Category Archives: Todd Thurlow

The Politics of Algae, “God Save the Queen,” SLR/IRL

Present Lake O algae bloom, as first publicly reported June 2nd, has grown to approximately 253 square miles. Although larger, this bloom appears less dense from space than either the June 24th or July 2nd 2016 images –  that measured approximately 239 square miles. Image courtesy of Todd Thurlow, 6-20-18. See other satellite images here: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/

The algae in Lake Okeechobee is Mother Nature’s political checkmate, the time in chess in which the King cannot escape…

Thank you to Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, Noah Valenstein, whose Emergency Order directed by Governor Rick Scott, announced yesterday,  will implement an array of new actions to move more clean water south into the conservation areas and away from the estuaries.

f=”https://jacquithurlowlippisch.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/photo7.jpg”> SFWMD’s Home Page for Sending Water South. (http://sfwmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=a9072c94b5c144d8a8af14996ce23bca&webmap=d8e767997b0d494494243ffbc7f6f861)%5B/capt
Make no mistake about it, this order happened due to Mother Nature’s “check.” The algae in Lake Okeechobee is exploding at record speed – see above image from yesterday, 6-20-18.

Sending algae that is potentially toxic to the communities of the St Lucie River and the Caloosahatchee is political suicide even for the Army Corp, an entity that is basically untouchable, like a King.

But since the state is legally in charge of water quality, not the Corp, the order comes from Florida’s Executive Branch as they, became aware of the seriousness of the problem. The Corp has reported they were lessening discharge amount anyway, however, they did not recognize the health threat of the algae…

Nobody wants to purposefully poison the estuaries, but the Federal Government and the State of Florida does when algae, potentially toxic, is sent through gates connected to Lake Okeechobee. We are all in a difficult situation, a chess game whose rules are outdated and were created years ago…

And even if there is “limited capacity” to move water south, it can be done. “Something” is “everything” in this water game of chess. We must take what we can get, check the King, and then go back for more – the goal to close the gates forever. “Checkmate.”

In my opinion, this emergency order is a real move that will send more water south and help reinforce a “send water south,” political culture that all Florida must embrace!

God Save the Queen, our one and only, “Mother-Nature.”

(I have updated this post due to spelling errors, etc.. 6-24-18. Sorry. I, like everyone, am exhausted. JTL)

LINKS: 

[/caption]June 21, 2018 PRESS RELEASE SFWMD

SFWMD Takes Additional Action to Send Water South Under Direction of Gov. Rick Scott; Issuance of Emergency Order
~District measures underway to help lower water levels, reduce need for Lake Okeechobee releases to northern estuaries: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1117910826311&ca=88c832d4-c24e-4928-ae9d-96e80ad4ee21

6-20-18, Politico, reporter Bruce Ritchie, Lake O Discharges Raise Ire From DC to Tallahassee: https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/06/20/lake-okeechobee-discharges-raises-ire-from-dc-to-tallahassee-480899
Checkmate:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkmate

6-20-10 Palm Beach Post Associated Press: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local/florida-gov-rick-scott-urges-lake-discharges-sent-south/EWNzmsDxs2oBjnuwAqnRKM/

6-20-18: Press Release Office of Governor Rick Scott.: https://www.flgov.com/2018/06/20/gov-scott-directs-dep-to-take-steps-to-curb-potential-algae-blooms/

6-21-18 Col Jason Kirk, Viewpoint Lake Okeechobee,Editorial, Sun Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-op-viewpoint-lake-okeechobee-army-corps-20180620-story.html

6-23-18 Ed Killer, Did Rick Scott Save Summer? TCPALM: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/sports/2018/06/23/campaign-strategy-doing-right-thing-you-judge/727278002/

102 Sq. Mile Algae Bloom in Lake Okeechobee, 6-16-18

AlgaeBloom06-15-2018SWIR, Todd Thurlow

I could never do what I do without the people who help me. My husband, his pilot friends, the everyday people sending me “toxic-algae” imagery, the River Warriors community, and when it comes to striking the bull’s-eye, my science-studied-lawyer, little brother, Todd.

Just hours ago, Todd forwarded these images from satellites, Landsat 7, and Sentinel 2, clearly showing a large algae bloom photographed yesterday in Lake Okeechobee. 102 square-miles of it!

