Tag Archives: caloosahatchee

Death by Fertilizer, SLR/IRL

Definition of fertilizer: one that fertilizes specifically, a substance (such as manure or a chemical mixture) used to make soil more fertile so things grow. Usually containing phosphorus and nitrogen.

..

SFWMD 2005

“Death by Fertilizer” or “Our Sick Friends” was originally a booklet created by the River Kidz in 2012 to bring awareness to the ailing health of the bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon; I think the message remains a relevant teaching tool today.

Why?

South Florida’s water issues~

~The Lake Okeechobee Watershed: 88% agricultural in nature running into a now sick, eutrophic, algae-ridden, Cyanobacteria filled Lake;  a 700,000 acre Everglades Agricultural Area south of the Lake allowed to back bump when flooding occurs; all this water, in turn, discharged into the ailing St Lucie River and the Caloosahatchee Estuary by the ACOE while the SFWMD and FDEP, and their bosses, the  Executive and Legislative branches of government look on. This putrid, polluted water runs out into the ocean. We think that’s the end of the water destruction, but it’s not, as red tide and seaweed are fertilized, growing into monsters we have never seen before.

Phosphorus Loading by Land Use, Gary Goforth: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/phosphorus-loading-by-land-use-what-fdep-isnt-telling-us-gary-goforth/

Septic and sewer pollution is a type of fertilizer too. Some people around the world fertilize their crops with their own human waste; dog poop is also a “fertilizer,” and all this fertilizer leeches or runs off into our estuaries and ends up blending with the polluted Lake O water coming down the pike to the ocean. Every rain event runs right down the storm drains of our neighborhoods and shopping malls with all the “crap” it carries. We designed it that way, years ago, and have not changed this model. The fertilizer put put on our lawns, of course, runs off too.

Yes, it is death by fertilizer that we are experiencing this 2018. Eutrophication, Blooms of algae and cyanobacteria; red tide; too much seaweed suffocating the little sea turtles when they try to come up for air…

The fancy, confusing words of “nutrient pollution” must be replaced with “fertilizer,” something we can all understand. From the time we are children, we learn that “nutrients” are good, they make us strong. Fertilizer can be good, but we instinctively know it can also burn. We know not to eat it; it is not nutritious.  Nutrient Pollution is an oxymoron created by industries and government so we have a hard time understanding what is going on.

In conclusion, fertilizer (phosphorus and nitrogen) from corporate agriculture; poop from animals and people, (mostly nitrogen) and it is feeding, “fertilizing” Lake Okeechobee’s cyanobacteria blue-green blooms that in turn are poured into the St Lucie and Calooshatchee, which in turn this year are feeding, “fertilizing,” tremendous sargassum seaweed blooms, and red tide in the Gulf of Mexico and now in the Atlantic. These blooms are giant multi-celled intelligent, organisms, kind of like a bee-hive. They are hungry and determined and we are feeding them.  It is  a vicious cycle that only we can stop by forcing our government to take charge and coordinate municipal, state and federal programs of education and coordinated implementation. We know what to do.

Developing an effective strategy for reducing the impacts of nutrients, easier understood as “fertilizer over enrichment,” requires all of us to change how we live and the powerful agriculture industry to lead.

Otherwise, it is, and will remain, death by fertilizer.

National Research Council’s book, written in 2000, Understanding and Reducing the Effects of Nutrient Pollution is a step by step guide to this problem: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/9812/clean-coastal-waters-understanding-and-reducing-the-effects-of-nutrient

.

SFWMD 2005

Links:

EPA, Nutrient Pollution: https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/problem

2018 Palm Beach Post, Red Tide:

“Red tide was reported on the east coast in 2007 when it spread to the Treasure Coast south from Jacksonville where LaPointe said discharge from the St. John’s River may have aided its growth. LaPointe said this summer’s plethora of sargassum on southeast Florida beaches could feed red tide with a boost of nutrients leeching into the ocean when the seaweed dies.
Red tide is different from the freshwater blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that has spread in Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie Estuary and the Caloosahatchee River this summer. But red tide and the cyanobacteria both thrive in nutrient-heavy conditions.
“You have discharges coming out the Jupiter Inlet,” LaPointe said. “Red tide likes the kind of slightly reduced salinity in areas where there’s a river plume.”
https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/new-stretch-beach-jupiter-closed-police-after-odor-sickens-beachgoers/cVD3CBHqrYDrLCFFDV4T7L/

2018 Sun Sentinel, Lake O toxic algae blooms:

“Lake O and Estuaries’ Blooms: Not that this comes as much of a surprise. (Though state leaders feign shock with each new algae outbreak, as if they’ve just discovered gambling in Casablanca.) Environmental scientists have been warning Florida that the watershed lake was an environmental catastrophe since 1969.” Fred Grimm, reporting.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl-op-column-fred-grimm-lake-okeechobee-algae-returns-20180705-story.html

