Palm Beach. May we continue to work to educate and revive the Everglades health. Gratitude and thanks to the all reliving history and setting new scientific baselines 125 years later by retracing Willoughby’s Across the Everglades!
-Map insert of Willoughby’s track across the Everglades 1897, Across the Everglades.
-Hugh Willoughby in aviation attire. He flew often over the St Luice River after his adventure across the Everglades. Historical Society of Martin County.
A message and some photos sent from expedition co-leader Harvey Oyer: Awesome!
“Being greeted by Mayor of Miami Dade County last night when we landed at Belen Jesuit School on banks of Tamiami Canal. Three canoes of Belen students paddled with us from our exit from the sawgrass back to Belen where they hosted a dinner for us.” Harvey Oyer -Screen shot of location 11-1-22 6:25pm.
Co-expedition Harvey Oyer wrote: “We finished yesterday. 7 days, 6 nights, no major injuries…”
So exciting! I can’t wait to hear more about this modern day historical journey! I will be reporting. ~jacqui tl
Thank you to Captain Frank Adams of Naples who sent these photos from Hugh Willoughby’s first edition of Across the Everglades. There were four.
Today I continue to reflect on Hurricane Ian, Southwest Florida’s Category 4 storm of September 28, 2022. I ask the most basic of questions: “Where exactly did Ian make landfall?” This question seems simple, but it is not, and is best answered sharing a text exchange with my brother Todd after the storm.
Todd: “The National Hurricane Center Track is just connecting dots that are two hours apart — at each official update, seen below. Thus, the line does not show the wobble of the center of circulation. The second fie is the archived radar data showing the eye at 19:05 UTC (3:05pm ET). It’s a pretty good indicator of where the center made landfall.”
Jacqui: “Hmm, incredible. Looking back through my screen shots, this Weather Channel one is interesting because it shows all the shifts – those wobbles you note – and Ian clearly makes landfall at Cayo Costa not Boca Grand.”
Todd: “Yes that must have the intermediate positions so more wobble showing. My computer has been grinding radar data for about 15 minutes for a video and is 39% finished. It should spit out a radar animation from 8am to 8pm on the 28th. The colors are just the radar echo in decibels. The higher the reflection the more dense the rain.”
Jacqui: “What a terrible hit and the video makes wobbling clear. Makes me think of how fortunate we were that Cat. 5 Dorian did not continue on from the Bahamas to hit us in 2019. What a nightmare.”
Screenshot of slide-bar image: “Then and Now Images and Movies:” “Matlacha After Hurricane Ian,” eyeonlakeo.com, Todd Thurlow.
Having grown up in Florida, my brother Todd and I both developed a reverence for the natural world. Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on September 28, 2022. Today, I share Todd’s latest eyeonlakeo.com creation featuring jaw-dropping “then and now images and movies” of Hurricane Ian’s swollen effects on the Kissimmee, Peace, Lake Harney and St John’s rivers; the Gulf of Mexico; the intense destruction in Charlotte County’s Gulf Cove; Lee County’s once fishing village of Matlacha; and Sanibel Causeway; as well as NOAA NGS emergency response imagery. This is documentation is almost as powerful as the storm itself and the comparison images can be viewed by clicking on the illustration and then using the simple blue dot slide-bar to go back and forth. Respectfully, Todd and I submit this documentation with continued prayers for those whose lives are forever changed.
Today I am trying my hand at posting while mobile. So if the two YouTube videos I share do not come through and eyeonlakeo.com is not linked I apologize.
Many of you who follow my blog know my brother’s “Time Capsule Flights, “and his web site eyeonlake.com. Todd and I have worked together for many years documenting South Florida’s water history-past and present.
For this post, by going back and forth between present and past Google Earth images, Todd gives us a comparative view of what just was and now is. Hard to watch, but important to know. Next time it could be any of us. Our hearts are with Florida’s West Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
I am blogging from my phone so I do not know what this post will look like when it’s published. On my street in Sewall’s Point, there is no power. Not for one second will I complain knowing what so many have lost on Florida’s southwest coast and around the state. Hurricane Ian has only just begun to tell his story. We all will be living with his impact for years.
From the bottom of my heart I am wishing those who are suffering comfort. “West Coasters” are indeed our brothers and sisters. In 2013 when the River Movement was rising from the filth and black waters of the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee’s “Lost Summer” we met at the Sugarland Rally in Clewiston. East & West met to bind for the fight against polluting discharges from Lake Okeechobee, and we indeed planted seeds that inspired a youth movement, and changed water policy and politics throughout the state of Florida. Our influence grew with each terrible event- 2013, 2016, 2018. Over time, this east/west partnership became much, much, more, and yes, like every family, we’ve had our challenges, our problems. The ACOE’s LOSOM, the most recent challenge, publicly pitted us against each other for over three years, but we finally found a fair center for ourselves and others.
