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Tales of the Southern Loop, Miami to Tavernier, Part 3

Tales of the Southern Loop, Stuart to Boyton, Part 1

Tales of the Southern Loop, Boyton to Miami, Part 2

Tales of the Southern Loop, Miami to Tavernier, Part 3A cloud covered sun and a silver moon coated Biscay Bay with a metallic morning light. Today was September 6th, and last night something had changed.

At 3am Ed had shot out of bed. “It’s too quiet in here.”

“It is. That’s why we’re sleeping.” I rolled over putting the pillow over my head.

Ed returned a few minutes later. “The generator stopped working.”

“Oh,”I mumbled and quickly went back to sleep. When I awoke, I found Ed inside the engine room. 

“Good morning,” I said. He looked up.  “So maybe it’s not such a good morning; the generator doesn’t work.” I tried to smile. “But let’s not let this ruin our trip.” 

“Jacqui the oven/stove wont work, the refrigerator and the air-conditioning won’t work, and forget easily charging the phone or computer. We wont be able to anchor out. I was really looking forward to more of that.”

“Yeah, it’s a bummer. But it will still be fun. So we’ll have to depend on marinas to plug in that shore power thing.”

Ed smirked. “I’m surprised you remember- shore power.- In any case, let’s get ADRIFT underway.” Ed closed up the engine room, headed to the helm, and hit the button to raise the anchor. The clickity-clack sound of metal hitting metal echoed throughout the bow and upper helm.

“At least the anchor still works!” I yelled to my Captain. 

ADRIFT crept south in the direction of Tavernier. Once again, it was turning out to be a beautiful day. -Leaving Miami, Biscayne Bay-Card Sound, Biscayne Bay, heading south to the Florida KeysBiscayne Bay was stunning and huge. As we exited the bridge at Card Sound, the waterway started to narrow. Some boats were going very fast. I decided to continue reading my new favorite book, Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades,  rather than complain. I knew Ed was thinking about the generator…

“Hey Ed!” I yelled towards the upper helm. “Did you realize we have been passing the marl transverse glades?”

“Hadn’t really been thinking about them,”  he replied. 

I walked up the ladder and sat beside him. “I’m going to read to you, OK?”

“In contrast to the unobstructed, rimless, and continuously flowing Peat Transverse Glades, the Marl Transverse Glades were raised spillways, receiving water from the Everglades only during the wet season…The significance of of the Marl Transverse Glades for understanding predrainage Everglades hydrology lies not in their volumes of outflow but instead in their indication that Everglades waters from Rockland Marl Marsh typically rose high enough each year to flow out….” 

“Do you know what this means Ed?” 

“No idea…” 

“It means that when the Everglades were high, like now, during hurricane season, water oozed through to Biscayne Bay not just from areas around Ft Lauderdale, but also from south of Miami  to about Homestead. Today that stretch includes cities like Kendall, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Naranja, and Homestead Air Force Base.”

“That is pretty surprising.” Ed replied, seeming to be in better spirits. “So – another reason Biscayne Bay doesn’t get enough fresh water.”

“Look at you!” I lovingly mocked. “I’m surprised you remember!”

-Compare predrainage “marl transverse glades” (southern most arrows) pg. 48 & to post drainage developed areas today, pg. 49 -between Miami and Homestead. In predrainage times, this area McVoy calls the “marl transverse glades,” filled up/flowed over with high Lake O and rain waters oozing through to Biscayne Bay. Today due to development, pumps, and drainage this does not occur. Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, 2011.I looked up from my book. We were in a narrow waterway of mangroves and approaching Key Largo. “Why are those boats going so fast?!” I complained. I couldn’t hold back anymore.

“Because they are allowed to.” Ed replied. “They are in the channel.” Wakes hit up hard against the shoreline.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to go so fast in here. I don’t see how a manatee could survive. And it’s dangerous.” I agonized. 

“Just smile Jacqui!” 