Close up toxic algae, JTL

2018 Palm Beach Post, Overabundance of Seaweed:

“Palm Beach Post:LaPointe is in the second year of a three-year NASA grant to study how nutrients are changing in the sargassum. What he’s found so far is nitrogen levels have increased, likely from heavy doses of fertilizer and sewage runoff.
“We have altered the nitrogen cycle on our planet and it started with the invention of fertilizer,” LaPointe said. “We think this is what is behind the increased abundance of sargassum.” https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/weather/why-ugly-thick-brownish-seaweed-cursing-south-florida-beaches/yILMtAMMlxxOXqqYz5H1ZO/

Red tide 2018 #toxic18 site
Plethora of sargassum weed or seaweed at Jensen Beach, 2018 photo Ed Lippisch

Phosphorus Loading by Land Use, What FDEP is not Telling Us, 2018, Gary Goforth: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/phosphorus-loading-by-land-use-what-fdep-isnt-telling-us-gary-goforth/

ACOE 2016 Inflows & Outflows/If Only There Were NoFlows…SLR/IRL

150717-A-CE999-051-2.JPG
ACOE Col. Kirk  2015-present

Thank you to John Campbell, Public Affairs Specialist, Army Corp of Engineers, for these numbers comparing “flows” for 2016, 2015, and 2013.  I have been using since last week when presenting and wanted to share. Note, there were no flows (discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River) in 2014 and that is why the year is not reported. The Corp has announced their intent to further decrease flows in the coming weeks as they transition to the dry season. Hurricane, or wet season, comes to an end on November 30th.

All numbers are important but a very important # is how much water is going south…

2016 Flows, JAN 1-OCT 23 (Number of inches based on estimate that 1 foot of Lake O water is about 460,000 acre feet)

Inflows/Rain
Direct Rain 1.85 million ac-ft (48 inches)
Other inflows 3.32 million ac-ft (86 inches)

Caloosahatchee
Moore Haven 1.61 million ac-ft (42 inches)
Franklin 2.39 million ac-ft

St. Lucie
Port Mayaca 630,000 ac-ft (19 inches)
St. Lucie 730,000 ac-ft

South 550,000 ac-ft (14 inches)
Evap/seep/other 1.86 million ac-ft (48 inches)

2015 flows, JAN 1-DEC 31
Inflows/Rain
Direct Rain 1.48 million ac-ft (38 inches)
Other inflows 2.45 million ac-ft (63 inches)

Caloosahatchee
Moore Haven 590,000 ac-ft (15 inches)
Franklin 1.21 million ac-ft

St. Lucie
Port Mayaca 120,000 ac-ft (2 inches)
St. Lucie 190,000 ac-ft

South 1.28 million ac-ft (33 inches)
Evap/seep/other 2.14 million ac-ft (55 inches)

2013 Flows, MAY 8-OCT 21 Inflows/Rain-(Not available at time of request)
Caloosahatchee
Moore Haven 1.02 million ac-ft (26 inches)
Franklin 2.15 million ac-ft

St. Lucie
Port Mayaca 402,000 ac-ft (10 inches)
St. Lucie 663,000 ac-ft

South 166,000 ac-ft (4 inches)

Website:http://www.saj.usace.army.mil

“When Waterways are Polluted Property Values Decline,” SLR/IRL

Economic Impacts
Economic Impacts of polluted water. (EF)

Just last year, Florida Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate in Florida,” published a final report on the impacts of water quality on Florida’s home values. “March 2015 Final Report.”

The first page of the executive summary states:

“There has long been a belief that there is a connection between home values and the quality and clarity of Florida waterways. The objective of this study was to determine whether that belief is in fact true.

We examined the impact of water quality and clarity on the sale prices of homes in Martin and Lee counties over a four-year period, from 2010-2013. What was clearly found was that the ongoing problem of polluted water in the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie rivers has indeed resulted in a negative impact on home values.

In addition, the study found a significant economic impacts resulting from improved water quality and clarity. Lee County’s aggregate property values increase by an estimated $541 million while Marin County’s aggregate property values increase by an estimated $428 million. These increased property values also provide additional revenue for city and county governments.”

.....
…..

Unfortunately this report, very much like the University of Florida  Report, was basically ignored by the South Florida Water Management District and the state legislature when speakers came before them last year using this document and asking for relief.

As we enter yet another long summer of water pollution, may we re-familiarize ourselves with this report; we are going need to reference it again. Even though this is certainly “common sense,” it helps to have the formal report in hand when speaking.

Here is the full document for your reference. Reading through you will see the story of Lake Okeechobee’s worsening polluting discharges and our property values’ decline.

