Tag Archives: C-24

Adding Insult to Injury-C-23, C-24, C-25

A portion of the St Johns Marsh 1958  https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071784/00007/images/151

As we know, next year is the 100 year anniversary of the St. Luice Canal. Dug by the Everglades Drainage District 1916-1924, the canal was turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1930 following the horrific 1926 and 1928 hurricanes and the U.S./Florida decision to build the Herbert Hoover Dike. During the 1930s through the fifties the canal was widened and deepened and repurposed as a cross state canal conveniently allowing even more discharge water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River.

According to a November 4, 1954  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Central and Southern Florida Project report by Colonel H.W. Schull Jr.

“For quite some time, local interest in the Stuart-Palm City area have been very bitter and adamant concerning the release of water in the St. Lucie estuary. They have made numerous complaints to this office about the releases of muddy water and its effect on sport fishing in the Stuart area, as well as the effects of shoaling in the vicinity of Palm City. In November 1953, the local people formed the St. Lucie-Indian Rivers Restoration League, which has become appreciably influential; the League has now grown to the estimated membership of 1,250. The situation in the Stuart-Palm City area has become by far the most sensitive of any in the Jacksonville District. This office has received complaints from the league following practically all discharge periods. Full-capacity discharge is entirely untenable to local interests. Last spring, the League threatened to use all possible influence to block the 1955 fiscal year appropriations for the Central and Southern Florida Project unless they could obtain a definite commitment “to relieve the area of excessive flood discharge and its incidental damages.” It was brought out that if unable to obtain such a commitment local interest were prepared to attack the appropriations as discriminatory, to withdraw from the 17-county Flood Control District by legislative action, and would proceed with damage actions in the Federal Courts….”

And that was only 1954…

By 1959 the Stuart News ran articles quoting the St. Lucie-Indian River Restoration League and the Martin County Water Conservation Committee. These articles shared by historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow, reveal continuation of bitterness and exasperation by the St. Lucie-Indian River Restoration League now together with the Martin County Water Conservation Committee.

By 1959, the “Great Flood” of 1947 had set in motion the enormous and expensive Army Corps’ Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project adding to the already built canals of the Everglades Drainage District – such as the St Lucie Canal. To complicate Martin County’s drainage issues, the Minute Maid Corporation bought 5,300 acres of St Johns River Marsh land fifteen miles from Ft. Pierce in neighboring St Lucie County. Also booming was ranch land north and west of Cocoa. Many were excited about draining the land and building Florida’s post-war economy. This would be at the expense of the St. Lucie.

It was the hope of the St. Lucie-Indian River Restoration League and the Conservation Committee that the Army Corps would build a gigantic reservoir west of Sebastian, Vero, and Ft. Pierce to hold the water that would be drained from these lands but instead the Army Corps decided to build C-25, C-23, and C-24 alone. “No reservoir. Too expensive.”

Excerpt from Stuart News, April 9, 1959. Proposed reservoir that would hold the waters of the drained southern St. Johns Marsh. Instead the land was never bought, and the reservoir never built.

Today these St. Lucie C-canals drain the lower St. Johns Marsh and and a large portion of St Lucie County into the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. These canals, like the C-44, or St. Lucie Canal, can operate in any direction, and they are all connected, taking in water and then discharging wherever the engineers desire…

C-25, north of Highway 68 and west of Ft. Pierce, dumps into the Southern Indian River Lagoon at Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce; C-24 and C-23 discharge into the mid and lower north fork of the St Lucie River. As they are all connected so the water can be made to go through any outlet. Most water exits through the St. Lucie River heading to the St. Lucie Inlet,  Martin County – carrying with it a collection of agricultural and development pollutants.

The St. Lucie-Indian River Restoration League and the Martin County Water Conservation Committee fought hard for the St. Johns Marsh Reservoirs-also called a CONSERVATION AREA, but they were never built.

The League and Committee were so furious with the effects of all the canals  that they filed a suit for injunction against direct ad-valorem tax levies by the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District, the equivalent of today’s South Florida Water Management District. But the League did not prevail. The League expressed that one of the reasons this case did not succeed may be linked to “the Judge Chillingworth murder case occupying all of judge Judge Smith’s time.” Ironically it was the Chillingworth family that founded Palm City Farms.

Ernest Lyons, editor of the Stuart News wrote: “So that is why Martin County must demand now that the priorities of be changed on the project, making the reservoir purchase and construction No. 1 and the safety valve into Fort Pierce harbor (C-25) No. 2.

Otherwise we are going to wake up one of these days a find the beautiful St. Lucie, whose South Fork is now a drainage canal for the floodwaters of the Kissimmee River Basin has had its North Fork turned into a drainage canal for the St Johns River which historically flowed the other way.

Martin County is going to be made the dumping ground for another vast drainage area unrelated to this county unless our Congressmen, County Commission, State Representatives and other official demands that this scheme be changed by altering the priorities to do “first things first.”

It is kind of ironic that we continue to fight over reservoirs today.

The Stuart News, March 5, 1959.
The Stuart News, April 9, 1959.
The Stuart News, April 13,1961.

I recently visited the lands that the SFWMD has purchased north of Highway 68 to restore/ build a C-25 reservoir and storm water treatment area as part of ACOE’s  Indian River Lagoon South, CERP.

Palm City, FL 1966 Then and Now w/ Todd Thurlow

Today’s blog post is about western Martin County Florida’s Palm City. This post includes  my mother’s inspiration, my brother Todd’s  time capsule flight video, and my writing.

Palm City was once narrow strips of pine flatlands interspersed with hammocks, ponds, wide prairies, sloughs, sawgrass and cypress trees. Today it is a bustling part of Martin County due to the drainage of the C-23 canal on the north, and the C-44 canal on the south. When one attempts to unravel the long history of drainage of Palm City, it is helpful to think in three connected but separate levels: local, state, and federal. 

In 1919  the Palm City Drainage District was created. It was established for a local level as a special drainage district by the Florida Legislature with a lifetime of fifty years. It was primarily created to drain newly established Palm City Farms. Miles of canals and ditches were dug to drain into Bessey Creek, Dansforth Creek, and the South Fork of the St Lucie River. Some of these canals and ditches still exist today or have been incorporated into larger canals.

Palm City Drainage District Docs. 1919

Digging of the St Lucie Canal in the south began around 1915  lasting into 1926. It was dug by the Everglades Drainage District, State of Florida, from the South Fork of the St Lucie River to Lake Okeechobee. After the deathly hurricane of 1928, the federal government authorized widening and deepening the St Lucie Canal to create the Okeechobee Waterway also known as the Cross State Canal from Stuart, across Lake Okeechobee, to Ft Meyers. Doing so allowed the St Lucie Canal to conveniently function as the main outlet for Lake Okeechobee’s flood waters. Later, after the great flood of 1947, the canal became part of the Central and Southern Florida Plan and renamed C-44 becoming part of the giant Central and Southern Florida Flood Control System of the Army Corp of Engineers.

The great flood of 1947 called not just for the widening and depending of the St Lucie Canal and enlargement of its structures, but the federal Flood Control Act of 1948 authorized more canals, levees, and structures  to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers throughout southern and central Florida. Among the new canals were the C-23, the C-24 and C-25 canals of Martin and St Lucie counties -all discharging into the North Fork of the St Lucie River. The state asked for and supported this. The C-23 is the border between Martin and St Lucie Counties. Of course there were major unintended consequences that added to the discharges of the St Lucie Canal and the original Palm City Drainage District. This plethora of fresh, dirty water has all but killed the St Lucie River. Improving the health of the St Lucie is the goal of local, state, and federal restoration efforts today.

The video below created by my brother Todd begins in 1966 after all the aforementioned canals were constructed. It is easiest to see in a large format. You can either click on the YouTube image below or use this link to watch this remarkable Palm City time Capsule Flight!

*Click on link to watch video by Todd Thurlow

-Below: the federal government’s (ACOE) Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project authorized by Congress in 1948 included C-23 on the border of Martin and St Lucie Counties, C-24, and C-25,- and enlarging the flood control structure along the St Lucie Canal. Once this system was built out it was turned over the state of Florida’s Central and Southern Flood Control District; however, the ACOE kept the St Lucie Canal now named C-44, for federal flood control. The Central and Southern Flood Control District, a Florida state agency that followed the Everglades Drainage District in 1949, became the South Florida Water Management District in 1977. -Below: A 1973 C&SFP update map, Army Corp of Engineers. Green never built thank God!

And the Rains Come Down; St Luice with No #LakeO

Ed, Scott, and I, part of your River Warrior team since 2013, continue to visually document the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon by air.  Although due to algae at the gates of Port Mayaca the ACOE’s lake schedule has not  subjected the St Lucie River to Lake Okeechobee discharges since April 10, 2021, the rains and stormwater runoff from surrounding lands and canals C-23, C-24 are flowing. I know I am not an official keeper of rain, however, the rain gauge in my garden has displayed significant rain over Sewall’s Point in the past weeks. See ACOE & SFWMD recent official documents below.

ACOEPeriodic_Scientists_Call_2021-08-03

SFWMDOps_Position_Statement_Jul_27_Aug_2_2021

July 30, 2021
August 4, 2021

Today I will share aerials from Dr Scott Kuhns. A view from the Super-Cub. These aerials reflect a visual change in the water color due to the rain. The water is darker and contains sediment, and all other that runs off roads and lawns, and agriculture fields out west. Sometimes over a million acre-feet of discharge a years can come from C-23 and C-24 alone! We do not need any Lake O discharges on top of this. C-44 runoff (see canal map at end of this blog post)  is probably on the way as when the canal level is lower than the lake it is usually made to flow in our direction. Right now the lake is at 13.87 feet. Two tropical systems are being watched. Hopefully, we will not have a hurricane! The river over all has been looking great! Seagrasses slowly returning. Better fishing reports.