Ed remained silent looking straight ahead. ADRIFT plodded along in repetative wakes while swirling through boat traffic. And I decided – I better just smile…When we arrived in Tavernier, at Mangrove Marina, Ed was once again focusing on the broken generator. Docking was not so easy this time. The winds had kicked up and I was in charge of the lines. I wondered how I’d jump off to the dock if necessary. The engine ground as Ed moved forwards and backwards trying to back into the slip.  We almost smacked into the dock and I yelled loudly realizing the fender was caught on a neighboring house boat. Thankfully, at the last minute, two young dockhands saved us. We thanked them profusely and Ed handed them a tip. 

“Thank God they were here,” I grumbled.

“One day they wont be.” Ed replied. 

“How would I have jumped on that high dock?” 

Ed did not answer. 

“I’m going to open the lazarette to look at this generator again.” I knew Ed would be obsessed until this was resolved.

“OK. I’m going to take a walk,”  I said. I’ll see you in a little bit.”

It was good to get on land and good for Ed and I to take a break from each other. 

Walking the marina, the first thing I noticed, were these weird and beautiful sea anemone like things on the floor of the shallow docking areas. I got down on my stomach to look closer. -It looks like the DREAM OF THE SLEEPING JELLYFISH. Over the course of our stay, I became totally preoccupied with them, checking on them throughout the day and evening. My blog post is above.I continued my walk. Quaint houses lined the streets. “I love it here.” I thought. “There is absolutely nothing like the Florida Keys.” Once my stroll was over, I knew it was time to make it back to see Ed. He was not a happy camper.

“What’s wrong hunny?” I inquired. 

“I’m not sure I will be able to fix the generator, but the marina office gave me a number of a guy to call. It’s Labor Day weekend. I’m not going to bother him.”

“Come on babe, all the days blend together in a place like the Keys. Let’s call him.” Before we called, we decided to take the inflatable canoe out into a small cove. It was so beautiful! The seagrass was lush and Ed thought he saw an otter but it ended up being a mother manatee and and her young calf poking their noses out to breathe.  It was so joyous to just be there next to them as they came up for air. I though about the fast speed boats we’d seen by the mangroves and prayed the mother and calf would be safe. The sun set , we made dinner,  and retired early. I dreamt of sleeping jellyfish and baby manatees.

In the morning I convinced Ed to take a walk, meet my jellyfish, and see the adorable Keys houses. Lo and behold there was a sign! A sign on a red truck that just happened to be the number the marina had given Ed for someone to fix the generator. Ed left a message and Larry Heimer, Blue Earth Marine Services, returned the call! Soon after we met Larry and Wendy. Wonderful people! Ed learned a lot watching and asking questions. Thanks to Larry the generator got fixed!   Ed after the generator was fixed by Larry Heimer and Wendy 🙂Stormy weather forms… I was so happy! Ed was smiling again!

But there was another issue brewing…

We looked up. “Where is this weather coming from?”  

“There’s a system forming,” Larry replied. “You best leave tomorrow if you can.” 

Night fell; Ed and I listened to the band playing.

Lights reflected off the water and I thought about the jellyfish sleeping on their heads on the milky limestone bottom and the thousands of years of time, tide, and water that had formed this remarkable place.

Ed and I watched the heat lightning and toasted our good fortune to find Larry and  Wendy to fix the generator. 

We decided that unless it was really storming, we would head out first morning light….

 

Tales of the Southern Loop, Boyton to Miami, Part 2

Tales of the Southern Loop, Stuart to Boyton, Part 1

Tales of the Southern Loop, Boyton to Miami, Part 2

It was September 4th, early morning, we’d  had our first cup of coffee, the engine was yawning, and Ed was at the helm. Today was part two, Boyton to Miami…

“You know what to do right?” Ed jokingly mocked from the helm. He was way too chipper.

I rubbed my eyes. “Yes Captain.”

There wasn’t much wind or tide; I easily removed the spring, bow, and stern lines in that order.

ADRIFT inched off the dock.

“Good job mate.” Ed yelled.

“It’s easy on a day like today!” I replied, knowing the entire Southern Loop adventure would not be so easy.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning. Ed made the radio request on Channel 9 to open Boyton’s Ocean Bridge; we waited, and as the draw raised up the trawler slid into the long man-made cut of the Intercostal Waterway.

The scene was almost surreal, especially the reflections; the water itself did not look great -trapped inside seawalls, houses, and lawns gushing fertilizer.

