I do hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. For a few weeks, I will be taking a blog break. Ed and I wish you all the best along the Indian River Lagoon and across our great country. I do hope you will continue to search my blog site by topic on its home page. There are hundreds of post that “let freedom ring!”
There is so much to be thankful for in spite of the difficulties we face with the health of our river, as well as our nation and the world. This week, I will be taking a blog break in order to “take time to be grateful.” Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday and of course Thursday is Thanksgiving, a time to spend with family and friends. Before I break, I thought you might enjoy this photo of a wild turkey that flew over the St Lucie River to rest in Sewall’s Point. She appears to be feeling rather grateful to be taking such a nice rest right under the American flag…See you next week.
It is hard to believe that I am already half way through my University of Florida, Natural Resources Leadership Institute (NRLI) fellowship for 2015/2016.
This week I will be taking a blog-break to prepare for this week’s NRLI course in Jacksonville, “Wildland Urban Interface.” This subject deals with the challenges, dangers, and importance of prescribed burns and how they become more complicated as Florida’s growing population is allowed to develop further into once undeveloped/natural areas of our state.
Fire, of course, is a huge issue here in Martin County in the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon Region as well. Fire is a natural part of the Florida ecosystem and necessary for the health of the lands, its wildlife, and the protection of people. “Not burning,” is not an option, as excess fuel– due to vegetation build up, causes fires to burn even hotter and is extremely dangerous!
As many may remember, in June of 2014, a controlled burn in Savannas State Park, in Jensen, quickly got out of control during high winds. This was a scary and nerve-wracking situation for the fire fighters and for the public, especially those who live across the street on Jensen Beach Boulevard in Pine Crest Lakes subdivision.
Fire, like water, is a part of the greater whole of our ecosystem…something we must understand.
I will return to blogging later next week. Thank you for reading my blog; see you soon.
I imagine if there is a dream of the roseate spoonbill, it would be for more water to be on the land…The recent heavy rains and local flooding have been a smorgasbord and reminder of better days for our local shore bird communities.
Last week, while driving by the county jail on Willoughby Boulevard , I witnessed a variety of shore birds in the flooded grasses behind the barbed-wire fence: great egrets, white egrets, blue herons, little blue herons, wood storks, a menagerie of ducks, and four beautiful pink roseate spoonbills! I got out of my car and peered through the fence….Amazing I thought…”was this area too once wetlands?”
In Sewall’s Point, a group of as many a ten were reported foraging both along North and South Sewall’s Point Roads. What a sight! People stopping in their cars to see…taking pictures and posting on Facebook.
In the past few years, it has been reported by Martin County and Audubon that the spoonbills are nesting on Bird Island just off the Archipelago in Sewall’s Point. This was never reported before. Nancy Beaver of Sunshine Wildlife Tours documents their progress…
We humans complain when there is flooding; the shore birds love it, as this was their habitat before we drained the lands for agriculture and development. “Couldn’t there be a way to have both?”
This I think would be the dream of the roseate spoonbill…
Sometimes you just need to take a break! I will be “blog-breaking” to spend time with my husband; I will return 7-15-15.
In review, before I stop blogging, thus far 2015 has not been a particularly rewarding year for river advocates— mostly because of the state legislature’s tumultuous session, their interpretation of Amendment 1, and their refusal to consider the purchase of the US Sugar’s option lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area.
To top it off, the ACOE began releasing from Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River very early this year, starting January 16th and continuing until just recently–the end of May. There may be more coming this rainy season….
The ACOE and the SFWMD decided to “dump” because the lake was “too high” to be safe for the Herbert Hoover’s Dike and its surrounding farms and communities. This is “understandable,” but at great expense to our SLR/IRL economy and ecosystem.
Ironically, ample water supply is now a concern for “users,” such as agriculture, with Lake Okeechobee down to 12.20 feet and rapidly evaporating….((http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml))You may have heard that Miami is already in a drought…on top of this, the Caloosahatchee needs some lake water right now to keep its salinities from going too high but they are not getting it…
It always seems more likely that South Florida will have a hurricane, and that Lake O could fill up quickly with 3-4 feet in one week, too much to dump fast, so the agencies prefer the lake lower during summer’s rainy season… There is that chance though—that it won’t rain, and dry conditions will parch our state as occurred in 2006/2007.
