Day Before the Discharges, March 5, 2021

Yesterday, Friday, March 5, 2021, around 3:30pm, my husband Ed and I, took a flight over St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon. We knew we needed to document because word on the street had been that there was a good chance, with Lake Okeechobee over 15.00 feet, and rainy season approaching, the SFWMD and ACOE would soon be recommending a special HAB DEVIATION-discharging to the estuaries. Since 1948, the two agencies have worked together to manage the Central and South Florida System

In any case, when Ed and I heard the announcement 4:48pm, less than an hour after arriving home from our flight, -that the ACOE would open S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam from Lake Okeechobee- “tomorrow, March 6th,” we were speechless. 

“Wow. Thank God we got up in the plane,” I said to Ed. 

Today, I offer our St Luice/Indian River aerials as a visual day-before-discharges baseline.  Of course I am terribly disappointed. Ed keeps telling me I need to cheer up. I doubt that  I will, but I can say that  I am grateful that now water will also start going south, and that natural resources are being taken into consideration by the agencies. Unfortunately, there are not so many natural resources left. 

~As we have since 2013, Ed and I will continue to document the discharges. 

Please read the ACOE March 5, 2021  announcement to begin Lake O discharges to the estuaries.

For the technical, please read the SFWMD Operation Position Statement March 4, 2021: Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_02_08_2021

SFWMD image: C&SFFCP’s canals to the St Lucie. The western C-44 and Lake Okeechobee had no historic connection the the St Lucie River. The first five photos were taken in the area of the St Lucie Inlet over Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points. The flats presently are devoid of seagrasses. -Looking east over the St Lucie/Indian River estuary from Stuart to the Atlantic Ocean.-Looking south to Jupiter Narrows of the Indian River Lagoon. The St Lucie enters around the peninsula of Sewall’s Point. -St Lucie Inlet and “Crossroads/” Where the St Lucie and Indian River meet and exit the St Lucie Inlet.  -Close up of St Lucie Inlet and Crossroads.-Looking north, up the Indian River Lagoon.  -Jupiter Narrows looking south over Peck’s Lake. Note a controlled burn in Hobe Sound in the distance. -North fork of the Loxahatchee River lies in Hobe Sound and Jupiter just south of the St Lucie River. -Circling back over the St Lucie Inlet near St Lucie Inlet State Park on Jupiter Island. Here you can clearly see the waters that lie between Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point at the Crossroads of the SLR/IRL. -Looking west over Sewall’s Point and Witham Field towards Stuart one sees the north and south fork of the St Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon on the west side of the peninsula. Look hard and you will see the straight line of the C-23 canal-the boarder of Martin and St Lucie Counties.

25 thoughts on “Day Before the Discharges, March 5, 2021

  1. Oh no! We were out at Bird Island and Boy Scout Island a few days ago and the water was SO BEAUTIFUL. We could see right down deep into the clean, clear water. We saw a tarpon, a pair of spotted eagle rays, lots of mullet, a couple of dolphins, and even a small barracuda. We felt so lucky to live here.

    1. Amy it is so wonderful to hear you saw all this wildlife and I will add this information to my documentation list for the agencies. I know it is so hard to hear and think of what may be coming. Please keep telling me what you see. The spotted eagle rays are especially sentimental as two jumped out of the water the day Ed proposed to me. All the best. Keep fighting for clean water and thank you.

  2. So sad. I’m so glad you and Ed were able to document this, These placeholders are important. Thank you for your contribution!

  3. Thanks so much, Jacqui (and Ed!) I’m so grateful you are keeping an eye on what’s happening. My heart sank when I heard they were going to start the discharges.

  4. Thank you. Have you observed any increase in sea grass anywhere this season, prior to the release of water?

    1. No increases. This is a real concern. Nevertheless the cool weather may be part of that so hopefully we will see increases soon. The issue is that now the ACOE is discharging from Lake O. We will see.

  5. Thanks Jacqui and Ed. Your efforts and passion is appreciated and helpful. So begins another strike of destruction to our rivers. Where is the political will to stop these discharges?

  6. Thank you for the beautiful pictures! Last week I was on a dock in North River Shores and could clearly see the river bottom. Thank you for
    your efforts and flying with Ed to document the river. 😘

    1. Jacqui, This was from Deb Duvall, not sure why it said Anonymous. And it won’t let me edit it, so I thought I’d try to reply. Deb

    2. Thank you Debbie. I felt like that last batch of photos were some of the pretties ever. Martin County, this area between/around the rivers is so incredibly photogenic. A Picture Perfect place to live.

  7. How did the lake get so high? We have had a very dry winter! Yesterday , The 6 th of March was the first day in a very long time that we had light rain all day.where I live in Cedar Pointe we have plants literally dying for lack of rain this winter .

    1. Hi Pam. I know my yard is dry right now too. The issue was the 40 percent reported higher rains this water year. Last March, and then in September twice, a deluge. Especially Broward, Maimi/Dade and Martin. I’ll keep trying to share. It is such a large system. Good to hear from you. I am so disappointed we are getting discharges again.

  8. Such disheartening news Completion of the Everglades reservoir can’t come soon enough – not ‘til 2023? And will it be enough to keep the Saint Lucie River from being Lake O’s drainpipe?

    Big thanks to you, Jackie, and to Ed, for documenting water conditions. I’m learning so much from following your posts!

  9. Thank you; I too feel great sadness, especially after reading that Néstle will be allowed to pump even more gallons of FL’s Spring water to put into plastic bottles covered in plastic shrinkwrap. Kimberly Miller told in the Palm Beach Post last week about a proposed wall?
    that would redirect water south to FL Bay instead of into the Las Palmas subdivision. I don’t know if that is under your water district’s purview or not.

  10. What would we do without you and ED. Your desire and ability to pictorially document the IRL and St Lucie river allows us all to see the “forest despite the trees “. I, for one, will be forever grateful.

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