Full report here: http://www.sccf.org/files/content/docs/FR_WaterQuality_Final_Mar2015.pdf

Lake O Roundtable, Senator Marco Rubio, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

King Aurthur is historically noted for creating the concept of a "round table."
King Arthur is historically noted for creating the concept of a “round table.”

Yesterday, at the Wolf Technology Center, on the campus of Indian River State College, Todd Reid, the Deputy Chief of Staff and State Director for the Office of Marco Rubio oversaw a “Lake Okeechobee Roundtable.” New US Army Corp of Engineers Lt Col. Jennifer Reynolds broke the ice with her introduction, noting she was curious as to whether there would truly be a “roundtable…” She smiled saying she was happy to see the “rectangle-roundtable…” Her comments were funny and refreshing. The point was everyone was sitting around the table—“together,” like in King Arthur’s days….

Agenda, L.O. Roundtable, Office Senator Marco Rubio, 2015
Agenda, L.O. Roundtable, Office Senator Marco Rubio, 2015
Agenda.
Agenda.

I want to thank Senator Rubio’s office and Senator Rubio himself for the meeting. Could the meeting have been politically motivated? I hope so! Political motivation in any form is the gas that drives the bus. I’ll take it and I’ll hitch a ride….

The meeting was a rare opportunity to sit face to face in a non-charged environment and to listen, to ask questions, to learn, and to get to know each other.

Other than the many Army Corp, South Florida Water Management, and Rubio official leaders that sat at the table, some regional names you might recognize who also were there are:  Comr. Ed Fielding, Kate Parmalee and Don Donaldson, Martin County; Richard Gilmore, Mayor, Sebastian; Dr Jacoby, St John’s River Water Management District; Nyla Pipes; Meagan Davis, HBOI; Mark Perry; Rae Ann Wessel, Caloosahatchee; Jason Bessey, SLC and myself. Sorry if I missed anyone. There were a few some empty chairs with name tags prepared for people who did not make it. Their loss. Of course Gayle Ryan of the River Warriors was in the audience as were others! 🙂 Thank you PUBLIC!

I have written many times, that “building relationships” is what is going to get us beyond the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon nightmare we live in today. I appreciate the opportunity to build those relationships.

I did learn a lot.

The "Roundtable..."
The “Roundtable…” Photo Jax ACOE Twitter 6-18-15.

One thing I learned again is that the ACOE and SFWMD don’t know how to promote the good things they do. Perhaps this is because they are “government.”

For instance Jim Jeffords, Chief of the ACOE Operations Division noted very quietly that the ACOE under the LORS (Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule) this water year had only released 40% of the Lake O water that COULD HAVE gone to the Caloosahatchee River; and only 24% on the water that COULD HAVE gone to the St Lucie.  Holy Cow? Are you kidding me?

I don’t really get the complexities of the entire system, but basically LORS has huge ranges and it gives the ACOE flexibility so they use discretion in determining how much water is actually released rather than just opening the gates to match the number on the chart. So even though they released from Lake O into our SLR since January 16 until a few weeks ago–apparently it could have been worse. —Kind of like when you got  into trouble in my day as a kid and got sent to the office and the principal only spanks you three times when he or she could have spanked you fifteen times. You still walk away crying and humiliated, but it could have been worse….We never thank the ACOE for “not releasing even more,” a lot more, because basically we don’t know that they could….they don’t tell us..they don’t brag. I do; I guess that’s why I’m a “civilian….”

LORS schedule releases SLR 2014 and some of 2015.
LORS schedule releases SLR 2014 and some of 2015.(Photo ACOE Twitter)

And then Jeff Kivett, Divisions Director Operations, Engineering and Construction SFWMD, gave a really nice and erudite presentation with an awesome color copy packet and he just kind of goes right through what for me, if I were him, would have been the most important part: “the SFWMD has sent more than 500,000 acre feet of water south this dry season.” I get this all mixed up like “water year,” “annual year,” dry season, from Lake O, or from the sugar farmer in the EAA, —-in any case for me what’s important is they sent so much water south!

Dr Gary Goforth has written about this and if I remember correctly the most ever sent was in 1995 (like a million acre feet and it killed Biscayne Bay’s reefs) but after 2002 it really slowed to almost “nothing” due to the consent decree’s law suit on phosphorus numbers —but then after 2013’s toxic estuary disaster the SRWMD started sending more water south again. Because now that water is CLEAN due to STAs. (Storm Water Treatment Areas–they are still nervous to send “too much with too much phosphorus…”)

I know I am rambling, but two years ago I remember being happy water sent was over 250,000 acre feet and now the District has sent more than 500,000 acre feet almost two years in a row… This is awesome and to be commended. If I worked at the SFWMD  I would be jumping up and down screaming from the rooftops, but government people just kind of “mention it…..”

Anyway–Good job guys and gals. Good job!