Ed yelled,” Look at the man cutting the mangroves!”

I turned to see a worker balancing  atop rocks holding  a trimmer over his head.

“Unbelievable!” I sarcastically yelled back. “You’ve got to love South Florida!”

The sun shone hotter and hotter.  We passed Delray Beach, Highland Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach, and Lighthouse Point.

“Hey Ed,”Hillsboro Inlet and lighthouse is coming up. The pre-drainage Hillsboro River was about the north mark of the historic east coast seepage of the Everglades!”

I was referring to my new favorite book, Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades.

As we slowly made our way, I saw finger canals everywhere…

Construction to channelize the Hillsboro River and the Miami River had first begun in 1910. The New River, in 1906. It wasn’t just the most southern coastline that was wet either, apparently the region from the Jupiter Inlet to the Hillsboro Inlet was once so marshy people canoed between the two- and out into the Everglades- regularly. That was until drainage lowered the water table six feet! Crazy isn’t it!

“Everglades eastern flow was directed towards numerous natural outlets piercing the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, specifically Cypress Creek, (region of Hillsboro River JTL) Middle River, New River, Snake River, Arch Creek, Little River, and the Miami River.” These flows eventually made it to the Atlantic Ocean and  Biscayne Bay.” Pg 262, Landscapes & Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, 2011. 

It is strange to think that there are no natural flows through these once cypress forests and rivers, but rather a channelized construction of canals, pumps, and structures kept in place by the South Florida Water Management District.

We forget that the Everglades’ waters, beginning in Lake Okeechobee, once seeped through, on and off, around today’s Pompano Beach; Ft Lauderdale to Miami; and even at South Miami to about Leisure City. Today ADRIFT would only make it to Miami.

  1. 1850s undeveloped South Florida: Cypress Strands, the Peat Transverse Glades; and the Marl Transverse Glades were once natural seepage areas from the Everglades. Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades pgs. 49, 48, & 266. Notice how canals were constructed to these natural outlets. (3)

2. Modern satellite image of of S. Florida, note areas that once flowed through near Pompano (Cypress Strands); Ft Lauderdale area (Peat Transverse Glades); and further south of Miami (Marl Transverse Glades). Compare image 1 &2.

3.  Earliest canals New River to Ft Lauderdale 1906; Hillsboro & Miami 1910. (Boyton for reference.) These canals led to where the water was naturally exiting the east coast.

“Hey First Mate!”

“Captain!”

“Get your head our of that book and look around!”

“Holy cow!” I screamed. It looked like we were going to be swallowed up by the wake of a cargo ship!

 

4. Near Ft Lauderdale’s Port Everglades

5. Condos along the ICW near Ft Lauderdale

6. North area of Biscayne Bay, Broad Causeway Drawbridge at Bay Harbor

I was speechless. We had entered Ft Lauderdale. The modern Transverse Peat Glades! I watched in total amazement.

“Come up on to the helm,” Ed yelled. “We’re in Biscayne Bay almost to Miami.”

I put my book aside and crawled up the ladder. Even though I despise over development , it was very exciting. Huge ships went by and multi million dollar boats were docked everywhere.

“I think this is near the area of  the recent fish kill.” I said. I showed Ed my phone pointing to the area between Highway 934 and 1-95. “The bay has polluted stormwater runoff problems and also it doesn’t get all the fresh water it historically received because we have cut off its flow connection of the cypress, peat and marl transverse glades.”

Ed looked at me through his sunglasses. “You read too much. Just enjoy!”

7. Further south in Biscayne Bay

8. Port of Miami

9. Ed smiling

10. Miami shoreline near Miami River/Maimi Canal outlet

11. Some wildlife! Yeah! Cormorants!

“Wow. This is amazing I said. My book was put away under the cushions.

“Where are we going to park? Make sure we don’t damage any seagrass.”

Ed rolled his eyes. “Not “park,” “anchor!”

We made our way just southeast of the Magic City and Rickenbacker Causeway. Remarkably, we anchored without a blip on a sandy/muddy bottom.

ADRIFT relaxed and found her direction in the tropical breezes. The whole thing was rather otherworldly. “God I love South Florida,” I thought,” even with all its water and drainage issues, she’s beautiful!”

