Category Archives: Guest writer

Watching the Lunar Eclipse’s ~Super Blood Wolf Moon~ From Our Pale Blue Dot

Today I am sharing photos of the super blood wolf moon taken last night by my bother, Todd Thurlow. Hopefully, you had a chance to see it too. Ed and I sat in fascination, with binoculars, feeling as if we could pluck this “red marble” from the clear night sky. Included after Todd’s photos is a video, “Our Pale Blue Dot,”  by Carl Sagan, from 1979. Experiences like last evening, help remind us how magical, beautiful, and fragile life on Earth is and that of course, we must cherish and protect it…

This link below is from Carl Sagan’s 1994 book “Pale Blue Dot” and was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan’s suggestion,
by Voyager 1 on 14 February 1990 from a distance of about 6 billion kilometers.

Please see link for PALE BLUE DOT video:

 

Space.Com: https://www.space.com/43071-super-blood-wolf-moon-2019-weather-forecast.html

Preliminary Summary of 2018 Lake and Estuary Flow and Pollution Loads ~Gary Goforth, P.E. PhD.

Gary Goforth, P.E., PhD. Everglades Coalition 2019, Duck Key. All photos JTL

~Knowledge is power! The power to change our water-world!

Goforth, P.E., Ph.D.

It is an honor to once again to share the work of Dr Gary Goforth.

Dr Goforth recently presented on a number of panels at the Everglades Coalition (https://www.evergladescoalition.org) in Duck Key, January 10-12;  you can access all of his remarkable presentations here: (http://www.garygoforth.net/Other%20projects.htm).

On January 4, 2019, Dr Goforth released his“Preliminary Summary of 2018 Lake and Estuary Flow and Pollution Loads.”

It is linked below for purposes of documentation.  So many of my readers have written in appreciation of these reference documents in the past. I remain forever grateful for Dr Goforth’s lifetime of dedication to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, the waters of Florida, and for allowing me to share his work. I am including  short biography below.

Dr. Gary Goforth has more than 30 years of experience in water resources engineering, encompassing strategic planning, design, permitting, construction, operation and program management. For the last 25 years, his focus has been on large-scale environmental restoration programs in the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades ecosystem. He was the Chief Consulting Engineer during the design, construction and operation of the $700 million Everglades Construction Project, containing over 41,000 acres of constructed wetlands. He is experienced in public education, water quality treatment design and evaluation, engineering design and peer review, systems ecology, statistical hydrology, hydrologic modeling, hydrodynamic modeling, water quality modeling, environmental permit acquisition and administration, hydrologic and water quality performance analyses. http://garygoforth.net/index.htm

“Preliminary Summary of 2018 Lake and Estuary Flow and Pollution Loads” ~Gary Goforth, PhD.

SUMMARY

  • The phosphorus pollution entering Lake Okeechobee reached historically high levels during calendar year 2017, with an estimated 88 percent from agricultural land uses.
  • Heavy rains from during May 2018 raised the water level of Lake Okeechobee to such an extent that the US Corps of Engineers began making regulatory discharges to the coastal estuaries beginning in June 2018.  Approximately 331 billion gallons of polluted Lake water was discharged to the estuaries, including the Lake Worth Lagoon. A State of Emergency was declared for both coasts.

o   On July 2, a massive bloom of toxic blue-green algae was reported to cover up to 90% of the open water of the Lake, yet discharges continued for several months afterward.

o   Approximately 87 billion gallons of polluted Lake water were discharged to the St. Lucie River and Estuary.

  • The Lake discharges to the St. Lucie River and Estuary contained more than 145,000 pounds of phosphorus, 1.3 million pounds of nitrogen, and more than 30 millionpounds of suspended sediment.
  • Massive algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee were present in the St. Lucie River and Estuary, and along the ocean beaches, necessitating multiple beach closures.  In addition, a red tide was present that adversely affected public health.

o   Approximately 234 billion gallons of polluted Lake water were discharged to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

  • The Lake discharges to the Caloosahatchee Estuary contained more than 303,000 pounds of phosphorus, almost 2.4 million pounds of nitrogen, and more than 20 million pounds of suspended sediment.
  • Massive algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee were present in the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary.  In addition, extensive red tide devastated wildlife and adversely affected public health.

o   Approximately 11 billion gallons of polluted Lake water was discharged to the Lake Worth Lagoon.