It is important we stay on top of things. Continue to advocate! Learn all you need to know about #LakeO on my brother Todd’s website eyeonlakeo.

Ok, here are Scotts photos. Compare the difference to July 28, 2021.

~Super-Cub

Dr Scott Kuhns, SLR/IRL July 30, 2021at 8:30am.

Dr Scott Kuhns, SLR/IRL, yesterday, August 5, 2021 at 10:00 am. Note Atlantic remains blue in color and St Lucie Inlet as well but there is a plume.  The estuary and Crossroads of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon-they are more impacted. The final photo of St Lucie Locks and Dam’s S-80 structure is inland and thank goodness remains closed!  Thank you Dr Scott Kunhs for being our eye in the sky and longtime River Warrior documenter!

We’ll see you next week, weather allowing. JTL

SFWMD-Canal system C&SFP

 

After the Monsoon ~Aerials St Lucie River

A very rainy week! Up to 15 inches fell 5-22-20 through 5-29-20 in some areas of South Florida. https://www.sfwmd.gov/weather-radar/rainfall-historical/basin-rainfall-last-7days)

Today, family friend, Dr Scott Kuhns, flew the River Warrior II taking aerials of the the St Lucie River. He wrote: “8:15 this morning 5/29/20 can’t find any clear water! All the way past Jupiter.”

My reply: “This is really good that you have taken these pictures Scott. This is all tremendous runoff from C-23, C-24, probably C-44, as well as our tidal basin. The SFWMD Raindar chart shows it poured up to 10 inches in the past week in the area of Martin and St Lucie Counties. South in Miami, even more. The positive thing is this runoff discoloration of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon will fade after dissipating -when the rain stops -unlike Lake Okeechobee discharges that can last for many months unstopped, on top of such. Thank you! Interesting to know it is dark water all the way south to Jupiter. Thank you for taking these photos. They document our so called “local runoff.”  

SLR basins, SFMWD.

 

Looking Back, St Lucie River ~Rain and Algae 2018

Even though the water in yesterday’s photo looked gorgeous, lest we forget, here are some images of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon area during a rainy and cyanobacteria ridden 2018.

Ed and I didn’t start taking pictures until were motivated…

In March 2018 there was a tremendous rain event. (https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/flood-control/managing-high-water)
My homemade rain gauge showed over 27 inches in just a few days along the coast!

You’ll see that after the rain event, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon looks terrible even with out Lake Okeechobee discharges. This is caused by directed water runoff from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44 and “local” coastal runoff.  Naturally, the river never took all this water. Humans made it this way, and we must fix it.

SFWMD canal and basin map.

Soon after the torrential rain, the Army Corp of Engineers made things even worse and started dumping from Lake Okeechobee through the C-44 Canal into the St Lucie River by opening up the gates at S-308 and S-80.

My husband, Ed,  first flew over Lake O on June 1st,  just by chance. At this time, he spotted algae on the lake and took a photo.  Ironically, the next day, the Army Corp started dumping from Lake Okeechobee on June 2nd!

The algae or cyanobacteria (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/bacteria/cyanointro.html)
that was festering in the Lake began to show up almost immediately thereafter in the St Lucie River that has also become  a “nutrient porridge.”

The rest unfortunately is history. 2018  was bad, but in my opinion not as awful as 2016 when the ocean was totally green: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/bathtub-beach-algae/

After another long, hot summer, the Army Corp finally stopped discharging in the fall~October 5th… Take a look at the photos and remember to enjoy the blue water when it is here, but NEVER FORGET! Only though looking back, will we have the determination to change the future.

Major rain event in March 2018.  Rain filled this vile up many times!

SLR IRL following major rain event in March 2018. This is runoff from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44,  and “locally” from developed areas along the river and uplands made to drain into river. JTL

Following rain event in March 2018. A brown Atlantic.

Following rain event in March 2018, the SLR/IRL ~Scott Kuhns

Following rain event in March 2018 Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points ~Scott Kuhns

June 5th. A very dark plume moves south along Jupiter Island, just days after ACOE begins dumping so this is a combination of all pollution/runoff  waters…

LAKE OKEECHBEE DISCHARGES ADDED

Ed in the Cub after plume photo

Algae as photographed/spotted by Ed in Lake O on June 1st 2018.

City of Stuart, June 9 2018.

Rio near Central Marine, week of June 12, 2018

Photographing a manatee in the algae along seawall by Mary Radabaugh

Mary Radabaugh manages Central Marine with her husband. JTL

Mary found a dead baby manatee floating in the putrid water shortly after LO discharges.  MR

LAKE O: Week of June 16th, June 25th, and July 22nd. Cyanobacteria (blue green algae) blooms and then subsides. ~All the while, this water is dumped into the St Lucie River by the Federal Govt.; the water quality is terrible and this the responsibility not of the Feds but of the State of Florida.

Algae is now very visible in Lake O, June 16, 2018 JTL

June 25, 2018 Lake O, near S-308, Port Mayaca.  JTL

C-44 canal leading to SLR from Lake O.

C-44 canal leading from LO to SLR.

Satellite view LO bloom on June 24, 2018. ~At its height.

By July 22, 2018 the bloom in the LO is lessening, JTL

August 29, algae would come and go, throughout the SLR. Here near Overlook Drive JTL

September 4, algae still “coming and going” ~2018 Snug Harbor, Stuart.  Photo by my uncle, Dale Hudson

October 5, the ACOE stops dumping from Lake O. The blooms stop almost right away but the damage remains….

December 8, 2018 the river looks “normal” again near Sewall’s Point but it is not. JTL

On First Day of Sunshine, ACOE Dumps Lake O into Already Ailing St Lucie, SLR/IRL

I woke up to seeing sunshine through the window. I looked at my phone. My brother’s text read: “S-308 just jumped to 1484 cfs and its climbing.”

(Go to St Lucie River for reports:  http://www.thurlowpa.com/news.htm)

In Sewall’s Point, today is the first morning in three weeks that it hasn’t been raining, or just about to. My porches have been slick with moisture and leaves. The frogs in my pond are so loud at night I have to put in ear-plugs. My husband and I laugh saying you can count sheep, but there is no sleep!

In spite of all of this and the fact that the ACOE has been discharging from C-44 canal basin since around May 16, and the St Lucie River already looks like hell, it is still disappointing and heart-wrenching when they formally “open the gates.” ~To Lake Okeechobee that is…

In spite of the history, or knowing why they do it, it just seems so wrong that little St Lucie has to take basically one-third of the crap water for the state. Sorry and I know my mother will not like that word, but its the truth.  Thank God for Joe Negron and his work last year as President of the Florida Senate and resurrecting the EAA Reservoir. And curse to any new Governor who does not help it be fulfilled.

The natural drainage basin of the St Lucie River shown in GREEN below was much smaller than it is today. The introduction of four man-made drainage canals dramatically altered its size and the drainage patterns. This primarily being C-44, the canal connected to Lake Okeechobee (bottom). One can see from the map image that C-44 Basin and of course Lake O’s water, the most effective assassins, were never part of the St Lucie Basin as were not Port St Lucie’s C-23, C-24, and C-25 system. These canals have killed our river!

The EAA Reservoir must be built, and in time, more water must move south to Florida Bay. We shall be fixed or compensated or a combination of both for our now noxious-reality. We will not accept this fate. Who knows what this summer shall bring. But one thing is for sure, this life along the St Lucie, is now toxic.

Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)

 

A lone Great Egret looks for fish along a putrid looking, foam filled river. All images taken yesterday, 5-31-18 at Ernest Lyons Bridge. JTL

Thank you to ACOE for the following information and press conference yesterday.

Lake O water management slide_20180531: this slide shows lake levels comparatively. The lake is now high going into hurricane season, starting June 1st, ironically today. The lake is managed as a reservoir for agriculture.

Email 5-31-18

All,

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will start releasing water from Lake Okeechobee this weekend as part of its effort to manage rising water levels.

The discharges are scheduled to begin Friday (June 1). The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock (S-77) located in the southwest part of the lake. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart. Additional runoff from rain in the St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceeds the target.

“Historic rain across the region since the middle of May has caused the lake to rise more than a foot,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District commander. “We have to be prepared for additional water that could result from a tropical system. The lake today is above the stage when Irma struck in September, which eventually caused the water level to exceed 17 feet. A similar storm could take the lake to higher levels.”

Today, the lake stage is 14.08 feet, up 1.25 feet from its 2018 low which occurred May 13. The lake is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), but within one foot of the Intermediate Sub-Band. Under current conditions, LORS authorizes USACE to discharge up to 4,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee (measured at S-77) and up to 1,800 cfs to the St. Lucie (measured at S-80).

“Forecasts indicate more rain is on the way in the coming week,” said Kirk. “Additionally, long-range predictions indicate increasing probabilities of above-average precipitation for the rest of the wet season. We must start aggressively managing the water level to create storage for additional rain in the coming wet season.”

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

Very Respectfully,

Savannah Hayes Lacy
Hydraulic Engineer
USACE Jacksonville District
Operations Division – Water Management

Documenting the Discharges 11-19-17, SLR/IRL

Last Thursday on November 16, the ACOE reported they will reduce the amount of water they are releasing from Lake Okeechobee. The Corp had been releasing at a high rate, on and off, since September 20th. New targets are 2800 cfs east and 6500 cfs west.

