Category Archives: St Luice River and C-44 Canal

Green’s My Favorite Color, but I Love When it’s Blue

Documenting the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, 2021

Super-Cub

Dr Scott Kuhns sent me aerials he took from the St Lucie Inlet this morning, July 28, 2021, at 10am from 2500 feet. Although due to rain there is local basin runoff and C-23/24 dumping into the St Lucie River, there is not Lake Okeechobee discharge mostly due to the presence of algae. So we have been fortunate and our waters have been looking great. So blue!  Beechcraft Baron

The second batch of photos I already shared on Facebook. My husband Ed took these photos Saturday, July 24, 2021, from about 1500 feet. Seagrass is budding back! One sees the darker colored runoff water inside the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, but again, there is no Lake Okeechobee water thus still blue out over the nearshore reefs and closer to the St Lucie Inlet/Atlantic Ocean. Last, I will share Ed’s aerials inland of Lake Okeechobee taken on July 24, 2021 as well. The lake aerials show algae along the shoreline, but not so much further out. We must heal all our waters including this lake!

Hopefully there will not be a hurricane this season, and the waters of the St Lucie can continue to recover from previous long-lasting Lake Okeechobee discharges. In any case, Scott, Ed, and I will continue to document.

Thank you pilots!

In closing, I must admit that for my whole life, my favorite color has been green, but I love when it’s blue!

SFWMD canal and basin map

Learn all you need to know on my brother Todd’s  website eyeonlakeo Click on image to see Lake O and C-44 discharges so far in 2021. 

Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice #3

As I continue my now popular retrospective series “Keeping Alive the Power of the Pubic Voice,” the next St Lucie River rally documented in my LOST SUMMER photo archives is dated August 20, 2013 –Ten days after the Beach Rally and and seventeen days after the first Rally at the Locks.

This was the infamous “riverlution” rally at the the St Lucie Locks and Dam when Governor Rick Scott visited. Just days prior to this, TCPalm put out their STOP KILLING OUR LAGOON issue. These were indeed incredible times! Below is an excerpt I saved from WPTV reporter Jeff Skrzpek, and some of my archived photos. Many people you’ll see in the photographs continue today to work for a better St Lucie River and Everglades LOSOM system.

The St Lucie “Lost Summer” led to significant changes to Florida water policy as we shall we in upcoming post. The recent wave started in Martin  County and continues to crash ashore today.

Excerpt, August 20, 2013 – WPTV

STUART, Fla. — – “Hundreds lined the road, armed with signs and chanted loudly as Governor Rick Scott zoomed by more than 300 protesters on his way to tour the St. Lucie Lock.

“Save our river!” screamed the crowd as the hot sun beamed down sweaty backs.

After arriving, Governor Scott was rushed into fenced area, topped with barbed wire fencing, walking away from the crowd without acknowledging any of the concerned residents. The chants turned from being loud to all out anger…”

-Jeff Skrzypek, WPTV

A protest sign greets Gov. Rick Scott and state Sen. Joe Negron before they tour part of the St. Lucie River near Stuart,Fla, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, to access the environmental impact of water being released from Lake Okeechobee. Scott is committing $40 million to finishing construction on a storm water treatment project by the St. Lucie River. He says the $40 million investment from Florida will speed up the completion date of the project which he says will protect the water quality in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Below” screen shot of TCPalm’s STOP KILLING OUR LAGOON SERIES. Note Eve Samples! I see Larry Reisman and I think that’s Ed Killer in the back. It is hard for me to see and recognize the others with my now “old eyes.” 🙂

 

 

Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice #2

I’ve had so many calls and reactions to my recent post “Keeping Alive the Power of the Public Voice,” that I’m going to keep sharing my photo archives of the “Riverlution.” Yes, today’s modern Florida water advocacy all started here in Martin County.

This next set of archived photos is dated August 10, 2013, Lost Summer (only seven days after the Rally at the Locks,) and labeled “Beach Rally for the River.” Photos reveal a large crowd at Stuart Beach and aerials of a black coffee/green algae St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Terrible!

For me, one of the all time most inspirational photos is in this collection. I am displaying it as the first one. It shows a  little boy raising his arms in glee towards the sky as Ed’s original River Warrior -the yellow Cub- plane passes overhead and the flag flies! Save Our River! We are working not just for ourselves but for the future. Please keep the power of the public voice alive for all our Everglades’ rivers during the optimization of LOSOM. The voice of the people must direct policy and we must continue to lead the way!