  • Overall, the St. Lucie River and Estuary received more than 467,000 pounds of phosphorus, more than 2.5 million pounds of nitrogen, and more than 35 million pounds of suspended sediment from the Lake and local watersheds, which are predominately agricultural.

o   The water quality of Lake discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary is particularly polluted: in addition to toxic algae, the phosphorus concentrations have averaged 200 parts per billion – 5 times the target for the Lake.

o   Nitrogen loading from septic tanks is estimated at approximately 231,000 pounds, or about 9 percent of the total nitrogen loading to the St. Lucie River and Estuary.

o   Despite the destructive magnitude of Lake discharges, stormwater runoff from agricultural lands in the St. Lucie watershed contributed almost twice the phosphorus loads to the estuary as did Lake discharges.

  • Lake discharges to the STAs during the year leading up to the 2018 discharges to the estuaries were the lowest in the last 6 years. However, Lake discharges to the STAs during 2018 were the highest in history, at almost 500,000 acre feet (163 billion gallons).

READ FULL REPORT HERE: Goforth draft – 2018 summary 1 4 2019

 

Florida Red Tides (Dinoflagellates) and Blue-Green Algal Blooms (Cyanobacteria): Questions and Answers for the Treasure Coast By Geoffrey Norris

Greetings! My long-term readers may recall Dr. Geoffrey Norris whose shared 2017 writings on agriculture and glyphosate usage were extremely popular. Well, Dr Norris has returned from freezing cold Canada to tropical Hutchinson Island and has another work to share. He has written on a question many ask :”Red vs. Green Algae: What’s an Easy Way to Understand the Difference?” Please link below for yet another outstanding piece written for the everyday person, by our dear Canadian friend,  Dr Geoffrey Norris.

florida red tides and blue green v.4 draft algal blooms q&a

Dear Jacqui

Happy New Year!

I am enclosing a discussion piece I have just completed entitled:

Florida Red Tides (Dinoflagellates) and Blue-Green Algal Blooms (Cyanobacteria): Questions and Answers for the Treasure Coast

It is attached as a pdf.  It is quite long, and I have included an Executive Summary for those who might need it.  It is abundantly illustrated, including a couple of aerial shots by you and Ed. 

If you would be willing to include it in your website/blog I would be really happy.  There is so much confusion about red tides and blooms, and hopefully this clarifies things a little.

All the best

Geoff Norris

IMG_1003 geoff norris
Geoffrey Norris, PhD: “In the 1960s, I lived and worked as a petroleum exploration geologist in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Subsequently, I spent almost 40 years at the University of Toronto in teaching and research in geology. A geologist by training, I have a specialized knowledge of fossil algae, their ecology, morphology, and distribution. I have published hundreds of scientific papers on fossil algae and related topics.”

Florida Red Tides (Dinoflagellates) and Blue-Green Algal Blooms (Cyanobacteria): Questions and Answers for the Treasure Coast

By Geoffrey Norris, PhD. Hutchinson Island, Martin County, Florida; 2019

Contact Dr Norris at: rosalex@interlog.com

introduction, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This discussion centers on the issues of water quality in Florida’s lakes, waterways and coastal waters, as related to algal and bacterial blooms. It is written in plain language, in question and answer format, using as few technical terms as possible to help explain and clarify the various factors involved that lead to colored waters and toxic outbreaks in Florida’s lakes, estuaries and coastal waters.

Link here for PDF file full executive summaryflorida red tides and blue green v.4 draft algal blooms q&a

 

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

The Late, Great, Johnny and Mariana Jones; Learning From Their Legacy, SLR/IRL

I first met Michelle Jones Connor during 2013’s “Lost Summer,” the year coffee colored, sediment-filled water flowed through the gates of the Army Corp of Engineers for most the year, from Lake Okeechobee into our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. At that time, with energy surging as thousands of peoples’ anger ramped-up the River Movement, at a rally Michelle told me about her environmental-legend grandfather and grandmother, Johnny and Mariana Jones.

Ironically, not too long after this, my mother and father discovered the above plaque while on a field trip to the Hungryland, an area also named after the couple.

Who were these incredible people?