Photos below were taken yesterday, 11-19-17 by my husband, Ed Lippisch. We will continue to document the discharges from Lake O, and area canals.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are thankful the discharges are lessened and that the SFWMD and the public are working hard to plan the EAA Reservoir Senator Negron fought for… We the people of Martin County, will not be satisfied until these discharge stop. The river has its hands full with unfiltered discharges draining agriculture and developed lands from C-23, C-24, C-25 and C-44. All must be addressed.

“And where the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes…” Ezekiel 

St Lucie Inlet, Sailfish Point R, Jupiter Island L, and Sewall’s Point and mainland Stuart in distance.

Sewall’s Point

Manatee Pocket

Hell’ s Gate Sewall’s Point to right

C-23 main SLR

Confluence of SLR/IRL at Sewall’s Point’s southern tip

Sewall’s Point

IRL looking towards Sewall’s Point and Stuart. Incoming tide pushes plume waters north into IRL

somewhere looking down…

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image and was connected to Lake O in 1923. C-23, C-24 and C-25 were built later in the 50s as part of the Central and South Florida Project that over-drianed South Florida causing many of the water problems we live with today.

Atlantic ocean off Jupiter Island, plume water moving south over nearshore reefs

IRL near Sailfish Flats where seagrass forests used to flourish housing many fish…

Hutchinson Island looking to IRL

Roosevelt Bridge SLR

C-23 SLR

Documenting the Discharges, 10-29-17, SLR/IRL

These aerial photos over the St Lucie Inlet were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, Sunday, October 29, 2017, at 1:45pm. 

The number one issue here is the polluted waters of Lake Okeechobee being forced into the SLR/IRL because they are blocked by the Everglades Agricultural Area from going south. 

The ACOE has been discharging Lake O waters into the St Lucie since mid-September. These over-nutrified and sediment filled waters continue to destroy our economy and ecology on top of all the channelized agricultural and development waters of C-23, C-24 and C-25. Stormwater from our yards and streets also adds to this filthy cocktail. 

Near shore reefs, sea grasses, oysters, fish? A human being? Better not have a cut on your hand…Not even a crab has an easy time living in this.

We move forward pushing the SFWMD and ACOE for the EAA Reservoir with these sad photos and the fact that our waters are putrid at the most beautiful time of year as motivation. We will prevail. One foot in front of the other. 

Save the St Lucie! Save the Indian River Lagoon!

Links to ACOE website: See S-80 & S-308, others intesting too. Northern waters should also be cleaned! http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm

A Chocolate Ocean; A Black River, A Disgrace, SLR/IRL

Flight over SLR/IRL to view canal C-23, C-24, C-25 and especially present high releases from Lake Okeechobee through C-44 Canal. JTL/EL 10-14-17

Yesterday, I asked Ed to take me up in the plane, once again to document the discharges. In the wake of much rain and an active hurricane season, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon continues to sacrifice its economy, health, and ecosystem for the EAA and South Florida drainage. A standard operating procedure that is outdated and dangerous.

The discharges from Lake O. have been on and off since Hurricane Irma hit on September 20th. Presently they are “on,” and it shows. Right now our river and ocean shores near the inlet should be at available to boaters, fisher-people, and youth, in”full-turquoise-glory.” Instead, the estuary, beaches, and near offshore is a ghost-town along a chocolate ocean and a black river. The edge of the plume can hardly be distinguished as all is dark, sediment filled waters. A disgrace.

ACOE 10-15-17

10-15-17 Lake O is high. This is a threat to those who live south and around the lake.

South Florida’s southern Everglades, 1850 & today. The water that used to flow south now is sent to the ocean and Gulf of Mexico through canals C-44 (SLR) and C-43.(Cal.) (Map courtesy of SFWMD.)

Image showing drainage of S. Florida through St Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. These rivers, that God did not connect to Lake Okeechobee, have been channelized by humans to dump Lake O. This drainage system put in place  in the 1920s does not serve Florida today. Not economically, health wise, or environmentally. We must continue to push to replumb the system the best we can.  (Public image.)

ACOE, Lake O: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml
S-308 and S-80 connected to both LO and C-44: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm
C-23,(S97) C-24,(S49) C-25 (S99): http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/realtime.pkg_rr.proc_rr?p_op=FORT_PIERCE

I told Ed it’s best not to smile for this photo. We look forward to seeing the model and timeline from the SFWMD and ACOE for Senator Negron’s reservoir, and the beginning of turning this century old nightmare.

 

SFWMD basin map for SLR showing canal discharge structures.

 

Most Recent Disturbing Photos of Discharges from Lake Okeechobee and Area Canal, SLR/IRL

Today is October 7th, 2017 and I am sharing photos taken October 6th, 2017 in the area of the St Lucie Inlet displaying the recent discharges from Lake Okeechobee and area canals. The plume was measured four miles out, this is very far, and can be seen both north and south of the inlet. The edges are churned up and  blurred, and there are many layers fanning out.

I share to document. I share in hope of eventual change, and I share to inspire the so many people who are causing change, change,  that one day we will see in a better water future.

Thank you to my husband Ed for piloting, and to passenger, and photographer, Matt Coppeletta.

Sincerely,

Jacqui

All photos taken of the St Lucie Inlet area on 10-6-17 by Ed Lippisch and Matt Coppeletta. Discoloration of water is caused primarily by discharges from Lake Okeechobee but also from canals C-23, C-24, C-25 and area runoff.


ACOE, Lake O: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

S-308 and S-80 connected to both LO and C-44: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm

C-23,(S97) C-24,(S49) C-25 (S99): http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/realtime.pkg_rr.proc_rr?p_op=FORT_PIERCE

 

St Luice River canal and basin map, with structures. SFWMD.

“Billions of gallons of fertilizer, sewage, and legacy pollution from Lake Okeechobee are spewing into the St. Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon…”

“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…” 

*Previous paragraph shared with permission from Bullsugar.org. Please read the rest of Peter Girard’s post here: (http://www.bullsugar.org/eaa_reservoir_plan_needs_sfwmd_model)

Link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izaNH73GPoI)

Link:(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMkyBDq-4QE)

All photos/videos  taken off St Luice Inlet September 30, 2017 JTL/EL

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

Irma’s Waters Ravage the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, SLR/IRL

Hurricane  Irma may be gone, but her waters are not. Our now black river and the giant plume off the St Lucie Inlet attest to this. Clean rain that fell in our region during the hurricane is now filthy “stormwater” discharging, unfiltered, through manmade canals C-23, C-24, C-25, and C-44.  Nature did not design the river to directly take this much water; this much water kills.

Every plume looks different, and this one is multilayered with no clear border. Sediment soup, black-brown in color, yesterday it extended out about 2/3 of a mile into a stirred up Atlantic and flowed south, in the rough waves not quite having made it to Peck’s Lake.

Since Hurricane Irma’s rains, area canals dug with no environmental foresight in the 1920s and 50s for flood control, and to facilitate agriculture and development, have been flowing straight into the river. On top of this, in anticipation of the hurricane, three days prior to IRMA the Army Corp of Engineers began discharging from Lake Okeechobee. During the hurricane they halted, and then started up again at high discharge levels reaching over (4000 cfs +/-) this past Friday, September 15th. As Lake Okeechobee rises and inflow water pours in from the north, and is blocked by the Everglades Agricultural Area in the south, we can expect more Lake O discharge on top of the canal releases themselves.

As advocates for the St Lucie River we continue the fight to expedite the building of the EAA reservoir and to create a culture to “send more water south.” In the meantime, we, and the fish and wildlife, and the once “most bio diverse estuary in North America,” suffer…

Links to lake O level and canal flows are below.

Lake Okeechobee level, 9-18-17: 15.50, http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

S-308 Lake O:http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/plots/s308d.pdf

S-80 C-44 Canal:http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/plots/s80d.pdf

C-23/S-97; C-24/S-49, & C-25/S-50: (click on highlighted S # arrow corresponding to canal to see discharge into river; for instance, C-23 is released through “S,” structure 97, so click on S-97 to see flows for C-23 canal) http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/realtime.pkg_rr.proc_rr?p_op=FORT_PIERCE

My brother Todd, has complied many other links on his website’s favorites under St Lucie River and ACOE/SFWMD: http://www.thurlowpa.com/news.htm

Post Irma flight over St Lucie River/IRL 9-17-17

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image. All canals shown here discharge into the SLR/IRL.

The confluence of the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon at Sewall’s Point, an area once full of seagrasses and fisheries and formerly considered the heart of “the most bio diverse estuary in North America.”

Waves in plume breaking over offshore reefs; looking north to Hurchinson Island.

Southern edge of plume along Jupiter Island and Jupiter Narrows south of St Lucie Inlet.

Looking south off St Lucie Inlet.

South edge of plume looking south towards Jupiter Island.

JTL 9-18-17

Florida’s Flood System Built on 1947 Hurricane Season, Now Irma, SLR/IRL

Florida hurricane of 1947 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgAHv_Z5wqE

As the possibility of a direct hit from Hurricane Irma approaches, I can’t help but reflect.

Looking back, we see that it was the severe flooding and the hurricane season of 1947 that led Florida and the U.S. Government down the track to where we are today through the creation of the Florida Central and South Florida Flood Project, (CSFP).

In 1947, during the United States’ post World War II boom, Florida had a very active and destructive hurricane season. This slightly edited excerpt from the  ACOE’s book  River of Interest does a good job giving a short overview of that year:

 “…Rain began falling on the Everglades in large amounts. On 1 March, a storm dropped six inches of rain, while April and May also saw above average totals. The situation became severe in the summer…

As September approached and the rains continued, the ground in the Everglades became waterlogged and lake levels reached dangerous heights. Then, on 17 September, a hurricane hit Florida on the southwest coast, passing Lake Okeechobee on the west and dumping large amounts of rain on the upper Everglades, flooding most of the agricultural land south of Lake Okeechobee.