So Florida state agencies, and others…

…Do not tell me the algae comes from our river. It does not. We have been through this before….

The algae, that can become toxic, and maybe already is, starts in, and comes from the crock-pot of Lake Okeechobee. The Army Corp of Engineers should stop discharging right now.  Right when the Colonel sees these images. And these images have been seen, because NASA makes these images available to the Corp.

When a satellite image like this is made public, it cannot be ignored.

The ACOE should close the gates of S-308 until DEP has tested all edges of this large bloom. And work for never discharging when there is an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee.

Stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee!

LE07_L1TP_015041_20180614_20180614_01_RT-crop
Sentinel-2 L1C from 2018-06-15
Sentinel-2 L1C SWIR from 2018-06-15
Sentinel-2 L1C NDVI from 2018-06-15
Sentinel-2 L1C SWIR crop from 2018-
Sentinel-2 L1C NDVI crop from 2018-06-15

See this link of Todd’s for site with more satellite imagery: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/

#toxic2018

On First Day of Sunshine, ACOE Dumps Lake O into Already Ailing St Lucie, SLR/IRL

I woke up to seeing sunshine through the window. I looked at my phone. My brother’s text read: “S-308 just jumped to 1484 cfs and its climbing.”

(Go to St Lucie River for reports:  http://www.thurlowpa.com/news.htm)

In Sewall’s Point, today is the first morning in three weeks that it hasn’t been raining, or just about to. My porches have been slick with moisture and leaves. The frogs in my pond are so loud at night I have to put in ear-plugs. My husband and I laugh saying you can count sheep, but there is no sleep!

In spite of all of this and the fact that the ACOE has been discharging from C-44 canal basin since around May 16, and the St Lucie River already looks like hell, it is still disappointing and heart-wrenching when they formally “open the gates.” ~To Lake Okeechobee that is…

In spite of the history, or knowing why they do it, it just seems so wrong that little St Lucie has to take basically one-third of the crap water for the state. Sorry and I know my mother will not like that word, but its the truth.  Thank God for Joe Negron and his work last year as President of the Florida Senate and resurrecting the EAA Reservoir. And curse to any new Governor who does not help it be fulfilled.

The natural drainage basin of the St Lucie River shown in GREEN below was much smaller than it is today. The introduction of four man-made drainage canals dramatically altered its size and the drainage patterns. This primarily being C-44, the canal connected to Lake Okeechobee (bottom). One can see from the map image that C-44 Basin and of course Lake O’s water, the most effective assassins, were never part of the St Lucie Basin as were not Port St Lucie’s C-23, C-24, and C-25 system. These canals have killed our river!

The EAA Reservoir must be built, and in time, more water must move south to Florida Bay. We shall be fixed or compensated or a combination of both for our now noxious-reality. We will not accept this fate. Who knows what this summer shall bring. But one thing is for sure, this life along the St Lucie, is now toxic.

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.)

 

A lone Great Egret looks for fish along a putrid looking, foam filled river. All images taken yesterday, 5-31-18 at Ernest Lyons Bridge. JTL

Thank you to ACOE for the following information and press conference yesterday.

Lake O water management slide_20180531: this slide shows lake levels comparatively. The lake is now high going into hurricane season, starting June 1st, ironically today. The lake is managed as a reservoir for agriculture.

Email 5-31-18

All,

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will start releasing water from Lake Okeechobee this weekend as part of its effort to manage rising water levels.

The discharges are scheduled to begin Friday (June 1). The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock (S-77) located in the southwest part of the lake. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart. Additional runoff from rain in the St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceeds the target.

“Historic rain across the region since the middle of May has caused the lake to rise more than a foot,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District commander. “We have to be prepared for additional water that could result from a tropical system. The lake today is above the stage when Irma struck in September, which eventually caused the water level to exceed 17 feet. A similar storm could take the lake to higher levels.”

Today, the lake stage is 14.08 feet, up 1.25 feet from its 2018 low which occurred May 13. The lake is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), but within one foot of the Intermediate Sub-Band. Under current conditions, LORS authorizes USACE to discharge up to 4,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee (measured at S-77) and up to 1,800 cfs to the St. Lucie (measured at S-80).

