Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Tale of Friendship and 16 Hamburgers ~Post Dorian

 

Ed flying Billy Vaughn, Vice-President, and Tara Baldwin, President, Operation 300. The organization is in honor of son and brother Aaron Vaughn http://op300.org

Rarely have I seen my husband with such determination, and he’s very determined all of the time…

The goal?

To get his multi-generational Bahamian friend, fishing guide, Justin Sands of Marsh Harbor, a cooler of 16 hamburgers, some buns, mustard and ketchup, and a bag of tomatoes…

Ed told me he would be flying into Treasure Cay dropping off the Vaughns, president and vice-president of Operation 300, the group in Stuart, Florida, that is doing great things for the relief effort. Ed would be greeted by Stephen Leighton who along with his brother, John, are masterminding Operation 300’s coordination. Ed had hoped to get a ride to Marsh Harbor from Treasure Cay to meet Justin, about 26 miles away. That did not happen.

“Why didn’t it happen?” I asked Ed when he got home.

“Jacqui, there’s nothing left there. The beat-up cars they have, have no gas….or very little. The car they were lucky enough to have, ran out of gas.”

So after dropping off the Vaughns and not being able to get a ride, Ed asked Steve Leighton if in the course of his work, could he please deliver the hamburgers. Ed flew back to Stuart, and then something happened that could only happen today.

With Ed now back in Florida, and Steve and Justin with very limited communication service  —Stephen in Treasure Cay, and Justin in Marsh Harbor—-the three, via text messaging, and an app called WHATSAPP, coordinated the 16 hamburger drop-off.

Stephen then sent Ed a picture of Justin and he standing amidst Marsh’s destruction- red cooler in tow. Delivery achieved! Later that evening Justin sent Ed a picture of the prepared hamburgers.

When Ed shared the photos, my eyes filled with tears…

Friendship and determination are something that Dorian cannot destroy.

Justin Sands and Stephen Leighton, Marsh Harbor Sept 18, 2019.

 

 

 

Other photos shared by Stephen Leighton, Operation 300, 9-18-19

Finding the Lost Rapids of Lake Worth Creek

Before Hurricane Dorian came this way, my brother, Todd, was helping me answer a question. ~One I think will be interesting to you as well…

“Where were the rapids of Lake Worth Creek?” Yes, rapids!

T41S R43E, Survey 1855 John Westcott, Surveyor General.

To answer the question, we must first recognize that Lake Worth Creek has been altered as we can see comparing the images above and below.

This change happened slowly over time, but most notably in 1894 with the completion of the Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Maimi. The Google Map below shows the Intracoastal today. The 1855 survey above shows Lake Worth Creek pre-development. In both images, it’s the area between Jupiter Inlet and Lake Worth- the historic area of Lake Worth Creek.

To learn where these rapids were located let’s read an excerpt from Palm Beach County’s MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR FRENCHMAN’S FOREST NATURAL AREA, FCT PROJECT # 96-011-P7A, June 1998.

The Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area (located right under Frechman’s Passage, JTL)  is part of a broad coastal swale that was separated from the Atlantic Ocean by coastal sand ridges and from the Loxahatchee Slough by a broad pine flatwood ridge. It was part of the headwaters of the former Lake Worth Creek, a meandering blackwater creek that flowed northward to join the Loxahatchee River near its mouth at the Jupiter Inlet. The earliest accounts of the site date from the 1840s, and were from U.S. Army Topological Engineer reports made during the Second Seminole Indian War (Corbett 1993). Eighty men from Fort Jupiter moved up Lake Worth Creek in seventeen canoes. Approximately two miles north of the natural area, they reached the “rapids”, a series of muck terraces that disappeared during periods of high water, but helped hold water at a higher level in the upstream sawgrass marshes. Another series of muck terraces may have been present 0.25 miles north of the natural area. After getting past these barriers, the troops entered a large sawgrass marsh, where they pulled the canoes for a mile to a haulover path over the sand ridge separating the marsh from Lake Worth. The southeastern portion of the natural area was part of the sawgrass marsh, and the soldiers may have crossed through the site. Once they reached Lake Worth, the soldiers raided Seminole Indian villages along its shores, capturing guns and canoes. The soldiers had followed an old Indian route for traveling between Jupiter Inlet and Lake Worth. When the last Seminole Indian war ended in 1859, pioneers began to use this route for coastal travel. Charles Pierce (1970) described his family’s travel to Lake Worth by small boat via this route in 1873. He noted his father’s difficulty in finding the right channel through the sawgrass to the haulover. Pierce and his family were among the earliest permanent settlers on the shores of Lake Worth. Pierce also provided the first direct reference to the natural area, noting that the bird rookery on Pelican Island (present-day Munyon)…

https://regionalconservation.org/ircs/pdf/publications/1998_01.pdf

Another source we can use comes from the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Canal and Okeechobee Land Company 1881 Prospectus where it documents the advantage of making the cut through Lake Worth Creek. Nine lines from the bottom it mentions the rapids: “There is a depth of five feet of water in the channel from its mouth to the rapids…”  

And the last shared source is from an 1884 USGS Survey Report noting the difficulty of working through the sawgrass route from Haulover Head on Lake Worth to the Rapids of Lake Worth Creek.