George Wedgworth, who would later become president of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida and whose parents were vegetable growers in the Everglades, related that his mother called him during the storm and told him, “ this is the last call I’ll make from this telephone because I’m leaving. . . . “We’ve got an inch or two of water over our oak floors and they’re taking me out on a row boat.”

Such conditions were prevalent throughout the region. Before the area had a chance to recover from the devastation, another hurricane developed, moving into South Florida and the Atlantic Ocean by way of Fort Lauderdale. Coastal cities received rain in large quantities, including six inches in two hours at Hialeah and nearly 15 inches at Fort Lauderdale in less than 24 hours.

The Everglades Drainage District kept its drainage canals open to discharge to the ocean as much of the floodwater in the agricultural area as it could, exacerbating coastal flooding. East coast residents charged the District with endangering their lives in order to please ag- ricultural interests, but this was vehemently denied…

Whoever was to blame, the hurricanes had devastating effects. Although the levee around Lake Okeechobee held, preventing the large numbers of deaths that occurred in 1926 and 1928, over 2,000 square miles of land south of the lake was covered by, in the words of U.S. Senator Spessard Holland, “an endless sheet of water anywhere from 6 to 7 feet deep down to a lesser depth.” The Corps estimated that the storms caused $59 million in property damage throughout southern Florida, but Holland believed that the agency had “under- stated the actual figures.” The destruction shocked citizens of South Florida, both in the upper Everglades and in the coastal cities, and they demanded that something be done.”

Cover of the “Weeping Cow” book. (South Florida Water Management District)

Well, what was done was the Central and South Florida Flood Project.

Key Florida politicians, and the public demanded the Federal Government assist, and as both the resources and will were present, the project was authorized in 1948 with massive additional components making way not only for flood protection, but for even more agriculture and development. In Martin County and St Lucie County this happened by the controversial building of canals C-23, C-24, C-25 and “improving” the infamous C-44 canal that connects to Lake Okeechobee. This construction was basically the nail in the coffin for the St Lucie River and Southern Indian River Lagoon.

Map showing the Jacksonville District’s initial comprehensive proposal, 1947. (Claude Pepper Collection, Claude Pepper Library, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida)

But before the death of the environment was clear, the Corps developed a plan that would include 1,000 miles of levees, 720 miles of canals, and almost 200 water control structures. Flooding in coastal cities and in the agricultural lands south of Lake Okeechobee would be minimized and more controllable.

Yes, a goal of the program was to provide conservation areas for water storage, protecting fish and wildlife habitat. Although water conservation areas were constructed, conservation of wildlife did not work out so well, and has caused extreme habitat degradation of the Everglades system, Lake Okeechobee, the southern and northern estuaries, the Kissimmee chain of lakes, and Florida Bay.  Nonetheless, this project made possible for over five million people to now live and work in the 18,000 square mile area that extends from south of Orlando to Florida Bay “protected from flooding” but in 2017 living with serious water quality issues.

With problems apparent, in 1992 the Central and South Florida Project was “re-studied” and we continue to work on that today both for people and for wildlife…

Irma many be the system’s greatest test yet…

Yesterday’s Army Corp of Engineer Periodic Scientist Call was focused on saving people’s lives and safety. After the built-system was discussed, Mr Tyler Beck of the Florida Wildlife Commission, and Mr Steve Schubert of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported on the endangered Everglades Snail Kites and their nests at Lake Okeechobee. Like most birds, pairs mate for life. There are presently fifty-five active nests, thirty-three in incubation, and twenty-three with baby chicks…

In the coming days, as the waters rise on Lake Okeechobee, and the winds scream through an empty void that was once a cathedral of colossal cypress trees, Mother Nature will again change the lives of Florida’s wildlife and its people, just as she did in 1947. Perhaps this time, she will give us vision for a future where nature and humankind can live in greater harmony…

Hurricane Irma as a category 5, 2017

Everglades Snail Kite, Florida Audubon

SFWMD basin map for SLR showing S-308 and S-80 along with other structures.

South Florida today…

Florida map 1500s

Links:

1947 Hurricane: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_Cape_Sable_hurricane

1947 Hurricane, 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_Fort_Lauderdale_hurricane

Central and South Florida Flood Project full text: https://archive.org/stream/centralsouthernf00unse/centralsouthernf00unse_djvu.txt

Restudy of CSFFP: http://141.232.10.32/about/restudy_csf_devel.aspx

Central and South Florida Flood Project Restudy, 1948Sofia: https://sofia.usgs.gov/sfrsf/entdisplays/restudy/

River of Interest, ACOE, Chapter 2: http://141.232.10.32/docs/river_interest/031512_river_interests_2012_chap_02.pdf

US Fish and Wildlife: The endangered and beautiful Everglades Snail Kite:https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/snailkite.htm

Water Quality Assessment of the St. Lucie River Watershed – Water Year 2017 – DRAFT- Gary Goforth, P.E., PhD. SLR/IRL

Dr. Gary Goforth ready to tour the SLR & Lake O.

It is a journey the state, federal, and local agencies don’t always wish to take–a journey to face the numbers of our watershed…

Today, Dr Gary Goforth (http://garygoforth.net) shares his most recent report, “Water Quality Assessment of the St Lucie River Watershed, For Water Year 2017, DRAFT.”

Mind you, for non-scientist people like myself, a “water year” is reported from May of one year, through April the next year, as opposed to a calendar year.

The full report is linked at the bottom of the post and contains numerous helpful charts. I have just included the key findings below.

Dr Goforth wanted to get the draft assessment out before the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s  Basin Management Action Plan workshop scheduled for this Friday Aug. 25th at 10:00 am at Martin County Building Permits Office, 900 Southeast Ruhnke Street, Stuart, FL 34994, Conference Rooms A & B because this is where the rubber hits the road! FDEP: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/central/Home/Watershed/BMAP.htm)

Reflections in the St Lucie River, JTL

Water Quality Assessment of the St. Lucie River Watershed –Water Year 2017 – DRAFT Gary Goforth, P.E., Ph.D.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the Watchers?)

Key Findings:
1. Over the last water year (May 2016 – April 2017), the surface water entering the St. Lucie River and Estuary (SLRE) in general was of poor water quality. The best water quality entering the SLRE was from the highly urbanized Tidal Basins. The largest source of phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment pollution to the SLRE was Lake Okeechobee discharges. The C-44 Canal Basin contributed poor water quality, and was the only basin demonstrating a worsening in water quality over the last ten years.

2. It was estimated that stormwater runoff from agricultural land use contributed more flow and nutrient pollution than any other land use, even contributing more flow than Lake Okeechobee discharges.

3. The annual Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) progress reports produced by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection continue to indicate water quality conditions in the tributaries of the SLRE are better than they actually are. Examples of flaws in the BMAP assessment process include the omission of Lake Okeechobee pollution loads, the use of simulated data instead of observed data, the inability to account for hydrologic variability, and the inability to assess individually each of the major basins contributing to the SLRE.

4. An alternative to the assessment approach presented in the BMAP progress reports was developed and used to evaluate water quality conditions of major inflows to the SLRE and to assess progress towards achieving the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) load reduction goals. This alternative approach uses observed data, includes Lake discharges, accounts for hydrologic variability, and is applied to each of the major basins contributing pollution loads to the SLRE. For WY2017, observed nitrogen loads to the SLRE exceeded the Phase 1 BMAP target loads (adjusted for hydrologic variability) by 77 percent. Observed phosphorus loads exceeded the Phase 1 BMAP target loads (adjusted for hydrologic variability) by 53 percent.

5. The largest single source of total nitrogen, total phosphorus and sediment load to the SLRE was Lake Okeechobee discharges. In addition, total phosphorus concentrations in Lake Okeechobee discharges to the SLRE remained almost four times the lake’s TMDL in-lake target concentration of 40 parts per billion (ppb). In 2017, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) reported that phosphorus loading to the lake from surrounding watersheds was almost 5 times the Lake’s TMDL of 105 metric tons, yet staff acknowledged the agency does not enforce permits that set numeric limits on phosphorus discharges to the lake[1] (SFWMD 2016, SFWMD 2017). Unfortunately, despite the continued and well-publicized pollution of the lake, the Florida legislature in 2016 enacted a water bill that pushed back deadlines for achieving the lake’s TMDL by decades (Ch. 2016-1).

6. The best water quality entering the SLRE during WY2017 was observed in the highly urbanized Tidal Basins, with concentrations of 97 ppb and 819 ppb for TP and TN, respectively. Each of the remaining source basins, except the C-44 Canal Basin[2], exhibited a slight improvement in nutrient levels compared to their base periods, however, collectively these WY2017 loads did not achieve the alternative BMAP Phase 1 load target (Figures ES-1 and ES-2). The C-23 and Tidal Basins met the alternative BMAP Phase 1 target for TP, while the C-23, C-24 and Tidal Basins met the alternative BMAP Phase 1 target for TN. The predominantly agricultural C-44 Canal Basin exhibited poor nutrient conditions, and in fact, continued a trend of deteriorating nutrient conditions compared to its 1996-2005 base period. As a whole, the water quality entering the SLRE remains poor, although a slight improvement over the 1996-2005 period was observed.

