Comparing Color Change, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Confluence of SLR/IRL at Sewall's Point. "The Crossroads." 7-22-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Confluence of SLR/IRL at Sewall’s Point. “The Crossroads.” 7-22-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)

Of course when it rains the waters of the St Lucie River/Southern Indian River Lagoon get darker due to runoff into the river. But unless it keeps raining, the water will clear up. The government likes to call this water “storm water.” This is all of the water that flows into the river from people’s yards, roads, agriculture fields, etc….

Lately it seems to me, our recent storms, like yesterday, and a few days before have concentrated  right along our coast. I am not certain, but I looked on the South Florida Water Management District’s website and it did not appear that C-23, C-24 and C-25 were open or if they were it was not a lot.  To check C-44 you have to go to the ACOE website; it is definitely not open. So I think most of what we are seeing right now in our river is runoff from the lands closest to the coast not necessary connected to canals. You can see a basin map below.

Canals in Stuart, C-23, C-24, C-25 built in the 50s and 60s. C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee constructed in the 1920s.
Canals in Stuart, C-23, C-24, C-25 built in the 50s and 60s. C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee constructed in the 1920s.

So anyway, the photo above with the murky-grey colored water was taken yesterday 7-22-15;  it was an outgoing tide; and it was around 11AM. Thank you Ed!

Today, I will share some of Ed’s photos and then compare others from when there was some rain, and the  ACOE was dumping into our river JUST FROM LAKE O, and others from very rainy times when dumping from Lake O and the area canals of C-23, C-24, C-25 and C-44 by ACOE/and SFWMD was “constant.”

THESE PHOTOS  IMMEDIATELY BELOW FROM yesterday 7-22-15 in the area of Sewall’s Point. They show grayish-murky waters from storm water coastal runoff but green-blue shines through…

Confluence of SLR/IRL at Sewall's Point. "The Crossroads." 7-22-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Confluence of SLR/IRL at Sewall’s Point. “The Crossroads.” 7-22-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Sailfish Flats 7-22-15. Photo Ed Lippisch.
Sailfish Flats looking towards Sewall’s Point. Hutchinson Island in foreground. 7-22-15. Photo Ed Lippisch.
Runoff plume as seen over St Lucie Inlet 7-22-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Runoff plume as seen over St Lucie Inlet 7-22-15. Jupiter Narrows on left and S. Hutchinson Island. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Reffs off Hutchinson Island. north of SL Inlet 7-22-15 St Lucie Inlet.
Reefs off Hutchinson Island. north of SL Inlet 7-22-15 St Lucie Inlet so appear clear. (Photo Ed Lippisch)

THIS PHOTO BELOW IS FROM July 14th, 2015,  a week ago.  It had not recently rained and my yard was bone dry.  It was an incoming tide. Sewall’s Point and confluence of SLR/IRL appears very “blue.” It is beautiful although seagrasses and the benthic community are still “recovering.” Blue does not mean the river is “healthy,” but BLUE IS GOOD.

Sewall's Point SLR/IRL from the air 7-14-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
Sewall’s Point looking north SLR/IRL from the air 7-14-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)

THIS PHOTO BELOW IS DATED  May 18th 2015. This is the tip of South Sewall’s Point looking towards the St Lucie Inlet and Jupiter Narrows. Sailfish Point is under the wing. It was not raining much at this time in March of 2015, but the ACOE/SFWMD was dumping from Lake Okeechobee because the lake was “too high.” The river looked brown and gross.

 

Flying north at convergence  of SLR/IRL at St Lucie Inlet.  (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 3-18-15.)
Flying north at convergence of SLR/IRL at St Lucie Inlet. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 3-18-15.)

Ironically, now we appear to be on the verge of a serious “water shortage”….too bad there isn’t a place to store this water somewhere north and/or  south of Lake O….that the ACOE and AFWMD dump during the dry season trying to get the lake down in case there is a hurricane….The agriculture community could use that water now as could the Everglades, Miami/Dade, wildlife etc…..the C-44 STA/Reservoir is wonderful and we are thankful but it is only for C-44 BASIN RUNOFF not Lake O.

THIS PHOTO BELOW IS SEWALL’S POINT’s west side, IRL, looking north with the confluence of the SLR/IRL in foreground. This  was September of 2013 during some of the highest releases from Lake O and C-23, C-24, C-25 and C-44. This is when the river was toxic and there were signs not to touch the water. It is very dark brown. Too dark.

Looking north toward Sewall's Point on east/left. The Sailfish Flats are to the right/east as is Sailfish Point. (September 2013.)
Looking north toward Sewall’s Point on east/left. The Sailfish Flats are to the right/east as is Sailfish Point. (September 2013.)

THIS DISGUSTING SHOT BELOW is of the St Lucie Inlet with Sailfish Point foreground. This photo was also taken in September 2013 during very high discharges from Lake O especially and the C-23, C-24, C-25 and C-44. Yes. It was raining! And certainly coastal storm-water runoff not going into canals as seen in the photo at the beginning of this blog was also included. It was all horrible, but the biggest single overdose during this time was from Lake O.

September 2013
September 2013, St Lucie Inlet JTL.

At this time our river was almost black in color and had a strange consistency due to all of the sediment and pollution in the water. During this year of 2013 our river lost about 85 percent of its seagrasses and ALL of its oysters.  The releases lasted from May through October. Salinity was way down and 0 in some places. Algae blooms, toxic in nature, were documented from Palm City to Stuart to Sewall’s Point. The Sandbar at the mouth of the inlet was posted as a health hazard area by Martin County. Real estate sales were lost and animals were absent; it was a true state of emergency as filed with the state by many local governments.

We live in a state of unbalance.

South Florida is a swinging pendulum of too much water and not enough water. It makes no sense. We waste water, yet we encourage more people to come to South Florida when do often don’t have enough as it is because we are dumping it all…

We want things to be like they were in 1970 and 80….

We want to be the sugar and vegetable basket for the world, and have everyone move here… Well no matter how much sugar we produce, or how many houses we build, “we can’t have our cake and eat it too.”

We need more storage south and north of Lake Okeechobee. If we can engineer to send a camera to photograph Pluto 2.7 billion miles away,  can’t we fix things here at home?

Well, unless we can figure out how to live on Pluto, we are going to have to—

Pluto 2015 as photographed by NEW HORIZONS spacecraft.
Pluto 2015 as photographed by NEW HORIZONS spacecraft.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Comparing Color Change, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. We do have a place to store the water; Lake O. Get the government to quit wasting money on all of these little reservoir projects and fix Herbert Hoover Dike. Then you get a huge reservoir to store massive amounts of water. Of course you will have to overcome the opposing folks who want to preserve the littoral zones in the lake.

    Liked by 1 person

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