Today I share aerial photographs taken by Ed Lippisch on September 17 around 9:30 am to 10am. The great thing about a photograph is that it speaks for itself! We have avoided a recent tropical storm or a hurricane’s impact on Lake Okeechobee, but the lake remains high at 15.41 feet as reported today by the SFWMD. Stormwater and canals C-23, C-24 continue pollute and discolor the estuary. Remember no fertilizer use during rainy season or if you’re like me EVER! Stay vigilant as hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. Your eyes in the sky, J&E
Yesterday, September 2, 2023, my husband Ed flew from Stuart to La Belle located along the Caloosahatchee River. I asked him to take some aerials of the C-43 Reservoir that although having some tribulations will one day will be similar, but larger, than the St. Lucie’s C-44 Reservoir. Ed agreed and a took some interesting pictures. Ed also took some aerials of the St. Lucie/Indian River Lagoon that was whipped up and milky looking from eight foot seas pushing sand into the inlet from the Atlantic Ocean.
Check out Todd Thurlow’s amazing site, EyeonlakeO, which in “real-time” measures Lake Okeechobee at 15.38 feet, even after Hurricane Idalia. Hurricane season has at least two more months to go, so we are not home free yet. The ACOE and NOAA are vigilant.
We continue to be your eye in the sky! See you next week. J&E
I. C-43 Reservoir under construction, along Caloosahatchee River. 9-2-23, about 10:55 am. EL
III. S-308 Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee visible blue green algae (cyanobacteria) has lessened with cooler weather, but lake water is terribly polluted and blue-green algae remains just dormant. Presently there is no discharging by the ACOE from Lake O into the SLR/IRL. Runoff from C-23, C-24 and C-25 and area runoff continues. 9-2-23, 11:20am. EL
These aerials were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, on August 27, 2023 around 12:15pm. Other than an operational burp from Lake Okeechobee through C-44, it’s canals C-23 and C-24 which drain Port St. Lucie, Allapattah Flats, as well as our Tidal Basin – that are causing the present discoloration and decline in water quality. On a good note, though impaired, seagrass beds are visible near the Sandbar and algae is no longer seen from 1000 feet at Port Mayaca.
As we enter the primary hurricane season it’s unfortunate the alternative canal through the Everglades Agricultural Area once considered by the ACOE in the 1950s to alleviate the discharges is not in place. If history does indeed repeat itself, we must be prepared for more rain and Lake Okeechobee destruction added to the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
A picture speaks a 1000 words…
Ed’s RV is having its annual so on August 16, 2023 Ed went up in the SuperCub with Scott Kuhns. It was early morning and lighting limited successful outcome of photographs. Thus I have chosen a just a few, that for me, are impactful in what they say about development and agriculture and our environment. JTL
Ed’s comment when he came home from flight yesterday was “not as bad as last time.”
Today’s aerials were taken 8-6-23 around 1:30pm. One can see blue-green algae, along the eastern shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, but not as much in the C-44 canal.
The St. Lucie River looks a bluer near Sewall’s Point- perhaps thanks to recent full moon tides and less rain runoff. Seagrass meadows covered in increasing a cyanobacteria and macro algae are visible. The seagrass is returning, but not in as good a shape, after massive and longterm Lake O discharges in 2018, 2016, and 2013 and decades of destruction.
Ed and I continue to be your “eye in the sky” and Todd is helping all of us keep an eyeonlakeo now at 15.30 feet according to the SFWMD. Hurricane season should start ramping up. It is not a good situation. More water should be able to be sent south as God intended.
~Lake O, Rim Canal, and C-44 at Port Mayaca’s S-308
~St. Lucie River-Indian River Lagoon. Sewall’s Point divides these waters.
~Note seagrass beds in next two photos. Once 700 acres now much less and impaired. Good to see it in any case!
Northern Lake O algae bloom On Saturday, July 29, 2023, my husband Ed returned from flight with 103 aerial photographs of the St. Lucie River to Lake Okeechobee. When there are so many photographs it is difficult for me to decide which ones to include so I have shared most in gallery format.
The St. Lucie River continues to be darkened by C-23, C-24 and storm water runoff while Lake Okeechobee continues to suffer from cyanobacteria blue-green algae blooms primarily in the north. Ed said there was algae in the middle of the lake but that it was more like a “sheen.” Like gasoline on water.
