Category Archives: St Luice River and C-44 Canal

Day 35 ~Discharges to St Lucie Stop, April 10, 2021

Documenting the Discharges 2021

On Friday, April 9, the Army Corp of Engineers announced it would halt discharges to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon on Saturday, April 10. The Corp has been discharging from Lake Okeechobee since March 6th. Today Lake Okeechobee sits at 14.14 feet. Please read above link for details.

These aerials were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, yesterday, Saturday, April 10, 2021 at approximately 1:30 pm during an outgoing tide, from 3000 feet over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, and 1500 feet over Lake Okeechobee and the C-44 Canal.

There have been documented reports of algae near Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee as well as on the the west coast -April 8. Ed’s photos from April 10 reveal some algae in C-44 canal near the railroad bridge just inside the S-308 structure, but none was visible in Lake O near S-308 from the altitude of the airplane.

Ed, myself, and the River Warrior crew will continue flights documenting the visual condition of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Always watching. Always sharing.

When we are not flying, you can follow along  electronically via my brother Todd Thurlow’s website eyeonlakeo. 

J&E

-Sandbar and barren (no visible seagrass) Sailfish Flats area of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Visually, water is a mixture of blue and brown, mostly transparent, near St Lucie Inlet. -Discharges exiting St Lucie Inlet over nearshore reefs. It will take a few days for the river to clear up. -At Lake Okeechobee, Port Mayaca, S-308 Structure to C-44 Canal leading to St Lucie River-C-44 Canal at railroad bridge just inside S-308 structure. Algae visible on right side. -C-44 at St Lucie Locks and Dam S-80 Structure AKA “The 7 Gates of Hell.”

Information:

Florida Oceanographic Society  WQ Report “B” March 31-April 7, 2021

SFWMD Operations Position Statement April 6-April 12, 2021 Ops_Position_Statement__Apr_06_Apr_12_2021

Todd Thurlow’s website EyeonLakeO 

To learn more and sign a petition to stop the discharges:  RiversCoalition.org 

7 Days After ~Discharges March ’21

~Ed takes a picture at 3000 feet

I. HELPFUL INFORMATION:

1. ACOE Statement regarding discharging March 5, 2020

2. Lake Okeechobee level 15.06 feet

3. ACOE Pulse Release Schedule: 4.SFWMD staff’s recommendation to the Corps regarding Lake Okeechobee operations       for the period March 2 to March 8, and March 9 to March 15, 2021: Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_02_08_2021 

Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_09_15_2021 

5. Florida Oceanographic’s Weekly Water Quality Report 

6. HAB update and science data: Todd Thurlow’s website eyeonelakeo

II. DOCUMENTING THE DISCHARGES -all photos taken 3-13-21 by J&E on outgoing tide around 1pm. Friday, March 5, my husband Ed and I , took aerials of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon just one day before the Army Corps of Engineers began discharging to the St Lucie River on March 6, 2021. I can’t say that in all our years of taking photographs since 2013, we have done so just one day before discharges began. Thus, now Ed and my goal is to take photos every week as long as the discharges continue. This will give us a really good opportunity for visual comparison.

We all know a picture speaks a thousand words…

Today, Saturday, March 13, 2021, is exactly one week after discharges began-(this time). You can see last week’s photos here! Do you think they were prettier than todays? I must admit, today, the water coloring looked better than I anticipated and that’s good news. This may not be the case in the coming weeks especially if the ACOE ups the discharge level.

We shall see.

~Jacqui and Ed

-St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Flats at Sailfish Point-Sailfish Flats with no visible seagrass-St Lucie Inlet -A faint plume is visible going south along Jupiter Island-St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon-Looking south over Hutchinson Island at St Lucie Inlet-Views north along Indian River Lagoon -At St Lucie Inlet looking over Jupiter Narrows to Port Salerno and Stuart-Water just outside St Lucie Inlet on north side, reefs visible as is sediment exiting inlet -Another view encompassing almost all: St Lucie River, Southern Indian River Lagoon -Looking south towards Palm City where the South Fork connects to the C-44 and Lake Okeechobee when structure S-80 and S-308 are open. -Looking east toward the cross shape and forks of the St Lucie River. IRL in foreground. Sewall’s Point lies between the St Lucie and IRL.

