Summer Swimming, Not What it Used to Be…

With my little sister Jenny, 1st day of summer vacation, Stuart, Florida, 1970s.

When I was a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s in Stuart, summer vacation meant carefree swimming at the  Stuart Causeway, the beach, and the Sunrise Inn. This was such an anticipated time of year that my parents would splurge and buy us new bathing suits from TG&Y.

Here I am pictured with my little sister, Jenny, outside our family home on Edgewood Drive. We were proudly displaying our matching new bathing suits!

Today, things are different. It is important for parents to check the water first. Is it safe? Has an algae bloom been reported? Is the Army Corp dumping Lake Okeechobee?

Today, I share two websites: Martin County, and the Martin County Dept. of Health. Both have been updated to reflect today, and though it’s not all “good news” with this much open government, I am confident things are on their way to getting better.

In the meantime, safe swimming and happy summer!

Martin County (great video “Our Water Story”): https://www.martin.fl.us/OurWaterStory

Martin County Health Dept. http://martin.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2019/05/summer_safety.html

Florida 1969

 

Florida 2019

P.S. Not so sure about the “Natural Places” part? I think here is an opportunity to educate people on nutrient pollution.

http://EyeOnLakeO – Allows Us to Know

Todd Thurlow presents his website, http://eyeonlakeo.com, Rivers Coalition Inc. meeting, 5-22-19, City of Stuart Chambers.

http://eyeonlakeo.com: A website of Lake Okeechobee Satellite Imagery and Data

Todd Thurlow gave a great presentation last evening about his website “EyeOnLakeO,” http://eyeonlakeo.com. The site is a cache of images, charts, data, videos, graphs, and mathematical conversion calculators. This information is all public, but hard to find because it is buried under layers and layers of government-agency material. Thanks to Todd, now much of this is in one place, and only a click away!

Last’s night’s presentation reviewed everything on the site, but focused mostly on “Descriptions of Satelite Imagery and Sources.” This you may have seen me post on Facebook where Todd juxtaposes the Lake Okeechobee NOAA Harmful Algae Bloom Images to Real Color Images.

You can see other subject boxes include: Florida Chlorophyll; Martin County Chlorophyll; Live Discharge Data; Historical Discharge Graphs (my favorite); Calculators and Tools (super helpful!); Satellites- Landsat 7 & 8; Terra, Aqua, Suomi Last 7 Days; Measurements (of algae blooms in Lake O); Landsat 1-4 Movies 1972-2013; Landsat 4-8 Movies 1982-2018 (compilations of satellite images over time); Lake O Surface Winds “Windy” (to see where the algae will  be pushed and gather); Hurricane Matthew Video info (was 20 miles off Stuart/Cat. 4/2016); Terra/Aqua/Suomi Archives; and a movie of the Lake O Algae Bloom 2016 that Todd measured at  253 square miles being dumped into the St Lucie River at S-308…not a good year!

Todd noted all this got started with Mark Perry, CEO of Florida Oceanographic, asking Todd if he could measure the 2016 bloom. I’m so glad Mark asked!

http://eyeonlakeo.com

The presentation was well received and left our heads spinning!

Todd noted during his introduction that he is not a scientist, but a lawyer and an interested citizen like the rest of us. He shared that there is a ton of information out there and that it is not the responsibility of the government to give us the information. It is our responsibility to get it ourselves. Thank God I have Todd as a brother because I don’t have the ability or the desire to mine all of this information. But he does, and we can all use it and all share it and hold our state accountable using it.

What a wonderful thing!

Please go to Todd’s website and explore, bookmark as a reference especially with summer coming: http://eyeonlakeo.com

In closing, I’d like to use this opportunity to compare the 5-18-19 NOAA image on Todd’s site with photographs of algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, just yesterday. Ed described this bloom as five miles long and a few miles wide. As with many other years, the cyanobacteria is back in the lake. But now we can watch it, and fight that it is not discharged into our river.

~Yes, it is from the air, and from outer-space, that we really can force the conversation for a better water future!

EyeonLakeO web site: http://eyeonlakeo.com
Todd Thurlow bio:http://thurlowpa.com/thtiii.htm

*Todd is my brother

Understanding Lake O’s Historic Flow; What were Transverse Glades?

 

South Florida’s southern Everglades, 1850 vs. 2003 similar to 2019. Image courtesy of SFWMD, based on the book Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Today I share a familiar set of images. Although we have seen many times, they remain mind-blowing. Don’t they?

~Yellow lines outlining Florida’s original Everglades’ River of Grass contrasted to today’s highly human impacted, managed system.

What one may not notice, are the “Transverse Glades” labeled on the lower right area of the Pre-Drainage image? There are two types: “Peat Transverse Glades” and “Marl Transverse Glades.”

So what are they? Or better said, what were they? And what do they mean?

“A Transverse Glade is a surface-shallow groundwater drainage pathway moving water out of the main Everglades Basin and controls the Everglades water table.” (Ogurcak, https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/Presentation_PDFs/Additions/THURSDAY/Meeder-Thursday-Transverse%20Glades%20Karst.pdf)

These transverse glades would have been moist in the dry season and could be totally inundated during the wet season as they allowed the waters of the Everglades Basin to slowly seep/flow out.

