More Rain, but #NoLakeO, SLR/IRL

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind and a lot of fun as Ed’s family including niece and nephew visited. The two days before their arrival on November 22, 2022 was quite rainy -a light, humid, constant rain. After the “rain event” my rain gauge read just under 6 inches! Here along the coast in Sewall’s Point the old saying remains: “when it rains, it pours.”

Today, I am sharing my husband Ed’s aerials of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. They were taken area above Sewall’s Point, the St Luice Inlet, and a few of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart -on November 26, 2022 around noon on an incoming tide. Like my previous post , after Hurricane Nicole, the contrast of milky, stirred up ocean water and the dark, fresh, polluted, runoff from area canals and surrounding lands and neighborhoods is extreme.

In my opinion, to witness such events without the discharges from Lake Okeechobee is educational, it makes clear how important not fertilizing and using chemicals on our yards is, and thankfully the tides flush the mouth of the river out over time. When the ACOE starts Lake O discharges, this can go on and on – for months and in worst case scenarios -for years. The river cannot clean out. There have been no major, longstanding discharges from Lake Okeechobee since 2018 and the Sailfish Flats’ seagrass community has been slowly recovering.

Today the lake stands at 16.50 feet. There is a periodic scientists call today of the ACOE when input will be taken regarding lake discharges and other water issues.

Thus Ed and I present these photographs for the record.

-My rain gauge after the rains a few days prior to Thanksgiving on November 24, 2020. almost 6 inches.

-SFWMD Lake O update

-Canal map

SFWMD basin map showing canals that lead to the SLR. The C-44 can dump water in the C-44 basin or water from Lake O or both.

11-29-22 6:17pm slide from ACOE PSC at 2pm


16 thoughts on “More Rain, but #NoLakeO, SLR/IRL

  1. I’ve been noticing how dirty the water is, even with “just” the runoff. My husband was talking to people at the Jensen Beach causeway they other day who were insisting that Lake O water being released – that could be the only reason for the brown water. Seems we need more awareness on all the other things that cause a problem too! I was just reading in TCPalm today about Indian River Lagoon bull sharks being poisoned by toxic algae building up in their bodies from the food they eat (mullet mostly). Then there’s the ongoing septic-to-sewer issue in our own little waterfront town, very contentious!

  2. We shouldn’t be too happy about the tide washing. What fertilizer and other pollutants don’t kill in the river and lagoon; it kills in our ocean. Near shore coral reefs and their habitants can’t take the pollution either and will also die. It’s made worse by the rising temperatures that can also kill our coral reefs.

  3. S-80 spillway is releasing 500 +/- cfs daily for at least 2 weeks. That’s basically Lake O water. I thought they opened a reservoir on the C 44 to stop this? Plus the sandy soil and high water tables in Florida are no place for leaching septic systems. The water looks like sewage. Not tea colored mangrove water.

    1. Anonymous, that isn’t Lake O. water discharging at the S-80. That is C-44 drainage basin rainfall runoff. The S-308 at Port Myaca/Lake O. has remained closed so far.

      The C-44 Reservoir is still in the ‘testing’/ monitoring stage to make sure the dikes aren’t having seepage/piping problems that could lead to a dike breech. In 2023, the C-44 Reservoir and its STAs will become operational and we will see fewer discharges of C-44 basin water at the S-80. What discharges there may be in the latter half of the rainy season, will be cleaned up freshwater, after passage through the STAs. The first half of the rainy season when the Lake O. water level is lower, the C-44 canal water will be sent west to Lake O…cleaned up.

        1. I’m not with ACOE. I’m Blake Faulkner, Stuart resident since 1987. Now a regular attendee at all the Rivers Coalition meetings. I was a nutrient chemist/research assistant decades ago at Harbor Branch and was in the same aquacultural research group way back then as Dr. Dennis Hanisak and Dr. Brian Lapointe were. I think Dr. Dennis Hanisak would be a great speaker at some future Rivers Coalition meeting. He knows what he’s talking about. He got the IRLON system of water quality monitoring stations established in the IRL, the St. Lucie River and now there are 2 stations in Lake Okeechobee.

  4. I wish people here in Martin County would not be so easily swayed by the anti-septic tanks propaganda that gets pushed in all kinds of media outlets. Martin County has very few septic tanks near public surface waters these days. Most waterfront areas are on sewer systems in Martin County now and the treated effluent high in nutrients doesn’t go into our surface waters anymore, like it does in the northern IRL. Most treated wastewater in Martin County is Deep Well Injected into the ‘Boulder Zone’, which connects with the deep dark ocean floor far offshore in about 3,000 feet of water. The nutrient levels there are already high…naturally.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. All these things septic, nutrient pollution, agricultural and development destruction causing fast non filtered runoff is sometimes a lightning rod of conversation. I try to think of it all like a wheel and that we must work from every direction at all times to reach a better middle. Again, very interesting and thoughtful comments. Thanks you so much.

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