On January 12, 2022, Ed sold the Baron and I entitled my post “Last Flight Old Friend.” Today I am hoping to make a new friend with Ed’s RV. To begin this friendship, on April 3, 2022, I sent Ed up to take photographs in RV flight.
His aerials came out well; I wanted to share them today. They provide a striking look at some of the beautiful and changing areas of Martin County.
-I am not sure what development this is being created, however, one can see the St Lucie Inlet and Jupiter Narrows as a reference. If anyone knows, please share. It looks to me to be located around Hobe Sound.
IV. April 3, 2022, 11:30am
-The St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon looks good. There have been no major discharges from Lake Okeechobee since 2018. Mind you, April is the near end of the dry season. The wet season begins around June 1. According to NOAA, the 2022 storm names are: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter. I hope it is not foreshadowing that of of them is named “Martin.”
Ed’s aerials below show the effects of discharge on the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near the St Lucie Inlet not from C-44 or Lake O, but from Canals C-23 , C-24 and local runoff. Seagrasses, or lack thereof, is a concern. Please see link for recent Army Corp updates: ACOE Periodic_Scientists_Call_Power Point 2022-03-29 2
Thank you Ed for taking photos! Maybe next time, if I get my nerve up, I’ll be up there with you! I have to say, my favorite plane so far was not the Baron, but the original “River Warrior”, the Cub. 🙂 No matter what you’re flying we will continue to document the St Lucie fighting for her health!
C-44 Reservoir, Martin County, FL, 1-19-22, aerial by Ed Lippisch. (Plane: Piper Lance belonging to Dr. Shaun Engebretsen.)Last Wednesday, on January 19, 2022, I received a text from my husband, Ed. The text was brief: “C-44 with water.”
I looked at the message and the photographs and being swamped with reading, I ignored both.
On Saturday, January 22, my brother, Todd, texted me: “They have been bringing lake water into the C-44 basin most of the week via S-308 at Port Mayaca. Now it’s closed and S-80 is open at 811 cfs? This is called “local basin runoff,” to the St Lucie, hopefully just a little blip.”This time, I put down my reading. I called my contacts at the SFWMD and the ACOE to find out what was going on. The ACOE was filling up the C-44 Reservoir via a “high”Lake Okeechobee through S-308 and the C-44 Canal. After a few days, a rainstorm hit, so the ACOE opened the S-80 gates at St Lucie Locks and Dam to get the C-44 Canal level down. Hmmm?
The photos taken from the Piper Lance show the C-44 Reservoir as it was filled on January 19th, 2022. It must be much higher now, six days later.
The filling -for the first time- of the C-44 Reservoir is historic. The C-44 Reservoir is the first major CERP project that was completed by the ACOE and their partners – right here in Martin County.
Part of Indian River Lagoon South, this massive project, and in the future, the EAA Reservoir, give real hope for a better water future: more water flowing south to the Everglades and fewer damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
Check out these photographs!
Below, I have included three photos from November 26, 2021 that Ed took when he still had the Beechcraft Baron. These photos were taken when the C-44 Reservoir was just a” little bit full” in November after the ACOE’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 19, 2021.
~NOT SO FULL, 11-26-21.
THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE SHARED TO COMPARE THE “FULLER” PHOTOS ABOVE FROM JANUARY 19, 2022, TO THE “NOT SO FULL” PHOTOS OF NOVEMBER 26, 2021. Ed Lippisch.
-A bit overwhelmed, Okee reviews the ACOE’s Integrated Delivery Schedule As the final days of 2021 come to a close, it is natural to be asking: “what is in line for 2022?” And although the world may seem as confusing as ever, and trying to read the Army Corp of Engineers’ -“List of Things to Do 2021 – that will be followed in 2022,” known formally as the “IDS,” or Integrated Delivery Schedule,”- impossible – things are looking really good for water.
Historic funding is in place for Everglades restoration, and a lot of that work will be happening right here at home in Martin and St Lucie Counties. There have been a few ups and downs, but now the IDS looks more favorable than ever.