SLR/IRL up to 7000 feet

~Documenting the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon. Sewall’s Point, Ed and my home, lies between the St Lucie & Indian River Lagoon. My husband, Ed Lippisch, flew high, up to 7000 feet, to take photos of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, and S-80 (St Lucie Locks and Dam), on Sunday, February 21. The pictures were taken around 2:45pm on a very windy day. (Thus I declined an invitation!) Ed basically made a big circle. 

I am including all 52 photos as each one presents a slightly different perspective. Ed flew from the Crossroads and inlet of the SLR/IRL west to S-80 along the C-44 canal. There he saw no discharges coming through the gates from either the C-44 basin or Lake Okeechobee. Most recently, the ACOE halted discharges on January 9th, 2021 after 3 months of discharging. The river is starting to recover in appearance, but not soul.

Today, Lake Okeechobee is at 15.42 feet.

Tomorrow at 3pm the ACOE will hold a media call to announce their operational decisions for the coming week/s. James Yochem, spokesman for the Corp, has shared the following media advisory. The public usually does not speak on these calls but can listen-in. 

MEDIA ADVISORY:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will conduct a briefing with interested media representatives regarding water management for Lake Okeechobee and south Florida. The media briefing will be held Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.

Please join the call using this information:

US Toll Free    844-800-2712
Access code     199 453 9583

If you are asked for an attendee ID number, dial #

It is very important that we are paying attention to “all things river”and “speaking up for the St Lucie” when possible as we approach wet and hurricane seasons. 

Thank you Ed for the recent aerials!

~To view Ed’s photo essay documentation prior to this one on February 3, 2021, see Milky Waters!

~To review what happened to the St Lucie in Toxic 2016, see Too Unthinkable.

About Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch 

What is a HAB Deviation?

-Shadow in Toxic algae, Central Marine, St Lucie River, Stuart, FL 2016. Photo JTLSince February 1, 2021, the St Lucie River has fallen under an Army Corp of Engineer’s “HAB Deviation” or Harmful Algae Bloom Deviation. If you are not familiar with it, this is a complex situation, and it took a lot to get there; however, I am going to try to explain it in easy terms.

Basically, HAB Deviation means that the ACOE has the authority to discharge from Lake Okeechobee in order to avoid another toxic summer. The HAB Deviation gives the ACOE the ability,  if necessary, to discharge more flexibly than is documented in the present Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule, or LORS 2008. The HAB Deviation may dovetail with new requirements in 2022, when a new, updated lake regulation schedule called LOSOM, is delivered. The HAB Deviation may or may not exist then. But for now, it does.

“Why?” you may ask. 

Because actually the ACOE is trying to protect the estuaries from a precarious future. For example, this year, today, (2-14-21) Lake Okeechobee, is at 15.40 feet. This is considered “high” from a St Lucie/Caloosahatchee point of view because looking forward to June 1st 2021, when rainy season begins, it appears the estuaries may be receiving discharges. 

Again, the purpose is for the ACOEs to be able to discharge -to get the lake down early- so they don’t “have” to massively discharge come summer -when the lake undoubtably will have algae blooms. The goal is to avoid discharging algae. Thus the term HAB DEVIATION.

As we can tell from this UF thesis (Gayle) written in 1975, algae blooms have been documented in Lake Okeechobee since 1967. Water Quality is the responsibility of the State, but things got so bad in 2016 and 2018 for the St Lucie and Calooshatchee that the ACOE stepped in and created the HAB DEVIATION SCHEDULE. 

So far the ACOE has not started discharging to the St Lucie River under the HAB DEVIATION, but we should be prepared. 

“Is it better to get the discharges during the winter months when there is not algae in Lake Okeechobee?” This is a difficult question. 