“Forecasts indicate more rain is on the way in the coming week,” said Kirk. “Additionally, long-range predictions indicate increasing probabilities of above-average precipitation for the rest of the wet season. We must start aggressively managing the water level to create storage for additional rain in the coming wet season.”

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

Very Respectfully,

Savannah Hayes Lacy
Hydraulic Engineer
USACE Jacksonville District
Operations Division – Water Management

Jupiter Island’s Golf Course Dredge and Fill? Stuart Daily News, 1937

Photo of Jupiter Island, The Stuart Daily News, 1937, courtesy Knight A. Kiplinger.

My brother, Todd Thurlow, created a new “Time Capsule Flight” to give us historic perspective into my last blog post asking a question about an aerial photograph on page 3 of a 1937 Stuart Daily News, special edition, featuring Jupiter Island’s Golf Course.

“Fill or not fill?”

This was my question!

I had written: “When I first saw this photograph, it struck me that I did not recognize the area with exposed white sand on the east side of the island. I wondered if that was a remnant fan-like formation from an ancient inlet. Then it struck me that perhaps it was fill dredged from the Indian River lagoon for the golf course – or a combination of both.”

Todd’s video flight, using historic maps from 1883, 1885, and 1940 as well as today’s Google Earth technology, answered this question.

Jacqui: “Todd so after watching your time capsule flight it appears that the Jupiter Island Golf course was a natural wetland or mangrove something? It is sticking out into Indian River Lagoon on your oldest 1800s map- so it’s not entirely dredge and filled? Right?” 

Todd: “Yep. Probably was swampy like Indian River Plantation (Marriott) and filled in with dredge from the ponds or Hobe Sound but more than likely before the channel/canal was dredged by the Feds in 1935. The Jupiter Island web-site says the Golf Course was built in 1922.”

Watch Todd’s video below and see for yourself the fascinating changes over time. Good for the golfers, not so good for the birds! Mystery solved by a Time Capsule Flight! Thanks Todd!

Todd’s video Jupiter Inlet 1883, 1885, & 1940 Lake Worth to South Jupiter Narrows:  (https://youtu.be/VwoAXOrtRu4)

_____________________________

Former blog post on this subject: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2018/03/30/jupiter-island-is-show-place-of-martin-county-1937-stuart-daily-news/

______________________________

SEE ALL OF TODD’S TIME CAPSULE FLIGHTS & CONTACT INFO HERE: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/todd-thurlows-time-capsule-flights/

 

Last Thursday Shall Be Proclaimed “Water Tower Day,” as Lake O discharges reached the top! SLR/IRL


If the discharge waters of Lake Okeechobee filled up the City of Stuart, Florida. Last Thursday, they would have reached the top of Stuart’s iconic water tower that stands at 134 feet.

 

Stuart, North of Monterey.

Whereas, if the ACOE’s discharge waters of Lake Okeechobee were “filling up the City of Stuart,” last Thursday, October 26, these polluted waters, would have reached the top of Stuart’s iconic 134 foot water tower…

Whereas, once again, our economy and ecology is completed devastated, and high bacteria levels in the water are exacerbated therefrom….We shall remember this day…

We shall, therefore, designate, Thursday, October 26, as “Water Tower Day” and say together: “Lake O discharges have reached the top; this must STOP!”

Stop the Discharges

Yes, to put the Lake Okeechobee discharges into perspective, last Thursday the cumulative 2017 ACOE/SFWMD discharges from S-80 passed 134 “Stuart Feet”. The Stuart water tower is 134 feet tall. See my brother Todd’s cumulative total page below:

St Lucie River Discharges
***
S-80 Cumulative Total 2017: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOLiveData/2017/

– In the lost summer of 2013, Stuart/Martin County received 284 “Stuart Feet”, 2.1 times the height of the tower.

– In 2017, the gates did not open until September 5. So it took only 52 days to accumulate that same amount of discharges!

– In 2013, the discharges started on May 8 (with the exception of some small pulses earlier in the year). That year, it took 91 days to hit a cumulative “134 Stuart Feet” – on August 7.

In other words, the discharges have been almost twice the rate as they began in 2013. You can see this in the slope of my brother’s graphs in the web page above. This doesn’t really mean a lot though. In 2013 the discharges didn’t really begin to accelerate until mid-July. At that point, the rates of discharge were comparable to what we are getting now.