FULL REPORT below: the complete report can be seen/downloaded from Dr Goforth’s website under “Estuaries and Lake Okeechobee:” http://www.garygoforth.net/DRAFT%20-%20Water%20Quality%20Assessment%20of%20the%20SLRW%20-%20Water%20Year%202017.pdf

Dr Goforth’s website:(http://garygoforth.net)

Army Corp of Engineer Structure S-80 releases water from Lake Okeechobee in the the C-44 Canal that leads to the St Lucie River. JTL

Lake Okeechobee.

basins of SLR/IRL SFWMD

 

Aerials of Our Rain Stained Lagoon, SLR/IRL

Recently, it seems to rain almost every day!

TCPalm’s Elliott Jones reported this morning that Stuart has received a whopping 11.30 inches of rain just so far this month! (The average being 7.14.)

Although due to the recent drought, the ACOE/SFWMD are not dumping Lake Okeechobee through Canal C-44, canals C-23, C-24, C-25, and areas along C-44, as well as our own basin, are draining right into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Very little of this water is cleansed before it enters and thus is damaging to the eco system. Next time you see water draining through a grate in a parking lot, think about this. Remember too that before the major canals were constructed the 1900s, the river received less than half the water it gets every time it rains today.

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SLR at “Hell’s Gate” looking at Sewall’s Point, Sailfish Point and the St Luice Inlet

photo drainage basin
Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)

The aerials below were taken 6-13-17 by my husband Ed Lippisch and pilot Dave Stone. It is important to monitor the river all of the time so we can view changes.

“Rain stained” we are; please remember not to fertilize during the rainy season. The birds on Bird Island will appreciate it! (http://befloridian.org)

Canals

TC Palm, Elliott Jones, 6-19-17

Bird Island, IRL east of Sewall’s Point

Bird Island

IRL St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Point

Sailfish Flats, IRL

Crossroads, confluence SLR/IRL off Sewall’s Point

Spoil Island off Sailfish, bird also roosting here!

Sick looking seagrass beds in IRL looking south towards Jupiter Narrows

SL Inlet near Sailfish Point, no black plume but darker colored waters

Jupiter Island’s state park at St Lucie Inlet

Sailfish Point

St Lucie Inlet looking south

inlet again

Clear ocean water at jetty, St Lucie Inlet

Looking back to St Lucie Inlet mixed colored waters but not black as with Lake O water releases

St Lucie Inlet between Jupiter Island’s state park and Sailfish Point

inlet again

Looking north to SL Inlet

Jetty

Hutchinson Island and Sailfish Flats in IRL. Sewall’s Point in distance.

Parts of the Savannas near Jensen , IRL and Hutchinson Island in distance

Savannas State Preserve Park

Canals draining water into SLR/IRL after rain events:

C-23 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf

C-24 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf

C-25 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf

C-44 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf

Chasing Tarpon! SLR/IRL

Chase with a tarpon he recently caught and released, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon region. Photos courtesy of  Chase’s iPhone, 5-24-17.

Happy 17th Birthday to Chase! If you don’t already know him, Chase is one of Stuart’s leading sports fishermen, in any age category. This photo is of a recent catch of my favorite fish, the beautiful and unforgettable, “Silver King Tarpon.”

Since Chase was thirteen years old, when we ran into each other, he would share photos of his fishing expeditions. I always stood there, mouth wide open…”Are you kidding me?” I would ask. He would just smile with his wide, blue eyes saying it all:” THIS IS NO FISH STORY…

In 2015, Chase and I,  together with many others tried to save a pigmy whale that had beached at Stuart. Chase loves the outdoors and has respect for all of the water’s creatures.

Yesterday,  in Jensen, I ran into Chase celebrating his 17th birthday with family and friends.

Perhaps it is his mother’s wonderful name, “Cobia,”  that inspires her son! 🙂

If you are a reader of my blog you know, the ancient, acrobatic, and historic tarpon is my favorite fish as it was the original sports fish of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, until its numbers were destroyed by canals, C-44, C-23, C-25 and C-25. Had these canals not been allowed to decimate our river, Tarpon would still be King, not the famous off-shore Sailfish….

Thank you Chase for sharing and inspiring us all! We know you have a great future ahead of you!!!! I can’t wait ’til you have your own show!!!!!!

Chase w/Tarpon . What a beautiful fish!

Chase w/Tarpon!

Tarpon Fishing in the St Lucie River/S. Indian River Lagoon ~ by famed artist or the time, Kent Hagerman, 1893-1978. Image courtesy, Sandra Henderson Thurlow archives.

Former Blog post explaining the story of  Stuart’s focus from “Tarpon to Sailfish: “He Shall Be King Again! The Silver King of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/st-lucie-river-tarpon-club/

Tarpon Links:

Fishing Stuart,Tarpon: http://www.fishingstuart.com/floridafish/tarpon.php

FWC, Tarpon:http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/tarpon/information/facts/

Tarpon Facts:Tarpon:https://www.tarponfish.com/tarpon-facts/

Florida Museum, Tarpon: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/fish/discover/species-profiles/megalops-atlanticus/

Bonefish/Tarpon Trust: https://www.bonefishtarpontrust.org

CANALS:

Canals in Martin and St Lucie Co.: C-23, C-24, C-25 constructed in the 50s and 60s. C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee, the worst,  constructed in the 1920s. These canals, assisting agriculture and development, destroyed the “fishing grounds of presidents” from the early 1900s, the famed St Lucie River. In the 30s and 40s the offshore Sailfish was marketed and Stuart became known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” as so many of the tarpon and other fish of the river had declined. The tarpon was forgotten as the original main game fish of the St Lucie River. May he rise again! JTL

Flight Over the St Lucie Inlet Shows Rain Plume is NOT a Lake O Plume, SLR/IRL


Link to flight video 5-7-17: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtzSmGVy790

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5-7-17: Hutchinson Island along the Atlantic Ocean and confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, blue waters, seagrass not yet revived from 2013 and 2016 Lake O discharges. Photo Ed Lippisch
​My husband’s flight yesterday over the Atlantic Ocean, St Lucie Inlet, and St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is beautiful. But look carefully and you will see a light-colored brownish plume at the mouth of the St Luice Inlet entering the ocean. Finally after months of drought, it has begun raining. And when it rains… (mind you C-44 connecting the St Lucie River to Lake Okeechobee is closed now)  the re-directed run-off of waters from canals C-23, and C-24 of course still flow into our St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon.

These canals organized and built during the 1950s and 60s are part of the Central and South Florida Flood Project that the Army Corp built following the hurricane and extensive south Florida flooding of 1949. The run-off waters from these canals and the local watershed are what you see in today’s video.

As damaging as C-23 and C-24 are (they too must be reworked and redirected) they are not the damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee that throw the St Lucie over the brink as in 2013 and especially 2016 when toxic algae covered extensive portions of the entire St Lucie.

(Photo mosaic from 2016 shows various photos by Dr Scott Kuhns, Rebecca Fatzinger, (wildlife)  JTL/Ed Lippisch, pilot Dave Stone and others.)

In spite of the light brown plume, the short video flight from Jensen to Peck’s Lake shows blue waters near the inlet and mouth of the estuary as it should be, not black water. If Governor Scott does not veto the budget, the reservoir in years to come will help offset the Lake Okeechobee destruction and open the way to truly “send the water south.” #ThankyouJoeNegron

This is very exciting, but believe me, this is no time to let down your guard, as the fight for control of Florida’s waters has really just begun.

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Reef system off Sailfish point is covered in black water, sediment, and nutrient pollution when Lake O is discharging. Here after months of drought, and finally some rains we can see the reefs. 5-7-17, Photo Ed Lippisch
Map SFWMD showing canals and basins. Note S-308 or structure s-308 at Lake O and S-80 down the C-44 canal AKA the St Lucie Canal. Both of these structures have to open to allow water to flow into the C-44 canal to the St Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon. All canals are destructive to the St Lucie/IRL yet it is C-44’s Lake O that puts the St Lucie system in complete and total overload.
DEP C-23:http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf

DEP C-24: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf

DEP C-44 St Lucie Canal connected to Lake O: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf

photo 1 EF reservoir
Slide 1. (Dr Thomas Van Lent, Everglades Foundation, 2015) Reservoir will be located below #1, A-2 area.

#SkyWarrior’s Report SLR/IRL, Father’s Day Weekend 6-19-16

In our continued documentation of the 2016 Lake Okeechobee event, my husband Ed and I flew over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon around 5:00pm on Father’s Day, 6-19-16, at the very end of an outgoing tide. Being a stormy day, there was poor lighting, but it was easy to see the darkness that enveloped the river due to the discharges of surrounding agricultural canals, and tidal runoff, and especially the high and long-going releases from Lake  Okeechobee. The dark plume hugged the coast and jutted far out into the Atlantic having no clear edge as it was churned up from high winds and waves.  Nonetheless from above,  it’s shadow was visible for miles all the way south to the Jupiter Inlet.

Over the weekend there were multiple reports of algae blooms throughout the river and canals. Below are photos from a family boat ride in the vicinity of the Harborage Dock in Downtown Stuart yesterday, showing foam and algae at the shoreline and tiny specks of algae dispersed throughout the entire river.

“One resident nearby of Stuart, Dr Vopal, texted: “The river is pea green! …It is time for the legislators to look at this river and consider the health of the people that live on it. ”

Over the weekend just to me and on Facebook there were reports of algae blooms not only in Stuart but along the C-44 canal, the condo/marinas along Palm City Road, the eastern area of Lake Okeechobee itself, the St Lucie Locks and Dam, the St Lucie River near Martin Memorial Hospital, Sandsprit Park, Phipps Park, and Poppleton Creek. Certainly there were many others.

As most of us know, the Army Corp of Engineers has been discharging into the St Lucie River since January 29th, 2016. The river is almost completely fresh thus these freshwater blooms— that are in the lake and upper agricultural canals prior to being released into our river (cyanobacteria is a freshwater bloom)—and then they spread throughout the river once it too is fresh from all of the discharges. Since the ACOE has been releasing since January and there has been so much rain conditions are really bad.