Today, I am going to hone in on two areas of the IDS. The first, Indian River Lagoon South, that county commissions are owed the most thanks for their leadership; and the EAA Reservoir, that the River Movement of the Lost Summer of 2013, with the leadership of Senate President Joe Negron, made happen.
When these two major projects are fully completed, the St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon will have an opportunity to heal. As a postscript, I must mention some of my readers have said I appear to be completely “sold by the engineering – the problem that got us where we are in the first place.” And I must say, that is not the case. I agree, engineering alone is not enough. We all must do our part on our own postage stamp of land. These postage stamps add up to millions of acres and they all flow to the river. A great book about this is called “Nature’s Best Hope”A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard, by Douglas W. Tallamy. Fixing Florida is a team sport and must include everybody!
The green area, two sections down, includes Indian River Lagoon South. This is a huge project that includes both Martin and St Lucie counties and the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. When we peruse the green section, we see C-44 Reservoir; C-23/C-24 Reservoir; and C-25 Reservoir. Other major factors listed such as Storm Water Treatment Areas, an Interconnect Canal, Natural Water Quality Storage, Muck Removal, and Artificial Habitat Creation are also broken out. For simplicity, I will focus on the reservoirs as all else accompanies them.
You can study the entire list to see when the project goal of completion falls. All is before 2031. Mind you these projects are gigantic and complex. Like nothing else in the entire world. The C-44 Reservoir, the southern project of Indian River Lagoon South, in Martin County, went on line just recently as the first major completed CERP project. Incredible! Now to get C-23/C-24 and C-25- the rest of “Indian River Lagoon South-” to the finish line!
INDIAN RIVER LAGOON SOUTH, PART OF CERP -LEARN MORE BELOW.
The next section to focus on is the forth section down in a cream color; it includes the EAA Reservoir that is located south of Lake Okeechobee near the southern part of Palm Beach County. This project is dear to my heart as this is why I entered the fight, in 2008, in the first place. Sending more water south is the best way to send less water to the estuaries and open up the system to get water south to the Everglades as Nature would have…
Below we see different components of the EAA Reservoir; it too, is planned to be complete by 2031. 2031 may seem a long way from 2022, but in CERP time, it is “tomorrow.”
We must continue to fight in 2022 and beyond to keep this IDS “as-is” and complete these projects. In the meanwhile, please make your yard a conservation area. Individually and collectively, there are many reasons to be optimistic in 2022 about Florida’s Water Future.
Keeping up the Lake Okeechobee algae bloom documentation, Ed and I flew from Stuart to Lake Okeechobee during a hazy, hot high-noon, on Sunday, July 5, 2020. The algae was much toned down from our previous flights in June. Nonetheless, one could see the pattern, the outline, of the giant bloom from above. Rain may have disrupted its perk but the bloom remains in the water column. The most visual appeared to be in the middle of the lake and again, about a mile or so off Port Mayaca.
I have included photographs of the journey: St Lucie River at Palm City; flying over western lands and under construction C-44 Reservoir/STA ; FPL cooling pond; algae in Lake O; Clewiston; south rim of lake with agriculture and sugar fields; Indiantown and Hwy. 710; DuPuis and Corbett Wildlife Areas; one glance back to Lake Okeechobee; and an updated 2020 “Covid-19 portrait” of Ed and me.
We will continue to document throughout the summer. Keep up the fight! Stop the Discharges! Stop the Algae!
~Your eye in the sky
Jacqui & Ed
This shot, below, was taken flying back east over the Village of Indiantown. Highway 710 is seen bisecting neighboring Dupuis and Corbett Wildlife Area and John and Mariana Jones Hungryland Wildlife Area. I will be writing more about the protected areas and the highway that cuts through them in the future.
C-44 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area (STA)
After weeks of algae Lake O shots, when my husband, Ed, went up in the Baron on June 17th, 2020, I looked at him and said: “Could you please also take some photos of the C-44 Reservoir and STA for an update? I need a positive fix.”