The Florida Wildlife Commission’s dedication to Hungryland explains:

“The Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area honors the conservation legacy of Johnny and Marianna Jones, passionate advocates for the protection of fish and wildlife resources throughout Florida. During their 61-year marriage, the couple lobbied for environmental issues, were leaders of the Florida Wildlife Federation and were instrumental in the establishment of over 3 million acres of public lands, including the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area.”

The list of their achievements is incredible! Almost impossible. Could we ever do something like that today? Of course we could; we just have to learn the tricks of the trade before they are forgotten.

Michelle’s grandparents have recently passed as have so many other of the “greats.” We must fill their shoes. We have no choice but to do so. And learning from the past can be a great help along our journey.

Thankfully, Michelle has given us some of the treasures of her late grandparents.

Today I share with you, with the permission of Michelle, three things from the Joneses and their library. First, a fascinating and insightful 2001 University of Florida interview where Mr Jones answers the question: “What are the two or three most important contributing factors that have led to the present problems in the Everglades?”; Second, “The Marshall Plan, Repairing the Florida Everglades;” and third Johnny Jones’  “The Rain Machine,” my favorite, about how human greed, development, and canalization, and drainage  of Lake Okeechobee and surrounding areas altered Florida’s water cycle ~and thus Florida’s weather itself ~by removing so much water from the land.

Upon reading, you will notice names, such as Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Arthur R. Marshall, and Nathaniel Reed ~just to name a few. In spite of the difficulties, pressures,  and of course the hottest potato, politics, it was relationships and perseverance  that allowed the Joneses to achieve so much. We must do the same.

Thank you  Michelle  for sharing these rare and valuable documents. We shall honor the legacy of your grandparents and be inspired..

UF/Interview of Johnny Jones by Brian Gridley, 2001:
http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/AA/00/00/72/23/00001/EVG_009_Johnny_Jones_5-23-2001Final.pdf

Marshall Plan PDF

The Rain Machine PDF

Michelle Jones Connor 2013, Lost Summer, Michelle is the granddaughter of the late, great Johnny and Mariana Jones.

Link to the Facebook Page Michelle’s Aunt Linda created, shared by Michelle: https://www.facebook.com/FloridaConservation/

Why the name “Hungryland:”…in the mid-1800s, Seminoles seeking to escape the U.S. Army hid out in these wetlands. The Army destroyed and cut off their food supplies, leading local ranchers to refer to the region as “Hungryland.” The slough that still runs through the area was called the Hungryland Slough and was primarily used for grazing cattle.”
FWC: http://myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/jones-hungryland/history/

Hungryland Slough Guide, FWC: http://discover.pbcgov.org/erm/Publications/HungrylandSloughTrailGuide.pdf

Sofia Memorials, and photo of Johnny Jones above: https://sofia.usgs.gov/memorials/Johnny-Mariana-Jones/

Obituary Johnny Jones: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/johnny-jones-remembered-stubborn-advocate-for-the-environment/8va3cqDSp3waubFTm3vBCJ/

Obituary Mariana Jones: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/lake-worth-fl/mariana-jones-6456420

UF Interview Johnny Jones/Smather’s Library format: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005378/00001/1j

Hungryland Field Trip, Sandy and Tom Thurlow, 2014.

“Phosphorus Loading by Land Use – What FDEP Isn’t Telling Us!” Gary Goforth, PhD.

I am once again honored to share Dr. Goforth’s work:

Excerpt from: A Brief Discussion of Lake Okeechobee Pollution G. Goforth, PhD.  9/18/2018:

“For calendar year 2017, the phosphorus loading to the Lake Okeechobee approached 2.3 million pounds, the highest level ever recorded, and the 5-yr average phosphorus loading to the lake was more than 5 times the pollution allocation established for the watershed. This pollution target is called the “Total Maximum Daily Load” or “TMDL.” The result: an algae bloom covered 90 percent of the lake this summer (NOAA 2018).

In addition, the state’s annual “progress report” on efforts to reduce pollution of the lake underestimates the actual loading to the lake. For the last two years the FDEP has published reports indicating phosphorus loading to the lake has decreased – yet these claims conflict with the measured loads to the lake, e.g., the average load measured in 2017 was 60% higher than reported by FDEP…”

Gary Goforth PhD, http://garygoforth.net/, has more than 30 years of experience in water resources engineering, encompassing strategic planning, design, permitting, construction, operation and program management and is an outspoken advocate for the St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon.