Fresh water plumes flowing out of estuaries into the ocean are, of course, noted all over the world. There are even accounts from early Florida pioneers in the 1800s documenting such phenomenon. The difference with the “freshwater plumes” in our area of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, is that the watershed has been radically altered over time to take on more than its fair share of water and the plumes are not just sediment and organic material but often toxic.
GES DISC: World View Fresh Water Plumes/Estuaries: (http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/education-and-outreach/additional/science-focus/classic_scenes/10_classics_rivers.shtml)
As we are aware, canals C-44, C-23, C-24, and C-25 expanded the watershed of the SLR/IRL by more than five times its God-given capacity, plus in the case of C-44 the overflow waters of Lake Okeechobee. Yes we live in a “swamp.” But our South Florida swamp has been over-drained.
Canal C-23: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf)
Canal C-24: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf)
Canal C-25: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf)
Canal C-44: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf)
Today I will share photos my husband Ed Lippisch took on September 3rd, and September 7th, 2015, and then contrast then with a few taken in September of 2013 during the “Lost Summer.” My point being, even our rain plumes, like “now,” are not natural to our watershed as the watershed has been expanded so much. Add Lake Okeechobee to it, and a really bad summer like 2013, and the plumes are visibly “different.”
Of course lighting and timing have a lot to do with a photograph.
A photograph is an image in time; it is not necessary “scientific,” but no one can say, a picture doesn’t “speak a thousand words.”
To read a historical account of a fresh water plume in South Florida in the 1800s by pioneer Charles Pierce, click here: (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/05/14/charles-pierces-account-of-the-great-rain-of-1884-and-how-it-relates-to-the-indian-river-lagoon/)
Thank you to my husband, Ed, for taking these photos!
I will be taking a blog break through September 14th to go to Apalachicola with UFs NRLI. See you upon my return!
2 thoughts on “Comparing and Understanding Fresh Water Plumes, SLR/IRL”
Our turkey creek fresh water runoff is ripping out water at a very fast rate. Early this morning I went upstream and was looking under the light at the boat dock. It was solid menhaden minnows. Menhadden minnows start their lives in these fresh water runnoffs.As do Snook—blue crabs and more. But how can any baby creatures live if their is no calcium for their bones to grow. When I was helping building the hospital of tradition blvd in Stuart we dug down about 10 foot and hit a layer of shells It is the same everywhere around here. How I believe all our fresh water runoffs have formed over the years is in places where this layer of shell is most abundant acids react with it until the ground collapses forming a runoff. Not just a runoff but a natural nurseury with an endless supply of calcium for all the baby creatures. What has happened in Stuart is the acids have overwhelmed the calcium–posably from years of burning sugar cain. I suspect that like most rivers over thousnads of years they meander and change course createing new supplys of calcium for all the baby creatures.
It might help understand what is happening a little better if you take a bucket of fine calcium sand and put it anywhere in our lagoon. You should see it immediately turn to liquid and if you put your foot on it you can feel the heat. I think these “blow outs” was what formed our inlets and why they came and went and appeared in different places.