Ed’s photos show algae on both sides of the St. Luice Canal (C-44), but none at S-80, St. Lucie Locks and Dam, and little visible in the lake -again just a greenish color- at S-308 at Port Mayaca lakeside.
The algae in north Lake Okeechobee is dramatic and looks more clumped than I have witnessed previously. Perhaps wind and rain? Strange…
The only good thing I can say is that the ACOE and SFWMD continue to recommend no discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River. We’ll see about next week.
On July 25, my brother Todd Thurlow eyeonlakeo texted me that S-308 was open at 1656 cubic feet per second but S-80 remained closed. I would imagine this water let in from the Lake Okeechobee was for canal levels or water supply of agriculture. If I were growing crops I would not wish to accept this water as University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences UF IFAS had notes: “Cyanobacterial toxins can accumulate in crop plants, resulting in injury and yield loss; human health may be affected. Impacts of field crop exposure to cyanotoxins in irrigation water are unknown.”
Known or unknown, it can’t be good.
The historic role of agriculture supported by our state and nation is the primary reason the lake is in such awful condition today; this has been documented since 1969. (U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Central and South Florida Flood Control District two year study on chemical and biological conditions of Lake Okeechobee, Beyond the 4th Generation, Lamar Johnson 1974.)
On Saturday, July 29 the South Florida Water Management District recorded the lake level at 15.03 feet. Do not pray for rain…
ST. LUCIE RIVER, ST. LUCIE CANAL, S-80, ST. LUCIE LOCKS AND DAM
ST. LUCIE CANAL TO S-308 AT PORT MAYACA AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE, ONE PHOTO BACK IN STUART
Today I share my husband Ed Lippisch’s aerial photographs and one video taken around 11:30am on 7-23-23. Also included in the post are photos of reemerging seagrass beds taken by my brother Todd Thurlow on 7-2-23. A wonderful thing although Todd estimates that just under 80 acres were in the area he visited.
The St. Luice River/Indian River Lagoon is dark from rain, C-23 and C-24 discharge, and stormwater run-off, however most of the ocean looks gorgeous blue. You can even see the nearshore reefs. Seagrass and or macro-algae appear near the sandbars just inside the inlet. Not the 600 acres of yesteryear but some, and this is a good sign. There has been no discharge of Lake Okeechobee since April and that was a small amount with no algae. Nonetheless, it is never good for the river.
Lake Okeechobee shows no major algae blooms near S-308 as just a week ago at Port Mayaca although one can see the long green wisps like shadows in the water. This changes every day and you can follow at eyeonlakeo. This is Todd’s site and it shows Lake Okeechobee at 15 feet. Pray for no hurricanes.
There is algae on the inside gate of S-308 and some along the St. Lucie Canal also known as the C-44 canal as titled when it became part of the Central and South Florida Flood Control Plan of 1948. S-308 is overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers since 1930 but the South Florida Water Management District is involved spaying peroxide pellets on the algae when it gathers in big blue-green-gray rotting clumps as it did last week. The algae dies but more than likely sinks releasing toxins. A conundrum most definitely….
Thank you to my husband Ed who is in his tenth year documenting our waters by air. All of working together are make a difference. We are watching and they know it.
TODAY’S AERIALS, 7-23-23 by ED LIPPISCH
Date taken: 7-12-23 at 1pm/Location S-308 and C-44 Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee, FL/Pilot Ed Lippisch.
Three videos are included of the large cyanobacteria-blue green algae bloom off of S-308. S-308 opens into the C-44 (St. Lucie Canal leading into Stuart and out to St. Lucie Inlet.) This bloom waxes and wanes based on conditions but it “always there.” Nutrient pollution must be overcome.
S-308 is presently closed by ACOE. Keep your eyeonlakeo today measured at 14.87 feet.
~A picture speaks a 1000 words; a video…
These aerials were taken over Port Mayaca and the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon by Ed Lippisch on 7-7-23 around 11:30am.
The algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee has lessened compared to two weeks ago however, now Cyanobacteria can be seen clearly on the inside of S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee. This is from boats coming through the locks from Lake Okeechobee at S-308 as the first two photographs display.
“The blue-green algae continues east along C-44 up to the railroad track, about a quarter to a half mile.” Ed Lippisch.
Keep your eyeonlakeo today, Sunday, 7-9-23 at 14.86 feet.
