Category Archives: aerial photos

St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon Aerials 4-24-22

Today I share recent photos of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon taken by my husband, Ed, yesterday, April 24, at 2:30pm. The water remains a lovey shade of turquoise blue but there is a visible plume exiting south of the St Lucie Inlet. As there has been no documented discharges from C-23, C-24, C-44, or Lake Okeechobee of late, this must be the effect of recent rains and local runoff.

I am also sharing the SFWMD’s weather site; it is full of information, including scientific predictions. You can access through this link here or type in “SFWMD weather” as a search. As June approaches it is very important for us to keep our eye on rains and weather systems that will affect the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee’s level. 

As we know the St Lucie was once just a small river running in to the longer Indian River Lagoon, but the today she is connected to canals and Lake Okeechobee and it is killing her. The state and federal government are well funded and continue working  to improve the situation every day. We too can help: Don’t fertilize! Plant your yard with native and Florida Friendly plants. Conserve water! It’s simple, like they said in the old days,“give a hoot, don’t pollute!”

 

-Peck’s Lake of Jupiter Narrows and Atlantic Ocean -visible plume but water still pretty. Happy sailing!  -Below:  St Lucie Inlet -one can see small plume from local runoff. The water near the St Lucie Inlet and offshore still looks good. There have been no major discharges in three years. Nonetheless seagrass is not lush and there is a UME for manatees in the IRL. We all must work for better water quality.

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal, attached to Lake Okeechobee,  is the canal “most southerly” in the image.

Pre-Easter Flight SLR-LO

Ed took a pre-Easter flight in his new RV plane on April, 16, 2022 at 10am. He flew from Witham Field in Stuart west to Lake Okeechobee, back over parts of the C-44 Canal, and then over the St Lucie Inlet.

We are at the hight of the dry season. Once the wet season begins in the next couple of months, conditions will drastically change. We can use these photos as an “end of dry season base line.”

The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon looks very good as we have had little rain and no major Lake O discharges in three years. See page 14 below of “SFWMD Environmental Report,” – meeting date 4-14-22.As far as Lake O, although on April 8, 2022, the Martin County Health Department issued a cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) warning for area near Port Mayaca and  Lake Okeechobee, blue-green algae was not visible from the sky.  Please read press release.

We must stay vigilant.

I.

-Lake Okeechobee at S-308, Port Mayaca

II.

-C44 Reservoir/STA at Indiantown-at 10 feet being filled and check for safety by ACOE

-C44 STA and intake canal from C-44 canal

-More of Reservoir and STA -Caulkins Water Farm next to C-44 R/STA

III.

-C-44’s S-80, St Lucie Lock and Dam

IV.

-St Lucie Inlet with nearshore reefs visible, Atlantic Ocean  -Smile Ed!!!!!

Hello New Friend, a view from Ed’s RV

On January 12, 2022, Ed sold the Baron and I entitled my post “Last Flight Old Friend.” Today I am hoping to make a new friend with Ed’s RV. To begin this friendship, on April 3, 2022, I sent Ed up to take photographs in RV flight.

His aerials came out well; I wanted to share them today. They provide a striking look at some of the beautiful and changing areas of Martin County.

-Ed and his new RV

I.

-C-44 Reservoir located in Indiantown & being filled up by the ACOE.

II.

Halpatiokee Regional Park 

III.

-I am not sure what development this is being created, however, one can see the St Lucie Inlet and Jupiter Narrows  as a reference. If anyone knows, please share. It looks to me to be located around Hobe Sound.

IV. April 3, 2022, 11:30am

-The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon looks good. There have been no major discharges from Lake Okeechobee since 2018. Mind you, April is the near end of the dry season. The wet season begins around June 1. According to NOAA, the 2022 storm names are: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter. I hope it is not foreshadowing that of of them is named “Martin.”

Ed’s aerials below show the effects of discharge on the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near the St Lucie Inlet not from C-44 or Lake O, but from Canals C-23 , C-24 and local runoff. Seagrasses, or lack thereof, is a concern. Please see link for recent Army Corp updates:  ACOE Periodic_Scientists_Call_Power Point 2022-03-29 2

Slide Periodic Scientist Call ACOE 3-29-22

Thank  you Ed for taking photos! Maybe next time, if I get my nerve up, I’ll be up there with you! I have to say, my favorite plane so far was not the Baron, but the original “River Warrior”, the Cub. 🙂 No matter what you’re flying we will continue to document the St Lucie fighting for her health! 

Helicopter Ride Over the Caloosahatchee’s C-43 Reservoir

The recent Governing Board meeting  of the South Florida Water Management District was held on March 10, 2022, on beautiful Sanibel Island, in Lee County. Prior to the meeting, the board was given a tour of the C-43 Reservoir located in LaBelle, in Hendry County, which is on the way and where the giant reservoir is being constructed.

The C-43 Reservoir is also known as the “Caloosahatchee Reservoir,” as it will help manage water from the river’s basin and from Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir’s construction began in 2015; it will be over twice as large as the recently completed St Lucie Reservoir, or C-44 Reservoir, in Martin County. The Caloosahatchee is a much larger system!