12. A homemade dinner on the ship!

13. The Magic City arises…as night falls.

Tales of the Southern Loop, Stuart to Boyton, Part 1

Tales of the Southern Loop, Stuart to Boyton, Part 1

It was 9:36 am, September 3, 2020, and we were preparing to leave the Harborage Marina in our hometown of Stuart. The sun blazed down upon me as I  stood on the bow of the Mainship 400 trawler we had christened ADRIFT. The day had arrived. Ed and I were off -for three weeks- to experience our first real boating adventure- the Southern Loop. 

Ed yelled down from the helm. “So you know what to do, right?”

“Of course Captain!” I reviewed: 1. Check wind and tide direction. 2. Release the stern spring line. 3. Release the the bow spring line. 4. Release the bow line. 5. Release the stern line. 6. Make sure boat is clearing the dock. 7. Relay message to Captain. 

“Aye, Aye, Captain!” I yelled back over the sound of the diesel engine. Then just to tease him, I asked: “Is it the front, or back spring line first?”

Ed did not smile…the motor growled, I moved starboard, quickly, carefully, and methodically removing some lines from their cleats and bringing others on board.

The trawler inched forward like a sputtering whale. 

“You’re clear!” I yelled, watching the transom just miss the dock piling.  

We slowly motored out against the tide, and our adventure had begun. I walked to the bow looking over the wide and beautiful St Lucie. The trip through the St Lucie, the Jupiter Narrows, the Loxahatchee, Lake Worth, and the canal-like portion of the Intercostal Waterway to Boyton would be familiar, but from there it was all new territory.

  1. St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon looking towards St Luice Inlet

2. Jupiter Narrows entering Loxahatchee and Jupiter Inlet area

3. Jupiter Lighthouse first lit in 1860, Loxahatchee River

4. Channelized ICW from Loxahatchee River in Jupiter south to Lake Worth

5. Lake Worth

6. Port of Palm Beach just west of Peanut Island and inlet

7. Lake Worth, the Alba Hotel, built in 1926, is today’s Biltmore Condominium 

Ed, and I planned for our Southern Loop adventure for over a year. We took hands-on classes. We altered our schedules. We read books. Most important, we promised not to kill each other. 

This blog series is meant to share our adventure and learn about our South Florida  waterways with the help of an incredible book I read along the way, Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, written by five South Florida Water Management District scientists, led by Christopher McCoy. 

By the time we arrived at Boyton Harbor Marina the sun was setting. It was time to have a cocktail at a classic establishment, the Banana Boat or TWO GEORGES, historically Lyman’s Commercial Fishing Dock, now part of the Community Redevelopment Area. 

A moist breeze filled the air. Ed inquired. “What’s our water lesson today?”

I took a deep swig of my daiquiri, “Well something new I learned is that there used to be a chain of ponds just west of here. Extensive. 20 miles of them! 2 miles wide…

Boyton sits not too far below Lake Worth in Palm Beach County. Chris McVoy’s book notes that in this area, not only was Lake Worth opened up to the ocean, and the gigantic arm of the Loxahatchee Slough -once connected with the Everglades- swallowed up by development, but  there was a  twenty mile chain of freshwater ponds – also described as a sawgrass marsh- just west of here, and now it’s the area of Congress Boulevard!”

“Really,” replied Ed. He took a swig of his beer. We drained the swamp right?”

My brain was frozen. “Sometimes I wish we didn’t. Not so much anyway…”

The two images above are from Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades and compare the area from the Loxahatchee to the Freshwater Ponds east of the Northern Everglades from 1850 to present. The contrasting images reveal many aspects of the environment that we don’t think about today. Going clockwise from noon. The connection of the C-44 to the St Lucie River; the channelization for the ICW along Florida’s east coast; the cutting of pine and cypress forests; the “disappearance” of the Loxahatchee Slough’s giant red arm up from the Everglades and across Palm Beach County to the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; the replacement of the sawgrass plains with the Everglades Agricultural Area; the man-made inlets and the opening to the ocean of Lake Worth; and last but not least, the very rarely talked about chain of freshwater ponds that that have been drained and are now the area of Congress Boulvard. All of the drainage allows us to live here and helped agriculture in the past; however we have impaired our waters. Images, pages 48 &49, Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, SFWMD, Christopher McVoy and others, 2011. 