Best would be not to get any at all…

Today, I share because it is all so confusing. At a recent SFWMD meeting, I realized that I didn’t even understand that although the St Lucie is not receiving discharges, the deviation has already begun…

Approved Planned Deviation from LORS 2008 to reduce risk from Harmful Algal Blooms

2020 Planned Deviation to the Water Control Plan for Lake Okeechobee and Everglades Agricultural Area (LORS 2008)

Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, and Palm Beach counties

Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact (Oct. 8 2020)

Supplemental EA and FONSI

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C.1

Appendix C.2

Appendix D

NOTE: very large files may take several minutes to open and download.

-2016 Toxic Algae Bloom, St Lucie River at Central Marine. The algae blooms start in Lake Okeechobee. When discharged to the St Lucie River the blooms are exaserbated by poor water quality and the freshness of the once brackish estuary due to long releases from the Lake Okeechobee. This pattern must stop. More water must flow south. Photo JTL 

 

 

Milky Waters

~St Lucie Inlet with Crossroads of SLR/ILR at Sewall’s Point Ed’s February 3, 2021 photos of the St Lucie River & Indian River Lagoon at the St Lucie Inlet are unusual. Taken during cold temperatures and windy conditions at 2:15pm – at “dead high tide,” they show the incoming blue waters with a milky quality juxtaposed to the darker estuarine. This combination is one I have never seen, ever. Ed and I have been documenting  since 2013. When I first saw these photos, I posted a few on Facebook stating: “Interesting…”

Later, my brother Todd wrote back: 

“I just saw Ed’s pictures of the river.  When we were out last weekend the St. Lucie was that milky blue.  With the pounding waves offshore, the water was full of suspended sand.  You would think that sand is actually beneficial when it is transported inside the estuaries to settle on top of the muck bottom.  I did YouTube videos of the Bahamas after Dorian when the entire Bahama bank and outer reefs were that same milky blue.”

So that’s what’s going on! Interesting! 

Today I share more of Ed’s recent photos. They are taken from 4000+ feet which gives a much broader perspective and highlights the beauty of the St Lucie Inlet region in spite our struggle to revive our seagrasses and protect our water from discharges, especially those of Lake Okeechobee. On February 3, when these aerials were taken, the ACOE was not discharging having halted January 9th, 2021 after 3 months. At the present moment the ACOE does not have plans to discharge from Lake Okeechobee. The lake is presently sitting at 15.37 feet. 

This could be problematic for the St Lucie come summer…

*Thank you to my husband, Ed Lippisch for taking these photos! 

 

 

The Green Ridge

Although I first took this photo on January 21, 2021 to document the layer of smoke hovering at the horizon due to the burning sugarcane fields, I later noticed the clear aerial composition of the Green Ridge. Thus I share today…

Looking even briefly at the photograph, you will notice that this ridge is scraped flat by agriculture fields and 1-95 swinging over it – to take advantage of the high 30-35 foot topography.

So what is the Green Ridge and why is it important to the St Lucie River?

You may have recently read my post on Allapattah Flats where my brother utilized the map below from a 1960’s U.S.Geological Survey, “Martin County” report, on water resources prepared by William F. Lichtler? This report gives an excellent breakdown on pages 7-11; but even if you don’t read it, you can see it!

The Green Ridge guided waters south as they traveled slowly through the marshy Eastern Flatlands being deepest closest to the Orlando Ridge, Allapattah Flats. (For reference, today Indiantown lies in the southern portion of the Orlando Ridge.)

When the St Lucie Canal, (C-44) was cut ca. 1914-1923 and then deepened, widened, and “improved” many times since, it caused the waters moving southeast to shoot down into the St Lucie. Today, due to agriculture and development, these water are polluted and basically unfiltered and have been allowed to be so for many, many years.

And when Lake Okeechobee is opened into the St Lucie Canal…we all know what happens then. Complete destruction from a water source, Lake Okeechobee, that also was never connected to the St Lucie!