Also, there was also a presentation on the slow but steady-going, expensive repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike by Ingrid Bon, and an update by Howard Gonzales on ecosystem restoration projects. Yes the ones whose names we know by heart that have been taking eight billion years to complete but are actually getting closer! There were also hopeful updates on CEPP (Central Everglades Planning Project) and Ten Mile Creek’s recovery…again very slow-moving like molasses, but moving…maybe….yes….no maybe….YES! How old am I now? Will the projects be done before I am dead? Not funny, but sometime you wonder.

In the end, it was a great meeting and I appreciate that I was allowed to sit “at the roundtable.” It was so good to see Greg Langowski who I have known through Rubio’s office since my early days in the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments, as well as my dear friend mayor, Richard Gilmore of Sebastian! We are all getting older, but  wiser too, and if we stick together, we just might make a difference for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, and for the kids of the future that just want to fish, swim and boat in the river and just be a “kid.”

Thank you for the Roundtable Senator Rubio. I hope there will be more…

Great visual from Jeff Kivett's presentation on changes to the Everglades system.
Great visual from Jeff Kivett’s presentation on changes to the Everglades system.

Getting the Numbers Straight With U.S. Sugar, SLR/IRL

 

This pie chart shows an average of Lake O discharges in acre feet to the estuaries from 1996-2015. (Dr Gary Goforth 2015)
This pie chart shows an average of Lake O discharges in acre feet to the estuaries from 1996-2015. (Dr Gary Goforth 2015)

After last Thursday’s WRAC meeting at the South Florida Water Management District, I left somewhat miffed.

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20about%20us/meetings)

The numbers seemed wrong….

These meetings are difficult to follow, and almost surreal at times.  On Thursday, this was especially true with “paid” protesters yelling outside against the option land purchase, and afterwards the group’s slick sun-glassed/suit-wearing organizer coming inside to pat one of the WRAC members on the back.

I sat there thinking “life really is stranger than fiction,” no wonder south Florida satirist and writer Carl Haaisen says almost all of his material is “simply out of the newspapers…”

Another oddity for me was when Bubba Wade, representing US Sugar Corporation, during WRAC members’ comments referencing “2013,”  in defense of not purchasing the option lands, quoted the acre footage of water to the St Lucie Estuary/IRL as “4.5 million acre feet annually,” —and thus justifying that if the 26,000 acre option lands located south of the lake were purchased, even with that water “exchanged,” it would never be “enough…”

I’m thinking to myself: “445,000—4.5 million…I saw  “that” number in a Palm Beach Post article too, but I swear it said billion and not million acre feet….where are these numbers coming from? Is Bubba using the right numbers? I think they are wrong….Am I wrong?”

After the meeting, I even walked up to Mr Wade, who I have met on many occasions and feel I have a good working relationship with saying: “Bubba, where did you get your numbers?  I am almost sure the St Lucie River, no maybe the estuaries received around 1.5 million acre feet of water in 2013, not 4.5 million acre feet to the SLR. What are the numbers? If we can’t agree on what numbers we are talking about, how we ever agree on anything at all? ”

Bubba was talking out loud trying to figure where he got his numbers, and I was wondering where I got mine as well…in the end we just stared at each other…

When I got home I consulted Dr Gary Goforth. I have interpreted and put into laymen terms what he wrote to me below.

It shows that the numbers change depending on what years one is talking about, and over how long a period of time.

First of all…. : For calendar year 2013, 1.584 million acre feet of Lake water was sent to the estuaries… The St Lucie gets about 20% of that…. But in figuring out “distribution,” one does not just look at one year….Dr Goforth shared again his hand out from last month’s SFWMD Governing Board meeting:

The chart below shows in acre feet, the “distribution of Lake Okeechobee releases from  water years 1996-2015.” “20 years” of reference, gives a more accurate estimate of the long-term average of annual values than a shorter time period. Of course every year annual flows vary. For years 1996-2015 the average number of acre feet to the SLR/IRL  is 270, 224.

This pie chart shows an average of Lake O discharges in acre feet to the estuaries from 1996-2015. (Dr Gary Goforth 2015)
This pie chart shows an average of Lake O discharges in acre feet to the estuaries from 1996-2015. (Dr Gary Goforth 2015)
This chart, taken from the ACOE and SFWMD and shown here in a slide presentation by Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic, shows a 10 year period from 1996-2005.
This chart, taken from the ACOE and SFWMD and shown here in a slide presentation by Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic, shows a 10 year period from 1996-2005.

The above chart is different as it shows a ten-year, not a twenty-year average, 1996-2005). Here the number, 442,000 looks more like  Bubba’s 4.5 million acre feet. (I found this chart in Mark Perry’s presentation on his website at Florida Oceanographic.)This must be the chart Bubba Wade was referring to…?

