Hurricane Shutters Up; I’m Ready…

Over the past weekend, August 1 & 2nd 2020, I looked at my phone for a National Hurricane Center update:

“Tropical Storm Isaias May Become a Hurricane.” 

I sat there dreaming…

“What if it really speeds up?” 

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Isaias

I checked my handy note card: Category 1,  74-95 miles per hour; Category 2, 96-110 miles per hour. I recalled Francis and Jeanne and Wilma.

In spite of the news reports, Isaias did not speed up. The storm didn’t even come ashore. There was no rain. 

Early this morning my husband, Ed, drank his coffee. Our eyes met. “I feel like we wasted the whole weekend,”  he said. 

“Wasted the whole weekend?” I inquired. “What would you prefer? Destruction?” Ed smirked. 

Hurricane Dorian2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Dorian

It’s a weird feeling. The feeling that you’re going to get clobbered, preparing, and then it doesn’t happen at all.  I recall Hurricane Dorian, September 1st of last year. I was convinced “this was it” – the end of all things material that I loved. I carried around  a small box of my most dear possessions. Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5, hovered over and dismantled the Bahamas, but never arrived…

When Ed and I first moved into our home in Sewall’s Point, my neighbors told me they put hurricane shutters up on half the house every August. I thought they were being extremists. I rolled my eyes. Now, with so many fits and starts, I’ve begun to do the same. 

Ed wanted to wait until September, but I thought, “you know, Isaias, this is an opportunity. An opportunity to plan, just in case Mother Nature isn’t crying wolf.

So the bedroom is darker, and the living room needs lamps to read. But me? I feel ready. I feel prepared

Atlantic Hurricane Season: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/

Lake O Algae Visible Again

You may have seen my most recent Lake Okeechobee post from July 25, 2020? After algae aerials since May 8th, my dear husband, Ed, said he saw no algae. Ed and I had a back and forth -me saying the algae “was hiding.” Hiding in the water column. Ed saying it was gone. Well, guess what? I was correct… 

Today, July 29, only four days later, the cyanobacteria is back. There was one positive to it all. Ed added to his long list of esteemed flight guests, Ft Meyer’s Captains Chris Whitman and Daniel Andrews – the faces of Captains for Clean Water. The east and west coasts of Florida have been advocating together since the days of the Sugarland Rally in 2013. East and west, an important water alliance. 

According to Ed, “the algae was bright and visible over the majority of the western,  and southern-central portion of the lake, but became less dense as one approached Port Mayaca.” 

“Were you surprised the cyanobacteria had returned?” I asked. 

Ed had a very simple answer: “yes.” 

Ed also said it was a great to hosts the Captains. What an honor. 

Below are some of Ed and Captain Daniel’s photographs from Wednesday, July 29, 2020. You will see, with the sun shining, the lake is once again, visibly, full of algae. This is important documentation for the Army Corp of Engineers as we possibly face a very wet weekend. 

Havens and Hoyer diagram from study of cyanophyte movements.Courtesy, Joe Gilio.
Courtesy of Captain Daniel Andrews-off southwestern shore

Courtesy of pilot Ed Lippisch-southern to southwestern shore of L.O.

St Lucie Connections – Lost Through Time

Excerpt from 1839 Map of the Seat of War in Florida compiled by order of Brid. Gen. Z. Taylor principally from the surveys and reconnaissances of the Officers of the U.S. Army.

The following of which you will recognize many names and places, was shared from my mother, Sandra Henderson Thurlow. For years it lie dormant in her history files.

Written in 1881 as an article in an old time newspaper, The Florida Star, the article describes the location of pioneers living near the river and the extent of the St Lucie River itself. It is told that the South Fork of the St Lucie was connected all the way “westward of the Jupiter Lighthouse having its origin in the Everglades.”  Since 1881, we have drained so much of Florida that we only know its remnant. Imagine what it was like. Read, dream, and enjoy! 