Thus today’s photos of the C-44 Reservoir/STA in Martin County, off the C-44 canal near Indiantown, share good news. Most important for me, the pictures reveal that many more of the STA cells are slowly getting filled with water -in December 2019 they started with one as Governor DeSantis pulled the lever. One can see many more cells are now filled. When complete, these cells will cleanse tremendous amounts of nutrient polluted water prior to entry into the St Lucie River. The ACOE projects that construction will be completed by next year. It has been in progress for many years and is a” cooperative” between the ACOE (reservoir) and SFWMD (STA) and a component of CERP.
Program: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
“Located on approximately 12,000 acres on the northern side of the St. Lucie Canal in western Martin County, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project will capture local basin runoff…” ~SFWMD“Achieve More Now”
There are maps and links at the bottom of this post should you like to learn more. Thank you to all over the years and today helping with the completion of the C-44 Reservoir STA as we work to save the St Lucie River.
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!
The C-44 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area has been in the news over the past few years. Once completed by the SFWMD and ACOE with help funds raised locally, it will clean water from the tremendous and polluting C-44 basin. It is one component of the Indian River Lagoon South Project that is part of the Central Everglades Restoration Plan. But what was all that land used for in the past? That land was orange groves. Thousands and thousands of acres of orange groves! As far as the eye could see….
Today even with the area’s transformation to STA/Reservoir, “Coca Cola” and “Minute Maid” roads remain as reminders of an all too distant past…when oranges were healthy and the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon was not impaired.
Today I will share eleven incredible 1964 aerial Ruhnke aerials my mother stumbled upon while creating a presentation for the Martin County Property Appraiser’s office. Arthur Ruhnke photographs are so important to our understanding of our history and I thank my mother for sharing these treasures. Art was a well-known photographer in his day and my parents acquired many of his photos.
The following is an exchange with my mother, Sandy, and long time family friend Jack Norris, who was an executive for Minute Maid. In the exchange, they “talk”about these photographs. Their interplay tells the story best, so I have gotten permission to share.
—-Jack, Tonight Fred asked me if I had any images to illustrate the his Citrus Program. These are from a packet of 10 Ruhnke negatives marked Minute Maid Groves, Indiantown, 1964. Surely the canal shown isn’t C-44? Are those workers’ houses? Sandy
—- Sandy”Hi Sandy – The barn, equipment storage & office are located in the NW corner of the intersection, the buildings in the SW and NE are workers houses, and the buildings in the SE corner are supervisors houses. The canal running N&S was the main source of irrigation, originating at the St. Lucie at the site of the rodeo bowl. It is now substantially enlarged by the SFWMD to carry water to the new reservoir. The NS canal and l the main drainage canal was owned and operated by the Troup – Indiantown Drainage District.” Jack
So then my mother sends this email to me:
—-Jacqui, I am working on my program for the Property Appraisers and thought I needed to say something about western Martin County. I thought I might show the old Minute Maid Grove and say it is now a reservoir. I couldn’t find my aerials. I have finally found them and thought I would share them with you. Understanding them would be an education. Jack Norris was in charge of planting all of those millions of citrus trees.
So I today I am sharing the photos and started researching Minute Maid and the land purchase for the C-44 STA/R; this is what I found: According to a 2011 Stuart News article bout C-44 R/STA by Jim Mayfield:
“The project site, 12,000 acres of former citrus land, was purchased in 2007 for $168 million, $27 million of which came from Martin County taxpayers through the one-cent sales tax for conservation lands, South Florida Water Management officials said. The property is south of the Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area near Indiantown. Over the last year, the water management district has spent roughly $5 million to remove trees and rid the topsoil of copper deposits, officials said.” Jim Mayfield
I hope you enjoy these historic photos today. I find these aerials amazing! It is my hope that one day even more of this agricultural land will be converted to hold water as Nature intended. The C-44 STA/Reservoir is a great start.
“Here is one of your pictures – here and now”
(Cool video with historic maps and Google Earth fly over by my brother Todd Thurlow: (https://youtu.be/i9h1d1pzfww)