Which number is better? Which number is correct? That depends what one is trying to prove. Right? 🙂

In any case, when quoting numbers, it is good to know which reference chart one is quoting. One one should also reference which chart one is using….This goes for me as well as for Mr Wade of U.S. Sugar….

Heading of Dr Goforth's chart showing estimated releases from Lake O to SLR from 1931-2013.
Heading of Dr Goforth’s chart showing estimated releases from Lake O to SLR from 1931-2013.
A section of Dr Goforth's chart 1988-2013.
A section of Dr Goforth’s chart 1988-2013. Years 1988-2013 showing acre feet flows from Lake O to SRL.
Lake Okeechobee conversion sheet, Everglades Coalition break out session, 2015.
Lake Okeechobee water/conversion sheet, Everglades Coalition break out session, 2015.

_______________________________

WRAC, SFWMD, (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20about%20us/wrac)

Mr Malcom (Bubba) Wade, US Sugar Corporation, (http://www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/wade_bio.html)

Dr Gary Goforth: (http://garygoforth.net)

Florida Oceanographic/Mark Perry’s power point presentations: (http://www.floridaocean.org/p/233/advocacy-environment#.VSKHyrrRwl8)

_____________________________________

This photo is to reference a comment on this blog:

Page 16 of Jeff Kivett's System constraints document, SFWMD, 2015 as shown to respond to blog comment. 4-7-15
Page 16 of Jeff Kivett’s System constraints document, SFWMD, 2015 as shown to respond to blog comment. 4-7-15
This is THE photo where the 4.5 million acre feet comes from. Thank you to Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post for sharing when I asked where she got her sources for her article referred to in comments in this blog post.  THE PROBLEM with the slide is that this is referring to ALL WATER into the estuaries: "local runoff" and Lake Okeechobee water. This conversation is not about ALL WATER/"LOCAL" runoff water---it is about Lake Okeechobee and how the ACOE and SFWMD make us take this water that IS NOT  OURS. The 4.5 M number makes it sound like it is not possible to fix lake O. This is untrue. IT is fixable at 1.5 million acre feet or even twice that much. If nothing else the issue could be alleviated.
4-7-15: This is THE source where the 4.5 million acre feet comes from. (Jeff Kivett’s SFWMD constraints doc.) Thank you to Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post for sharing when I asked where she got her sources for her article referred to in comments in this blog post. THE PROBLEM with the slide is that this is referring to ALL WATER into the estuaries: “local runoff” and Lake Okeechobee water. This conversation, this blog post, the land purchase south of the lake,  is not about ALL WATER/”LOCAL” runoff water—it is about Lake Okeechobee water and how the ACOE and SFWMD make us take this water that IS NOT OURS. The 4.5 M number mentioned by Mr Wade or Ms Stapleton makes it sound like it is not possible to “fix” lake O, or to buy enough land that would help the estuaries or hold clean, and convey water,. This is untrue. It is “fixable” at 1.5 million acre feet or even twice that much. If nothing else the issue of lake O being the toxic nail in our estuaries could be half way alleviated. 

“How to Speak About Overcoming Constraints,” SFWMD, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Possibilities Rather Than Constraints…

Jeff Kivett attended Colorado State University ; worked for 7 years in "water starved" Los Angeles; and now lives with his family  in Martin County, working in a leadership capacity for the SFWMD.(Photo SFWMD public files.)
Jeff Kivett attended Colorado State University; worked for 7 years in “water starved” Los Angeles; and now lives with his family in Martin County, working in a leadership capacity for the SFWMD. (Photo SFWMD public files.)
Slide 1 of the SFWMD power point presentation "Constraints to Sending Water South, 2015.)
Slide 1 of the SFWMD power point presentation by Jeff Kivett, P.E. SFWMD,  “Constraints to Sending Water South, 2015”.)

Regarding the outdated and failing water system of South Florida—of course there are “constraints.”

Everything in our material world is a “constraint,” but because we are human beings, creative and determined, we can “overcome” our constraints. ——but in order to do so, one must understand the “constraints” in the first place. Therefore, thank you to Jeff Kivett, P.E. Operations, Engineering and Construction Division Director, South Florida Water Management District, who created a recent power point on the subject. (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/wrac_pres_system_constraints_2015_0205.pdf)

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/kivett_bio.pdf)

 

Slide 1 of the SFWMD power point presentation "Constraints to Sending Water South, 2015.)
Slide 1 Close up.

Recently US Sugar Corporation, and even some members from the Governing Board of the SFWMD itself , (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20about%20us/governing%20board “hijacked” Mr Kivett’s document, to make it seem like it proves everything is “in stone,” justifies the atrocities of the plumbing system, and makes the idea of buying land south of Lake Okeechobee null and void….Nothing, could be further than the truth….and was not the intension of Mr Kivett’s document.