From The Florida Star, Titusville, Florida, February 23, 1881, “Indian River” by Elias B. Wager, transcribed by Sandra H. Thurlow 

One mile south of Judge Paine’s is the mouth of Taylor Creek; on the left bank of which is the residence of Mr. Alex. Bell. Opposite the creek the oyster bars decrease. Two miles south from Bell’s is the old parade ground at Fort Pierce some of the of which are yet visible, extending quite a distance back to where was a watch tower commanding an extensive view of the river. Here is a fine spring of water bursting out from under the river-bank. Here also is the site of a store kept by Mr. Hogg. Going southward from Fort Pierce and passing several old places along the  skirted western bank, we find Herman’s Grove about eleven miles from Fort Pierce. This grove, a valuable piece of property is owned by a man living at Key West. About two miles from Herman’s Grove, is the clearing and home of Mr. T. E. Richards, late of Newark, planted to orange trees and the pine-apple. He has a clearing on the east shore of the river also, for growing vegetables, etc. Six miles from Mr. Richards is Mount Elizabeth, crowned with hummock of Cabbage Palmetto, the home of J. S. Fowler, late of New York. The river at this point is some two and one-half or three miles wide. Nearly opposite Mount Elizabeth and on the east bank of the river is the “Old Cuban’s Place.” Here grows the bananas very luxuriantly. The distance from the eastern shore of the river to the beach, is some three or four hundred yards. The river from Indian River Inlet to the Narrows is called St. Lucia Sound. Some three miles south from “Old Cuban’s Place” is located House of Refuge No. 2. Four miles south of Mt. Elizabeth and on the west side of the river is the mouth of the St. Lucie River. This river has a North and South Branch. Some ten miles above the meeting of the Branches, the North Branch separates into three streams, called Five, Ten, and Eleven Mile Creeks, indicating the distance from Ft. Capron to the several Fords used in the Seminole war.  The South Branch comes from away down to the Westward of Jupiter Lighthouse, having its origin in the Everglades. It has two branches from the Westward which have their sources in the “Big Cypress” and are called Big and Little Cane Creeks, and abound in black bass.

No Visible Algae in Lake O? Really Hunny?

This past Saturday, July 25, 2020, my husband, Ed, flew across the state to Ft Meyers  to visit pilot and fellow River Warrior, Dave Stone. Along for the ride were two other friends, Scott Kuhns and Don Page. 

Before the men flew off, I asked the question, like a tape-recorded message: “Could you please take some photos of the algae in Lake Okeechobee?”

Sure,” Ed replied. “But we’re just going straight across.”

The afternoon went by, and when Ed returned home, my first question was, “Did you see any algae?”

“No,” he answered. “Didn’t you look at the photos I shared?”

I looked at my phone and clicked on the 52 photos. “No visible algae in Lake Okeechobee? Really hunny?

…Where did you guys fly?”

Ed took a long breath. “I told you Jacqui- straight across.”  

“What was your altitude?” I shot out. 

“About 2000 feet; why are you asking?” Ed looked at me with wide eyes.  

“Were you talking to Scott and Don so much that you didn’t really look?” I inquired. 

Ed looked me straight in the eye: “Jacqui, we were ALL looking. I told you, there was none, zero, nada.”

“Hmm.” I mused. “Why then aren’t there any photos of the central or west side of the lake?” 

“Because there wasn’t any algae!” His final reply.  

So today, I share Ed’s photos.

They highlight Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee, C-44 Canal, St Lucie Inlet, Hutchinson Island (with a lot of seaweed), Sailfish Flats (seagrass kind of coming back), and Sewall’s Point (with very little seagrass around Bird Island.) Nonetheless, you’ll see that the water itself looks better all around.

And the algae?

It is wonderful that Ed and his friends saw no visible algae.” Really great.

“Visible” though is the key word here. Cyanobacteria is known for its ability to move up and down in the water column. Sunlight is key. My brother Todd’s website eyeonlakeo reveals daily pass satellites Terra, Aqua -there was heavy cloud cover over Lake Okeechobee parts of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

In 2016, the year the lake was 90% covered in algae, Dr Edward Philips of the University of Florida Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Science was quoted in an Okeechobee publication. I thought it explained all so well, I wrote it down: 

“Cyanobacteria have gas vesicles which act as buoyancy control devices. The vesicles can be expanded and filled with gas, causing the cyanobacteria to float on the surface, or deflated, which causes the cyanobacteria to descend into the water column. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on.”