7-7-23: St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon view from Willoughby Creek approaching Witham Field. River is darker with runoff and canal waters but not Lake Okeechobee. No algae.
Date: Friday, April 21, 2023
Time: Around 11:30am
Pilot: Ed Lippisch
Location: Confluence of the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon; St Lucie Inlet; Roosevelt Bridge; west of Jupiter Narrows; western Martin County lands near Green Ridge and other areas; S-308 Port Mayaca; Palm City SLR area.
Hello readers. I’m a bit behind, but wanted to include! Great reference and baseline aerials. now that L.O. discharges have been halted. JTL
Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Time: Around 12:15pm
Pilot: Ed Lippisch
Location: Confluence of the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon; St Lucie Inlet; Roosevelt Bridge and Palm City Bridge areas.
Conditions: No discharges from Lake Okeechobee. ACOE stopped April 15, 2013. There have been two major rain events in the past weeks. But not as much as in Ft Lauderdale!
Documenting the Discharges – 2023- to St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee.
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2023
Time: Around 12:30 just before low tide
Pilot: Ed Lippisch
Location: Confluence of the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon; Roosevelt Bridge area; S-80 St Lucie Canal; S-308 Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee.
Conditions: After months of almost no rain, Sewall’s Point received 5 inches last week-thus you see the really dark runoff along with discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
AFTER 83 DAYS, the ACOE, with the recommendation of the SFWMD, is halting discharges! Very good news.
Documenting the Discharges – 2023 to St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee – 74 days!
Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Time: Around 11 am
Tide: High at Sewall’s Point
Pilot /Photographer: Ed Lippisch
Location: St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, St Lucie Inlet, Nearshore Reefs, Atlantic Ocean, Sailfish Flats, Jupiter Narrows, S-80 St Lucie Lock and Dam in St Lucie Canal (C-44), and S-308 at Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee
Hope giving “Seagrass Restoration Report” Power Point by Michael Yustin: Martin County Seagrass Restoration Project Thank you Michael for sharing!
Present discharge updates inn top banner: eyeonlakeo.com website – Todd Thurlow
Documenting the Discharges– 2023- St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon
Date: Friday, March 24, 2023
Around 4:00 pm
Pilot/photographer: Ed Lippisch
Discharge Updates: eyeonlakeo.com
Location: St Lucie Inlet, Sailfish Flats, Atlantic Ocean
Documenting the Seagrass
Date March 24, 2023
Around 5:00 pm
Boater/photographer: Mary Radabaugh (Thank you Mary!)
Location: Sandbar area near St Lucie Inlet between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island
Due to cyanobacteria sightings and thoughtful decisions of Col. Booth, the ACOE has been “off and on” discharging an average of 500 cubic feet per second to the St Lucie River from Lake Okeechobee (15.06 ft).
Today’s aerials show the St Lucie River and Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee on March 11 about two hours after high tide around 1:30 pm. Discharges began January 22, 2023. ~Ed and I continue to document the discharges with the hope that they will be halted as algae is present, visible or invisible, having bloomed early (February) in Lake Okeechobee.
III. Follow along via “eyeonlakeo.com”- yellow in banner shows when gates are open, website via TT3
PORT MAYACA, LAKE OKEECHOBEE, S-308, Ed Lippisch (no visible algae/blue water)
ST LUCIE RIVER/INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, ST LUCIE INLET, SAILFISH FALTS, SEWALL’ POINT, HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Ed Lippisch (no visible seagrass)
My husband Ed took these aerials yesterday March 4, 2023 around 11am. He described it as a “mid tide” between high and low. Also swinging by Port Mayaca, at Lake Okeechobee, this time there was no visible algae.
Following Ed’s aerials I am including those of Dr. Scott Kuhns whose photographs taken on February 27, 2023 around 10am showing streaks of algae caused the ACOE to close gate S-308 at Port Mayaca for about 2 1/2 days. Kudos to Dr Kuhns! And thank you to the ACOE for closing!
So the pictures directly below are Ed’s 3-4-23 and those following are Scott’s 2-27-23. We will continue to document the discharges with hopes they will be halted. We all agree that St Lucie River suffers under the discharges. She was taking water to avoid algae in summer. No one thought algae sightings would begin so early in February, but they have. With this discovery, it is time to 🛑 stop! Cyanobacteria is impossible to 100% track and understand. It is too ancient and will outsmart us every time. Close the locks.