Red lines equal pre-drainage boarder of the Everglades; yellow lines equal pre-drainage landscape boundaries: primarily sawgrass plains and Ridge and Slough with visible tree islands of which east coast development has heavily encroached. You can see the WCA (water conservation areas) along eastern Atlantic Ridge. You can recognize this because they are the only areas with ridge and slough water pattern remaining. These areas, although protected, are now water impoundments since the ACOE built the Central and South Florida Project after the 1947 flood. Tomorrow, we will learn how the Everglades’ waters once exited to the Atlantic Ocean right through parts of Florida’s east coast when we continue our trip from Boyton to Biscayne Bay/Miami! 

 

The Dream of the Sleeping Jellyfish

When I saw them I was immediately struck by their shapes. They looked like hundreds of snowflakes lying at the bottom of the mudflats in the Florida Keys’ Tavernier mangrove swamp.

I became preoccupied with them, checking them during different times of day.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes, I’m going to visit those underwater snowflakes.” I told my husband, Ed.

“Are they sea anemones?” I wondered. “Are they some kind of tropical underwater flower?”

I lay prone on the dock, staring. And there I saw it. I saw upside down jellyfish- yes standing on their heads as if they were sleeping. I realized the beautiful geometric shapes, the snowflakes, were their out folded branching tentacles.

How bizarre!

Some of the jellyfish were “breathing,” their heads expanding and contracting, pushing water, while others seemed completely comatose, not moving at all.

A few smaller ones were actually swimming heads-up the way I would expect a jellyfish to!

I took lots of photos while hoping no boat would disturb their slumber.

I read, laughing, when I learned that they are indeed known as Cassiopea, the “upside down jellyfish,” ironically, all part of a symbiotic relationship with algae. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassiopea)

I really fell in love with this snowflake jelly forest. Now, before I go to bed, I often wonder what they are dreaming about.

Perhaps clean water and a healthy sea…

https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/img_1105-1.mov

Early Newspaper Articles, Loxahatchee Wild and Scenic River

Lillies, and ferns along the Loxahatchee River, ca. 1980, courtesy/archives Fred van Vonno.

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3 

Loxahatchee Lesson 4

Loxahatchee Lesson 5 

Loxahatchee Lesson 6

Loxahatchee Lesson 7

Life buds forth -along the Loxahatchee River, ca. 1980, courtesy/archives Fred van Vonno.

Today I share my final Loxahatchee Lesson, # 8.

“My husband Fred van Vonno worked as a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior,  National Park Service, Regional Office, Atlanta Ga.  His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails”. My  husband was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies”. -Nicki van Vonno 

These news articles saved by Fred van Vonno, now loving shared by his wife Nicki, are now available for all.  I learned so much reading through them and most are not available on line. Now they are! May we continue to study our past so that we may work towards  the best future our beloved Loxahatchee River! 

The photos are organized by year: 

1980

STUDYING THE LOXAHATCHEE

PROTECTION BEING STUDIED

1981

RIVERS FATE

1982

C-18 SUIT SETTLED

WMD TO PROTECT

1983

RES IPSA LOQUITUR

Bromeliad in bloom along the Loxahatchee River, ca. 1980, courtesy/archives Fred van Vonno

1984

RIVER WAR IN PIVOTAL BATTLE

1985

LOXAHATCHEE WILD AND SCENIC

2001

CAN THESE CYPRESS TREES BE SAVED

2002

RIVER FRIENDS UNITELOXAHATCHEE VITAL

2004

UNIQUE ECOSYSTEM

No Date

STATE MOVES TO PROTECT RIVER

1978 Booklet

“Study By the Staff of the U.S. General Accounting Office, Land Use Issues”

General Accounting Office Study – Land Use Issues

Red-eared slider along the Loxahatchee River, ca. 1980, courtesy/archives Fred van Vonno

The above photos were slides

SLIDES RELATING TO THE LOXAHATCHEE RIVER (also see Lessons 4, 5, and 6 above)

Removed from a slide carousel used by Fred van Vonno who was a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior National Park Service, Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails.” The slides were used for presentations when van Vanno was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies. It is a good idea to make sure these photographs are documented as many are more than 40 years old. I would think they would have been taken around 1980. ~Sandra Henderson Thurlow

 

 

 

 

 

DRAFT EIS: Wild and Scenic River Study, Environmental Impact Statement, Loxahatchee River, Florida, 1982

Wild and Scenic River Studies, Loxahatchee River, archives of Fred van Vonno

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3 updated!

