All posts by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Building New Bridges, Remembering the Old: 1934, “Franklin D. Roosevelt Highway Bridge,” SLR/IRL

I continue to share my mother’s historic documents for those who love and appreciate history. Today’s original 1934 Stuart Daily News publication is very impressive, oversized, with aerial photographs and pride-filled words lauding the City of Stuart, and her  Roosevelt Bridge as part of  the new “Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico.”

This gateway, of course, was the Cross State Canal that was federally funded through “navigation” with the dual use to discharge Lake Okeechobee water, that Nature would have flowed south to Florida Bay, into the northern estuaries enhancing “Fishing, Hunting, and Sports on the Beautiful St Lucie….Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahtchee River….”

In 1934, an era of Man Over Nature, both men and women did not know their determination to control the environment  and its waters would, eventually, kill almost everything they loved.

And here we are today…

But as my hero Ernie Lyons, editor environmentalist of a later newspaper, the Stuart News said: “What men do they can undo.”

I believe this.

New bridges must be built. Not just of concrete but of the heart.

Bridges between people and politics. Bridges between corporations and children. Bridges between agriculture giants and fish. Bridges between developers and a new way to live. Why? Because like it or not, we are a Florida Water Family. All connected. All bridged together by depending on this place.

#FLWaterFamily

I will end with words from my mother, historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow:

“Jacqui, This is a very large book that was published to celebrate the dedication of the original Roosevelt Bridge on January 8, 1934.  The pages are supposed to face each other so “Stuart–‘Atlantic Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico'” run together. The sentence at the bottom should be “The City of Stuart Invites You to Winter on the Beautiful St. Lucie River.” A gentleman who lives in Rio, Richard Lewis Miller,  shared the original in honor of his father, Alvin Richard Miller 1906-1976.” Mom (http://www.sandrathurlow.com)

Links:

Sandra Henderson Thurlow, website:http://www.sandrathurlow.com

Joe Crankshaw, Transformation of Stuart, TCPalm, http://archive.tcpalm.com/news/in-10-year-span-roosevelt-bridge-transformed-sleepy-little-stuart-ep-405274002-349339071.html/

Former Blog post on subject, JTL: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2018/04/12/city-of-stuart-atlantic-gateway-to-the-gulf-of-mexico-1937-staurt-daily-news/

Silver Manatees Inspire, SLR/IRL

Silver Springs, photo Dr Robert Knight

With the mid-term election behind us, it’s time to get to work, and along the Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River that means it’s time to get reconnected to Nature during the cool season before the Algae Monster arrives again.

Last week, as the keynote speaker for the Florida Springs Restoration Summit in Ocala, I had an amazing back to nature experience.  On a Silver River Guided Paddle Adventure with Dr Robert  Knight leading the way, five manatees swam underneath my kayak!

Five manatees!

They looked so beautiful, so graceful, so confident, and so powerful!

I could see them perfectly through the clear water of Silver Springs. During the summit, I learned that only recently the spring’s water magnitude had increased to historic levels ~after aquifer recharge of a very rainy 2017, thanks to Hurricane Irma.

Florida springs suffer from lack of water because the Water Management Districts, at the direction of their leaders, over-permit water extraction for more agriculture and development. Also, nutrient pollution haunts the spring-shed due to nitrate leaching of old septic tanks. When flow is low and nitrate high, benthic algae grows on the once white sand bottom of the springs. Almost all Florida springs deal with this issue.

Manatees, Silver River, Dr Robert Knight

But on this recent day, the day of my tour,  Silver Springs was glistening, and its bottom bursting with eel grass. The manatees munched at their leisure, mothers and calves reflecting a bluish hue underneath the clear, streaming water.

As the manatees swam under my little boat, I felt a joy unknown since childhood. “An ancient herd of elephants just swam under my kayak!” I thought, laughing out loud.

And in this moment of pure inspiration, I recalled an image from home of a starving manatee struggling to eat weeds and grasses along the Intercostal. Of course after years of harsh discharges from Lake Okeechobee and area canals, the sea grass forests are dead.