Fascinating and historic information, but what about X marks the spot? Where were those rapids?

Using the above information, below (look for yellow arrow) Todd shows more specifically on a topo map from his video “Lake Worth through the Haulover and Sawgrass Route to Jupiter Inlet – 1883” showing where Lake Worth Creek’s rapids may have been located. On today’s map that is very close to Frenchman’s Passage/Frenchman’s Creek.

Next time you’re in the area give a shout out to the once rapids of the former Lake Worth Creek,  a wonder of old Florida that we shouldn’t forget!

9:16am 9-16-19: I was close! My brother just texted me this: Hey Jacqui. Sorry Dorian interrupted our discussion of the Falls. It was actually near the creek called Frenchman’s Creek on the old topos not Frenchman’s Passage which is a neighborhood today about a mile and a half south and inland from the old creek/rapids. 😬

Frenchmans Creek still appears on Google maps. It is where Cypress Island Marina is today off of Palmwood Road.

https://goo.gl/maps/5Wqm4HA8DbL884eG9

Video Lake Worth Time Capsule Flight, Todd Thurlow: https://youtu.be/2pDsQl7rQmQ

Thank you to my brother Todd Thurlow for all of the historic images in this blog post and for his expertise with historic map and waterway information: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/todd-thurlows-time-capsule-flights/

 

Hurricane Dorian’s Plume

 

Hurricane Dorian, SFWMD image 9-1-19

Today I got a call from my husband’s good friend, dentist and pilot, Scott Kuhns.

“I’m going up in the Super Cub” he said, “what pictures do we want?”

“Great!” I replied. “How about the canals? -what’s killing the river at this time. C-23 and C-24, nearer to St Lucie County, and C-44 in South Stuart-even though the ACOE isn’t dumping from Lake Okeechobee right now?”

I was thinking to myself that it’s important to see how these area canals affect our waters even without the worst off all, -discharges from Lake Okeechobee! Between all the extra water, Mark Perry says that the St Lucie River takes on more than twice it did from its natural watershed.

Scott’s voice came over the phone…

“How about the coast?” Scott inquired.

“Absolutely. The coast. There should be a pretty decent plume just from the canals and local runoff.”

“‘llI be in touch,” Scott said, and he was off!

Well, I just received Scott’s photos about an hour ago. The photos are telling and Dorian’s plume is very, very dark.

Dorian, all I can say right now, is thank you for not striking Florida. It was a scary few days, so close! And God bless the people of the Bahamas…

PHOTO BY SCOTT KUHNS and PILOT STEVE SCHIMMING, 9-6-19 at

SFWMD, Treasure Coast canals-Stuart north to St Lucie/ Indian River County.

ROOSEVELT BRIDGE, WIDE AREA OF SLR, HABOARAGE MARINA, STUART

C-23 & C-24 CANALS, C-23 DIVIDES MARTIN & ST LUCIE COUNTY, C-24 in ST LUCIE CO.

C-44 CANAL, SOUTH STUART

ATLANTIC OCEAN OFF HUTCHINSON ISLAND~PLUME VIA “LOCAL RUNOFF” & CANALS C-23, C-24  & C-44  (LAKE  OKEECHOBEE IS NOT OPEN AT THIS TIME)

ST LUCIE INLET & SAILFISH POINT

 

 

AREA BETWEEN SEWALL’S POINT AND SAILFISH POINT KNOWN AS THE SAILFISH FLATS WHERE SEAGRASS HAD BEEN GROWING BACK.

Under the Cocoanuts, Lake Worth Lagoon

Last week, I told my mother that my husband Ed and I were planning on taking the trawler from Stuart to Fort Lauderdale down the Intracoastal Waterway, and that I was most excited about passing through the Lake Worth Lagoon: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/southflorida/regions/lake-worth-lagoon/

“Do you have some history for me?” I asked.

She ran upstairs returning with a little booklet entitled “Under the Cocoanuts, Lake Worth, Dade County, Florida, by Porter and Potter, Real Estate Agents, 1893.”  Mom said her friend and fellow historian, Mrs. Marjorie Watts Nelson, had gifted a copy of the famous little book and that it was cherished.

I carefully looked through it and understood why…

Today, I would like to share this historic booklet. I believe pages 15 and 19 are missing, but it remains a priceless read. The beautiful artwork was created by George Wells Potter, of Porter and Potter, a star citizen and gifted artist whose drawings remain an outstanding record of the day.

