I am very fortunate to have a small army of people helping me document the Lake Okeechobee discharges this year. Presently, it is the tremendous rate of government sponsored discharge from Lake O that is destroying the regions’ economy and ecology, right before our eyes, ~once again.
Friends of my husband, pilots Dave Stone and Scott Kuhns, took these aerials yesterday, 11-8-17 around 5 pm. When I asked Scott about the plume, he relayed that it went 15 miles south almost all the way to Jupiter Inlet, and since there is also rain driven, fresh, dark- stained water flowing out of the Jupiter Inlet (not over-nutrified, black-sediment water from Lake O) there was no clear delineation of blackened plume to aqua ocean water, like usual–rather, the waters are all dark….
“How far did the plume go east from the St Lucie Inlet?” I asked. “From the coast, as far as the eye could see…”
*The ACOE has been discharging from Lake O since Hurricane IRMA hit on Sept 2oth, 2017. The rate of discharge has gone up and down, however increasing over recent weeks. Word is the St Lucie could be dumped on for many more months, possibly through the end of the year. So don’t count on taking your visiting relatives out fishing this holiday season even though you moved here for the water. This ecological disaster is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel as Senator Joe Negron, alongside the public, and “River Warrior” groups, particularly Bullsugar, has pushed so hard that the SFWMD and ACOE are finally working towards building an EAA Reservoir that will begin the long journey of changing water drainage culture in South Florida, and “sending the water south.” Please get involved and learn more by viewing this SFWMD EAA RESERVOIR website:https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/cerp-project-planning/eaa-reservoir
*Thank you to the people, and the children, groups such as the C4CW, Rivers Coalition, grandparents’ HOA email chains, leadership at Martin Health System, and to the those working for the agencies trying to help the St Lucie. As the River Kidz say:
“Right now billions of gallons of fertilizer, sewage, and legacy pollution from Lake Okeechobee are spewing into the St. Lucie River, carrying a new threat of toxic algae. Water managers may say Irma left them no choice, but of course that’s a half-truth…”
Documentation of primary and secondary plumes at St Lucie Inlet caused predominantly from human directed ACOE/SFWMD discharges post Irma and other from Lake Okeechobee & canals C-44, C-23, C-24, C-25. 10am, September 30, 2017. Primary plume out 3 miles; secondary 3 1/2 and not quite south to Peck’s Lake. We must continue to #ReplumbFlorida #forthefuture #forthewildlife #forthekidz #fortheeconomy for our #indianriverlagoon JTL/EL
At the recent Bullsugar “Fund the Fight” event, Captain Mike Connor introduced me to Montana based, award-winning fishing and hunting journalist, Hal Herring. I looked Hal straight in the eye, shook his strong hand and said, “It’s so nice to meet you Mr Herrington.” He smiled, eyes sparkling, and replied, “Herring mam. Like the fish.”
Fly Life Magazine writes: “Herring, one of the leading outdoor writers of our time, co-manages the Conservationist Blog for Field & Stream, is the author of several books and is a regular contributor to numerous other well-known outdoor news outlets including High Country News, Montana’s Bully Pulpit Blog and the Nature Conservancy magazine.”
To say the least, I felt honored to be chosen as a tour guide for Hal Herring as my husband and Mike Connor arranged an aerial journey for the visiting journalist. After researching Hal, checking out his website, and reading his article on the Clean Water Act, I knew I was dealing with a gifted journalist. What a great person to have learn about the problems of our St Lucie River!