Loxahatchee Lesson 4

Loxahatchee Lesson 5 

Loxahatchee Lesson 6

Loxahatchee Lesson 7 

~History of Florida’s Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee

In the lessons above, I have been sharing the archives of Mr Fred van Vonno who worked as a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior, National Park Service, Regional Office, Atlanta Georgia.

According to his wife, Nicki, his work involved assessing the recreational potential of rivers and trails and Fred was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies. 

One of the documents Mr van Vonno saved was the 1982 Wild and Scenic River Study, Draft  Environmental Impact Statement.  This declaration led to the Loxahatchee River being designated Florida’s first Wild and Scenic River. An incredible feat! 

You may ask, “what is an Environmental Impact Statement anyway?” Basically, it is a rigorous requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 and thankfully it is still protecting the environment even today. 

The FINAL Loxahatchee EIS is available on line. As of publishing this blog post, the DRAFT is too. It is always interesting to see the evolution of a document and to see what ends up on its pages, and what does not…

Please see link below for the DRAFT Wild and Scenic River Study, Environmental Impact Statement, July 1982, Loxahatchee River, Florida and thank you Mr van Vonno for saving! 

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT LOXAHATCHEE  WILD AND SCENIC RIVER RIVER STUDY JULY 1982

Excerpt from the Environmental Protection Agency

What is the National Environmental Policy Act?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law on January 1, 1970. NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The range of actions covered by NEPA is broad and includes:

  • making decisions on permit applications,
  • adopting federal land management actions, and
  • constructing highways and other publicly-owned facilities.

Using the NEPA process, agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions. Agencies also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations.

On this page:

  • What does NEPA require?
  • How do federal agencies carry out the NEPA requirements?

What does NEPA require?

Title I of NEPA contains a Declaration of National Environmental Policy. This policy requires the federal government to use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.

Section 102 in Title I of the Act requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic interdisciplinary approach. Specifically, all federal agencies are to prepare detailed statements assessing the environmental impact of and alternatives to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. These statements are commonly referred to as Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA).

Title II of NEPA established the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to oversee NEPA implementation. The duties of CEQ include:

  • Ensuring that federal agencies meet their obligations under NEPA
  • Overseeing federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process
  • Issuing regulations and other guidance to federal agencies regarding NEPA compliance.

Learn more about the National Environmental Policy Act.

https://www.epa.gov/nepa/what-national-environmental-policy-act

 

Loxahatchee Structures, People…~Wild and Scenic Rivers, Fred van Vonno

Loxahatchee Structures and People, courtesy of Fred van Vonno, Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River Studies

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3

Loxahatchee Lesson 4

Loxahatchee Lesson 5 

Loxahatchee Lesson 6

~Loxahatchee Structures and People, Fred van Vonno, Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River Studies.

As we continue to share the slides of the late Fred van Vonno,  today’s photos fall under the categories of structures and people. Lesson 5 contains Flora and Fauna, and Lesson 4 Aerials. Thank you to my mother for archiving these photos that were once slides in Mr van Vonno’s 1980s slide shows. Thank you to our friend, Nicki van Vonno for sharing her husband’s work. 

SLIDES RELATING TO THE LOXAHATCHEE RIVER

Removed from a slide carousel used by Fred van Vonno who was a from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior National Park Service, Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails.” The slides were used for presentations when van Vanno was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies. It is a good idea to make sure these photographs are documented because some of the photos are more than 40 years old. I would think they would have been taken around 1980. 