No Visible Algae in LakeO? Really Hunny? 

Ed and I will back up in the air again soon! 🙂

~Your Eye in the Sky,

Jacqui and Ed 

Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee

C-44 Canal and S-80. Now closed. 

St Luice Inlet and Hutchinson Island 

Sailfish Flats between Hutchison Island and Sewall’s Point.

Fly Over! SFWMD Current Canal Network Satellite Image

SFWMDCurrentCanalNetworkCurrentSatelliteImage-PDF LARGER IMAGE

Today’s canal map of South Florida is the third I’ve shared. These recently created maps are the work of SFWMD’s Z.(Ken) Chen, Ph.D., GISP, Supervisor, Geospatial Mapping Services Unit, and his very talented team: Lexie Hoffart, Nicole Miller, and Erica Moylan SFWMD’s GIS. 

You can find all of the maps and more at the SFWMD’s “Map Gallery.” It is located at the public facing GIS site (https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/gis). Or you may use the following link for direct access to the maps: https://sfwmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=1facf32f199240b49a326432258c102f SFWMD Current Canal Network with Current Satellite Image (today’s share); SFWMD Current Canal Network with 1940-1953 Historic Images (298linework); SFWMD Current Canal Network with 1940-1953 Historic Images (Simple Version). Also, I provided an easy link at the top of this page to view the map in large format where you can easily save as a PDF on your desktop. 

You may have noticed that I love maps!

Exploring these maps of Dr Chen and Team, in particular,  allows one to fly with out an airplane! I am always surprised by what I see and learn. You may be too! Through knowledge we shall achieve a clean water future. 

The map key’s bright colors display areas where 298 special drainage districts exist. Many go back to 1913 or before and all were designated by the Florida Legislature. Fascinating! How does this all tie in? (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0200-0299/0298/0298.html)

Words of Dr Chen satellite map:

  1. Current Satellite Imagery

The satellite images are from Landsat data that are the most recent cloud-free (e.g. <10% cloud coverage) images over our areas of interest. The sensor on Landsat is called TM or Thematic Mapper. Therefore these images are usually called Landsat data or TM data. Because these individual TM images (or scenes) are processed by USGS following a standard Landsat imagery processing process, and exported to a standard imagery format, therefore it was not very technically challenging when we mosaicked or stitched them together. But the mosaicking was a very time-consuming process because imagery processing always requires a lot of computer time (i.e. CPU and GPU intensive) partially due to the fact of large file size of images as well as the nature of imagery processing. During the mosaicking process, we cropped out the black edges of the individual scenes and applied a limited tonal balancing to minimized the tonal contrasts between the individual scenes.

Dr Ken Chen

~Blog Posts: 

Canal Network of SF w/Historic Imagery, Simple Version 1940-53, SFWMD https://wp.me/p3UayJ-b8N

Current Canal Network of SF w/Historic Imagery 1940-1953 Map, SFMWD https://wp.me/p3UayJ-b83

Wind Blows LakeO Algae Bloom West

Today’s flight, 7-18-20,  revealed a lack-luster colored algae bloom blown to the southwest area of Lake Okeechobee. Rather than the florescent green often seen, there was more of a pea-green conglomeration against the west side. But it was there. 

We continue to be your eye in sky…

Jacqui & Ed

Simple Version, Canal Network of SF w/Historic Imagery 1940-53, SFWMD

Current Canal Network of SF w/Historic Imagery 1940-1953 Map (Simple Version), SFWMD, created by supervisor of Geospatial Mapping, Dr Ken Chen, and his team: Lexie Hoffart, Nicole Miller, and Erika Moylan.