For fun, let’s compare….

~The C-44 Reservoir covers 3000 acres; the C-43 Reservoir covers 10,500 acres

~The C-44 Reservoir stores 50,600 acre-feet of water; the C-43 Reservoir will hold 170,000 acre-feet of water

~The C-44 Reservoir is about 15 feet deep; the C-43’s depth will range from 15 to 25 feet

~Looking across the C-44 Reservoir is about three miles; the C-43 is is approximately six miles!

These reservoirs, along with the EAA Reservoir, once complete, will give greater flexibility to the Everglade’s system in many capacities and help offset damaging discharges and algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee.

Enough talk. Let’s go!

-Jared Ross of welcomes us-On the ground, we get a safety lesson and review a diagram of the project-Pre-helicopter driving tour, with John, SFWMD, our guide  

-Atop the dam-Workers at a giant culvert I had seen the C-43 before, at its major groundbreaking in 2019. It was exciting to see it almost three years later and note the progress that has been accomplished thus far. Today, I will share my photos and videos so you too can see. It is hard to grasp it all as it is so sprawling, but from the air you will get a good idea.

-With Jennifer Reynolds, Ecosystem Restoration SFMWD, and Jennifer Smith, Chief of Staff, SFWMD. My helicopter mates!-Time to fly-Following diagram below, going around the reservoir counter-clockwise, starting middle bottom above my thumb-Townsend Canal allows water to be delivered from Calosahatee to reservoir. Water supply to surrounding agricultural fields will be also met. 

 

-Perimeter Canal, further away and closer up -James our pilot-Back on the ground, a follow up. Wow, impressive! Let’s get it done! I will write more about the C-43 in the future, but today I just wanted you to have an opportunity to see it by air!

C-44 Reservoir Being Filled with Lake O Water

C-44 Reservoir, Martin County, FL, 1-19-22, aerial by Ed Lippisch. (Plane: Piper Lance belonging to Dr. Shaun Engebretsen.)Last Wednesday, on January 19, 2022, I received a text from my husband, Ed. The text was brief: “C-44 with water.”

I looked at the message and the photographs and being swamped with reading, I ignored both.

On Saturday, January 22, my brother, Todd,  texted me: “They have been bringing lake water into the C-44 basin most of the week via S-308 at Port Mayaca. Now it’s closed and S-80 is open at 811 cfs? This is called “local basin runoff,” to the St Lucie, hopefully just a little blip.” This time, I put down my reading. I called my contacts at the SFWMD and the ACOE to find out what was going on. The ACOE was filling up the C-44 Reservoir via a “high”Lake Okeechobee through S-308 and the C-44 Canal.  After a few days, a rainstorm hit, so the ACOE opened the S-80 gates at St Lucie Locks and Dam to get the C-44 Canal level down. Hmmm?

The photos taken from the Piper Lance show the C-44 Reservoir as it was filled on January 19th, 2022. It must be much higher now, six days later.

The filling -for the first time- of the C-44 Reservoir is historic. The C-44 Reservoir is the first major CERP project that was completed by the ACOE and their partners – right here in Martin County.

Part of Indian River Lagoon South, this massive project, and in the future, the EAA Reservoir, give real hope for a better water future: more water flowing south to the Everglades and fewer damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Check out these photographs!

~FULL, 1-19-22.

Below, I have included three photos from November 26, 2021 that Ed took when he still had the Beechcraft Baron. These photos were taken when the C-44 Reservoir was just a” little bit full” in November after the ACOE’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 19, 2021.

~NOT SO FULL, 11-26-21.

THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE SHARED TO COMPARE THE “FULLER” PHOTOS ABOVE FROM JANUARY 19, 2022,  TO THE “NOT SO FULL” PHOTOS OF NOVEMBER 26, 2021. Ed Lippisch.

SFWMD canal map, Martin & St Lucie Counties.

 

Last Flight Old Friend

The Beechcraft Baron – whose distinctive wing tip has marked thousands of aerial photos since the infamous algae bloom year of 2016 – is flying to further skies. I thank this airplane for documenting the important issues of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Everglades. Ed and I never gave him a name, other than “the Baron.” I insisted that Ed take some farewell photos before he is handed off to a new owner.  I share those photographs today.

~Last Flight Old Friend, I will miss you.  

 -Early morning sunlight and rain combine in a beautiful farewell to an extraordinary place, St Lucie Inlet, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, Stuart, Florida 8:00am, 1-12-22. Ed Lippisch

  -Ed with Baron 6-19-2016

-Ed with Baron 10-30-21.

-Me kissing Baron goodbye…

Beautiful Christmas Season Above the St Lucie

-Ed in his favorite Bullsugar shirt and FOS Chair, Mr Bob Mathias smile for a selfie pre-flightWell the weather has been fabulous! Ed and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

To document the end of the 2021, Ed and the Chair of Florida Oceanographic Society’s Board of Directors, Mr Bob Mathias, flew over the region on December 23 at 2:00 pm with Ed giving his best history lesson of the Central and South Florida Project that so negatively affects the health of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Most recently, since 2019, there have been some, but no major discharges from Lake Okeechobee as in 2013, 2016 and 2018. However, intermitent heavy rains have overwhelmed the estuary through C-23, C-24, C-44 and area stormwater runoff. We must remember that originally, prior to drainage the St Lucie received filtered water and less than half the amount being dumped into it today.