For years I tried to understand the Green Ridge, and it’s importance, now I think I do. In restoring our waters it is helpful to be able to envision how Nature functioned before humans altered the landscape to the point that she is almost unrecognizable. 

-Red baloon designates the Green Ridge

 

What is, what was, Allapattah Flats?

-Photo credit: Martin County: Chair Martin County Commission, Stacey Heatherington in red, and SFWMD Governing Board, ribbon-cutting Allapattah Flats 1-21-21Yesterday, the South Florida Water Management District held a ribbon-cutting for Allapattah Flats. The celebration was for over 6000 acres of wetland restoration work completed through a partnership: specifically the South Florida Water Management Distirct, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Martin County who for a over a generation has provided leadership for natural land purchases. 

 As this recent op-ed of longtime Martin County Commissioner, Mrs Maggy Hurchalla states, bringing back wetlands is the most on the ground, real way to restore the Everglades. This means  the St Lucie River too. The beautiful bird life really appreciates this as post drainage, due to habitat destruction of wetlands, their numbers plummeted by the millions.

-Photo credit SFMWD: a juvenile little blue heron is released by Bush Wildlife Center!  -Renewed Partnerships: Rep. John Snyder; SFWWMD, JTL; MC Chair Stacy Heatherington; Comr. Doug Smith -JTL, MC Comr. Sarah Heard-SFWMD Executive Director, Drew Bartlett, JTL, & Mr. Jaun Hernandes, NRCSSo what was Allapattah Flats?

Since drainage, the lands, flora, and fauna have changed so much! It’s almost unrecognizable. To get a good idea of what it used to be, so as to understand the ribbon- cutting within the context of toady and yesterday, I knew if I was to well prepared for the event, I had to inquire with my history and map loving brother, Todd Thurlow. I am including Todd and my correspondence on this issue because it is so interesting and helpful in understanding “what is, what was, Allapattah Flats”. Our email exchange is below: 

J: “Todd tomorrow is the ribbon-cutting for Allapattah Flats. Was Allapattah Flats part of the Alipatiokee Swamp or was it separate? Was it a pine flatwoods area with small marshes or what. All these historic names sound the same. – Allapattah, Halpatiokee, Alpatiokee. I’m looking at that 1839 Gen. Z. Taylor map. Thanks.”

Above: portion of 1839 Gen. Zachary Taylor map. Allapattah and derivatives mean “Alligator” in Seminole.

T: “I think Allapattah Flats is one of those names that has moved around/changed over the years.  It’s the old Al-pa-ti-o-kee Swamp of my YouTube Video.  It was a wetland.  Not a pine forest.  It may have become a pine forest after it was drained – or had pine forests at its edges like the Savannas in Jensen.

I think of it as the area west of Green Ridge and East of the Orlando Ridge.  I don’t think it was called Flats because of the pine flatlands.  I think the name may have come from the fact that it was flat – water would slowly flow north OR south in the poorly drained marsh depending on the conditions at the time.  The excepts below speak of it including the Hungry Land Slough or being a slough itself.  The first reference shows it immediately east of the Orlando Ridge. But the Al-pa-ti-o-kee was the entire area.”

  1. Florida Geological Survey Report of Investigations no. 23 – May 16, 1960

2. Oranges and Inlets – Nathaniel Osborn 2012. As the wetlands of the IRL were drained, the names of land features shifted over the decades to reflect their changing form. Today’s “Allapattah Flats” near the St. Lucie Estuary is undoubtedly a post-drainage name for the same feature listed on nineteenth century maps as “Halpatta Swamp” or “Alpatiokee Swamp,” but the lowered water table has left the area no longer resembling wetlands. Surveys of the lands west of the St. Lucie Estuary in the decade before the completion of the St. Lucie-Okeechobee Canal suggest that the land was covered with standing water for 8-10 months of each year. In the years which followed the post-1916 Drainage Act canalization, this drained region (like much of the IRL) became citrus groves, the town of Palm City, and the post-World War II development of Port St. Lucie (figure 24).273

