Tag Archives: documenting the discharges

Day 35 ~Discharges to St Lucie Stop, April 10, 2021

Documenting the Discharges 2021

On Friday, April 9, the Army Corp of Engineers announced it would halt discharges to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon on Saturday, April 10. The Corp has been discharging from Lake Okeechobee since March 6th. Today Lake Okeechobee sits at 14.14 feet. Please read above link for details.

These aerials were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, yesterday, Saturday, April 10, 2021 at approximately 1:30 pm during an outgoing tide, from 3000 feet over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, and 1500 feet over Lake Okeechobee and the C-44 Canal.

There have been documented reports of algae near Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee as well as on the the west coast -April 8. Ed’s photos from April 10 reveal some algae in C-44 canal near the railroad bridge just inside the S-308 structure, but none was visible in Lake O near S-308 from the altitude of the airplane.

Ed, myself, and the River Warrior crew will continue flights documenting the visual condition of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Always watching. Always sharing.

When we are not flying, you can follow along  electronically via my brother Todd Thurlow’s website eyeonlakeo. 

J&E

-Sandbar and barren (no visible seagrass) Sailfish Flats area of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Visually, water is a mixture of blue and brown, mostly transparent, near St Lucie Inlet. -Discharges exiting St Lucie Inlet over nearshore reefs. It will take a few days for the river to clear up. -At Lake Okeechobee, Port Mayaca, S-308 Structure to C-44 Canal leading to St Lucie River-C-44 Canal at railroad bridge just inside S-308 structure. Algae visible on right side. -C-44 at St Lucie Locks and Dam S-80 Structure AKA “The 7 Gates of Hell.”

Information:

Florida Oceanographic Society  WQ Report “B” March 31-April 7, 2021

SFWMD Operations Position Statement April 6-April 12, 2021 Ops_Position_Statement__Apr_06_Apr_12_2021

Todd Thurlow’s website EyeonLakeO 

To learn more and sign a petition to stop the discharges:  RiversCoalition.org 

28 Days After the Discharges~2021

Documenting the Discharges, Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Since last week, the ACOE has lowered discharges to the St Lucie River from 500 cubic feet per second to 300. The lake is now down to 14.44 feet from over 16. Blue-green algae has been spotted in the C-44 canal near S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam. This canal connects Lake O to the St Lucie River and blue-green algae is always of concern as reported my Max Chesnes of TCPalm. Ed and I saw no algae at S-308 on Lake Okeechobee from the air. The water does have an odd hue-perhaps due to wind. We did not get over S-80 due to weather conditions.

This go around, the ACOE began discharging on March 6, 2021 to the St Lucie River, so yesterday, when these photos were taken it was 28 days after the discharges. The aerials were taken from about 3000 feet, at approximately 3:30pm, on an outgoing tide. Conditions were  windy, cloudy, and all  waters were stirred-up.

Please note federal, state, and local links on subject following  photographs.

~Wishing all a Happy Easter and Spring time! See you next week. Ed & I will continue to document the discharges.

J&E

Running images of S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee and over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near Sewall’s Point the dividing peninsula of these waters-merging at the Crossroads and Sailfish Flats near the St Lucie Inlet. Photos Ed Lippisch.

USACE to reduce Lake Okeechobee releases beginning April 3, 2021.
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT
Published April 2, 2021: (https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/2560023/usace-to-reduce-lake-okeechobee-releases-beginning-april-3/)

-Notice of Algae (https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Navigation/Notices-to-Navigation/Notice-to-Navigation-2021-007-Okeechobee-Waterway-Algae-Notice/)

(B) Florida Oceanographic Society WQ Report March 31, 2021:(https://mailchi.mp/floridaocean/waterqualityreport2021-1215216?e=0a1cb67484)

South Florida Water Management District operations recommendation to the ACOE March 30-April 5 2021. Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_30_April_05_2021

SFWMD March 31, 2021 visual water levels update and newsletter sign up.

Martin County Health Department Blue Green Algae St Lucie River, April 2, 2021.

Canals killing the St Lucie River-

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image connected to Lake Okeechobee. Note S-308 at Lake O and S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam.

15 Days After the Discharges~2021

Ed and I continue to  document the discharges by air – “a picture speaks 1000 words…” ACOE continues discharging from Lake Okeechobee at 500 cubic feet per second as reported last week and week before.  Lake Okeechobee is going down, and today, 3-22-21, sits at 14.79 feet.

Previous Posts:  

Day Before the Discharges, March 5, 2021

7 Days After the Discharges

Information: 

~Most recent ACOE Periodic Scientist Call, 3-10-16: Periodic_Scientists_Call_2021-03-09

~SFWMD 3-16-21: Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_16_22_2021

~Florida Oceanographic Society  WQ Report, 3-11-21/3-17-21

Aerials taken over St Lucie River/Southern Indian River Lagoon on 3-21-21, 12.30 pm, incoming tide,  over St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island, Martin County, Florida. One can see the effects with sediment cloud discharging into Atlantic Ocean and darkening waters. Nonetheless, salinity conditions are safe for oysters and Florida Oceanographic has water quality at a B-. Please read information section above for details.

See you next week. 