Sandra Thurlow 8-20

STRUCTURES

PEOPLE

As I have room in this post, I am going to include two tother categories my mother achieved even through I first thought I would leave them out. The first my mother labeled as “bad.” Some of these photos may be technology not recognized today. The next is labeled “other places.” Mr van Vonno’s research as Study Coordinator for the Wild and Scenic River Program certainly took him many places and perhaps he wished to compare some of those places to Florida, thus I am including them as well. The purpose of these photos is to share and I am hoping some who see them can see and share something I don’t know. Please write if you do! Thanks. 

ELSEWHERE

Loxahatchee Flora and Fauna, River Scenes; Wild and Scenic Rivers, Fred van Vonno

Giant cypress trees, Wild and Scenic River Studies, courtesy archives Fred van Vonno

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3

Loxahatchee Lesson 4

Loxahatchee Lesson 5 

The purpose of this post is to continue to share the slides of the late Fred van Vonno.  I presented charts and aerials yesterday in Loxahatchee Lesson 4. Tomorrow, or later today, I will add structures and people. Today we share my favorite, Loxahatchee Flora and Fauna as well as River Scenes. If you recognize anything interesting let us know! My mother noticed what appears to be old world climbing fern slide #7. A terrible invasive plant that costs millions of dollars for the State of Florida to manage. 

Thank you to my mother for archiving these photos that were once slides in Mr van Vonno’s 1980s slide shows. Thank you to our friend, Nicki van Vonno for sharing her husband’s work. 

SLIDES RELATING TO THE LOXAHATCHEE RIVER

Removed from a slide carousel used by Fred van Vonno who was a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior National Park Service, Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails.” The slides were used for presentations when van Vanno was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies. It is a good idea to make sure these photographs are documented because some of the photos are more than 40 years old. I would think they would have been taken around 1980. 

Sandra Thurlow 8-20

FLORA & FAUNA

RIVER SCENES

 

Loxahatchee Charts and Aerials, Wild and Scenic River, Fred van Vonno

Wild and Scenic River Studies, ca. 1980, courtesy archives of Fred van Vonno

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3

Loxahatchee Lesson 4

Today, I share “charts” and “aerials” from the archives of the late Fred van Vonno. My mother, historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow, was given these materials by Mr van Vonno’s wife, Nicki. Ms van Vonno summarizes her husband’s work below. 

“My husband Fred van Vonno worked as a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior,  National Park Service, Regional Office, Atlanta Ga.  His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails”. My  husband was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies”. -Nicki van Vonno 

We share these photos and materials so that they are available to the public for reference and continued documentation of Martin and Palm Beach counties’ “Wild and Scenic River,” the Loxahatchee. Tomorrow, I will highlight more slides including flora and fauna, river scenes, structures and people. 

SLIDES RELATING TO THE LOXAHATCHEE RIVER

Removed from a slide carousel used by Fred van Vonno who was a Planner (GS-11) from June 1978 until 1982 for the Department of Interior National Park Service, Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. His work involved assessing the “recreational potential of rivers and trails.” The slides were used for presentations when van Vanno was the Study Coordinator for the Loxahatchee and Myakka Wild and Scenic River studies. It is a good idea to make sure these photographs are documented because some of the aerials are more than 40 years old. I would think they would have been taken around 1980. The aerials are pre-I-95. There are a couple of scenes of Trapper Nelson’s place that are of significance. -Sandra Thurlow 8-20

AERIAL CHARTS

AERIALS

CHARTS

 

 

“Environmental Considerations in Wild and Scenic River Studies,” FVV’79

Loxahatchee Lesson 1

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Loxahatchee Lesson 3

Few of us get to see our river dreams come true; Frederik von Vonno did. 

In 1979, while getting his master’s degree in City Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mr. van Vonno, wrote a paper entitled, “Environmental Considerations in Wild and Scenic River Studies.” In this paper he primarily juxtaposes the Obed River of Tennessee and the Myakka River of Florida to make his point regarding environmental issues. But the following year, van Vonno would be conducting the Loxahatchee River National Wild and Scenic River Study in Martin and Palm Beach counties with Luther Winsor, Chief, Division of Resource Area Studies for the Southeast Region of the National Park Service. (Evening Times, 1980).

Certainly van Vonno’s work on this paper was invaluable and set the North Star…

Map insert, Chapter 2.