The past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about SFWMD Chairman, Chauncey Goss who I sit next to every month at our governing board meetings. Chauncey’s family lives on Sanibel and his father worked to create the special low density, native character of the Island. May it be rebuilt in the same nature respecting spirit.
As we all know, all we have can be taken from us, thus all we really have is that within us. May we be good neighbors to those left in Ian’s path, as it is not just them, we are all forever changed.
These aerials were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, between September 16 and September 23, 2022. I had asked him to get some photographs other than our normally featured Sailfish Flats area between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island.
I chose a few of my favorites for a series entitled “A Different View.” This past weekend, I started closely reviewing all of Ed’s photos and decided to share more. Ed captured from Stuart, to Hobe Sound, to Palm City and Port St Lucie. I think what is most clear is how close we are to the river and thus how it is clearly our responsibility to protect her. Thank you Ed for being our eye in the sky and for giving us these different views.
-Roosevelt Bridge, FEC Railroad, and US1 crossing St Lucie River, Stuart. Palm City west. -Roosevelt Bridge, St Lucie River Stuart looking east over Witham Field and Sewall’s Point to Atlantic Ocean.-Shoreline of North River Shores, just north of Roosevelt Bridge, Stuart, FL.-Closeup Roosevelt Bridge, Florida East Coast Railway, and US1. St Lucie River, Stuart.-Indian River Lagoon and Savannas Preserve State Park, Jensen/Rio and north St Lucie Co. -North Fork of St Lucie River, Port St Lucie, looking east to Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. -Savannas Preserve State Park looking west to Savannah Club Golf Course, St Lucie Co. (I think) -Savannas Preserve State Park looking south to St Lucie River, note Sewall’s Point & St Lucie Inlet. Very old- Indian River Drive and the Florida East Coast Railroad are clearly seen along the ridge of the Indian River Lagoon. -Nettles Island in the Indian River Lagoon, St Lucie County, Hutchinson Island. -Jensen Beach Bridge at Hutchison Island where large section of mangroves died due to drowning and poor planning. It appears some are coming back to life.-North Sewall’s Point looking from over the IRL to forks/and the St Lucie River. Line of C-23 can be seen in distance. -Evans Crary Sr. & Ernie Lyons bridges from Stuart to Sewall’s Point leading to Hutchinson Island, St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon. Rio/Jensen north, and City of Stuart sprawling north and south. -Bird Island, a Critical Wildlife Area, off South Sewall’s Point, note seagrass/macroalge beds.-Ernie Lyon’s Bridge ending at Hutchinson Island at Indian River Plantation, Marriott, right. Elliott Museum and Florida Oceanographic on left. Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean in view.-C-23 Canal, the county line between Martin and St Lucie counties. Note the difference in development patterns. “Newfield” will be constructed around Citrus Blvd. the wavy white line in the now green area of Martin County it’s pattern will not resemble PSL. -Next two photos: Another view of C-23 Canal and surrounding area near North Fork and former arm of the St Lucie River.-Next five photos: Winding North Fork of St Lucie River surrounded by development of Port St Lucie under puffy clouds. -Hobe Sound area near Bridge Road looking southwest. This is where the controversial development of Atlantic Fields was just approved by the Martin County Commission. The Polo Club where it will be built is located close to the oval shape (maybe a horse track) seen in the green field. Atlantic Ridge State Park and Loxa-Lucie are also in this region of Martin County. The Town of Jupiter Island is along the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean at the east end of Bridge Road. There are many other developers eyeing this area or Martin County. -Next three photos: Same area of Hobe Sound -note Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean east and right, and St Lucie River ahead. The South Fork of the St Lucie was once easy to see in this area. Since drainage of South Florida it is almost unrecognizable, but it is here. -Florida Turnpike and I95 near Bridge Road, Hobe Sound, FL. -Natural Lands near Atlantic Ridge State Park and Seabranch Preserve State Park looking east towards Jupiter Narrows, Indian River Lagoon, and Atlantic Ocean. Thank you to those who worked to save some of these lands around the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. We must conserve even more!
-September 21, 2022 at 10:48 am, SW Gray Fox Lane, at Heron Preserve, Port St Lucie, FL, aerial photo by Ed Lippisch.
A Different View~Western Port St Lucie
I once read that as a city grows, road names reflect a time long past. This is certainly the case here in western Port St Lucie. The name the road below is “SW Gray Fox Lane,” but there are no longer gray foxes running here. And the development? Ironically, “Heron Preserve.” Don’t think so. Just scraped and squared wetlands that once cleansed water running south. Our river cries for days long past.
-North Fork of St Lucie River surrounded by by development, Port St Lucie, Florida. Distinctive oxbows lie south of Prima Vista Blvd. Aerial photo by Ed Lippisch September 16, 12.15pm.