Ed and I will continue to document. Our region’s entire quality of life is at stake. Nothing affects our local economy more than our river. We all must continue pushing to send water south to be cleaned and conveyed to Everglades National Park as Nature intended. Call our elected officials at every level. And vote on Aug 30th in the primary.

Fondly,

Jacqui and Ed, #Skywarriors since 2013

 

Photos of SLR/IRL -Sewall’s Point, Sailfish Point, St Lucie Inlet, Sailfish Flat’s former seagrass beds, Jupiter Island, Atlantic Ocean’s “protected” nearshore reefs.

 

Photos shared over weekend: Phipps Park, C-44 canal, St Lucie Locks and Dam, Sandspsprit Park also from family Father’s Day boat ride Harborage Marina, Downtown Stuart.

Lake O algae bloom shared by boater and posted by M. Connor just prior to weekend.

Sources of water ACOE/SFWMD june 2016
Sources of water ACOE/SFWMD june 2016

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. According to Florida Oceanographic only 17% of water went into the SLR before the agriculture canals of C-23, C-24, and C-44 were dug in 1920s-1960s. Lake Okeechobee discharges on top of canal dumps are killing an already very stressed estuary. These waters must be redirected south and stored in other places that need the water. This overabundance of water is killing the St Lucie.

River Kidz and Treasure Coast Rowing Club youth led a river clean up and planting of native vegetation to filter water during incoming and outgoing tides at Poppleton Creek. The creek was filled with an algae bloom. photo TC Palm
River Kidz and Treasure Coast Rowing Club youth led a river clean up and planting of native vegetation to filter water during incoming and outgoing tides at Poppleton Creek. The creek was filled with an algae bloom. photo TC Palm

Cyanobacteria/Blue Green Algae/Microcystis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcystis_aeruginosa

Aerial Documentation Destructive Discharges into the the SLR/IRL, 6-15-16

As many of us have read in Ed Killer’ excellent TCPalm article, the discharges from Lake Okeechobee have surpassed the level of 2013, the “Lost Summer.” As my husband Ed and I go up fairly regularly in the Cub, I will attempt to share shorter more frequent posts with more aerial photos of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in order to document this year’s continued destruction.

This destruction is not expected to stop anytime soon as Lake Okeechobee yesterday was reported at 14.77–very high for hurricane season. Last year,  on 6-10-15, the lake stood at a “comfortable” 12.58. As we know, the entire reason we are being dumped on is because the water cannot go south as Mother Nature intended.

The photos below were taken 6-15-16.  The ACOE has been releasing since January 29th, 2016. Today is June 17th, 2016. All charts below showing basin water inputs of area agricultural canals and tidal runoff are courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District and Army Corp of Engineers’ Periodic Scientists Call.

Aerial photos taken by Ed Lippisch at the confluence of the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon around Sewall’s Point, Sailfish Point, Manatee Pocket and St Lucie Inlet 6-15-16, formerly the richest seagrass beds in the county as well as North America.

IMG_1736 IMG_1708 IMG_1715 IMG_1694 IMG_1738 IMG_1698 IMG_1734 IMG_1722 IMG_1707 IMG_1704 IMG_1717 IMG_1737 IMG_1727 IMG_1699 IMG_1719

All aerials in the area of Sewall's Point and Sailfish Point by Ed Lippisch, 6-15-16.
All aerials in the area of Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point by Ed Lippisch, 6-15-16.

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ACOE Lake O level: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

(Good article on subject: Ed Killer’s Stuart News/TCPalm article:http://www.tcpalm.com/news/indian-river-lagoon/health/ed-killer-2016-discharges-surpass-2013s-deluge-of-dirty-water-35576244-a286-76f6-e053-0100007fcae3-383204831.html)

Overcoming the Propaganda of U.S. Sugar Corporation in the Stuart News, SLR/IRL

US Sugar ad, Stuart News, May 1, 2016.
US Sugar ad, Stuart News, May 1, 2016.

Full page ad 5-1-16 US Sugar, Stuart News.
Full page ad 5-1-16 US Sugar, Stuart News.

It’s easier to communicate your message when you have billions of dollars, but it is not a limiting factor if you don’t…

Today, I will share a “Draft Report” from Dr Gary Goforth. This report is a response he has created specifically to U.S. Sugar Corporation’s May 1st full- page ad in the Stuart News entitled: “The Water That Ends Up In Our Local Waterways.”

This is one of multiple full-page ads U.S. Sugar Corporation has run in the local Martin County paper over that past months trying to “educate” our citizenry. Why are they spending so much money doing this? Why all the propaganda? Because they know that though our advocacy for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, we are changing the course of human events. For the first time, many people and some important politicians and are looking at South Florida and saying “It needs to be re-plumbed…..”

Dr Goforth (http://garygoforth.net) is no stranger to these water issues, nor to the controversy and ability to manipulate the numbers complicated by the historic and supportive relationship between those doing business in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of the lake and today’s South Florida Water Management District. Thus the intertwined propaganda.

So here we go, each idea is presented on a separate slide. You can click the slide to enlarge if you need to. Thank you Dr Goforth!

DRAFT COMMENTS ON U.S. SUGAR AD—G.GOFORTH 5-4-16

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Full page ad 5-1-16 US Sugar, Stuart News.
Full page ad 5-1-16 US Sugar, Stuart News.

(http://www.ussugar.com)

1856 pre drainage
1856 pre drainage

Ed and I are Aging–SFWMD Nutrient Loading Maps? Looking About the Same, SLR/IRL

 

Jacqui and Ed 2016
Jacqui and Ed 2016

Jacqui and Ed 2005
Jacqui and Ed 2005

Some things change…

And some things stay about the same….

Today, I was looking though my family library of photos and saw one from 2005, the year Ed and I got married.

“Boy we looked young,” I thought…”We have really changed…”

Then I noticed these SFWMD nutrient loading maps in the same file, as they were “published” in 2005 as well. These awesome maps were shared by SFWMD’s Boyd Gunsalus, such a helpful and smart person when it comes to water.

These SFWMD maps were very helpful to me when I was first learning about phosphorous and nitrogen loading by basins and Lake Okeechobee. The lake’s cumulative pollution is even higher than the different canals/basins. I would bet these numbers have not changed much. The state’s approach with BMAPS and TMDL’s is to be appreciated but just too slow.

Well, Ed and I have clearly aged and changed… but the maps–I bet if they made new ones for 2005-2016, the numbers would look about the same. I can’t say I’m envious. We are meant to change. To get better.

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Maybe a scientist will chime in and let me know???

1. SFWMD
1. SFWMD Nitrogen 1995-2005

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2. SFWMD Phosphorus 1995-2005

A Look Back in Time at the Altering Landscape of Dredge and Fill, SLR/IRL

Dredge and fill, public photo, 2015.
Dredge and fill, public photo, 2015.

Attached is a multi-image of the area in the 1887 NOAA map, the 1925 shot (partially), 1940, a 1958 NOAA map, 1970 and today.
A multi-image of the area in the 1887 NOAA map, the 1925 shot (partially), 1940, a 1958 NOAA map, 1970 and today by Todd Thurlow.

Link to video:(https://youtu.be/hsDmPmRWLRE?list=PLDaNwdmfhj15bmGNQaGhog9QpkQPAXl06)

Today’s blog is a full expansion of the 1925 aerial photo I wrote about last Friday.

My brother Todd took this photo creating a time line flight of 1925 and 1940 views of the Sailfish Flats, the Indian and St. Lucie Rivers, and the St. Lucie Canal (C-44).

Todd’s video is a history lesson in “dredge and fill” which was very common throughout all south Florida and the United States until national laws in the 1970s required more scrutiny and often no longer allow such due to heavy impacts and damages on waterways and the natural environment.

Our Martin and St Lucie County canals dug by the ACOE and water management entities C-44, C-23, C-24, C-25 are dredge and fill. Sailfish Point, Sewall’s Point, and Indian River Plantation, just to name a few, have large portions that are dredge and fill. The dike around Lake Okeechobee and the work abound the FPL plant in Indiantown by Barley Barber Swamp are dredge and fill. At the time, it was “how it was done.” People did not foresee the ramifications to the environment or to people living in these areas in the future.

The land was our Play Doh…

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1925 aerial by Bob Higgins shared by Sandra H. Thurlow. SLR/IRL

I know you will learn a lot and enjoy watching Todd’s video. The link is above.

—My questions to Todd after I saw the video included:

Jacqui: “So Todd, what are the white lines on the edge of Stuart, Rocky Point etc…more piled white sand? Looks like Jupiter Island was smaller at one point…across from Sailfish…

So how in the world did they dig out the Sailfish Point Marina and what about the straight marina of Sailfish Point that was already there from the days of Mr Rand? Also what about the FPL Pond in Indiantown? Where do you think they put that fill? Holy cow! That’s a lot of fill!

(I have adapted Todd’s words after checking concepts with him so I could present info in a simple manner.)

Todd:  “The lines on the edge of Rocky Point were probably a beachy shoreline. With it being more open water at the time and more exposed to the inlet; I’m sure there was more of a beach there. That shoreline matches perfectly the shoreline shown on the early NOAA maps – even before the inlet was there.

With respect to Jupiter Island, you are probably referring to all the spoil that was piled up at the entrance to the Great Pocket – some of that was put there when I was in middle school. The main part of Jupiter Island is more to the east and is now gone – and earlier connected to Hutchinson Island. The old Gilbert’s Bar Inlet was south of that point.