Wouldn’t that be something? After all that water being released? South Florida going into a drought? The farm fields dying? The ecosystem and its animals in danger? And people not having enough water?
It may seem an odd thought, but it is one that is not the “stuff of science fiction”— that one day, in the future, after an extended drought or a climatic shift, people could be fighting over the billions of gallons of fresh water that is wasted to the Atlantic Ocean through the C-44 basin, the St Lucie River, and Caloosahatchee during storm events…
We need to prepare for this. We must not give up our advocacy. We must keep more of this precious water on the land and going south for the Everglades.
On a positive-personal note regarding the year thus far….
You may have noticed—-
I am enjoying collaborating with my family. To have my mother’s history and most recently my brother’s “flying time capsule maps” to share is very rewarding. I have linked some of Todd time capsule flights below. They have been very popular!
Todd is six years younger than me as you can see from the photo above. My sister, Jenny, is four years younger. Growing up, Todd and Jenny were more together, and I was kind of “old.” I was out of Martin County High School where as they attended during the same time. Now, the years seems fewer in between…. 🙂
In closing, thank you very much for reading my blog; I wish you a good couple of weeks enjoying the Indian River Region, and I’ll see you soon!
Above: Google Earth/Historic Maps Overlay Flights shared on my blog, created by my brother Todd Thurlow, (http://thurlowpa.com) These flights using Topo and other historic maps combined with today’s Google Earth images flashing between “yesterday and today” give tremendous insight into the water and land changes due to drainage for agriculture and development that have occurred in our region. JTL
My conservative attorney father loves listening to singer/songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, and a “Margaritaville state of mind” was certainly part of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon lifestyle throughout much of my youth.
As he climbed to fame and fortune, Jimmy Buffett always had time to stand up for Florida’s environment. Just this spring, he headlined a rally petitioning the Florida Legislature to buy U.S. Sugar land for Everglades’ restoration; years ago he helped found the Save the Manatee Club with U.S. Senator and former Governor, Bob Graham. Buffett is a Florida “conservationist hero.” Thus it was a welcomed surprise to learn that Mr Buffett would be receiving an honorary doctorate degree of music, and be the commencement speaker for Ed’s niece, Darcie’s, University of Miami graduation last Friday.
It was a day of celebration but the signs were everywhere: “Miami needs more clean water!” “Send the water south!”
The city of Miami was under great construction and cranes filled the horizon. Around the corner, in Coral Gables, there were other signs.
As Darcie and I made our way to the auditorium, we walked past the large pond I had enjoyed so much during Ed and my last visit: “Wow, what happened to the water here?” I asked…
“I know,” she said, “It used to be so clear. Since they built the new Ratskeller and student center, it is all cloudy and brown….runoff maybe?” She inquired.
“What happened to all the fish?” I asked.
Darcie shook her head.
Symbolic of things to come? Jimmy Buffett the speaker…Hmmmm….
Darcie’s generation, more than ever, knows the pressures of a growing world population, the need for more clean water, and the importance of saving and restoring the environment the best we can…
Darcie’s generation also knows that just through south Florida canals, the state of Florida is dumping 1.7 billion gallons of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico every day because US Sugar and other multi-trillion dollar agri-businesses block that flow.
We and earlier generations have to admit that when it comes to Florida and water, we have messed things up. Perhaps we were driven by “hunger and money,” but today, we all recognize the value of clean water and a healthy environment for the survival of our children. It is time that water again makes its way from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades…
Why don’t we try to help these young people with this issue rather than leaving them with the full burden? It’s time to buy the land.
I will be taking a week’s break to focus on family, but I wanted to leave you with my audio tape of Jimmy Buffett’s commencement speech below; it does not focus on the poor state of Florida’s environment, but rather on life lessons to help: 1. Moderation; 🙂 2. Make your avocation your vocation; 3. Travel this world; and 4. be Santa Clause when you can! Good advice for all us, young or old. Let’s make Jimmy Buffett proud and keep working to save our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!
JIMMY BUFFETT’S UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI COMMENCEMENT SPEECH, 2015.
Saber-toothed cat skeletons have been found near Ft Meyers, across the state, and in Clewiston, just south of present day Lake Okeechobee. I would imagine a few of these giant canines made it over here to the ancient Indian River Lagoon Region…Wouldn’t you?
Have a good week; keep up the good fight! I’ll be back soon.