~Today’s map has almost the same name as July 11, 2020’s shared map, but it is “simple,” as the 298 drainage districts are not marked. To best view this image go to South Florida Water Management District’s Featured Map Gallery, click on the image, and then export the PDF to your desktop. An easy way is to link here to the image entitled SFWMD Current Canal Network with 1940-1953 Historic Images Simple Version  (2nd row, 3rd to right) then go to “File” and “Export as a PDF.”

Once downloaded to you desktop, you can zoom in and move up and down wherever you wish to go. North, south, east, west, central. What will you see? You will perceive the modern mapped canal network of South Florida atop hundreds of historic aerial photographs that have been stitched together. These maps are the first of their kind. 

This image gives us a clear idea of what canals drain South Florida. I don’t think ever in one place has this information been so visually available.

I will use the east coast of Florida to zoom into with screen shots for examples, as this is my home. Later, hopefully, you can use your zoom feature as described at the beginning of this blog post to downloaded the map as a  PDF for an even closer view. It will blow you away! 

In the images below, from north to south, we see St Lucie; Martin; Palm Beach; Broward; and Miami-Dade Counties with in the footprint of the  Central and South Florida Plan, now managed by the South Florida Water Management District. Mind you many of these canals in the map pre-date the SFWMD. 

Oh my gosh! Look at all these canals! Look at the wetland images they rest upon. Most children grow up today not even knowing…

The canals are almost everywhere draining what was once of the largest wetlands in the world. Think of all the animals that once roamed and swam here. According to Mark Perry, CEO of Florida Oceanographic, through these canals approximately  1.7 million gallons of fresh water a day is drained to tide.

Kind of weird isn’t it. Like we are living on a squeezed out sponge. Looking at this map makes me want to rethink Florida. How about you? 

CLICK ON EACH COUNTIES IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND SEE ALL OF THE CANALS OVER ONCE WETLANDS – as revealed in 1940-1953 aerials taken by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture.  

Again~

To understand the creation and complexity of the maps I am including the following words of Dr Ken Chen  Ph.D., GISP, Supervisor, Geospatial Mapping Services UnitInformation Technology Bureau, South Florida Water Management District. I had asked him to describe what was entailed with the historic imaging. Thank you to Dr Chen and Team whose talent, research, and time made these maps possible. 

  1. Historical aerials (1940 – 1953)

“Sources of historical aerials, especially 1940s and 1950s, are very scarce, especially for such a large area in South Florida. Therefore our focus was to get whatever we could find online regardless cloud cover or quality of images. As you know, all of those old images were recorded in an analog format (i.e. film or paper), instead of digital. Some (maybe all) of those films/paper images were later scanned and saved to a digital format and made available online. Scanning usually results in loss of imagery quality. For this canal map project, we were fortunately able to locate aerial index images (I would call them aerials index panels), after weeks of online research including data download and review. Each index panel displays a group of aerials in sequence over a specific area. For instance, say 200 images from #1 to #200 over an entire county. These index panels are usually used for aerial imagery management and archival purposes, just like a library index card for images. There is no information at all regarding how those index panels were created, but they are seemingly made via camera shooting or scanning of a group of stacked paper images or positive films. The index panels are simple graphics or pictures without any geospatial information, such as projection, coordinate system etc. The first step to process these index panels, prior to mosaicking, was to geo-rectify and inject geospatial information into the images. To do so staff needed to identify ground control points. It’s very challenging to identify those points in those very old images due to lack of apparent landmarks, e.g. road intersections. This is particularly difficult in the middle of nowhere across the vast wetlands in 1940s-1950s. So staff tried to use a very few of the intersections between rivers, canals and a few major roads to geo-rectify the panels and assigned appropriate geospatial information into them to make them georeferenced images. Then staff clipped each panel image to trim out the white or black edges before stitching all of them together for the majority of south Florida.

The original aerials were collected by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. The aerials index panels were obtained from the Univ. of Florida’s Imagery Library. One thing to note – it’s very evident that there are strong image vignetting effects in the old aerials – bright in the center and getting darker toward the edges. That is an inherent optical artifact in the analog images and can not be corrected during the post processing.

