April Fools? ACOE Temporarily Halts Lake O Flow for WQ Bacteria Testing, SLR/IRL

S-80 (Structure 80) along the C-44 canal in Martin County sits still. The ACOE has temporarily stopped the flow from Lake Okeechobee for bacteria testing by MC. (Photo Ed Lippisch, piloted by Scott Kuhns, 4-1-15)
S-80 (Structure 80) along the C-44 canal in Martin County sits still. The ACOE has temporarily stopped the flow from Lake Okeechobee for bacteria testing by MC. (Photo Ed Lippisch; plane piloted by Scott Kuhns, 4-1-15)

While I  was at my brother and sister-in-law’s house yesterday, dropping off my niece, Mary, I heard a shriek from upstairs. Mary’s sisters had put vaseline on her door knob so that she couldn’t get inside her bedroom. I head them all yell out: APRIL FOOLS!

It brought back memories of a long forgotten youth. It was funny.

There was something else that happened yesterday, April 1st, 2015 along the Treasure Coast but it was no joke. The ACOE stopped the flow of nutrient and sediment filled Lake Okeechobee water to the St Lucie River/Southern Indian River Lagoon—-TEMPORARILY.

This is actually an amazing example of something good in world that seems dictatorial and  insensitive most of the time. During the ACOE Periodic Scientists Calls over the past weeks the stakeholders of the NOAA, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, SRWMD, FWCC, FDEP, FDACS, City of Sanibel, Ft Meyers Beach, Lee County, Martin County, St Lucie County,  Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Audubon, other members of the public such as Mark Perry representing Florida Oceanographic, and a few I am sure I have forgotten (sorry) agreed, and weather allowed for the discharges to be halted so that Martin County can proceed with bacteria testing in hot spots of the St Lucie River.

I think this is amazing. And this gives me hope that one day there will be an agreement in other areas of our government bureaucracy to redirect and halt the damaging discharges indefinitely. Getting agreement and support on this as asked by Martin County from all agencies and stakeholders and then the final say from the ACOE was no small feat. Thank you everyone.

The rest of this blog post will show photos taken yesterday by my husband, Ed Lippisch while the plane was piloted by friend, Scott Kuhns. The photos show the S-80 structure that connects Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River at a standstill yesterday. A beautiful sight. Wouldn’t it be great if one day it will were a museum piece to remind us of a time when we were so were “so stupid.”

I am also sharing Martin County Health Department data on bacteria levels of enterococcus, (basically, bacteria found in human and or animal waste ). Any reading over 35 is “bad,” and shown in yellow or red. The data goes back to 2012 when Senator Negron helped increase funding for even more testing. At one point in 2013 the test site at C-23 canal was changed to the Sandbar.

Just so you know, there were releases in 2012, but I do not know the dates, it was  later in the year as I remember the River Kidz holding a protest at the Locks; in 2013 the ACOE/SFWMD dumped from  May 8th through Oct 21–this was our lost summer; in 2014 there was no dumping but you will see bacteria levels were still often high; and in 2015 the dumping starting early, January 16th and did not stop temporarily until yesterday, April 1st 2015.

The other data is from Florida Oceanographic done by their volunteer team.

Hope you had a fun April Fools and we all know that although I am in a better mood today than yesterday, the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, is no joke.

Long view of the C-44 canal and S-80. This canal connects Lake O to the SRL.. (Photo Ed Lippisch, 4-1-15.)
Long view of the C-44 canal and S-80. This canal connects Lake O to the SRL.. (Photo Ed Lippisch, 4-1-15.)
Another shot.
Another shot.
Water Quality report 3-16-15, FOS)
Water Quality report 3-16-15, FOS)
MCHD 3-16-15.
MCHD 3-16-15.


RE Martin County bacterial tracking Report:
3/26/2015 update: Samples collected on Monday, March 23, 2015 at the Roosevelt Bridge and Leighton Park Bridge (old Palm City) are still exceeding acceptable ranges for enterococcus bacteria. The advisory to avoid contact with the water at both locations is still in effect to ensure chronic conditions do not exist. Samples will be collected again on Monday, March 30, 2015.

RE Lake Okeechobee Releases:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will be continuing discharges at S-79 at the same level as last week. However, the target discharges are reduced at S-80. The target flows over a 7-day period will be an average of 2500 cfs at S-79 and 500 cfs at S-80 cfs. These discharges will be made in a pulse-like manner (see attached). These releases will start Friday, 27 March 2015 at 0700 hrs and end on Friday, 03 April 2015 at 0700 hrs.

RE: FOS Water Quality Report:
Upstream of the Roosevelt Bridge river conditions are much the same as last week; downstream there has been no significant improvement.

Thanks to all for your reports this week. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via waterdata@floridaocean.org .

Pam Hopkins (FOS)


ACOE Jacksonville: (www.saj.usace.army.mil)

Martin County Health Dept.: (http://martin.floridahealth.gov/index.html)

Florida Oceanographic: (http://www.floridaocean.org)

7 thoughts on “April Fools? ACOE Temporarily Halts Lake O Flow for WQ Bacteria Testing, SLR/IRL

  1. I talked with a Debora Demarzeo at the turkey creek boat dock(she work for you guys in stuart–Water management} and told her about how sand has provided food for the white pelicans all winter. This fresh water runoff was packed with menhaden up to where I stopped putting sand in. White pelicans specialize on eating minnows. About 30 hung out at the c-54 spillway all winter where rain washed calcium runoff into the water.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Turkey creek has been a real battle ground for months now . Yesterday morning there must have been 10 tons of jack cravel (fish) foaming up the water busting menhaden minows. Of course hundreds of pelicans. I pointed out schools of baby sheepshead(fish) living in totally fresh water. She said the mullet she was catching was dieing in her bait bucket and she would try putting beach sand in her bait bucket with the fresh water. I said it should add oxygen.She caught a big specald trout. I have been letting this fresh water runoff simmer down but now I think it might be important to put more sand in.


  3. I was going to exsplain to her how during our dry season Indian Summers we sometimes have rains that make all the mosquito eggs hatch out and then die because the water does not stay long enough.This would make it possible to eliminate them by using solar powered bug zappers in swamp areas. This way you should not have spray poison everywhere.


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