————————————————————-

3. Bill Lyons, son of Ernie Lyons,  from your blog. “During summer, sheet-flow from the Allapattah Flats converged in tiny rivulets into a deep pool with a sand bottom, the first of a series of pools connected by shallow streams of clear water that formed the headwaters of the South Fork. Dad loved that place, not just for its beauty but for its solitude. Itcould only be reached by Jeep during the wet season, so we hitched rides with the local game warden, who would drop us o􀁷 and return for us later. Clyde Butcher’s photos of the upper Loxahatchee River are the nearest thing I’ve seen to what once was the upper South Fork. Then in the fifties, construction of the FloridaTurnpike cut off the flow of freshwater to the River. Soon saltwater intrusion crept up the South Fork,impeding the spawning of its fish, and the River began to die. In 1962, a friend and I drove to the former siteof the headwaters. The area had been bulldozed and the pool had become a cattle watering hole.”

4. Florida Everglades Report 1913 – Document 379, 63d Congress, 2d session

5. The New York Botanical Garden – Green Deserts and Dead Gardens, A Record of Exploration in Florida in the Spring of 1921

J: Todd this is incredible. Thank you!

6. One more reference from The New York Botanical Garden, Old Trails and New Discoveries, A Record of Exploration in Florida in the Spring of 1919. It is pretty descriptive.  Hungry Land – southeast / Allapattah Flats northwest.This is the kind of stuff I love reading because you know what he is describing.  He describes the “distant pine wood towards the west” and a long evident tall hammock … one would have almost sworn … was a range of hills”.  He is looking at the Orlando Ridge, the southern tip of which is Indiantown.  You can still see what he sees when driving west on SR 70 or the stretch of turnpike that goes west though St. Lucie County.

J: So Todd, it sounds they drained Allapattah Flats and Hungry Land Slough in the 20s when they dredged  the St Lucie Canal from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River. What a bargain! Aggg!  Thank God we are bringing some of it back! See you tomorrow!

Released juvenile little blue heron in wetlands Allapattah Flat, photo Todd ThurlowSo as you can see what is, what was Allapattah Flats is a long story! And we began to restore history!

Todd’s pictures:  http://www.thethurlows.com/2021-01-21_AllapattahFlatsRibbonCutting/

Jacqui’s speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuklcguRVgY&feature=youtu.be

The official SFWMD stream:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg5MksxMbX0

 

 

 

Documenting the Discharges, December 2020

Documenting the Discharges, December 2020

Eyeonlakeo

I posted most of these photos on Facebook, but today I will give explanations and document on my blog. From above, our St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon remains beautiful, but we must be sensitive to the losses beneath the waters. These aerials were taken during  a “slack tide” between 12 and 2pm on December 9, 2020 by my husband, Ed Lippisch. December 9th was the last of five days the ACOE stopped discharging from Lake Okeechobee; however S-80 was discharging “local runoff.” (Click on chart above.) Unfortunately, due to high lake level and lack of storage reservoirs, since these aerials were taken, the ACOE has begun ramping up Lake discharges once again. 

Below Lawrence Glenn of the South Florid Water Management gives a comprehensive ecological report covering low-salinities and loss of oyster spat in the St Lucie and other aspects, positive and negative, for the entire Everglades system.

Below is an explanation of aerials documenting discharges December 9, 2020. All photos by Ed Lippisch.

-S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam discharging local basin S-80 runoff on December 9, 2020

S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee closed on December 9, 2020. No algae visible. 