The marina on Sailfish Point was dredge fill. We have some aerials of it in the making. As was the case in areas of Sewall’s Point, the sand dug to build  small marinas or  subdivisions was piled on the land (Archipelago, Isle Addition) to make the land higher or to create completely new lands.

As far as the giant FPL pond, they probably just dug with a dragline and used the fill to make the dike around the outside of the pond and also to build up the land around FPL.”

Hmmm?

So we live in an environment altered by our forefathers, and now we are experiencing unintended consequences to the health of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. We must assist the next generation in understanding the past so that we and they can create a better water future. And that we can!

Link to Friday’s blog that inspired Todd’s video: (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/12/18/a-1925-view-of-the-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon-slrirl/)

Official Seals of Martin County and Stuart, Both Sailfish–where’s the River? SLR/IRL

Martin County seal.
Official seal of Martin County, sailfish and sun.

Official seals are as ancient as Mesopotamia. Whether ancient or modern, seals symbolize what is important to us and  how we see ourselves. Throughout history, seals are often recreated to represent new perceptions and values. All seals, of every era, hold great historic importance. Let’s take a look at the seals of Martin County, Florida, and its surrounding municipalities.

Recently my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow, gave a presentation at Indian River State College. I was intrigued by the early seal of Stuart and its changes throughout the years.

I was also struck that the St Lucie River, the original reason people moved to our area, was removed in favor of the sailfish and ocean sometime in the 1970s or 80s. I was also struck that the Railroad was so prominent, and today we are fighting it. —-Today the prominent symbol is a sailfish. A sailfish is certainly a wonderful and attractive symbol, however, it seems repetitive in that both Martin County and the City of Stuart use the sailfish.  View both seals below.

Martin County sailfish.
Martin County sailfish.

City of Stuart sailfish.
City of Stuart sailfish.

Let’ s reflect. Stuart became the sailfish capital of the world in the 1930s and 40s, very cool,  but Stuart was originally named “Stuart on the St Lucie ” for the river….Stuart became a city if 1914; Martin became a county in 1925.

In any case, how much do we promote sports fishing since it is the symbol of both the city and the county? The sports fishing industry a huge money-maker and is directly related to the health of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. If the river is sick, and the polluted canal plume waters from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44 and Lake Okeechobee are belching off our inlet, it is more difficult for the sailfish to have a successful spawning season.

Why isn’t the river at all represented anymore?

It’s all tied together— the river and the inlet ocean area…partially due to the degradation of our waterways we are really no longer truly the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” How can we become the sailfish capital of the world again?

How can we honor our sailfish history and have an eye for a better water future? Is it time for updated seals? Should Stuart and Marin County both be sailfish? What do you think? I  suppose the most important questions are: “What is most important to us today, and what do we really stand for?”

Stuart City seal 1914 with East Coast Railroad Bridge over the St Lucie and docks. (Image shared by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Stuart City seal 1914 with East Coast Railroad Bridge over the St Lucie River and docks. No auto bridge. Image shared by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
City of Stuart seal showed the railroad and an auto bridge over the St Lucie River in 1978. Seal taken from city stationary. Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

City of Stuart seal changed to sailfish sometime after 1978. (SHT)
City of Stuart seal changed to sailfish sometime after 1978. (Sandra Henderson Thurlow)

Here are some other seals of Martin County’s incorporated cities and towns:

Town of Jupiter Island, palm tree and wavy waters.
Town of Jupiter Island, palm tree and wavy waters, 2015.

Town of Sewall's Point seal brown pelican and satin leaf, 2015.
Town of Sewall’s Point seal brown pelican and satin leaf plant unique to its hammock, 2015.

The Town of Ocean Breeze does not appear to have an official seal but this image is displayed often, 2015.
The Town of Ocean Breeze does not appear to have an official seal that I could find, but this image is displayed often, 2015.

 

 

Seals, Emblems, History: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(emblem))

October’s Plume? St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Aerial of plume along Jupiter Island south of St Lucie Inlet, at 1500 feet, 10-10-15. Photo Cam Collins.
Aerial photo of plume from C-44; C-23, C-24, Tidal Basin, and 10 Mile Creek, along Jupiter Island south of St Lucie Inlet. Photo taken at 1000-1500 feet on 10-10-15 through a green glass canopy. Jupiter Narrows, part of the Indian River Lagoon, is visible west of Atlantic Ocean. Photo Cam Collins/Pilot Ed Lippisch.

Today I will be sharing aerial photos of the recent plume along Jupiter Island south of the St Lucie Inlet, taken this past Saturday, October 10th at 9:34 am. These photos are courtesy of friend Mr. Cam Collins. My husband, Ed, took Cam up in an acrobatic plane, the Extra 300, a plane I have not flown in yet. Doing “Half-Cubans” and “Loops” over the Atlantic Ocean is not my favorite way to see the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon….

Typically I am sharing photographs taken in the Legend Cub, an open aircraft; most photos  are taken at around 500 feet. Cam’s photos are taken at about 1000-1500 feet, thus there is a much broader perspective. The effect is  powerful.

I was surprised to see the giant plume considering the major rain event from tropical activity occurred on September 17th, 2015, over three weeks ago. Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the ACOE Periodic Scientists Call information to review what the release numbers from C-44, C-23, C-24, the Tidal Basin, and Ten Mile Creek have been. No Lake Okeechobee so far. This is what I found:

8-25-15/8-31-15 was reported at 1985 cfs (cubic feet per second)

9-8-15/ to 9-14-15 was reported at 2108 cfs

9-15-15/9-21-15 was reported at 5877 cfs (rain event)

9-22-15/9-28-15 was reported at 2311 cfs

9-29-15/10-5-15 was reported at 1418 cfs.

Cubic feet per second is very hard to understand. For reference, I can share that at the height of releases from Lake O during 2013, the cfs were between 5000 and 7000 cfs at S-80. (http://www.midtel.net/~dccinc/sample_graph.html)

SFWMD discharge chart.
SFWMD discharge chart via ACOE  10-6-15.

So I wonder how long it takes the discharge water to travel through the St Lucie River/Southern Indian River Lagoon and out of  the St Lucie Inlet? September 17th’s rain event was three weeks ago? It seems that water would have passed through by now…..what water is the water in Cam’s photographs? Is October’s plume September’s water? If you have an idea, please write in.

——In any case, thank you Cam and thank you Ed. We will continue to document the discharges, Lake O or otherwise, that are killing our St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. These canals have expanded the basin of the SLR/IRL 5 times or more its natural water flow. (Florida Oceanographic Society)

Cam Collins, 10-10-15.
Cam Collins, 10-10-15.

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To get involved, advocate, and learn about St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon issues please attend a Rivers Coalition meeting: (http://riverscoalition.org)

Canal and agency info:

South Florida Water Management District: (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

Army Corp of Engineers, Lake O: (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm)

Canal C-23: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf)
Canal C-24: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf)
Canal C-25: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf)
Canal C-44: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf)

Recycled Inspiration, The Words of Ernest F. Lyons, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

What a wonderful world. Sunset on the St Lucie River, photo by Jenny Flaugh, 2009.
What a wonderful world! Sunset on the St Lucie River, photo by Jenny Flaugh, 2009.

The words of Ernest F. Lyons, famed fisherman, environmentalist, and veteran editor of the Stuart News, can be used over, and over, and over again…

Lyons grew up in Stuart in the early 1900s and witnesses first hand the destruction of his beloved St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. In the 1940s and 50s, for “flood control” and EAA interests, he watched St Lucie Locks and Dam, C-44, and S-80 be “improved,” by the ACOE and SFWMD—-destroying fishing grounds that will never be replaced…He witnessed canals C-23, C-24 and C-25 be constructed to scar the land and pour poisonous sediment from orange groves and development into the North Fork and central estuary.

But even amongst this destruction, Lyons never stopped seeing the miracle of the world around him. And no where did life continue to be more miraculous than along his beloved river.

This week so far, I have written about things that bring light to the destruction of our rivers, I must not forget that in spite of this destruction, beauty and life still exist….To do our work as advocates for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon we cannot become negative, we must be inspired….one of the best ways to achieve this is to recall the work and words of our forefathers….to “recycle inspiration.”

Although Ernie Lyon’s work was first read on the pages of the Stuart News, my mother historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow, has clipped old pages, been in touch with Ernie’s children, and transcribed many of Lyon’s columns as part of the work of Stuart Heritage. Stuart Heritage helps keeps our rich “river-heritage” alive. After all, our founding name was “Stuart on the St Lucie.”

Recycle symbol.
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Ernest Lyons copy of column, ca 1950.
Ernest Lyons– copy of column, ca 1950.Copied from old Stuart News paper. Sandra H. Thurlow.

“What a Wonderful World”

I get an indescribable “lift” from the habit of appreciating life.

All of us, even the most harried, have moments when we are fleetingly aware of the glory that surrounds us. Like moles that occasionally break throughout their tunnels, we infrequently  catch a glimpse of the natural beauty and awesome majesty outside the corridor within which we have bound ourselves.

And pop back into our holes!

The habit of appreciation—–the cultivation of the sense of awareness—are forgotten roads to enrichment of personal experience. Not money in the bank, or real estate, or houses, or the exercise of power are true riches. By the true tally, the only value is “how much do you enjoy life?”

All around each of us are the wonders of creation—the shining sun, a living star bathing us with the magic mystery of light…we look to the heavens at night and wonder at the glittering  panoply of suns so distant and so strange,  while accepting as commonplace our own.

We live in a world of indescribable wonder. Words cannot tell why beauty is beautiful, our senses must perceive what makes it so.

What we call art, literature, genuine poetry, and  true religion are the products of awareness, seeing and feeling the magic which lies beyond the mole-tunnel view.

