Time Capsule Flight to the Headwaters of the South Fork, 1940s to Today, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

Prong area of South Fork, St Lucie River also showing C-44 canal's connection. (1940 US Government aerials shared by Todd Thurlow.)
Historic map with beginnings of Google overlay showing pronged area of South Fork, St Lucie River, C-44 canal’s connection, and the many ponds that once spotted the landscape that are now filled with agriculture and development. (1940 US Government aerials shared by Todd Thurlow.)
C-44 canal 1940 map with beginnings of Google overlay. (Todd Thurlow)
C-44 canal 1940 map with beginnings of Google overlay emerging. (Todd Thurlow)

Link to video: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuYkQ26OZvg&feature=youtu.be)

0:34 – Roosevelt Bridge
0:39 – Note the Old 1934 two-lane drawbridge in use. The current drawbridge was built in 1964
1:05 – Palm City Bridge
1:22 – Indian Street Bridge
1:27 – Note the increase in width of the river — in some places from approx 225 feet to 460+ feet.
3:24 – Halpatiokee Park
3:24 – Note the old Gaines Highway “Humpback” Bridge (SR-76) in use in 1940.
3:42 – Okeechobee Waterway (C-44)
4:00 – St. Lucie Lock and Dam (—timetable from Todd Thurlow)


I continue to take great pleasure in featuring the “time-capsule flight” historic map and Google Earth work of my brother, Todd Thurlow.(http://thurlowpa.com)

Today’s short video focuses on our beloved South Fork area of the St Lucie River. This video visually juxtaposes 1940s U.S. Government maps to Google Earth images of today. The video begins over an undeveloped Horseshoe Point, Sewall’s Point, and St Lucie River proper and then travels in a southern direction to the wide fork of the St Lucie River and deep along its wild, winding, and African-looking curves. One sees the old Palm City and new Veteran’s Memorial bridges come and go, and notices the  build up over time of sand in the fork (maybe some from dredging and some from sediment build-up from Lake Okeechobee releases.) This serpentine and beautiful section of the South Fork is southerly of Highway 76 that runs out to Lake Okeechobee alone the C-44 canal.  Today’s I-95 exchange is also visible.

Broad overlay of maps South Fork. (Todd Thurlow)
Broad overlay of maps South Fork. (Todd Thurlow)

And the little ponds! My favorite! Just everywhere!This is most incredible to me as today they are “gone.” These hundreds, if not thousands of little ponds, once slowly increased and decreased in depth and size based on rainfall, overflowing at times, into the winding South Fork. One can still see the lush vegetation surrounding some of these areas.  Can you imaging the wildlife that used to be in our area? I so would have loved to have seen it but this trip is better than nothing! 

As the flight continues, “today’s”  development is neatly  stacked right up to the winding edge of the fork on the south side in particular…makes me think of septic tanks???

I have to say it nice that there is some land around the areas of the fork and I am sure local environmentalist have fought to keep this over the years. Nonetheless, if we had it to do over again, I think we would decide to leave a much wider birth around these important watersheds.

In the final minutes of the video we travel over the dreaded C-44 canal built in the 1920s, known in  its early years as  the “St Lucie Canal.”  This canal of course, connects Lake Okeechobee to a section of a second prong (fork) in the winding South Fork. The canal itself is wider and apparently the “connection is just “above” today’s Four Rivers which lies beyond the I-95 bridge and exchange and All American Marina.

Zooming in and out in time and place,  one can see the cleared lands around St Lucie Locks and Dam and white sand piled high from dredging on the north side of the canal….The picture fades in and out as we view the old locks structure compared to its “new and improved” version today….

I just love this stuff. It makes it all so easy to “see.”

The environmental destruction that is…I guess for others it is the sight of money and making a swamp “useful.” How ever you view it, the journey is an education.

Thank you to Todd for opening my eyes and for allowing me to travel in time and “place.”

C-44 canal Google Earth with St Lucie Locks and Dam. (Todd Thurlow Google Earth)
C-44 canal Google Earth with St Lucie Locks and Dam. (Todd Thurlow Google Earth)
1940 US Gov't map showing C-44 canal cut form Todd Thurlow's video.)
1940 US Gov’t map showing C-44 canal cut from Todd Thurlow’s video. Notice agriculture fields on top of what was a stream.

_______________________________

To see more of Todd’s work on my blog, search his name on my blog’s front page, go to my blog’s “About Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch” page or just google Todd Thurlow bluewatertt3 on You Tube.

10 thoughts on “Time Capsule Flight to the Headwaters of the South Fork, 1940s to Today, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. This work is invaluable!!! To think how many acre feet of water those ponds alone must have handled! Thank you, and please thank your brother for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At the Ted Moorehead Lagoonhouse today we had our monthly meeting.The subject was on underwater sounds(acustics). It was well presented and very interesting.Every fish makes its own sound . Underwater even small sounds can travil long distances. This could be a very usefull tool in making fishing regulations. To have statewide regulations is neanderthol. Some areas can be overrun with one species and totally without others. On the marine resource councils web site it is totally obvious that grouper love to eat lion fish. So in an area where you hear lots of lionfish making their sounds it would be obvious to have a ban on grouper.At port Canaveral I was told there is more red snapper than ever but they can not keep any. By thinning out one species it will alow its competition to come back and keep a healthy balance. I think underwater sounds can be a powerfull tool in making fishing regulations keep a healthy ecosystem.Right now our lagoon area is overrun with blowfish.By bringing their population down it would allow the creatures they are constantly killing to come back . Thank you and Tod for the work you do in making an interesting blog

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Who would ever think that being blind could be a positive thing? I could see where a blind person would have a big advantage over a seeing person in interpreting under water sounds to determine fish populations. I watched the Ray Charles biography and he wore tap shoes so he could hear where he was in a room from the difference in the sounds.I am sure there are different levels of abilitys but I am certain that overall a blind persons hearing ability is much more keen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, a great way to see the vast changes we have been part of. And even more, a clear and concise way to show why we must protect our natural resources. Thanks Jacqui and Todd!! Super cool use of technology!

    Like

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