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

The way I see it, and after talking to Mr Kivett myself, he has given us a map “of flight.” A map for us to learn and understand how to overcome our present limitations. I am grateful to him for the map, and I will use it not to keep things the same, but to promote change. 

________________________

Today I am going to share a document written by my friend Dr Gary Goforth. Dr Goforth (http://garygoforth.netand I took Mr Kivett’s document and wrote about each “constraint” in such a way as to understand how to overcome it.

Please read, learn and speak out about it —- thank you for working to be part the solution and inspiration to “overcome,” the failures of the present South Florida system so that in the future it does not only provide flood control, but also provides even more clean, fresh water to the Everglades, and to South Florida, and  no longer kills two of the most productive and economically important estuaries in North America, the St Lucie/Southern Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee.

St Lucie Inlet area near Sailfish Point, 2013, JTL)
St Lucie Inlet area near Sailfish Point, once the most bio-diverse fishing and breeding grounds in North America- Grant Gilmore. (Photo 2013, JTL)
Photo of plume from Lake O and area canals in 2013, Jupiter Island. Our present pulling system constraints unless changed will promote this indefinitely. (JTL)
Photo of plume exiting SLR/IRL at St Lucie Inlet–dark water is mostly from Lake O  and is flowing over protected near shore reefs towards Jupiter Island, affecting some of  the most expensive real estate in the country. S. Florida’s present pluming system “constraints,” unless changed,  will promote this destruction indefinitely. (JTL)
The waters of the St Lucie fill with algae, sometimes toxic, during heavy release from Lake O. (Photo Jenny Flaugh 2013.)
The waters of the St Lucie fill with algae, sometimes toxic, during heavy release from Lake O. (Photo Jenny Flaugh 2013.)
Toxic algae, photo by Mary Radabaugh of St Lucie Marina.)
Toxic algae, photo by Mary Radabaugh of St Lucie Marina.)

 

Please use the map to refer to the numbers from top to bottom.

Slide 1 of the SFWMD power point presentation "Constraints to Sending Water South, 2015.)
Jeff Kivett’s slide summarizing present “constraints.” Most can be overcome.

 

______________________________________________________

Identifying and understanding system constraints is a fundamental step in identifying long-term solutions to minimizing destructive Lake releases to the estuaries.   Many constraints represent short-term, i.e., daily or weekly, restrictions, and are not absolute limitations to achieving long-term goals.   With proper planning, interim goals can be achieved in light of these short-term restrictions. Compiling the system constraints is particularly important to identifying long-term solutions for sending additional Lake water to the Everglades and minimizing destructive releases to the estuaries. A properly constructed “System Constraints” document provides fundamental engineering justification for the State to purchase available lands within the EAA in order to add to the storage and treatment necessary to achieve this long-term goal.

 

  1. Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee is a “dynamic constraint” since its importance in decision making is related to the time of year, the water level in Lake Okeechobee, and its structural integrity. At low water levels, the dike is not necessarily a constraint. Parts of the dike were constructed in the 1930s, and concerns over its structural integrity led to lowering the overall regulation schedule to the current interim operating schedule (LORS2008). It will be possible to hold more water in the lake, thus reduce the destructive discharges to the estuaries, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues the rehabilitation. The Corps has already spent $650 million in rehabilitation and they should speed this process up as fast as possible.

 

  1. Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule or LORS provides guidance on how much Lake water goes south and how much goes to the estuaries. The flexibility provided to the District and Corps to make lake operations decreases as lake water levels drop too low or rise too high, and as such, is also a “dynamic constraint.” LORS takes into consideration many factors, including the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike, the ecology of the lake ecosystem, and water supply needs of adjacent landowners. The current LORS (“LORS2008”) was developed in 2008 as an interim schedule in response to concerns about dike safety, and it is possible for it to be “reworked.” In light of the $650 million in rehabilitation work on the dike, the SFWMD could press for the Corps to revise LORS to provide greater storage in the Lake and reduce the destructive discharges to the estuaries. Senator Negron, Congressman Murphy and US Senator Rubio also have been breeching this subject. The Corps says that LORS will probably not be reworked until HHD is “fixed.” Another good reason to speed that up.

 

  1. Structure Capacity: “Structure capacity” refers to the amount of water that can be sent south during a relatively short timeframe (e.g., a day or a week) through the spillways and culverts located around Lake Okeechobee. The total structure capacity varies depending on Lake level and EAA canal level, allowing for different amounts of water to be sent south during different times of the year.  Water control plans for regions like the EAA are developed to achieve long-term goals in recognition of short-term structure capacities. FYI: It is best to send water south all year round, especially in the dry season when the stormwater treatment areas (STAs) and Everglades need water at the same time the Lake water levels need to drop for the health of the Lake ecology and in anticipation of the upcoming wet season.  Alternatives for minimizing estuary discharges that send additional Lake water south recognize this constraint, and include increased numbers and capacity of the structures along Lake Okeechobee.