Enjoy!

http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/george-wells-potter

 

How Much Water Has Flowed Backwards From C-44 to Lake O?

My recent post about “Holding Lake Okeechobee’s Algae at Bay” got a lot of responses with a few questioning whether the algae bloom in Lake O off Port Mayaca was caused by the waters of C-44 flowing back into the lake.

(https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2019/08/19/holding-lake-okeechobees-algae-at-bay/comment-page-1/)

~A valid question.

I do not know the answer to this question, but I do know flights over the C-44 canal in 2019 have shown no visible algae blooms, but many in the lake with some right off Port Mayaca. Nonetheless, we know the  C-44 is full of nutrient pollution.

Today I want to share a chart from my brother Todd Thurlow’s website http://eyeonlakeo.com/ as well as our back and forth on the issue of how much water has been put into Lake Okeechobee from C-44 so far this year rather than going into the St Lucie River. The ACOE can flow C-44 flow both ways…

Be sure to read “Summary of Query Results” below for the answer.

Todd: Jacqui, I changed my DBKey on my daily spreadsheet to S-308 just to see what it would spit out.  See below.  It looks like S-308 has sent a net 17billion gallons of C-44 basin water (over 54,000 AF) into Lake O this year.  I am pretty sure that means we get a “free” 17billion gallons in our direction before it is considered “Lake Water”.

Jacqui: Todd did the ACOE start sending the C-44 canal water back to Lake O May 29th? Looking at the chart this is what I see. 

Todd: There has been little flows all year as can be seen on the chart too but the big flows started on May 13 at -2042cfs.  There was a pause between June 4 and July 30.  Then is started again with a few days off here and there.  Here is the data that is summarized in that chart.

The May 29 date that you might see (its actually May 20) is where the “Cumulative Total Discharge” graph crosses the zero axis?  That is where the net flows for the year were back to zero.  In other words, it took from May 13 to May 20, 8 days of westward flow, to cancel out all of the net eastward flow for the year.

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 can run east to the St. Lucie or west to Lake Okeechobee.

These DEP canal summaries are no longer available on-line but remain good references even though written in 2001.

 

 

Holding Lake Okeechobee’s Algae at Bay

My husband, Ed, was able to fly the Baron yesterday. As the plane has been in service, we have not taken photos of Lake Okeechobee or the St Lucie River from a higher altitude in almost two months.

Because the satellite images have been showing Lake Okeechobee’s bloom lessening, I wasn’t sure what Ed would find. Well, he found a large blue-green algae bloom right outside the gates of Port Mayaca at S-308.

http://eyeonlakeo.com/NCCOS%20HAB%20Images/index.html via Todd Thurlow

On his way back to Stuart, he also took pictures of the St Lucie Inlet showing plentiful seagrass recovery near the Sandbar at the confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, the ocean/river looking blue and inviting ~ not like the black coffee sediment and toxic nutrient-filled discharges seen recently in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

I am thankful to the ACOE and all involved for this summer’s reprieve. The Saint Lucie River really needed it!

We must keep in mind that with all of the recent rain, of course, Lake Okeechobee is rising. Today lake is at 12.99 feet. Hopefully, in the coming and most active months of hurricane season, there will not be a tropical system that could rapidly increase the lake level. In years past hurricanes have brought as much as three or four feet. There are many factors, but usually, the ACOE starts releasing at 15.5 feet to protect the Herbert Hoover Dike’s integrity and those living south and in the shadow of our diked lake.

Humans may have figured out how to “control” the state’s water, but Mother Nature holds the final card.

SFWMD 8-19-19

 

LAKE OKEECHOBEE AT PORT MAYACA AND LAKE O’S N.E. RIM SHOWING ALAGE BLOOM. IF S-308 were open, this bloom and freshwater that sustains blooms would be pouring into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Photos by Ed Lippisch 3-18-19.

Lake O

N.E. Lake Okeechobee and Rim Canal

Boat tracks through algae bloom off Port Mayaca

 

Looking toward Lake Okeechobee at S-80, A.K.A. “The Seven Gates of Hell.” These gates can be opened by the ACOEO to discharge water from Lake O into the St Lucie River.  Photo Ed Lippisch 8-18-19.

C-44 Canal connects Lake Okeechobee to St Lucie River, photo Ed Lippisch 8-18-19

 

ST LUCIE RIVER/INDIAN RIVER LAGOON AT ST. LUCIE INLET showing nearshore reefs, blue waters, and recovering seagrasses ~even with high local rains and discharges from canals C-23, and C-24. This area between Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point was once considered the most bio-diverse in North America. This year, 2019, there have been no discharges from Lake Okeechobee allowing the area to begin to recover from years of destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

St Lucie Inlet at the confluence of SLR/IRL, #Clean2019

Darker shades are recovering seagrasses!

Flight Aware Track:

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image and connected to Lake Okeechobee.