This may be more than you asked for. I’m not sure if I have explained this clearly. To summarize it, this process can be simply illustrated in the following format:

Online search of available sources of data -> data download and review to accept or reject -> identify ground control points (GCP) in prep for image processing -> Using GCPs to georectify the index panels -> inject geospatial information into the panel pictures to make them georeferenced images -> remove the white/black edges -> Mosaick all georectified index panel images -> clip the mosaic to the district’s boundaries before use in the maps.

I forgot to mention the number of historical aerials we used to create the historical mosaic. We used totally 84 aerial index panels. Each panel consists of roughly 50+ to 200+ individual aerials, depending upon the geographic area each panel covers. I can’t get the exact number of aerials, my best guess the number would be ~7,000+-12,000.”

-Ken

Dr Chen

Current Canal Network of SF w/Historic Imagery 1940-1953 Map, SFMWD

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) FEATURED MAPS: 5, *6, 7 https://sfwmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=1facf32f199240b49a326432258c102f

Today I am very excited to begin sharing maps created by SFWMD Supervisor of Geospatial Mapping, Dr Ken Chen, and team: Lexie Hoffart, Nicole Miller, and Erika Moylan. These maps allow us to “see” Florida in a way never seen before! 

I will start first with the map entitled Current Canal Network of South Florida with Historic Imagery 1940  to 1953 (298-linework). This map is best viewed after you export the PDF to your desktop. In Safari this can be done by linking to SWMDCurrentCanalNetworkHistoricImages, then “File” and “Export as a PDF.” 

Once downloaded to you desktop, you can zoom in and move up and down where you wish to go. What will you see? You will see the modern mapped canal network of South Florida atop hundreds of historic aerial photographs that have been stitched together. Incredible! 

Tommy Strowd, former Assistant Executive Director of Operations, Maintenance & Construction at the SFWMD now Executive Director of the Lake Worth Drainage District eloquently states: “These maps are beautiful completed puzzles that clearly show probably the best photographic evidence of what the pre-drainage landscape looked like before the the C&SF Project and the vast system of secondary and tertiary drainage ditches were constructed.”

So this map juxtaposes Florida’s pre-C&SF Project drainage landscape to the canals that drain that remaining landscape today…

The current canal system includes the Primary System of the South Florida Water Management District, Works of the District; Other Canals Streams or Rivers; and the Secondary /Tertiary System including 298 Special Drainage District canals, and other canals, streams or rivers.

As an example, let’s zoom into St Lucie, Martin, and northern Palm Beach Counties. The pastel colors denote 298 Special Drainage Districts, some like the Lake Worth Drainage District go back to the 1913 General Drainage Laws of Florida. The Central and South Florida Project -what we think of when we think of the SFWMD-was constructed starting in 1948. Just a quick glance reveals the extensive wetlands that have been drained by the primary and secondary/tertiary systems. Wow! Now we can “see” how we drained the land and contemplate our water past as well as our water future. 

What a great learning tool to understand and improve water quality!

Close up: St Lucie and Martin County: primary SFWMD canals (blue large), along with secondary/tertiary (smaller blue) some could be under purview of county or otherwise. Independent special/drainage districts-298s (color). Many historic creek/s were made into canals such as today’s C-243 and C24 in St Lucie County that discharge into St Lucie River. This area was once home to the famed Halpatiokee Swamp.
Palm Beach County has 18 298 special drainage districts! I counted a total of 66 within the SFWMD C&SF boarders.

To understand the creation and complexity of the maps I am including the following words of Dr Ken Chen  Ph.D., GISP, Supervisor, Geospatial Mapping Services UnitInformation Technology Bureau, South Florida Water Management District. I had asked him to describe what was entailed with the historic imaging. Thank you to Dr Chen and Team whose talent, research, and time made these maps possible. 