 

  1. Canal conveyance capacity refers to the rate at which water can flow through a canal. During storm events, the EAA canals are used primarily to provide flood protection, however, these canals are not needed for flood protection every day of the year, and their capacity can then be used to deliver Lake water to the south. For this reason, canal conveyance capacity is not a fixed constraint in the context of making year-round deliveries of Lake water to the south. The canals could be enlarged to allow more water to go south. In addition, canal conveyance capacity could be increased as part of a flow-way/reservoir system constructed in the EAA on purchased option lands. This should be a goal with the new Amendment 1 funding.

 

  1. Species Protection. As water levels drop within the STAs during the dry season, migratory ground nesting birds (e.g., black necked stilts) and protected species (e.g., snail kites) find it conducive to build their nests. Once they nest in an STA, restrictions to protect the nests are put into place which severely limit the amount of water that can be sent through the STA. To discourage this nesting, the STAs’ Avian Protection Plan encourages a minimum depth of 6 inches. Achieving this operational guidance is a secondary benefit of treating Lake water in the STAs during the dry season. As an example, the only STA-5/6 with nesting snail kites at this time is STA-5/6 – coincidently the only STA that has not received Lake water.

 

  1. STA Treatment Capability. Overloading the treatment areas with nutrients from the EAA and Lake Okeechobee can adversely affect the ability of the STAs to optimally reduce phosphorus levels. However, as Lake water was delivered throughout the year at a relatively low rate, treatment performance has not diminished. In fact, STA performance has improved concurrent with the sustained delivery of historic large volumes of Lake releases to the south in a year-round operation. Over the last year, the outflow phosphorus concentration from STA-1E, STA-1W, STA-2 and STA-3/4 improved by 4 parts per billion (ppb), decreasing from 21 ppb to 17 ppb. The only STA that has not exhibited a performance improvement was STA-5/6 which did not receive any Lake water. In addition, District scientists indicate there have been no adverse impacts on the treatment vegetation due to Lake water.

 

  1. Pump Capacity: With the construction of the STAs, there is now more capacity to remove EAA floodwaters than ever before. This extra pumping capacity has also been used in the last year to significantly increase the delivery of Lake water to the Everglades. Many of the STA pumps are quite large and are not run 24/7. If smaller pumps can be built, additional Lake water could to be sent south “all day and night.”  Amendment 1 funding could be used to construct additional pumps, purchase lands and build additional STAs or other features.

 

  1. STA 5/6 Connectivity: There are 5 STAs, and STA-5/6, located in Hendry County, is the only STA that has not received Lake water in several years. This STA has the poorest performance of the STAs and is currently the only STA with nesting Snail Kites, which places strict limits on allowable water depths within the STA. While a physical connection exists between the Lake and the STA, the associated operations are complicated. Improving the connection to the Lake should be a priority so even more Lake water can be sent south while providing hydrologic benefits to the STA.  Portions of STA-5/6 can be sent directly to the northwest portion of WCA-3A, an area that needs Lake water to keep from drying out, without passing through the EAA canals.

 

  1. Wildlife Management Areas: Over 60,000 acres of public lands lie between the EAA and the lake, and water levels are managed to improve remnant Everglades habitat and are very important to wildlife. These areas are not being used to store and treat additional Lake water, and could be used to do so during the temporary periods of emergency releases from the Lake. The current operating schedule attempts to maintain water depths between 0 and 1 foot deep, which also provides suitable habitat for game hunting. The hunting community is our friend and we need to ask them for help during these temporary periods of emergency Lake releases.

 

  1. Water Level Limitation (Tree Islands & Wildlife): These areas, too, are very sensitive as the tree islands are sacred to our state’s native peoples/they are protected. The animals get on them when water is high to stay safe. It is only possible to send more water around them if it does not hurt the integrity of the tree islands. We should maintain good relationships with our native American friends; they have huge water problems too. Delivering treated Lake water to the WCAs throughout the year (not just during the wet season) and increasing out flows from the WCAs along the Tamiami Trail will help protect the remaining tree islands.

 

  1. LEC (Lower East Coast Canal Conveyance): These are canals that move local floodwaters and Lake O water east to replenish drinking water wellfields and send excess water into the Atlantic. They could be enlarged to increase their conveyance, although it would be better not to waste this water to the ocean, and instead, keep it within the south Florida system. As sea levels rise, additional Lake water will be needed to stave off saltwater intrusion in the coastal wellfields.

 

  1. Levee Safety: This earthen levee was built along the eastern boundary of the water conservation areas (WCAs) and keeps water from going into developed areas along the east coast. The safety of these levees places a constraint on the water depths within the WCAs. Water depths within the WCAs are a function of rainfall, evaporation, seepage and the movement of water into and out of the WCAs. Delivering treated Lake water to the WCAs throughout the year (not just during the wet season) and increasing out flows from the WCAs along the Tamiami Trail will help maintain safe water levels.