(Email to comment: LakeOComments@usace.army.mil)

Beach Rally for the River, August 10, 2013, Stuart, Florida (Thurlow archives)

Reviewing Discharges to the St Lucie -so far-2021

July 9, 2021

Click here to view Chart

If you are like me, it feels like 2021 is flying by. With the Fourth of July weekend having just passed, now is a good time to review this year’s southern Martin County discharges into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. In order to do this, I am presenting a wonderful chart created by my brother, Todd Thurlow. It is one of the many, displayed “in easy to read fashion,” on his web-site under “live-data” EyeOnLakeO. 

The image is best viewed large, but I’ll review first. Let’s look at how the chart is set up. Months are along the bottom and water amounts along the sides. We can easily see the green lines above 0. These lines show the times so far this year when the ACOE has been discharging from Lake Okeechobee. Blue lines show the surrounding basin runoff of the C-44 Canal. The red line displays S-308 Daily and the cream color shows S-308 Cumulative. S-308 is the structure at Lake Okeechobee; it can allow water to flow in two directions: from the lake into the canal, or from the canal into the lake. When the red line goes below 0 this means the water from the C-44 canal is going back into the lake. This is usually done for water supply reasons, is part of the historic lake operating schedule, and no matter when it’s done, is beneficial to the St Lucie.

My brother pointed out on Saturday, July 3, 2021, that the back flow was -3,344 cubic feet per second. This may have been occurring because the canals were being lowered for Tropical Storm Elsa. Todd notes “how different the weekend would have been with 3,344 cubic feet per second coming into the St Lucie River. All the weekend sandbar people would be flushed out with green brown water.” 

I agreed!

Take a look at Todd’s chart, and hopefully you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend.

 

Aerials 6-27-21 -St Lucie to Lake O

Yesterday, Sunday, 6-27-21 -at 2:15 pm, my husband, Ed, took a flight over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. In spite of significant local basin runoff, due to local rains, the river looked good.

Flying west -Lake Okeechobee at Port Mayaca showed no visible signs of algae from 1000 feet, however also on 6-27-21, Mike Connor, Indian RiverKeeper reported cyanobacteria within and around Port Mayaca’s S-308 gate; and on June 24, 2021, the Martin County Hearth Dept issued a BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BLOOM ALERT FOR THE WATERS NEAR PORT MAYACA. As expected,  The Department of Environmental Protection reports Algae in Lake Okeechobee at this time.

Florida Oceanographic gave a “B” for water quality in the St Lucie River for June 17-23.

Check out the SFWMD Ops_Position_Statement_Jun_22_28_2021

The ACOE reports the lake is at 12.66 feet 6-28-21 and there have been no Lake O discharges since April 10, 2021. Thank God! We continue to advocate for the health of the St Lucie and its residents. #NoLakeO

Enjoy the Flight! Enjoy the Water in the SLR/IRL! Ed and I visited Boy Scout Island on Saturday and the water was beautiful. The way Martin County is supposed to be! 

~Thank you Ed for being our Eye in the Sky since 2013~

-Sandbar St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon-Sailfish Point, Sailfish Flats and Sandbar. Seagrasses are few, but there. Hopefully they will grow back if there are no Lake O discharges this year. Photo below is from Boy Scout Iland boat trip very near the Sandbar on 6-26-21.-Another view-Area between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points-Sewall’s Point visible on left-St Lucie Inlet at Sailfish Point- various photos -Great shot of St Lucie Inlet State Park, Jupiter Island looking north to Sailfish Point, Hutchinson Island. Here opens St Lucie Inlet from confluence of St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.-Ed taking a rare selfie! I think his first. “Thanks Ed!” 🙂-Lake Okeechobee at Port Mayaca, raining near Pahokee and south rim of lake. No visible algae but hard to see in this light. In any case, S-308 the gates at Port Mayaca are open only for water supply to agriculture and S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam remains closed thanks to the ACOE. Thus no Lake O water to the St Lucie. Hopefully they will remain closed for all 2021 and beyond!

My brother Todd Thurlow’s website EYEONLAKEO will keep you in the know!

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 2021

~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.