Tag Archives: deer

The Incredible Wildlife, C-44 Reservoir/STA

-Road to the C-44 Reservoir pump station, speed limit is 25 miles per hour.Keeping you up to date…

I’ve had the chance to go back out to the C-44 Reservoir/Storm Water Treatment area on February 19, 2022, and it is a sight to see! The wildlife! I shared many of these photos on Facebook; I am posting on my blog for posterity. I hope you enjoy.

C-44 R/STA Wildlife video SFMWD

C-44 Reservoir Filling Up

SFWMD Press Release CERP C-44 R/STA ribbon-cutting, Dec.6, 2021  

-Empty apple snail found at C-44 R/STA evidence of Snail Kites!WHITE PELICANS

The drive to the Reservoir from Citrus Boulevard is long and slow; on your way you pass the Storm Water Treatment Area that consists of six cells. During an earlier visit, I saw numerous endangered Everglades’ Snail Kites flying over looking for apple snails. I learned at SFWMD Governing Board meetings that the birds had many successful nest here.

When I visited just last week, I saw a large flock of white pelicans! What a treat, I have never really seen them before. Maybe once in Sebastian.  They are huge and I noticed they have black markings under their wings. They were flying around in groups overhead, like modern-day pterodactyls.  So cool.

 

DEER

Almost immediately after seeing the white pelicans, I saw deer. I was careful to stay my distance and could see them running along the storm water treatment of Cell 2. They looked healthy and happy as there is plenty to eat and there is no hunting allowed at the Reservoir/STA.

INDIGO SNAKES

One of the main reasons you have to go slow is the federally threatened Eastern Indigo Snake. Snakes often warm themselves on the pavement. As a kid there were many indigo snakes in St Lucie Estates in Stuart. They are docile, large, and a striking blue/black in color, just beautiful. My mother used to bring them to my brother, sister and I to look at. Today there are hardly any. I saw no indigos during my C-44 Reservoir/STA visit but I did see a friendly black racer. He or she was warming right at the base of the pump station at the reservoir.-Panoramic view of the giant C-44 Reservoir. About two and a half miles across in every direction.

ALLIGATORS

Alligators are also in on the new real estate and can been seen warming themselves along the edge of the Reservoir. This photo is by Sean Cooley, SFWMD Communications Director who I was with this day. These alligators must have walked up a thirty foot berm and then down into the reservoir! “Build and they will come!” Love it!

-The ACOE is filling up the C-44 Reservoir to its second level. Five feet each time, for three times, to reach fifteen feet. The reservoir will be monitored for safety and integrity throughout 2022.

-Pump Station S-401 brings water in from C-44 Canal-A view from the top of reservoir’s edge looking east over pump station confectioning canal, and STAs in distance-Sean Cooley and I at the reservoir as it fills up. Sean is communications director for SFWMD and previously worked for Audubon.Evening falls…the alligators fall into sleep to awake for a new and wonderful day at C-44 Reservoir/STA.

WATCH THIS GREAT SFWMD YouTube  Wildlife Video of C-44R/STA

The Once Incredibly Long Reach of the Loxahatchee…

Excerpt Loxahatchee, 1839 Map of the Seat of War, Florida, Gen. Zachary Taylor
Page 48, Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy 2011

“The Loxahatchee River,” Seminole for “River of Turtles.” What a beautiful name. A name, a river, I really know very little about…

Let’s learn…

First, we must note that that today’s Loxahatchee River, located just south of Stuart, is the antithesis of the St Lucie River. Whereas the St Lucie’s watershed has been immensely expanded, the Loxahatchee has been amputated. 

Over the next few days, I will be sharing about the Loxahatchee, a river that partially lies in Martin County. However the majority of this once great river lies in Palm Beach County, home to over 1.2 million people! 

Let’s go back….

First, we have to think about where the Loxahatchee originally flowed, before drainage. The Loxahatchee’s story is an incredible one as the Loxahatchee was connected to the Everglades.

Look at the image below from Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy. Note the red drawn outline that represents the natural edge of the Everglades. Now look at the “arm,” the red formation in the upper right hand side of the image. This is what is called the Loxahatchee Slough, now gone, but today its remnant is Grassy Waters. This gigantic slough was indeed connected to the Everglades and in high water times the flow from the Everglades rose to swell inside the Loxahatchee Slough feeding the Loxahatchee River. Incredible! Today this gone. It, like everything else in South Florida has been channelized, drained, for agriculture and development. We drive over these now dry lands thinking this is the natural state. It is not, these lands were once a mosaic of the Everglades, our River of Grass.

Excerpt: SFWMD Facilities Map

So think about this for a moment.

The Loxahatchee  River “ran” from the coast, near Jupiter, to the Everglades. The river has been minimized, the slough is compartmentalized, but one remaining piece of this Loxahatchee Reach to the Everglades still alive is today’s Aurthur R. Marshal Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

This important refuge is easy to recognize as it is the “top oval,” in the images.

It is considered” the last northernmost portion of the unique Everglades. With over 221 square miles of habitat, the Loxahatchee Refuge is home to the American alligator and critically endangered Everglades snail kite. In any given year, as many as 257 specie son birds may use the Refuge’s diverse wetland habitats.”

These lands/waters are owned by the state through the South Florida Water Management District but are managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. You will find the most intact remaining tree islands here. Deer and other wildlife live on these tree islands and sometimes in the early morning as the sun rises, the deer stand on the levee while bicyclists go by!

To the South Florida Water Management District the refuge is known and functions as Water Conservation Area 1, just west of Parkland, Florida. 

When I drive south on Highway 95 from Stuart to the South Florida Water Management District, I often wonder what these lands will look like one hundred years from now. Quite a thought isn’t it? What do you think? Who knows what will happen; but let’s continue to get to know the Loxahatchee! 

Southern Path to the Loxahatchee River: Time Capsule Flight, Todd Thurlow: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/history-of-the-loxahatchee-river/)