Beyond heartbreaking…

I brought my mind back to this present gift before me. And told the Silver manatees I would  return home inspired to fight for all, and that were were indeed, one Florida water family.

Image pulled off my iPhone, #Toxic18 site 10-28-18, Rita Hendricks Salazar

 

Links:

Silver Springs: http://www.silversprings.com

Springs Institute:https://floridaspringsinstitute.org

2018 Springs Restoration Summit:
https://www.springsrestorationsummit.org

Dr Knight Bio: https://floridaspringsinstitute.org/our-team/

Silver Springs Study Delayed, Gainesville Sun, Dr Robert Knight,:https://www.gainesville.com/opinion/20180118/robert-knight-silver-springs-study-delayed-restorative-action

The Fisherman, by Ernest Lyons ~SLR/IRL

1953 Stuart Fishing Guide, courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, Thurlow Archives.

I think for this Friday’s blog post, I will keep it short as the words of the late Ernest Lyons resonate for themselves, especially for those of us who knew our waters in better days.  This poetic piece fills one with inspiration to see healthy waters once again, but reminds us, that in spite of all our troubles, the force of beauty remains.

In her email to me ~sharing this piece, my mother simply wrote:

“This was in a 1953 Fishing Guide. The man in the photo is Capt. Francis A. Adams. Ernie surely could write. He never went to church but….” Mom

Enjoy.

The Fisherman, by Ernest Lyons

His is a measure of the peace that comes to the man of wide waters and in quiet places. Clouds, sea, and rain, the wind and sun accept him into their company.

He sees the creatures that the Lord hath wrought in the deeps…the sawfish with its armored flail, the remora with sucking cups atop its head to fasten onto shark or ray, the mullet always fleeing. He feels the presence of creation’s magic close at hand.

He knows the beauty of the morning and bright fullness of the day upon the sea and rivers. He sees the swift and dreadful, the timid, and the fierce. And within him there is wonder that such miracles should be.   

Biography, Ernest Lyons: http://www.flpress.com/node/63

Sandra Henderson Thurlow, local historian: http://www.sandrathurlow.com

In Michael’s Wake, by John Moran

I am honored to present…
In Michael’s Wake, by guest writer, John Moran, October 2018
Florida friends, 
Scientists have been telling us for many years that in the Age of the Anthropocene, our global carbon addiction will fuel a new breed of superstorms. 
Perhaps the hurricanes of the past 14 month—Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and now Michael—are telling us that we are fundamentally altering the climate. 
It appears a new normal may be upon us. If so, we Floridians could be in for a rough ride. 
A week after Michael made landfall, I went to the panhandle to see for myself. 
The devastation is, in a word, astonishing. 
Time now to step aside, and let the pictures do the talking…
John Moran
Gainesville 
————
I begin with a beauty shot from my aerial photo flight with pilot Tom Hutchings.
Seen from high above, it’s easy to think of Florida as…resilient. 
Hard to imagine a Cat 4.9 hurricane blasted through here just a week before. But let’s look more closely…

 

St. Joseph Peninsula, just offshore from Mexico Beach
Transformed landscape, Mexico Beach.
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Unforgettable Coast
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach
Lost cotton harvest, Calhoun County
October snow, Calhoun County
Marianna
Confederate Memorial, Courthouse Square, Marianna
Jackson County
Roadside sign, near Wewahitchka, Calhoun County

History Helps Us “See,” Septic to Sewer Conversion, SLR/IRL

Aerial of Lighthouse Point Feb. 8, 1965, Ruhnke Collection, Thurlow Archives.

At my request, my mother has been sharing historic real estate photos. Regarding today’s aerials, it seems the perfect time to broach the controversial subject of “septic to sewer.”