We prepared the Baron for Saturday. My husband Ed invited friend and fellow fisherman Dr Dan Velinsky. The flight stared with a rough take off. I steadied myself. “Please don’t let me puke Lord…” As Ed gained altitude, things settled down and we were on our way…
After taking off from Witham Field in Stuart, we followed the dreadful C-44 canal west to Lake Okeechobee; diverting north at the C-44 Reservoir under construction in Indiantown; traveled over the FPL cooling pond and S-308, the opening to C-44 and the St Lucie River at Port Mayaca. Next we followed Lake Okeechobee’s east side south to Pahokee, and then Belle Glade in the Sugarland of the EAA; here we followed the North New River Canal and Highway 27 south to the lands spoken about so much lately, A-1 and A-2 and surrounding area of the Tailman property where Senate Presidient Joe Negron’s recently negociated deeper reservoir will be constructed if all goes well; then we flew over the Storm Water Treatment Areas, Water Conservation Areas, and headed home east over the houses of Broward County inside the Everglades. Last over West Palm Beach, Jupiter, north along the Indian River Lagoon and then back to the St Lucie Inlet. Everywhere the landscape was altered. No wonder the water is such a mess…
I explained the history, Dan told fish stories, Ed ducked in and out of clouds. All the while, Hal Herring took notes on a yellow legal pad with calmness and confidence. Nothing surprised him; he was a quick study in spite of all the variables. He was so well read, not speaking often but when he did, like a prophet of sorts. He spoke about this strange time of history, the time we are living in, when humans have overrun the natural landscape. He spoke about mankind being obsessed with transcending the limits of the natural world…and the control of nature…but for Hal there was no anger or disbelief, just wisdom. In his biography, he says it best:
“My passions as a writer and storyteller lie where they always have – in exploring humankind’s evolving relationship to the natural world, and all the failures, successes and deep tensions inherent in that relationship…”
In the Everglades region, Hal may just have hit the jackpot!
Yes, this morning was not unlike many others, here in Sewall’s Point, between the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon…
I get up, walk down stairs, pour a cup of coffee and ramble out into the darkness of a rising morning. The song of a bird calls through a new day. I am hopeful. I lean down and pick up the Stuart News looking for signs of sunrise east over the Indian River Lagoon. Beauty abides. Once inside, I open the paper looking through every page, and there on the back cover of Section A, yet another full-page ad from U.S. Sugar Corporation entitled “Here are the facts about moving Lake Okeechobee water south.”
“It is unbelievable how much effort U.S. Sugar is making to reframe the Lake Okeechobee discharges issue. “95% of water coming into the lake is from the north”…yes…and what else? Why is it so important for them to push this message here?
Maybe I do know why….
I go to my computer and look at my Facebook news feed. Immediately Bullsugar.org comes up.
This organization rising out of Martin County ‘s 2013 Lost Summer has gone from 0 to 61,355 friends in really less than a year. Their goal is to send the water south and fight the message that water can’t go south, especially the message of U.S. Sugar Corporation.
Interesting….is one message a reaction to the other or visa vera?
Hundreds, maybe thousands of people will see U.S. Sugar’s ad in the Stuart News today. Hundreds, and maybe thousands of people will see Bullsugar’s active Facebook page today.
One thing is for certain, the Bullsugar advocacy group is gaining strength and sophistication. They may not be able to afford full-page ads in the Stuart News, but by using social media they are giving one of the most powerful corporations in the world a “run for their money.” There is a momentum across the state for the first time in many years. Fascinating to watch. Sometimes as much as we don’t like to admit it, there’s nothing like a good fight.
History, “being changed,” is always uncomfortable….
—-Kudos to Adam Putnam, and —-Kudos to the River Warriors…
This is not an easy video to watch, and I apologize for the foul language, but I do think it is important we document this movement. Yesterday evening Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, and more than likely our next Governor, stood in a sea of angry River Warriors at an Economic Council dinner at the Elliott Museum in Martin County, Florida.
The crowd angry over the discharges once again killing the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon as well as their way of life and their businesses… –We see here how volatile and political the issue has become.
That Adam Putnam tried very hard to talk to the crowd and remained amongst them for such a length of time is to his credit. It is well-known that in the past politicians have run away. I do believe there is a silver lining here. I do believe this means that someone may have been found who is brave enough and versed enough to tackle this issue beyond “finishing the projects.”
For all involved, this is hard to do, but can be done.
We must find a way to sit at the table together to begin to solve this issue . May this difficult day have been the beginning. —-Hope.