-Plume of along Jupiter Island south of St Lucie Inlet

-Dispersing plume in Atlantic Ocean just past Peck’s Lake in Jupiter Narrows

-St Lucie Inlet -St Lucie Inlet State Park, Sailfish Point, Sewall’s Point, Stuart, Jensen 

-Looking north to Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island. This area has greatly degraded since 2013 as far as loss of seagrasses and fishing opportunities 

-The area below, especially around Sailfish Point, was once considered “the most biodiverse estuary in North America” as documented, first, by Grant Gilmore

-This photo reveals seagrass loss across many areas of the Sailfish Flats 

-Another view between Sewall’s and Sailfish Point, a seeming desert…

-Close up, Sailfish Point 

-Sewall’s Point, east Indian River Lagoon 

-Sewall’s Point is a peninsula surrounded by the St Lucie River on west side, and Indian River Lagoon on east side 

Ed Lippisch, selfie. Thank you Ed! 

As you can tell, I have lots of people helping me. Whether it is Ed flying or my brother Todd who provides an incredible easy to read website called EyeonLakeO. You can click below to check it out. The more we know, the more we document, the more we can overturn the destruction of our beloved estuary…

Eyeonlakeo website by my brother, Todd Thurlow. 

The Discharge/No Discharge Difference, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Looking back through my photo library, I was stuck by the color differences between these photos, so I decided to share….

The first two photos were taken recently, Saturday, December 5, 2020, the afternoon of the same morning the ACOE closed S-80 at the C-44 canal, and S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee. This seems a bit quick for improvement, but so it was.

The second two photos were taken almost two months earlier, October 17, 2020 a few days after Lake Okeechobee discharges began and C-44 had already been discharging. 

The first three photos, taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, feature the confluence of the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon between Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point. The final  October 17 photos shows the plume from Lake O and basin runoff passing Peck’s Lake in the Jupiter Narrows. 

We all await the closing of both structures S-308 and S-80 for good. The issue at hand is always the height of the Lake Okeechobee and the story that accompanies such. 

Saturday, December 5, 2020, photo Ed Lippisch

October 17, 2020, photo Ed Lippisch

ACOE- Lake O discharges began Oct 14, 2020 and have stopped temporarily for 5 days, December 5, 2020. This is the most recent inflow chart, SFWMD.

Basin chart 

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

 

A Ten Year Calendar View, Discharges to the St Lucie Estuary

A Ten Year View, Discharges to the St Lucie Estuary

Today I share images that help tell the story of the St Lucie Estuary over the past ten years. The first image is from the website eyeonlakeo. My brother, Todd Thurlow, takes data from D-Hydro of the SFWMD and puts it into a format that the average person can understand. 

The chart above shows the “S-80 spillway at St Lucie Locks’ cumulative discharges by CALENDAR YEAR, 2011-2020.”

Scientists use Water Years, May 1 of one year, through April 30 of the next year. This splits up the years making it more confusing to remember or understand. We, as people, live our lives in calendar years. 

We can see by looking at Todd’s chart that 2016’s calendar year is highest overall discharge year with 842,775 acre feet (one foot of water covering one acre) of water going to the St Lucie from what is called “local runoff” (all canals and surrounding areas) as well as discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

How large is 842,775 acres? Comparatively, Martin County is 347, 520 acres. 2020 is 188,723 acre feet and climbing. We are talking tremendous amounts of water! 

In descending order, we see 2016; 2013; 2017; 2018; 2015; 2020; 2012; 2014; 2019; and 2011.  The brown of line of 2020 crests 2015 as when the year is completed, 2020 will more than likely be higher than 2015.

I also wanted to share some very helpful charts I recently requested -in my research- from the South Florida Water Management District.  

This was my request:

“Could you please get me a chart or graph showing discharges to the St Lucie River for 2012-2020 by month. Please present this information from January through December of each calendar year and break it out from S-80 and S-308 and also give a total combined number. Please also note for each of those calendar years, the highest level Lake Okeechobee got that year.” 

To view this information, click on Charts in red below for visuals, and data in red below for numerical charts. As mentioned this information below is from the SFWMD. This compiled information provides great perspective. 

Charts

data

I, as many, participated in yesterday’s Army Corp of Engineers‘ Periodic Scientist Call. During the course of the call, it was alluded that the ACOE may be letting up or halting Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St Lucie Estuary soon. As soon as they do, we will begin to chart calendar year 2021. All things considered, everything in me believes it will be better than 2020! 