Following Nature’s hand, the first canals built to Lake Okeechobee from the coast were started or ended in these areas. The early settlers used the canals not just for drainage, but also for transportation to and from the Lake and surrounding areas.

The first canals constructed were the North New River Canal  (1906-1912) connecting to today’s  Ft Lauderdale in the area where the peat transverse glades were located; and the Maimi Canal (1910-1913), in the area where the marl transverse glades were located. Both the New River and Maimi River were neighbors of the transverse glades. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Early Post-drainage 1910, Harshberger image, 1913.

Today?

One would never even guess the transverse glades ever existed thinking all the water flowed out of Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough. Not the case when we look back far enough; we can see Mother Nature’s design. Interesting isn’t it?

Facility & Infrastructure Map, SFWMD 2019
Plate 5, Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.
Figure 11.12 Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Google Earth 2019

See for explanation of peat and marl soils: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/evergeology.htm

See Chapter 10, peat and marl transverse glades: https://www.academia.edu/13200912/Landscapes_and_Hydrology_of_the_Predrainage_Everglades-Overview

Color-Coded Maps – Help Us to Understand the Flow of Lake O

MAP 1.

New maps denoting volumes in 1000 acre feet as presented by John Mitnick P.E., SFWMD – please note for readability, slides have been enlarged into two images.

Today, I wanted to share new map images, “Selected Release Volumes, November 1st, 2018, to May 7, 2019,” being presented at the South Florida Water Management District by Chief District Engineer, John Mitnik P.E. Thank you to Mr Mitnik and his staff for these great images. I really like them and I think you will too as they specifically break down the movement of water from north to south, using color-coding and arrows, making it easier to see and understand the water flows of the complicated Lake O system.

Looking above, notice that the map starts at the top with Orlando’s free-flowing creeks, the often forgotten headwaters of Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee Chain of Lakes: Their names? “Reedy,” “Shingle” and “Boggy.” Sounds like names from an Everglades’ Seven Dwarves, don’t they?

As you study the map images, above, and below, you’ll catch on quickly with the color-coded arrows and numbers in acre feet. If you wish to compute, use my brother, Todd Thurlow’s easy conversion chart for acre feet: (http://eyeonlakeo.com/DischargeDataandTools/EyeOnLakeOAcreFeetConverter.html)

I’m not going to review each line, just some highlights…but please read through it all!

If you live in Martin or St Luice County, you may find of particular interest RED, RELEASES TO THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, (C-25 at Taylor Creek); and BROWNISH-RED, UPPER EAST COAST, DISCHARGES TO THE ST LUCIE ESTUARY, (C-23 and C-24);  for all of us BLUE, TOTAL RELEASES SOUTH, is always important! 550.6 thousand acre feet is really a lot of Lake water “going south.” The original Everglades Forever Act proposed 250,000 acre feet, but it has not always worked out that way.  Some years have been basically null. We should be very happy about 550.6!

 

Map 2

On the southern map you’ll see some of the same colors and number and new ones like OLIVE GREEN, LAKE RELEASES EAST AND WEST; and many more. Most interesting to me right now as the estuaries are not getting bombed is LIGHT GREEN, WATER CONSERVATION AREA 3 RELEASES TO EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK linked to the L-29 Canal along the Tamiami Trail. It is not just how much water is going south, but how much is getting to the right part of Florida Bay as it is hyper-saline, in parts, leading to massive seagrass die-off. This problem was the first to inspire change and it is still messed up….

In any case, I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do! And following such will certainly help us attain our goals!

To see this presentation in its original form please link here: (https://apps.sfwmd.gov/webapps//publicMeetings/viewFile/20884)

Source of Maps: https://www.sfwmd.gov

“Palm Beach County, Nature’s Masterpiece; Man’s Opportunity…”

The “Crying Cow Report” was of interest to many readers, so today I continue down that timeline, in fact, a bit before…

After reading the report, my mom, historian Sandra Thurlow, shared the following note and images from one of her many files. The small booklet is entitled, “Palm Beach County Florida,” and was published with a colorful tropical-farm cover around 1920. You’ll see that it was written to entice others. Also, one must remember that until 1925, Martin County did not exist and was part of Palm Beach County!

~For me, it is so interesting to read these old publications within the context of where we are ecologically today: “Nature’s Masterpiece; Man’s Opportunity.” It sure was! Now we have an opportunity to clean up the lands and waters made impaired by our dreams.