When I first saw the photographs of Lighthouse Point, I said “What is that?” I thought the land had been created by fill, but then realized it was natural lands filled and dredged. This practice was very common before the 1970s and happened at various locations throughout Martin County, but was more prevalent in destinations like Ft Lauderdale and Cape Coral. Wherever this land use was completed, early photographs allow us to see how strange, how vulnerable,  how naked, the land looks. And we can see its connection, like a sponge, over the surrounding waters…

Let’s take a closer peek at this 1965 photo of Lighthouse Point in the St Lucie River. In 1965, developers had no concerns about nutrient pollution, and every property of course had its own septic tank.

Lighthouse Point/Seagate Harbor 1968, Ruhnke Collection, Thurlow Archives

Fortunately, in the 2000s, Martin County did help residents of Lighthouse Point and neighboring Seagate Harbor, convert from septic to sewer, along with other “hot-spot” communities, as documented in this outstanding presentation by former Martin County Ecosystems Manager, Deborah Drum.

http://riverscoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DDRUM-Rivers-Coalition-June-2017.pdf

Red ballon shows Lighthouse Point/Seagate Harbor neighborhoods in Palm City
See yellow dots, slide from Deb Drum’s presentation of completed projects.

But there is more work to do.

As we know, Septic to Sewer is one of those subjects people passionately fight over as we try to understand why our waterways have become so impaired. This was the case in my own hometown of Sewall’s Point.

Famous for the first strong fertilizer ordinance on Florida’s east coast in 2010, a year of my mayorhood, The Commission flipped this environmental streak, and last year, when I was off the commission, following much back and forth and very poor communication, ~in spite of heroic efforts, but a totally exhausted, confused and furious public, decided not to work with Martin County for a partial sewer conversion. The backlash to this is far-reaching.

I agree that most of Sewall’s Point is not dredge and fill, but some is, and with out a doubt, old septic tanks in flood zones along the Indian River Lagoon are not a good idea.

In Sewall’s Point, and all Martin County residential areas we can “feel better about ourselves” as we know that  Agriculture is the primary nitrogen and phosphorus polluter into our waterways, (and they need to get to work!) by about 88% according to Dr Gary Goforth. (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/phosphorus-loading-by-land-use-what-fdep-isnt-telling-us-gary-goforth/) Nonetheless, this does not mean we should act too self-righteous to change out ourselves.

As we all begrudgingly work to lessen nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus) into our waterways, it is helpful to look backwards as we plan for the future. Thanks mom for sharing your photos; history helps us “see.”

Links:

What is nutrient pollution? EPA https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution

Martin County Sewer Conversion: https://www.martin.fl.us/SeptictoSewer

City of Stuart Sewer Conversion: http://cityofstuart.us/index.php/en/sewer-expansion/sewer-expansion-maps

Scientific paper: Earth Sci 2017 estimation of nitrogen load from septic systems
to surface water bodies in St. Lucie River and Estuary Basin, Florida, Ming Ye1 • Huaiwei Sun2,1 • Katie Hallas3: http://people.sc.fsu.edu/~mye/pdf/paper62.pdf

Sandra Henderson Thurlow, local historian: http://www.sandrathurlow.com

Come Together Florida for Clean Air and Clean Water! VOTE #YesOn9!

Nothing has given me as much insight into the political process as serving on the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission (http://flcrc.gov/index.html) When appointed by Florida’s President of the Senate, Joe Negron, my response was:” Are you kidding me? I don’t think I’m qualified for that.” He chuckled, and said in his confident, matter of fact way: “Jacqui, you’ll be fine.”

Although I did not have the experience of the other well-known lawyers and politicians, I was more versed in environmental issues, and made that my goal. After painstaking work, four of my citizen sponsored environmental proposals were rejected, (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/environmental-proposals-for-crc/) but one made it to the finish line with close to a unanimous vote. This proposal was submitted by the Florida Wildlife Federation, and was a former Citizen’s Initiative ripe for rebirth: #91, Prohibiting Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s State Waters. In the end, the Style and Drafting Committee bundled #91 with #65: prohibiting vaping in public workspaces. I thought it was a perfect fit compared to be being bundled with any of the others; and the proposal would be bundled, I knew that.

Our theme was “clean air and clean water.”