– At the current average of about 4200 cfs, we would hit the 2013 total of 284 Stuart feet in another 42 days (December 9). If they are saying the discharges could continue for months, this could happen. We could have another record year, even though the disaster didn’t start until September. Maybe they will throttle it back a little or start pulsing again so it won’t be the case. In any event, this is already another lost year…

(This blog post was based on writing and ideas by my brother and contributing blogger, Todd Thurlow, http://www.thurlowpa.com)

* I edited this post from “today” to “last Thursday.” An ever rising story.  🙂 JTL

X. Mascarnas, TCPalm. on-line image.

 

ACOE breaks 6000 cubic feet per second, slaughtering the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

The following is a texting conversation between my brother, Todd, and me, just over an hour ago.  As you can see, Todd keeps me in real-time. Now, I wish to share with you.

Todd: Hi Jacqui, looks like it’s “balls to the wall” —like the old jet fighter saying.
Lake O is at 17 feet and rising…


Jacqui: Holy —! Didn’t Gary Goforth say the max for S-80 is 12,000 CFS? How much is this?

Todd: This is normal high-end. ~4000 cfs. In 2004-2005 it looks like they maxed at 5-6000cfs. I’ll graph against the lake stage.

Jacqui: How do u know it’s 4000? I see nothing posted 4 today on ACOE site.

Todd: My app and links on my website. http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports/DssWeb/rtcomps/basins/Okeechobee.htm

Jacqui: Thx that  ACOE Jacksonville Lake O site doesn’t show, will go to http://www.thurlowpa.com/news.htm


Todd: S-80 hit 6,727 cfs on 10/06/2004. The lake was at 17.86 and rising it peaked at 18.02 on 10/13/04.

Hurricane Jeanne had hit days earlier on Sept. 25

Jacqui: I remember that. Bad.

Todd: Also. The 4000+ right now is instantaneous. The stats you always see are a mean for the day. Right now that are piling between 1000cfs and the high 5000s. It looks like they did almost hit 6000 earlier today.

Pulsing not piling.

Jacqui: Awful. I think it stinks that unless you know how to access all the technology, you  don’t  know the river is getting slaughtered until the following days. A nightmare. Thanks Todd. Goodnight.

Follow up to “Our Most Powerful Hurricane,” 1949, SLR/IRL

Aurthur Ruhnke, post hurricane 1949. Archives of Sandra Thurlow.

The following is a follow-up to my recent post “Our Most Powerful Hurricane,” about the Hurricane of 1949 that devastated Stuart, Florida. It proved to be very popular and my brother Todd relayed more  notes that I would like to include. The original post can be found at the bottom of the page.

Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th.

Paths of hurricanes 28, 33, and 49, shared by Todd Thurlow.

Notes:

Jacqui,

Attached is the National Weather Bureau 1949 year-end summary of the hurricane season. It is very interesting to read.

MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW 339 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANES AND TROPICAL DISTURBANCES OF 1949, Richmond T. Zoch

mwr-077-12-0339 Hurricane 1949

It’s hard to believe that the official reports still reflect a Cat 4 storm at 135mph for the “49 storm with the higher wind speeds being reported. That storm sounds more like a Cat5. The ’28, ’33 and ’49 storms took almost identical paths. See http://bit.ly/2fy4hww

Quotes from the attached report:
“The strongest wind occurred, as usual, some distance to the right of the center in the vicinity of Jupiter and Stuart, Florida. The anemometer failed at Jupiter Lighthouse after reaching a velocity of 153 m.p.h. The observer reported that winds were somewhat stronger thereafter, but he felt unable to make a reliable estimate of the peak strength.”

“The water of the lake rose 12 feet or more at places on the southeast and east side of the lake, but the levees held and there was no flooding from the lake.”

Todd Thurlow, http://www.thurlowpa.com

Blog post Our Most Powerful Hurricane: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2017/09/24/our-most-powerful-hurricane-st-lucie-riverirl/

1949 Hurricane Aurthur Ruhnke, Thurlow collection.
Newspaper articles from the archives of Sandra Henderson Thurlow. Note Sally Eaton is Sally Schwartz. 🙂