 

Prohibiting Toxic Discharges, Would Change Everything

On almost any summer day, Lake Okeechobee is green with algae.

A recent press release states:

“Congressman Brain Mast has introduced legislation to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon.  This legislation would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.”

(Microcystins are hepatotoxins (liver toxins) produced by cyanobacteria, blue green algae.) 

Such a law regarding blue-green algae would push back and change everything. ~The toxic algae, the discharges, the years’ long built up non-point pollution that has made Lake Okeechobee eutrophic.

Let’s think about this.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has codified exactly what level of microcystin is too toxic for human contact. The number is 8 parts per billion.

Some people in opposition to this bill say it is outlandish. I think it is outlandish that any business interests, neighboring communities, or level of government would think it is OK to literally dump toxic water onto the citizenry of Martin County.

Thank you Congressman Mast!

St Lucie River wide water, 2016.

Please be familiar with this press release and accompanying bill.

August 12, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kyle VonEnde, 202-329-1890

                     Kyle.VonEnde@mail.house.gov

Mast Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Toxic Discharges

 

Stuart, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today introduced legislation to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon.  This legislation would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.

“The Army Corps has proven that if left to their own devices, they will continue to poison our communities with toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee that they have acknowledged to be toxic.  No Floridian should tolerate being poisoned by their government,” Rep. Mast said. “The EPA has told us exactly what level of microcystin is too toxic for human contact, and now we must tell the Corps to stop these discharges that are destroying our waterways and putting our health at risk!”

The legislation is supported by Captains For Clean Water and Friends of the Everglades.

BACKGROUND

 

For decades, Florida’s coastal communities have been on the receiving end of toxic discharges, including recently discharges that have tested more than 60 times more toxic than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human contact.  These discharges put public health at risk, damage the economy and destroy the environment.   Last year, Rep. Mast worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a new public health standard for microcystin (8 parts per billion), which in turn forced the Army Corps of Engineers to admit to knowingly discharging toxic water to the coastal estuaries.  Despite acknowledging that these releases are toxic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has continued to poison Americans.  

The legislation is attached: MAST_8ppb

_____________________________________________________

The photos below were taken just today, 8-12-20, at 9:30 am, by pilot Dr Scott Kuhns from the SuperCub. They show algae clusters in Lake Okeechobee. These algae clusters can grow very rapidly. Following are aerials of S-80 in the C-44 canal: when opened by the ACOE this structure allows water to discharge from Lake Okeechobee  into the St Lucie River.  Photo#1 JTL & Congressman Mast today at the Riverwalk along the St Lucie River, Stuart, Florida.  

 

 

C-44 Reservoir/STA Aerial Update -June 2020

C-44 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area (STA) 

After weeks of algae Lake O shots, when my husband, Ed, went up in the Baron on June 17th, 2020,  I looked at him and said: “Could you please also take some photos of the C-44 Reservoir and STA for an update? I need a positive fix.”

Thus today’s photos of the C-44 Reservoir/STA in Martin County, off the C-44 canal near Indiantown, share good news. Most important for me, the pictures reveal that many more of the STA cells are slowly getting filled with water -in December 2019 they started with one as Governor DeSantis pulled the lever. One can see many more cells are now filled. When complete, these cells will cleanse tremendous amounts of nutrient polluted water prior to entry into the St Lucie River. The ACOE projects that construction will be completed by next year. It has been in progress for many years and is a” cooperative” between the ACOE (reservoir) and SFWMD (STA) and a component of CERP

Program: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)

“Located on approximately 12,000 acres on the northern side of the St. Lucie Canal in western Martin County, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project will capture local basin runoff…”  ~SFWMD Achieve More Now” 

There are maps and links at the bottom of this post should you like to learn more. Thank you to all over the years and today helping with the completion of the C-44 Reservoir STA as we work to save the St Lucie River.