As you may know, the amendment hasn’t been without controversy, and was taken with the rest of the bundled amendments all the way to Florida’s Supreme Court. Finally, they ruled on October 17, 2018, that the commission acted within its rules: “Unlike proposed amendments that originate through initiative petitions, amendments proposed by the CRC are not bound by the single-subject rule limiting amendments to one subject,” the ruling states.

Amendment-9-Ruling

Supreme Court: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/opinions.shtml

To say I was relieved, is an understatement!

What a legacy for the state of Florida this could be! And November 6th, Election Day, is right around the corner.

Many times over the past year, during the stress of it all, I have visited the beach myself. Every single time I go, I am filled with inspiration. Walking along the shoreline watching young people, old people, people of every race, nationality, and socioeconomic  background;  studying seagulls fly, and pelicans dive with a skill beyond our human form; seeing silver schools of bait fish shining in the sunlight as the waves swell and dissipate;  watching smiling children bury each other in the sand, collect shells, and laugh as they run on little legs. Joyful!

The true happiness here belongs to all Floridians!

Do not let oil drilling ever take this away. This place, of all places, is where we can come together and appreciate God’s gifts of clean water and clean air. And when we have to pick up and go home, and Monday, be back at work, clean air should be guaranteed in our workplaces as well. We must protect what is sacred to us.

Come together Florida.

Vote yes on 9!

Amendment 9 provides voters with two-fold opportunity | Guest column by CRC Commissioners Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Lisa Carlton: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/contributors/2018/10/17/amendment-9-gives-voters-two-fold-opportunity-guest-column/1646155002/

Yes on 9 Florida: http://yeson9florida.org

Breathe Clean Florida:http://breathecleanfl.org

CRC Commissioners: http://flcrc.gov/Commissioners.html

Note that Amendment 9 is a grassroots amendment with not major funding as others below. Learn more about all Florida ballot amendments on Ballotpedia:

Ballotpedia: Florida Constitutional Amendments: http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_2018_ballot_measures

The Maps We Follow, SLR/IRL

1910 Standard Guide map of Florida, courtesy historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow

Maps. They get us where we’re going, and they reference were we’ve been.

This 1910 Florida Standard Guide map, shared from my mother’s archives, is a black and white goldmine for comparison to our “maps” today.

If you are from my neck of the woods, you may notice that there is no Martin County just sprawling Palm Beach County. Across the state, we see a monstrous Lee County. Collier and Hendry counties were created out of Lee County in 1923. As far as roads, one may notice there is no Tamiami Trail. In 1915 construction began on this famous highway that has blocked remaining water flowing south from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades ever since. And what about Alligator Alley constructed around 1968?

What do you see? What dont’ you see? What’s different from today? I think it is interesting to wonder how South Florida would function today if we didn’t work so hard to fill in the southern part of the map.

Mother Nature just may take it back anyway. Check out this sea level rise map: https://freegeographytools.com/2007/sea-level-rise-google-mapplet

Yes, today we use Google Maps, or GPS instruction from our smart phones to figure out where we’re going and what develops.

Where these electronic maps are taking us is only for the future to know. Hopefully our choices, and the maps we follow are more helpful to the environment and to wildlife too! Florida Wildlife Corridor explore maps: http://floridawildlifecorridor.org

Sandra Henderson Thurlow, local historian,  website: http://www.sandrathurlow.com

Google Maps, Florida: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=18J9_j-2FuhO9ABdZDdDg1MKDeQk&msa=0&ie=UTF8&t=h&vpsrc=6&ll=28.750319037763777%2C-83.85705481014259&spn=5.403019%2C10.810547&z=8&output=embed

Tamiami Trail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamiami_Trail

Interstate 75/Alligator Alley: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_75_in_Florida
Alligator Alley: https://protectnepa.org/alligator-alley-75-extension-everglades-parkway/

Backroads Travel, vintage Florid maps: https://www.florida-backroads-travel.com/florida-vintage-road-maps.html

Blog on Florida Counties’ Evolution: 1884 Rand, McNally & Co. Map, the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee,”My How Things Change…”SLR/IRL: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/counties-florida/