The Guardians of Martin County and the Indian River Lagoon

The American Flag Flying. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, House of Refuge)
The American flag flying.
(Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, House of Refuge.)

I have always admired those who are unafraid to stand up to the system. Since our country is built on the blood of revolutionaries, I feel this is “American.” And the Guardians of Martin County certainly are not afraid to stand up.(

You might recall around 2010, when there were two DRIs,  (Developments of Regional Impact), (,  possibly planned to be built in Martin County and therefore go before the county commission. In a short period of time, the Guardians, and some others,  mobilized, and then, before you knew it, the  face of the county commission had changed to more “non-development,” and the DRIs were not supported.

I am not anti business. I am a real estate agent and come from a family of  attorneys,  farmers, and teachers, who worked hard in this country,  since the 1700s on my mother’s side,  to build a decent life in mostly difficult times. My heritage is  one of people who respect property rights and “mean business.”

Nonetheless, we all know that business often does not consider the costs of over development, and although “over development” is certainly a matter of personal perspective, one thing is certain, development affects one’s quality of life and the quality of water in the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, as all runoff eventually ends up in the river. Our waterways and our aquifers need “land” to survive.

In the document Florida, Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900-1990, Martin County’s numbers are the following beginning in 1920: —-; 1930: 5111; 1940: 6295; 1950: 7807; 1960: 16,932; 1970: 28,035; 1980: 64,014; and 1990: 100,900.(

A recent Martin County Commission publication states 2000’s population number at 1126, 731 and in 2010, at 146,318.

Having lived in Martin County since 1965 and my father’s side of the family since 1952, I have grown up hearing the stories of change, and the glory and health  of the area’s original beauty.

If one looks at the population numbers of most of the other Florida coastal counties, the population growth of Martin County is minimal. Dade County for instance went from 42,753 people in 1920 to approximately 2,496,435 today.

My soil scientist grandfather who worked for IFAS, the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences,  at University of Florida, (, used to tell me stories about driving from Gainesville to Dade County in the early days to take soil samples; today there wouldn’t be many in those same areas left to take.

Even if the Guardians sometimes make “business as usual” difficult, I thank and commend them for protecting the beauty, water, and quality of life we still have left in Martin County.

I would also like to thank the Guardians who have always supported my river work and that of the River Kidz/Rivers Coallition. Recently the Guardians  asked  if they could post my husband and my booklet: “Lake Okeechobee Releases 2013,” an aerial  story, on their website. I am honored and I thank them! Click here for electronic version of river booklet: (

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