 

  1. Flow Limitation: The Tamiami Trail blocks the flow of water south into the Everglades National Park; more openings are being installed to increase this flow, and more could be put in for the future. Stringent limits of phosphorus are in place along the Tamiami Trail, and the State and Federal governments are currently discussing potential appropriate revisions. For the most recent year, the geometric mean of phosphorus was 5.6 ppb – well below the 10 ppb criterion.

 

  1. Flood Risk (G3273, South Dade Conveyance System): This area is around the city of Homestead, adjacent to the Everglades National Park.  Right now they are having serious high-groundwater issues, stemming from the desire to hold higher water levels in Park. This is being studied and groundwater levels may be exacerbated with sea level rise. Potential solutions include construction of a cut-off wall to minimize seepage from the Park.

 

*The bottom line is that resolving “constraints” is only limited by our will and imagination and they should not be presented as “unchangeable.”

 

 

The River Kidz’ Second Edition Workbooks are Here, Our Mission’s Quite Clear! SLR/IRL

River Kidz' Second Edition Workbook, presented by Marty the Manatee is here!
1.River Kidz’ Second Edition Workbook, 2015, presented by Marty the Manatee, is here!

River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition: (http://riverscoalition.org)

2-2-15: ELECTRONIC COPY via TC Palm: http://shar.es/1oqnzM

_______________________________________

The first verse of the River Kidz’ Song, written by River Mom, Nicole Mader, and the River Kidz goes:

“The River Kidz are here; Our mission’s quite clear; We love our river and ALL its critters; Let’s hold it all dear…”

The rest of this wonderful song can be found on page 36 of the new workbook below.

After over a year of creative preparation, and community collaboration, the River Kidz’ 2nd Edition Workbook is here!

After long contemplation this morning, I decided to share the entire booklet in my blog; but as WordPress, does not accept PDF files, I have photographed the entire 39 pages! So, not all pages are perfectly readable, but you can get the idea.

The really cool thing about this workbook is that it was written “by kids for kids,” (Jensen Beach High School students for elementary students). The high school students named the main character of the book after Marty Baum, our Indian Riverkeeper.  The students had met Mr Baum in their classroom (of Mrs Crystal Lucas) along with other presenters and field trip guides like the Army Corp of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and politicians speaking on the subject…

The books will be going into all second grade public school classrooms and many private school classrooms beginning in February of 2015. Teacher training  will be underway this February at the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen: (https://www.facebook.com/escmc?rf=132947903444315)

River Kidz will make the booklet available to everyone. Some will be given away, and some will be used to raise money at five dollars a booklet. To purchase the booklets, please contact Olivia Sala, administrative assistant for the Rivers Coalition at olivia@riverscoalition.org —-Numbers are limited.

In closing, enjoy the workbook and thank you to Martin County, Superintendent, Laurie J. Gaylord for encouraging the workbook and for her  beautiful  letter in the front of the booklet. Thank you to Martin County School Science Leader, Valerie Gaylord; teacher, Mrs Crystal Lucas; Mom, Mrs Nicole Mader; Sewall’s Point artist, Ms Julia Kelly; Southeastern Printing’s Bluewater Editions’ manager and River Dad, Jason Leonard; to River Kidz founders Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader, now 14/13; years old–they were 10 and 9 when this started,—- to the Knoph Foundation, and the Garden Club of Stuart, and to the hundreds of kids, parents, students, businesses, politicians, state and federal agencies, and especially to Southeastern Printing and the Mader Family who made this concept a reality through education, participation. (Please see page 34 below.)

Thank you to all those who donated money for the workbook campaign and to River Kidz over the years, and to the Stuart News, for Eve Samples’ column, and reporter, Tyler Treadway, for including the River Kidz in their “12 Days of Christmas” for two years in a row.  River Kidz is grateful to everyone has helped…this is a community effort!

River Kidz is now in St Lucie County and across the coast in Lee County….

Remember, all kids are “River Kidz,” even you!

—-The workbook is in loving memory of JBHS student, Kyle Conrad.

 

2.
2.
3.
3.
4.
4.
5.
5.
6.
6.
7.
7.
8.
8.
9.
9.
10.
10.
11.
11.
12.
12.
13.
13.
14.
14.
15.
15.
16.
16.
16.
17.
18.
18.
19.
19.
20.
20.
21.
21.
21.
22.
23.
23.
24.
24.
25.
25.
26.
26.
27.
27.
29.
28.
29.
29.
30
30.
31.
31.
32.
32.
33.
33.
34.
34.
35.
35.
36.
36.
37.
37.
38.
38.
39.
39.