After a stretch of hurricane and rains since October 2022, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is clearing up. The river has endured the “usual suspects” C-44 basin, C-23 canal, C-24 canal, and stromwater runoff; however, luckily no damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
With my husband Ed’s most recent flight, I was pleased to see the blue, clear waters returning to the Sailfish Flats and surrounding waters of the St Lucie Inlet in the vicinity of Sewall’s Point. But I was surprised and a bit disturbed to see a “seagrass desert” once again. Of course seagrass, like all plants, is more abundant and lush in summer months, but to see “nothing?” This seems strange. I need to get in the water with a mask for a closer look!
Let’s compare two photographs, one taken in August 2022 and another taken in January 2023.
I. AERIAL TAKEN January 8, 2023. Water looking clearer but no visible seagrasses.
II. AERIAL TAKEN AUGUST 26, 2022. This photos show regrowth of seagrasses.
As the August 26, 2022 photograph shows, seagrasses had rebounded in the southern Indian River Lagoon after years of damaging discharges. The worst recent Lake Okeechobee discharges were between the years of 2013 and 2018.
St. Lucie seagrasses are critical water and wildlife habitat. Especially as the seagrasses in the central northern lagoon have disappeared at such an alarming rate that a high number of manatees have starved to death.
In recent years FWC has been feeding Indian River Lagoon manatees romaine lettuce as they have no secure seagrass food source. This is not sustainable. All political policy must specifically support the betterment of water quality and the return of seagrasses of the Indian River Lagoon. This began yesterday with an Executive Order of Governor Ron DeSantis. See section 2.
-ALL OF ED’S AERIALS January 8, 2013, around 12:30pm.
-EXTRA and WONDERFUL NEWS. Click on photos to enlarge.
The next day, January 9th, Ed went flying with artist and friend Geoffrey Smith to relocate a very endangered Right Whale and her calf that Geoffrey had spotted in the Hobe Sound area just south of the St. Luice Inlet, on January 8, 2023. With his permission, I am sharing Geoffrey’s photos.
Wonderful news that our St Lucie is looking better. We must continue to take the protection of seagrasses and water quality seriously.
-Photos and mapping of Right Whale and Calf off of Hobe Sound in Atlantic Ocean. Geoffrey Smith, January 9, 2023.
AREA CANALS DRAINING TO SLR/IRL