  1. Historical aerials (1940 – 1953)

“Sources of historical aerials, especially 1940s and 1950s, are very scarce, especially for such a large area in South Florida. Therefore our focus was to get whatever we could find online regardless cloud cover or quality of images. As you know, all of those old images were recorded in an analog format (i.e. film or paper), instead of digital. Some (maybe all) of those films/paper images were later scanned and saved to a digital format and made available online. Scanning usually results in loss of imagery quality. For this canal map project, we were fortunately able to locate aerial index images (I would call them aerials index panels), after weeks of online research including data download and review. Each index panel displays a group of aerials in sequence over a specific area. For instance, say 200 images from #1 to #200 over an entire county. These index panels are usually used for aerial imagery management and archival purposes, just like a library index card for images. There is no information at all regarding how those index panels were created, but they are seemingly made via camera shooting or scanning of a group of stacked paper images or positive films. The index panels are simple graphics or pictures without any geospatial information, such as projection, coordinate system etc. The first step to process these index panels, prior to mosaicking, was to geo-rectify and inject geospatial information into the images. To do so staff needed to identify ground control points. It’s very challenging to identify those points in those very old images due to lack of apparent landmarks, e.g. road intersections. This is particularly difficult in the middle of nowhere across the vast wetlands in 1940s-1950s. So staff tried to use a very few of the intersections between rivers, canals and a few major roads to geo-rectify the panels and assigned appropriate geospatial information into them to make them georeferenced images. Then staff clipped each panel image to trim out the white or black edges before stitching all of them together for the majority of south Florida.

The original aerials were collected by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. The aerials index panels were obtained from the Univ. of Florida’s Imagery Library. One thing to note – it’s very evident that there are strong image vignetting effects in the old aerials – bright in the center and getting darker toward the edges. That is an inherent optical artifact in the analog images and can not be corrected during the post processing.

This may be more than you asked for. I’m not sure if I have explained this clearly. To summarize it, this process can be simply illustrated in the following format:

Online search of available sources of data -> data download and review to accept or reject -> identify ground control points (GCP) in prep for image processing -> Using GCPs to georectify the index panels -> inject geospatial information into the panel pictures to make them georeferenced images -> remove the white/black edges -> Mosaick all georectified index panel images -> clip the mosaic to the district’s boundaries before use in the maps.

I forgot to mention the number of historical aerials we used to create the historical mosaic. We used totally 84 aerial index panels. Each panel consists of roughly 50+ to 200+ individual aerials, depending upon the geographic area each panel covers. I can’t get the exact number of aerials, my best guess the number would be ~7,000+-12,000.”

-Ken

Dr Chen

 

 

LakeO Update Sunday, July 5, 2020

Keeping up the Lake Okeechobee algae bloom documentation, Ed and I flew from Stuart to Lake Okeechobee during a hazy, hot high-noon, on Sunday, July 5, 2020. The algae was much toned down from our previous flights in June. Nonetheless, one could see the pattern, the outline, of the giant bloom from above. Rain may have disrupted its perk but the bloom remains in the water column. The most visual appeared to be in the middle of the lake and again, about a mile or so off Port Mayaca. 

I have included photographs of the journey: St Lucie River at Palm City; flying over western lands and under construction C-44 Reservoir/STA ; FPL cooling pond; algae in Lake O; Clewiston; south rim of lake with agriculture and sugar fields; Indiantown and Hwy. 710; DuPuis and Corbett Wildlife Areas;  one glance back to Lake Okeechobee; and an updated 2020 “Covid-19 portrait” of Ed and me. 

We will continue to document throughout the summer. Keep up the fight! Stop the Discharges! Stop the Algae

~Your eye in the sky

Jacqui & Ed 

St Lucie River at Palm City
Western lands and C-44 Reservoir/STA under construction-5 STA cells  filled
FPL cooling pond and edge of LO
Algae in LO off Port Mayaca
Closer to center of LO

Clewiston
Southern shoreline and agriculture fields, mostly sugarcane
Southeastern shoreline
Port Mayaca, DuPuis, Corbett Wildlife Management Area-dark green

This shot, below, was taken flying back east over the Village of Indiantown. Highway 710 is seen bisecting neighboring Dupuis and Corbett Wildlife Area and John and Mariana Jones Hungryland Wildlife Area. I will be writing more about the protected areas and the highway that cuts through them in the future. 