Above: drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)

As you know, because of recent record state and federal funding and Governor DeSantis, massive efforts are finally underway by the ACOE and SFMWD to improve the situation for the entire Everglades region, and the C-44 Reservoir came on-line in Martin County as the first major completed CERP Project  this year. More good news is that the C-23, C-24 Reservoirs are in design by the ACOE, and the C-25 land purchase became complete by the South Florida Water Management District just two weeks ago!

With lots of work to do, we are heading in the right direction and must continue to do more, more, more to get water quality right and seagrass lushly growing again for Florida’s iconic manatees that are not having a happy holiday season.

Good new year’s resolutions we can achieve right in our own backyards to help are to give up fertilizer and plant native and Florida Friendly, and to keep pushing politicians on all levels to “work for water.”

The recent “Riverlution,” 2013, due to the LOST SUMMER,  started  right here in Matin County and it has spread to the entire state! WE MUST KEEP THE WAVE GOING!

~Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays as we all continue to work for clean waters!

~Jacqui & Ed

St Lucie Inlet: St Lucie Inlet State Park, Sailfish Point, Hutchinson Island, Sewall’s Point, Stuart, Rio, Jensen and Port St Lucie in the distance. This area is the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon confluence. The inlet was dug by pioneers in 1892.

SFWMD basin map for SLR showing S-308 and S-80 along with other structures.

-Various views -Stuart and Rocky Point looking towards St Lucie Inlet and Atlantic Ocean  -Looking up the Indian River Lagoon that is 156 miles long -the St Lucie is east of the peninsula of Sewall’s Point.

-Lake Okeechobee’s Port Mayaca S-308 and C-44 Canal 

An After Thanksgiving Flight

-C-44 Reservoir filling up…Greetings. These aerials were taken November 26, 2021, the day after Thanksgiving, by my husband, Ed Lippisch, and his niece Darci. They took an after Thanksgiving flight and I made sure they took some pictures. It was a glorious Florida day!

Today, I am sharing Ed and Darci’s flight photos of the following:

-S-308 at Lake Okeechobee and Port Mayaca

-The C-44 Canal

-The ACOE’s recently completed  C-44 Reservoir, part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s INDIAN RIVER LAGOON SOUTH projectbeing filled with C-44 Canal water- in Indiantown. 

-The South Florida Water Management District’s C-44 Reservoir Storm Water Treatment Area-receiving the water from the reservoir and cleaning it before it is returned to the canal and thus the St Lucie River

-Wonderfully performing Caulkins Water Farm

-S-80 at St Luice Locks and Dam (gate open for C-44 basin runoff)

-And finally,  the skinny, but very visible plume exiting at the confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon exiting the St Luice Inlet. 

The water quality grade from Florida Oceanographic Society ending November 24th was a “B.” This is good news, however, seagrasses remain sparse and manatees are migrating due to colder weather, hungry, and deaths are way above average due to loss of seagrass throughout the Indian River Lagoon and other parts of the state.

The C-44 Reservoir will very much help improve water quality from the C-44 canal into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. This is a huge step and will be be majorly complemented by the EAA, and C-23/24 Reservoirs in the future. The C-44 Reservoir is being filled incrementally, checking for the structure’s  integrity, and is expected to be in full service by the end of next year. Improved water quality is the only way to heal our waters and we need the EAA Reservoir to send the water south!

-Lake Okeechobee appears algae free. Looking east over Structure 308 and the C-44 Canal. FPL Cooling Pond left surrounded by agriculture, mining, and DuPuis Management Area.

-C-44 Reservoir is two and one half miles wide, and two miles long. Note pump station in left foreground. It is being filled slowly by the Army Corp of Engineers. The STA is in closest foreground. -Another angle -Back to pump station view

-C-44 Storm Water Treatment Area’s 6 cells cleansing and treating C-44 water were built by the SFWMD. Reservoir is visible far upper left. Note speck of pump station in the distance.

-Caulkin’s Water Farm is remarkably successful. It cleanses and stores water and was once a citrus grove. Such projects are funded by the Florida Legislature and managed by the SFWMD.

-Various angels of the C-44’s Structure 80, or “The Seven Gates of Hell” that allow both C-44 basin water and Lake Okeechobee water to disrupt salinity and pollute the St Luice River. The gate open in this photo is for C-44 basin water only. Many call this “local basin runoff,” but it is not. In 1916 C-44 busted through the natural ridge that historically separated the St Lucie from Lake Okeechobee.

-St Lucie Inlet looking north towards Sailfish Point. The runoff is from Canals C-44, C23, C-24 and runoff from all our our homes and streets, etc. Pick up dog waste! Don’t fertilize! Go to native and Florida Friendly plants; get on sewer if on septic; demand Agriculture follow Best Management Practices and prove accountability. SAVE OUR RIVERS! -St Lucie River at Witham Field. See you next flight!