Please view below:

“Jacqui, I enjoyed reading about your viewing the Crying Cow booklet. It made me look in my rare booklet box and when I looked through this little 4 1/2 by 6 inch booklet I thought you’d like to see it. I chose these pages to scan. It is undated but it cites 1920 numbers and was published before Martin County was created in 1925. I wonder if Hector Harris Ritta is connected to Ritta Island? Mom”

Ritta Island is located inside the dike of Lake Okeechobee. These areas were once farmed,Google Earth Image.
This image is added to show changing counties of Florida. Excerpt, Florida Works Progress Administration, Creation of Counties 1820-1936, Historical Records State Archives, courtesy archives Sandra Thurlow. http://www.sandrathurlow.com

__________________________________________________

From my brother Todd, after he read this post. 🙂
“Good Stuff. Yes definitely “Ritta” refers to Hector Harris’ home town, like the others. The town of Ritta can be seen clearly on the map you included – at Ritta Island. Interesting notes about Ritta:”

Land by the Gallon: https://www.floridamemory.com/blog/2015/05/29/land-by-the-gallon/#more-11821
-Crazy big hotel built there.

Ghost towns: http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/rittaisland.html

POST TIME: Who named Lake Okeechobee’s Kreamer, Ritta, Torry islands? : https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local/post-time-who-named-lake-okeechobee-kreamer-ritta-torry-islands/iPUWYxxSck6bNHOmP4Lv6I/
– Not terribly helpful but says “Ritta is believed named for the daughter of an early settler of Lake Harbor”

“The Crying Cow Report,” Tentative Report of Flood Damage, Florida Everglades Drainage District, 1947

It took ten years, but I finally got to see it. An original of the report that both changed and created the South Florida we know today. Best known as the “Crying Cow Report,” sometimes, “The Weeping Cow Report,” this booklet’s official name is the “Tentative Report of Flood Damage, Florida Everglades Drainage District, 1947,”  written after the very rainy year of 1947 that flooded many parts of Central and South Florida, inspiring Congress to fund extensive drainage and reworking of South and Central Florida canals through the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project: (https://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/common/pdf/history/60th_monthly_gb_2009_mar.pdf)

I arranged all ahead of time, at the South Florida Water Management’s Library. Librarian, Yailenis Diaz was there to greet me and together we carefully, page by page, reviewed this historic document. The images of flooding are heartbreaking. By the end of our time together, she and I thought we had figured out why the document became known as the “Crying Cow Report”– other than the fact that there is a crying cow on its cover. ~At the end of the document you will find a newspaper article preserved, and a poem with the title “Crying Cow of the Everglades” by Lamar Johnson, Everglades Drainage District Engineer. Wow, an engineer that wrote poetry, times have changed.

So, why is this document so important, and what can we learn from it today? This document is important because it changed the world and because in a pre-modern-internet-electronic-world, the people of Florida communicated with their U.S. Congress, using the powerful images, and simple writing of this booklet. Every member of Congress was given the report face to face, leaving an impression, and inspiring the funding of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project ~as the linked presentation above shows, both a blessing, and a curse.

Perhaps it’s time to send a new report to Congress that also would leave a lasting impression? Can you think of anything, an image, simple words that would communicate modern 2019 concerns?

I can.

The Lost Discharge Numbers of the Caloosahatchee

http://eyeonlakeo.com/

Destruction by the Numbers continued…

For larger image: http://www.eyeonlakeo.com/DischargeDataandTools/HistoricalDischargesS-80_1953_to_2019.htm
For larger image: http://www.eyeonlakeo.com/DischargeDataandTools/HistoricalDischargesS-77_1938_to_2003.htm

This blog post is a follow-up to my previous post: https://wp.me/p3UayJ-9Vm, entitled “Top 25 Discharge Years” to the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee . Here I wrote that the SFWMD’s DBHydro systems’ discharge dates were not the same for the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and speculated on why.  To review, the St Lucie’s dates available on DBHydro are 1953-2019, whereas the Caloosahatchee’s is 1967-2019. Thirteen years are “missing.”

Of course my brother Todd, was able to locate and give insight into those missing numbers explaining that comparisons could be found in another system, the USGS system, that actually shares information about the entire planet.

Todd has created the above charts using the USGS data for the Caloosahatchee and the DBHydro data for the St Lucie, and we can now see the 1959/1960 discharge comparison of the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee for 1959 and 1960 in the above charts and excerpts below. Cool!

St Lucie
Caloosahatchee

Delving into all this is a lot of work, and sometimes imperfect, but isn’t it great that the internet allows both the state and federal government to put all this raw data out there for anyone to analyze? Although it takes time and expertise, at the local level it is really our responsibility to individually, through non-profits, and as local governments, tap into this available data and present it in a fashion that everyone can understand, and perhaps inspire!

So now, the lost numbers of the Caloosahatchee are found revealing that the St Lucie River has the highest discharge number on record – 1960- at 3,093,488 acre feet!

For more information, go to http://eyeonlakeo.com/

USGS, raw data: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/annual?referred_module=sw&site_no=02292000&por_02292000_24141=2380387,00060,24141,1939,2003&year_type=C&format=html_table&date_format=YYYY-MM-DD&rdb_compression=file&submitted_form=parameter_selection_list

USGS web-site: https://www.usgs.gov

DBHydro Portal, ~notice one can request training: http://xportal.sfwmd.gov/dbhydroplsql/show_dbkey_info.main_menu

DBHydro, SFWMD:https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/dbhydro