“Hey get rid of that plastic water bottle would ya? 100 degrees or not!” Jacqui & Ed 2020

119 Miles and Only a Barracuda?

My brother Todd took a family fishing expedition on Saturday, June 28, 2020. 119 miles! His journey may not have revealed many fish out in the deep ocean, but there was tremendous visible life in the Indian River Lagoon and nearshore ocean. Good to see!

http://www.thethurlows.com/Fishing06282020/360%20Pictures/index.html#img=IMG_20200628_120339_00_674.jpg

Todd:

“Beautiful flat day. 119 miles and only a barracuda, but it was fun.

Saw hundreds of Pelicans diving on the silver minnows near the power plant. That is probably to most Pelicans I have ever seen in one place locally, including bird island.

Also in all my life I have never seen the fin of a shark at the sandbar. After looking at my photos, I am pretty sure is was a little Scalloped Hammerhead. I cropped a comparison from the online guide and a link to the entire guide. I couldn’t see the head but the fins seem to match. The few people who saw it thought it was a Bull Shark but I didn’t think so. A Bull Shark fin isn’t as sharp.”

Below are photos of the hundreds of happy brown pelicans and also photos of the juvenile scalloped hammerhead shark. Don’t be scared! It’s just  a young shark. The estuaries are their home. These and all sharks are protected species and many like the scalloped hammerhead, globally endangered due to overfishing. Mostly for shark fin soup! Awful.

Well, there’s nothing like a day on the water! Fish or no fish. 119 miles is never for nothing around here!

How Things Change ~1971 Aerial East Ocean Blvd.

Stuart, St Lucie River, Sewall’s Point, Indian River Lagoon, and Hutchinson Island, Atlantic Ocean, Martin County, Florida 1971

St Luice Blvd (L) East Ocean Blvd.(R)  1971, courtesy, archives historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

“I have enjoyed looking at this aerial taken in 1971. Too bad our little house on Edgewood is out of the photo. It shows the location of the future Monterey Road through the Krueger property. The Krueger building to house Merrill Lynch has not been built yet but you can see the little surgery center was already built. I think I can see Mimi and Grampy Tom’s house in Snug Harbor–at least the driveway. So many things yet to be built.” Mom

My mom, local historian, Sandra Thurlow, recently shared this aerial with my brother, sister and me as we grew up here in Martin County. It’s a really great photograph capturing a growing community. Look how Hutchinson Island, Sewall’s Point, and even parts of East Ocean were undeveloped. No Indian River Plantation, later renamed “Marriott Hutchinson Island.” No Cedar Point Plaza. No Benihana! White sands shine through the remaining forest denoting scrub habit, home to threatened and endangered scrub jays and gopher turtles. This sand pine scrub habitat that made up most of Florida’s east coast is now considered one of the most endangered habitats in the world. The East Ocean Mall on the right sits next to a flower farm. At this time flower farms were giving way to roads and development. Already, the freshwater ponds have been directed and drained, and obviously thousands of sand pines have been mowed down for condos, houses, farms, roads, and shopping centers. By 1971 this area was fully on its way to build-out as we see below in 2020.  Nonetheless, from air and ground this area of Martin County stands out as one of the most beautiful.

But it would be fun to bring back some of the scrub habitat ~easy to do by just altering our yards. How things could change…

Close-up Google Earth 2020
Google Earth 2020

 

Father’s Day LakeO Flight

Documenting Algae Bloom in Lake Okeechobee, 2020, 

Algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee from 10,000 feet for a wide view. King’s Bar Shoal left near Kissimmee River and City of Okeechobee. FPL cooling pond on eastern shore near S-308 and C-44 Canal in Martin County. Aerial, Ed Lippisch 6-21-20

On Sunday, before we celebrated Father’s Day with family, once again, my husband and fellow River Warrior, Ed, flew the Baron for necessary time on the engines. As he was walking out the door I asked: “Could you please fly over Lake Okeechobee again? I’m curious about that bloom.”

“OK, but I’m going north first.”  

