Reversing the C-Canals’ Destruction

-C-25, Taylor Creek, Ft Pierce, FL July 20, 2013 Jacqui & Ed Lippisch

This aerial photo is an old one. Taken in July of 2013, it became one of the “poster-photos” in the fight to fix the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. This photograph is not of Lake Okeechobee water, but the polluted runoff of C-25, Ft Pierce, St Lucie County.

Yesterday, the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board approved the purchase of 1,583 acres to create a reservoir and storm water treatment area for the the C-25. This means, that over time, this horrible looking sediment-pollution plume will be lessened or even disappear. Good for the Indian River’s seagrass! Good for the hard working residents!

What are the C-Canals anyway? And why are we talking about them now?

When the modern River Movement began, brought on by the “Lost Summer of 2013,” the entire focus was on the discharges destroying the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee. The St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon deals with a “two-front war.” The C-Canals (C-44, C-23, C-24, C-25) and often toxic Lake Okeechobee that is discharged through the C-44 Canal along with basin run-off.

The St Lucie River was originally a large fresh water “stream” that ran into the Indian River Lagoon.

What ensued will make the history books:

~The people united against the Cyanobacteria laden Lake Okeechobee discharges that are considered the worst of all the discharges, and pushed for the EAA Reservoir, with the help of Senate President, Joe Negron, and others. The reservoir was approved by Congress in 2018. This was an amazing feat. The EAA Reservoir is ready to go under construction, and will allow more water to go south to the Everglades and less water to be discharged to the St Lucie and Calooshahatee estuaries. This was the first and most important goal.

So now, with that in place, (and continuing to fight for its completion), it is time for the River Movement to expand to the next level of destruction, the C-Canals. Although the betterment of these canals has been part of CERP since the beginning, they are just now seeing their day. All of them fall under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan category, “Indian River Lagoon South,” and there are four of the them in our region: C-44, C-23, C-24, C-25. “C” stands for Canal.

Remarkably enough, the C-44 Reservoir, in Indiantown will go on-line next week as the 1st major CERP project completed and as the first component of “Indian River Lagoon South.”

ACOE Indian River Lagoon South

Because of the ACOE moving forward, in the near future, other C-Canal projects will be completed: 1.C-23 and C-24, done together through the C-23/24 North and South Reservoirs, and the C-23/24 Storm Water Treatment Area; and 2. there is now land for the C-25 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area. (Top of image.)

It is impressive that since 2019, not only was the first construction contract awarded for the EAA Reservoir – and that the SFWMD is building the EAA Storm Water Treatment Area, but that also from 2019-to present, the Army Corp of Engineers is “in design” on C-23/C-24 and, yesterday, the SFWMD bought land for C-25. This is all costing millions of dollars!

I know all of these numbers get confusing. The bottom line is that almost all is in place to to heal our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. (EAA Reservoir; C-44 Reservoir, C-23/24 Reservoir and now even C-25 Reservoir.)

Now we just have to get it all to the finish line.

This will take about ten years so long as all goes well and LOSOM’s outcome is palatable. I will talk more about this in another post.

In closing, for long-working Martin County Commissioner, Sarah Heard, I must mention the last and perhaps most important part of Indian River Lagoon South. The “Natural Lands” component. ~for the birds and other creatures. Part, like Allapattah Flats, is complete but there is more to acquire. See list below.

For now, please try to learn the C-Canals if you don’t know them. We will all need to know them for the the next chapter of the St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon!

Please see Jennifer Reynold’s, SFWMD presentation C-25 & IRLS

The St Lucie River was originally a large fresh water “stream” that ran into the Indian River Lagoon. Today the C-Canals built from 1923-the 1960s drain lands and discharge directly in the both the St Lucie River and Southern Indian River Lagoon.

-C-25 2013

C-25 Image used often in Stop Lake O rallies! Rally at the Locks 2013, JTL


8 thoughts on “Reversing the C-Canals’ Destruction

  1. Why do you only refer to “toxic water” coming from Lake O. That is not a true statement. There is “toxic water” coming from all the C canals. Please quit singling out Lake O in you post. We are all in the same boat in a system that was created to drain, irrigate and provide drinking water- one that was not created with an environmental component. You are a representative of all the SFWMD residents, please stop pointing fingers in the way you characterize an issue – this doesn’t help anyone.

    1. Dear Ardis, I am sorry if this is upsetting to you. Perhaps I should find a better way to express this. Nonetheless, Cyanobacteria was pouring into the C/44 from Lake Okeechobee as seen by my husband and I from an airplane. This is well documented by NOAA satellite imagery. I will rework my post but I cannot change history.

    2. The ONLY way to have clean water is to put calcium carbonate shells on the shore so violent wave action can bring back the historic chemistry and clean water on the atomic level—the way our beachs do—calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is desolved by acid CO2 (foam) goes into the air—the oxygen atom that bonded it togather desolves into the water forming calcium peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. These oxydize toxic chemicals like pesticides and herbicydes so they do not end up preserved inj zero oxygen drinking water

  2. Jacqui,

    Yes, the C25 reservoir & STA are part of the success story of the current SFWMD Board.

    I would like to personally thank you for your comments during & after Col. Booth’s presentation on LOSOM during the SFWMD Governing Board meeting yesterday. I did not hear water quality or timing of discharges discussed during Col. Booth’s LOSOM presentation. Thank you for underscoring the negative impacts of the discharges from 2013 to today and your highlighting 2016 and 2018.

    I hope that you and Chair Goss can remind the new Col. of the critical importance of water quality and discharge timing in LOSOM. You and Chair Goss are obviously aware that neither the East Coast nor the West Coast want Lake O. discharges during the summer wet season when cyanobacteria levels are high. Thank you for your gentle nudge of Col. Booth as the USACE finalizes their optimization next week and for writing the complete LOSOM report.

    Unlike Artis, I firmly believe you are the East Coast champion and a modern day Marjory Stoneman Douglas for clean water! Keep up the good fight for clean water!

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