Today, I share Chapters I-V of this paper; I see it as a seed of what became the Loxahatchee Wild and Scenic River and a clear guide to understanding the designation today. You can access a PDF of the report by clicking the link below. 

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS IN WILD AND SCENIC RIVER STUDIES, Fred von Vonno, 1979.

In achieving the “wild and scenic” designation, the Loxahatchee River had a lot of competition as many of our nation’s rivers appear to be much more dramatic. But in the end, for Florida, the Loxahatchee’s stunning and calm sub-tropical beauty was honored first, to stand along side some of the most famous rivers of the United States.

Loxahatchee River https://lrpi.us

APPENDICES to Mr van Vonno’s report: A, B, and C. 

A: Wild and Scenic River Act

B: Guidelines for Wild and Scenic Rivers

C: Park Service Study Process.jpg

Full map insert from Chapter 2, van Vonno.

 

Mapping the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee

Loxahatchee Lesson 1 

Loxahatchee Lesson 2

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love maps! Today I opened a map entitled “Physical, Hydrological, & Biological Characteristics of the Loxahatchee River Estuary, Florida, U.S Geological Survey,” that may not have been unfolded since the year I graduated from Martin County High School in 1982.

In June of 2020, my mother and her dear friend Nicki van Vonno, shared with me documents belonging to Nicki’s late husband, Frederik W. van Vonno. In 1979, as a student, “Fred” wrote a paper that he presented to his Georgia Institute of Technology professor,  entitled: “Environmental Considerations in Wild and Scenic River Studies.”

As we know,  the Loxahatchee River was designated a federal Wild and Scenic River shortly thereafter, in the momentous year of 1985. It was Florida’s first!

So this map is part of the history of the Loxahatchee becoming a Wild and Scenic River. There is a lot to talk about in Mr van Vonno’s documents, but I want to begin with this map. It will be our guide over the coming days. There are sections listed: Introductions, Purpose and Scope, Methods, History, Physical and Hydrologic Characteristics; Sediment; and Summary and Concluding Remarks -by Benjamin McPherson, Maryann Sabanskas,  and William Long -all of the Department of the Interior’s Geological Survey. You can peruse all of these sections  if you click on map below.

For purposes of time, and our goal to learn beginnings today, I will focus only on the historical building and demise of this great river, Loxahatchee.

History of the Estuary from map

The Loxahatchee River estuary owes its existence to a rise in sea level and an increase in rainfall. About 15,000 years ago, the shore of the Atlantic Ocean was several miles east of more than 300 feet lower than its present location and altitude at Jupiter Inlet. The climate was windy, cool, and dry. From about 15,000 to 6,000 years ago, sea level rose relatively rapidly at a rate of more than 3 feet per century. Near the end of this period, modern vegetation and climate became established and the rise in sea level slowed. Sometime near the end of the rapid rise in sea level and several thousand years ago, tidal waters began to flood the estuary embayment. Prior to this time, the embayment was  probably a flood plain or a freshwater marsh. From the time of the first tidal flooding to about 1900, the shape and bathymetry of the estuary were modified solely by natural processes of sedimentation and erosion…

The rest I will paraphrase:

In 1900 came the “progress” of man bringing with it two big shifts: 1. the dredging and permanence of the Jupiter Inlet which allowed much more salt water into the delicate estuary,  and a familiar foe, over-drainage – Ground water levels were lowered and fresh water inflows reduced.

The once fresh water inputs going into the Southwestern Fork (far left/down) from Hungryland Slough and the Loxahatchee Marsh -part of Loxahatchee Slough we talked about in Loxahatchee Lesson 1- were tamed by  the huge C-18 canal. The Everglades connection severed.

The Northwest Fork’s water (middle) was reduced due to development of the Central and South Florida Plan, all of the giant historic canals that are managed today by the South Florida Water Management District. Creeks Kitching and Cypress remain, but are anemic. A portion of this Northwest Fork -from  Riverbend Park to Dickinson State Park is the area that was deemed “Wild and Scenic” in 1985. In spite of this status, cypress trees have been replaced by mangroves due to less fresh water input and more salt water input. 

The North Fork (far right) is surrounded by development but a small portion looks untouched in its upper region.