Ed and I have been documenting this year’s algae bloom since May 3rd

Upon Ed’s return, he told me that this time, the algae bloom appears to be located further north, as well as south. You can see the algae near  King’s Bar Shoal-the  distinct “island” looking  structure, visible now, near mouth of the Kissimmee River. 

These aerials are taken from 10,000 feet, much higher than usual,  so the effect is different. When you seen the “wrinkles” on the water, that is the bloom.

One day, may there be an algae-free Lake Okeechobee, for future fathers and for future father’s kids. 

 

C-44 Reservoir/STA Aerial Update -June 2020

C-44 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area (STA) 

After weeks of algae Lake O shots, when my husband, Ed, went up in the Baron on June 17th, 2020,  I looked at him and said: “Could you please also take some photos of the C-44 Reservoir and STA for an update? I need a positive fix.”

Thus today’s photos of the C-44 Reservoir/STA in Martin County, off the C-44 canal near Indiantown, share good news. Most important for me, the pictures reveal that many more of the STA cells are slowly getting filled with water -in December 2019 they started with one as Governor DeSantis pulled the lever. One can see many more cells are now filled. When complete, these cells will cleanse tremendous amounts of nutrient polluted water prior to entry into the St Lucie River. The ACOE projects that construction will be completed by next year. It has been in progress for many years and is a” cooperative” between the ACOE (reservoir) and SFWMD (STA) and a component of CERP

Program: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)

“Located on approximately 12,000 acres on the northern side of the St. Lucie Canal in western Martin County, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project will capture local basin runoff…”  ~SFWMD Achieve More Now” 

There are maps and links at the bottom of this post should you like to learn more. Thank you to all over the years and today helping with the completion of the C-44 Reservoir STA as we work to save the St Lucie River.  

LINKS

Computer Generated Model: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BsC0BoIPJ4

ACOE INFO SHEET:(https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/util s/getfile/collection/p16021coll11/id/4599)Without

Martin County: “Martin County’s land acquisition efforts, this most critical and important project would not be under construction today.” (https://www.martin.fl.us/land-acquisition)

JTL  Past blog posts

SFWMD FIELD TRIP 2019 (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2019/11/11/a-fly-over-a-field-trip-and-watching-the-governor-activate-the-c-44-sta/)

EARLY FLY OVER 2014 (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/c-44-sta-and-reservoir/)

HISTORY: A LOOK BACK TO THE ORANGE GROVES OF TODAY’S C-44 RESERVOIR 1964 AERIALS: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/10/29/a-look-back-to-the-orange-groves-of-todays-acoe-sfwmds-c-44-reservoirsta-1964-slrirl/)

Red Balloon with black dot signifies footprint of former orange groves that became the footprint  of C-44 Reservoir STA approx. 10,000 to 12,000 acres

Algae Overview North, South, East, West LakeO

Because the Baron needs hours on the engine, my husband Ed and I have been up in the sky a lot lately. Sometimes I am with him and sometimes I am not, but through technology we are always connected. 

Today I am sharing all aerials Ed took yesterday, 6-17-20, that continue to document a very expansive algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee. 

So where exactly is the algae? I can tell you, from the sky, flying over the central and southern part of the lake -at two, to five thousand feet -going two-hundred miles per hours -it sometimes becomes one giant blur of green. Right now, the bloom is visible mostly in the south central (east, west and central) areas of the lake, not in the north.

Seeing the algae depends on lighting and some areas are brighter than others, but when the sun hits the water just right, a sheen is everywhere.

About a mile and a half off Port Mayaca’s S-308 on the east side is the brightest and weirdest of all often displaying geometric formations due to boat traffic through the channel.

The ACOE has been flowing C-44 into the lake at S-308 but this certainly is not the cause of all the algae. Ed and I have years of documentation. The lake is eutrophic. Winds also affect the collection and formation of the algae. For a deeper dive into this you can visit my brother Todd Thurlow’s website EyeOnLakeO.

Here are all photos 6-17-20 with some comment clues and GPS. I have made one comment and then all photos that follow are the same location just a different angle. Use the GPS too. Question? Just ask! 

~Eye in the Sky