One man, in his mole-tunnel, says he is inconsequential, a slave to his job, of dust and to dust going. Another, poking his head our into the light, realizes that he is a miraculous as any engine, with eyes to see, a mind which to think, a spirit whose wings know no limitations.

The mole-man is bound to a commonplace earth and a commonplace life. He lives among God’s wonders without ever seeing them. But those who make a habit of appreciation find wonder in every moment, and every day, by the sense of participation in a miracle.

They see the glory  of the flowers, the shapes and colors of trees and grass, the grace of tigers and serpents, the stories of selfishness or selflessness that are written on the faces men and women. They feel the wind upon their faces and the immeasurable majesty of distances in sky and sea.

And in those things there is the only true value. This a wonderful  world. Take time to see it. You’re cheat yourself unless you appreciate it.—–E.L. 
Ernest F. Lyons: (http://www.flpress.com/node/63)

Stuart Heritage Museum: (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com)

The Myth of Local Runoff, St Lucie River/IRL “Rain Event,” 9-16-15

St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Point area after approximate 7-10 inches of regional rainfall in area 9-16-18. Photo taken on 9-23-15, Ed Lippisch.
St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Point area after approximate 7-10 inches of regional rainfall in area 9-16-15. Photo taken on 9-23-15, Ed Lippisch.

“From 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday, the heaviest rainfall was reported at the Savannas Preserve State Park in southeastern St. Lucie County, with 7.67 inches. Next highest in 24-hour rainfall, according to the Weather Service, was 6.87 inches at Hobe Sound.” —-from article y Elliot Jones, TCPalm, 9-17-15

SFWMD showing releases through canals recently. Note spike after recent rainfall.
SFWMD chart showing releases through canals recently. Note spike after recent rainfall.

Today I will share aerial photos of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon taken by my husband, Ed, on 9-23-15. I asked Ed to document the after effects of the tremendous rainfall event in the region from September 16th  through the 17th, 2015. After reviewing his photos, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon has dark waters, this is evident, but first, let’s set some things straight….

We hear a lot about “local runoff,” however, it is becoming more and more understood, there is no such thing as “local runoff” for the St Lucie River/IRL…. The canals that dump into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon are regional canals that have been “plumbed” over the past 100 years to drain and dump waters off the lands from as far away as western Martin County, Okeechobee County, and even what used to be the north flowing waters of the St Johns River in Indian River County! Then when things are really bad, since the water can’t flow south, “they” dump the overflow waters of Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River to boot.

The poor St Lucie River is inundated with “everyone’s water” not just “its own.”

Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative's Report to Congress 1994.)
Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. The St Lucie’s natural basin as seen above in green has been very much enlarged by  the C-44 canal built in the 1920s —with expanded basin and often Lake O overflow; also C-23, C-24 and C-25 were built  ca. 1950 to drain lands in St Lucie County for orange groves/agricultural development  and land development by General Development Corp and others.

It is critical that we study and understand what happens in our area after a huge rain, with or without the “extra-extra killing waters of Lake Okeechobee.” Why?  Because maybe, just maybe, if the SFWMD, ACOE, as well as state and federal politicians will see how much the river is already suffering, they will do all they can, “not to kill it more.”

So here are Ed’s photos, taken one week after the rain event. It takes the water coming in through the canals some time to move through the St Lucie River;  I imagine a lot had already exited the St Lucie Inlet. The 23rd was the soonest Ed could “get up in the air.”

I am thankful to my husband, as for me going up in that plane? It is really amazing to be flying,  but also very stressful. Somehow to me it seems God only meant for birds to fly….

At least with the Cub, I feel like if something ever happened, over the ocean anyway…. we could just jump out!

2013.
2013 Ed Lippisch/Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.

St Lucie Inlet at Sailfish Point. 9-23-15.
St Lucie Inlet at Sailfish Point. 9-23-15.

Crossroads, Sewall's Point and Sailfish Flats. 9-23-15.
Crossroads, Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Flats. 9-23-15.

St Lucie Inlet 9-23-15.
St Lucie Inlet 9-23-15.

Water in Jupiter Narrows very close to St Lucie Inlet. 9-23-15.
Water in Jupiter Narrows very close to St Lucie Inlet. 9-23-15.

Unusual in that plume was flowing north and south. Here north at Sailfish Point 9-23-15.
Unusual in that plume was flowing north and south. Here north at Sailfish Point at SL Inlet. 9-23-15.

Northerly movement of plume. 9-23-15.
Northerly movement of plume. 9-23-15.

Sailfish Flats of SLR/IRL confluence as seen from ocean over Hutchinson Island. 9-23-15.
Sailfish Flats of SLR/IRL confluence as seen from ocean over Hutchinson Island. 9-23-15.

Heading back...9-23-15.
Heading back…9-23-15.

On the way back to Witham Field. Sewall's Point Crossroads 9-23-14.
On the way back to Witham Field. Sewall’s Point Crossroads 9-23-15.

TCPALM article on rainfall: Subscription may be necessary to view, (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/weather/rain-likely-to-continue-friday_95415704)

Rain, Flooding, Drainage/Building a Better Future for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

Riverview and South Sewall's Point Road flooded in the Town of Sewall's Point 9-17-15 (JTL)
Riverview and South Sewall’s Point Road flooded in the Town of Sewall’s Point 9-16-15 (JTL)

When I was a kid growing up in Indialucie, named so as it is located between the Indian River Lagoon and the St Lucie River….it flooded a lot. We kids loved it. We would  play and play! Just like kids did in the Town of Sewall’s Point when it rained so hard the past couple of days. I was told yesterday by Pam Hopkins, water quality specialist, at Florida Oceanographic that their gauge showed 8.5 inches!

Kids play in the retention pond in Sewall's Point. (Photo Simone McPhee)
Kids play in the retention pond in Sewall’s Point, 9-16-15. (Photo courtesy of Simone McPhee)

Rain is not the problem. It’s the drainage…

Florida was drained so agriculture and development could flourish. But we have literally outgrown the plumbing system of the 1920, 30s, 40, 50, 60, and 70s….we must begin to  think anew.

Rain events like the past couple of days allow us to clearly see the problem and to be creative in thinking about solutions. —-One thing is clear, when Lake Okeechobee’s water is added on top of such events, “not only are we flooded, but we are drowning.”

Whether it is the overflow waters of Lake Okeechobee, runoff from area canals, or “local flood waters,” such experiences highlight the need for storage, as fresh water is a resource and should not be wasted.

I have used the basin/canal map a lot recently as it applies to just about everything.  Here you can see the drainage system draining the lands into the SRL/IRL; of course there is other local infrastructure drainage such as street “gutters,” drains, and underground piping that do not show up on this map. In any case,  the goal is to “get the water off the land as soon as possible” and drain it to the lowest point, the river……

Well that has got to change.

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.

South Sewall's Point Road 9-16-15....(JTL)
South Sewall’s Point Road 9-16-15….(JTL)

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BELOW, HUTCHINSON ISLAND, FLORIDA OCEANOGRAPHIC AREA/PUBLIX

Video of storm water going into local drainage system:(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTN51n6ICMI)

 

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A flooded Publix parking lot on Hutchinson Island....
A flooded Publix parking lot on Hutchinson Island….

Oil atop the water from parking lot and street. This all drains into the river.
Oil atop the water from parking lot and street. This all drains into the river.

To get the current conditions of drainage from canals around Lake O excluding C-23, C-24, and C-25 see this ACOE link; also the drainage from around the coastal area like Stuart, Sewall’s Point etc…is not shown here but estimated in other models.
Current Conditions report ACOE drainage: (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports/StatusDaily_files/slide0178.htm)

ACOE J-ville, C-44 (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm)

SFWMD shows canals C-23, C-24 and C-25 but it is deeply imbedded and hard to find: (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

Update: Our Deadly Canals, and the “Kiss of Death,” Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

C-25 at Taylor Creek, exits into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-2-15)
C-25 at Taylor Creek, exits into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-2-15)

On Wednesday, my husband Ed and I sat down for dinner. “Did you see my photos of the river? He asked.

“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t looked at them yet…”

“They are pretty dramatic,” he replied, taking a swig of his Lagunitas.

I didn’t think much more about it, but later that evening, when I reviewed his shots, I understood.

Today I will share Ed’s recent photos of the Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River that he took on Wednesday, September 2nd between 11:30AM-1PM. The first set of photos are from the Ft Pierce area around Taylor Creek where canal C-25 dumps into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. C-25’s discharge can also be from C-24 or C-23 as they are all connected and can be manipulated to flow in different ways by the South Florida Water Management District. C-25, C-24 and C-23 ARE NOT connected to Lake Okeechobee. These photos are just showing rain runoff and all that is carried along with it and brought in by rising ground waters.

Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public)
Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public, SFWMD)

Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative's Report to Congress 1994.)
Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. The watershed has been unnaturlaly expanded to include up to 5 times the amount of water in the natural watershed.LO is the final blow when it comes. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)

SFWMD chart showing flow into C-25 over past days.
SFWMD chart showing flow into C-25 over past days.

DEP C-25 Eco Summary: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf)

SFWMD link (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/realtime.pkg_rr.proc_rr?p_op=FORT_PIERCE)

I believe there have been recent improvements made at Taylor Creek (C-25), but perhaps there should be more as the outflow still looks like an oil spill. A cocktail of agriculture,  development, residential, and road runoff….a “river of death…”

Once a  reader wrote me saying,” Jacqui I like your blog but when it rains anywhere in the world there are these freshwater plumes….you are being misleading….”

I nicely replied. “I agree there are freshwater plumes all over the world, but