(Movie showing a close-up of the Rocky Reef overlaid with today’s image and a NOAA Chart-By Todd Thurlow)
As we know, my brother Todd has been keeping his eye on the Landsat satellite images as they provide tremendous insight into the condition of Lake Okeechobee and potential algae blooms that affect the health, safely and welfare of those living around the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Todd notes that in studying the Landsat images: “Perhaps the algae grows on Rocky Reef? The area just north of this location is were some of the earlier blooms originated.”
Hmmm? Could the Rocky Reef be an area where the water cannot flow in the lake as easily due to its nature? Could it be possible that nutrient rich back pumped waters from the sugar fields fester in this area feeding a lake wide bloom? Worth a thought as we try to fix our problems…
The toxic algae blooms –people are still talking about them….
You may have noticed recently in various publications and “Letters to the Editor” across the state that some are calmly claiming that “algae blooms have been occurring in Florida since the beginning of time…” This may be true, however, this summer’s 240 square mile algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee that led to the outbreak in the St Lucie River was unprecedented. Comparing the situation to prior algae bloom outbreaks of 2013, 2014, or any other is like comparing a dog to a wolf. The same but very different.
Another interesting thing Todd stumbled upon while researching the “Rocky Reef” located basically above Clewiston was a 1977 joint NASA/SFWMD report on, of all things, using Landsat radiance data to study the turbidity and chlorophyll concentrations in Lake Okeechobee.
The report is entitled: LANDSAT INVESTIGATION OF WATER QUALITY IN LAKE OKEECHOBEE, PRESENTED AT THE 1977 ASP-ACSM CONVENTION IN WASHINGTON DC FEB 27-March 5, 1977. (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_tech_pubs/portlet_tech_pubs/dre-71.pdf)
Since obviously the South Florida Water Management District has been using the Landsat information since 1977, and Martin County has been paying taxes to the District since around the same time, I think it would have been polite if the District had let us know when Lake Okeechobee’s then poisonous waters were overflowing with algae and headed this way. Don’t you as well?
You can learn about Todd’s discoveries about the Rocky Reef below.
In correspondence to Mark Perry, Todd Thurlow provided the following: (http://www.thurlowpa.com)
Here is September 4th’s Landsat 8 image.
That 16.8 square mile area in the southwest looks like algae but part of it is apparently the “Rock Reef”.
Rocky Reef: There is an old pump station out there that is visible in Google Earth. Here is a picture of it:
4 thoughts on “Do Lake Okeechobee’s Algae Blooms Grow on “Rocky Reef” Above Clewiston?”
Is there any way you can send this out as a press release to all the papers in Fl. Please keep up the great work. Phil from the west coast Riverwatch soon to be Calusa Waterkeeper
I’ll find out. Thank you for your support Phil.
Jacqui, I’m quite familiar with the “Rocky Reef”, having crossed it at least four times in boats ranging from 68 ft to 35 ft. The water depth over the reef is typically about five feet, except where the OWW channel for route one has been blasted through it. It probably does impede flows of water North and South in that area, thus becoming a breeding ground for algae.
W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.
643 SW Fuge Rd
Stuart, Fl 34997
(772) 287-4106 (home)
(772) 485-1866 (cell/car)
Ted, remarkable that you are so familiar. Thank you so much for your comment and insight. Now to see if there is anything that could be done. Thank you.