The above aerial of the North Fork of the St Lucie River is the second in my recent series entitled: “A Different View,” as Ed and I feature areas of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon other than the Sailfish Flats and Sandbar between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island.
For me, today’s is a powerful visual. Though it shows the remaining serpentine beauty of the North Fork of the St Lucie River one can easily see how the river, remaining natural lands, seagrasses, and fish and wildlife -close by and downstream- are impacted by human activity from the surrounding houses, roads, bridges, and highways.
Just think of all the people living in this sea of development surrounding the winding waterway. Imagine if the people were thoughtlessly putting fertilizer and pesticides onto their lawns -that runoff in turn draining into the river- or perhaps their home located right inside the river’s watershed has an old, leaking, septic tank. Envision all the oily/dirty runoff from the surrounding roads and highways flowing down into the waters after a hard, long rain like we’ve had this week.
An image such as this makes it intensely clear and can be applied anywhere as a learning tool in the St Lucie River region: It is ridiculous not to change and modernize our ways if we truly desire the health and recovery of our waterways. All of us!
-Indian River Lagoon & St Luice River meet to flow into the Atlantic Ocean as seen over the savannas. Nettles Island , a landmark, juts into the IRL (upper left.) Note peninsula of Sewall’s Point and St Lucie Inlet. Aerial photograph by Ed Lippisch, 9/11/22, 6:15pm.Recently, I have been asking Ed to get a “different view” while flying-something other than the location between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island near the St Lucie Inlet. That area is the heart of the matter when documenting seagrass recovery or destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee. However, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon includes much more than that. The undeveloped savannas region seen above is quite striking.
Here Ed looks south over the savannas, now Savannas Preserve State Park, an area west of the railroad tracks stretching ten miles between Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce.
As my mother, author Sandra Thurlow writes in her book, Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River, …”ours is not a savanna at all. A true savanna is grassland with scattered, small drought resistant trees. Many eons ago the Jensen Savannas was a lagoon like the Indian River. Now the ancient lagoon is a region of lakes, marsh and pine flatwoods. When polar icecaps formed, bringing Florida out of the sea, tides and winds shaped a primary dune along the east coast of the peninsula. The shallow waters in the wetlands behind the dune were brackish. The ocean levels continued to drop and sand bars just off the coast were exposed, forming Hutchinson Island. What had been the primary dune became the Atlantic Coastal Ridge.”
She goes on to explain that prior to modern times the savannas’ ecosystem was almost 200 miles long, but due to development along the Indian River Lagoon the region has been reduced to just ten ecologically intact miles.
Areas such as these “savannas” are critical to the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and an inspiration for more comprehensive protection in the future.
-L to R: The peninsula of Sewall’s Point lies between the SLR/IRL. The Sailfish Flats and Sandbar seagrass meadows lie between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island. Witham Field, Stuart, can be seen west. The Atlantic Ocean is east. St Lucie Inlet State Park is located south on Jupiter Island. The St Lucie Inlet is cut between Hutchinson and Jupiter Islands. Today’s photos highlight the area’s returning seagrass meadows after their disappearance primarily because of years of damaging cyanobacteria laden Lake Okeechobee discharges, especially in 2013, 2016, & 2018. Photo Ed Lippisch, 8/26/22.When Ed came home from flying the RV on Friday, August 26, 2022, he said, “I think the aerials look good, you can really see the seagrasses.” I looked at him kind of funny. He never says anything like that. Looking on my phone, I could tell the photos were revealing, but it wasn’t until I viewed them full screen on my computer that I saw their true beauty. Ed’s photos reveal clear water, clear air, defined nearshore reefs, and lush seagrass/micro-algae meadows.
It is exciting to see and am I so glad Ed captured it! In the coming days and weeks tropical weather may be pushing our way. “Thank you Ed, for capturing the river before the height of hurricane season, before possibly more rains and more runoff.”
These just might be the most beautiful recent photos ever taken of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Over the past couple of years, we’ve had some good ones of blue water alone, but blue waters cradling seagrass beds, the life of the sea itself, this is “true beauty.”
These improvements have only been possible due to recent ACOE policy decisions – no major Lake O discharges for over three and one half years, and Mother Nature, who so far, has not brought any of her discontent our way.
At this time, it is in order to thank former City of Stuart Mayor, Merritt Matheson, who went to great lengths over the past four years to hold accountable and build relationships with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mayor Matheson led numerous boat tours and meetings inviting, colonels, commanders, and staff. His St Lucie River tours led by an elected, passionate, educated, local helped the ACOE understand the fragility of our region and the intense ecological and health impacts caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Mayor Matheson your efforts made a tremendous difference for the health of the St Lucie River. Thank you.