J&E 

Aerials 3-21-21 E&J Lippisch

 

 

 

 

Day Before the Discharges, March 5, 2021

Yesterday, Friday, March 5, 2021, around 3:30pm, my husband Ed and I, took a flight over St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon. We knew we needed to document because word on the street had been that there was a good chance, with Lake Okeechobee over 15.00 feet, and rainy season approaching, the SFWMD and ACOE would soon be recommending a special HAB DEVIATION-discharging to the estuaries. Since 1948, the two agencies have worked together to manage the Central and South Florida System

In any case, when Ed and I heard the announcement 4:48pm, less than an hour after arriving home from our flight, -that the ACOE would open S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam from Lake Okeechobee- “tomorrow, March 6th,” we were speechless. 

“Wow. Thank God we got up in the plane,” I said to Ed. 

Today, I offer our St Luice/Indian River aerials as a visual day-before-discharges baseline.  Of course I am terribly disappointed. Ed keeps telling me I need to cheer up. I doubt that  I will, but I can say that  I am grateful that now water will also start going south, and that natural resources are being taken into consideration by the agencies. Unfortunately, there are not so many natural resources left. 

~As we have since 2013, Ed and I will continue to document the discharges. 

Please read the ACOE March 5, 2021  announcement to begin Lake O discharges to the estuaries.

For the technical, please read the SFWMD Operation Position Statement March 4, 2021: Ops_Position_Statement__Mar_02_08_2021

SFWMD image: C&SFFCP’s canals to the St Lucie. The western C-44 and Lake Okeechobee had no historic connection the the St Lucie River. The first five photos were taken in the area of the St Lucie Inlet over Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points. The flats presently are devoid of seagrasses. -Looking east over the St Lucie/Indian River estuary from Stuart to the Atlantic Ocean.-Looking south to Jupiter Narrows of the Indian River Lagoon. The St Lucie enters around the peninsula of Sewall’s Point. -St Lucie Inlet and “Crossroads/” Where the St Lucie and Indian River meet and exit the St Lucie Inlet.  -Close up of St Lucie Inlet and Crossroads.-Looking north, up the Indian River Lagoon.  -Jupiter Narrows looking south over Peck’s Lake. Note a controlled burn in Hobe Sound in the distance. -North fork of the Loxahatchee River lies in Hobe Sound and Jupiter just south of the St Lucie River. -Circling back over the St Lucie Inlet near St Lucie Inlet State Park on Jupiter Island. Here you can clearly see the waters that lie between Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point at the Crossroads of the SLR/IRL. -Looking west over Sewall’s Point and Witham Field towards Stuart one sees the north and south fork of the St Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon on the west side of the peninsula. Look hard and you will see the straight line of the C-23 canal-the boarder of Martin and St Lucie Counties.

Milky Waters

~St Lucie Inlet with Crossroads of SLR/ILR at Sewall’s Point Ed’s February 3, 2021 photos of the St Lucie River & Indian River Lagoon at the St Lucie Inlet are unusual. Taken during cold temperatures and windy conditions at 2:15pm – at “dead high tide,” they show the incoming blue waters with a milky quality juxtaposed to the darker estuarine. This combination is one I have never seen, ever. Ed and I have been documenting  since 2013. When I first saw these photos, I posted a few on Facebook stating: “Interesting…”

Later, my brother Todd wrote back: 

“I just saw Ed’s pictures of the river.  When we were out last weekend the St. Lucie was that milky blue.  With the pounding waves offshore, the water was full of suspended sand.  You would think that sand is actually beneficial when it is transported inside the estuaries to settle on top of the muck bottom.  I did YouTube videos of the Bahamas after Dorian when the entire Bahama bank and outer reefs were that same milky blue.”

So that’s what’s going on! Interesting! 

Today I share more of Ed’s recent photos. They are taken from 4000+ feet which gives a much broader perspective and highlights the beauty of the St Lucie Inlet region in spite our struggle to revive our seagrasses and protect our water from discharges, especially those of Lake Okeechobee. On February 3, when these aerials were taken, the ACOE was not discharging having halted January 9th, 2021 after 3 months. At the present moment the ACOE does not have plans to discharge from Lake Okeechobee. The lake is presently sitting at 15.37 feet. 

This could be problematic for the St Lucie come summer…

*Thank you to my husband, Ed Lippisch for taking these photos! 

 

 

Documenting the Discharges, December 2020

Documenting the Discharges, December 2020

Eyeonlakeo

I posted most of these photos on Facebook, but today I will give explanations and document on my blog. From above, our St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon remains beautiful, but we must be sensitive to the losses beneath the waters. These aerials were taken during  a “slack tide” between 12 and 2pm on December 9, 2020 by my husband, Ed Lippisch. December 9th was the last of five days the ACOE stopped discharging from Lake Okeechobee; however S-80 was discharging “local runoff.” (Click on chart above.) Unfortunately, due to high lake level and lack of storage reservoirs, since these aerials were taken, the ACOE has begun ramping up Lake discharges once again. 

Below Lawrence Glenn of the South Florid Water Management gives a comprehensive ecological report covering low-salinities and loss of oyster spat in the St Lucie and other aspects, positive and negative, for the entire Everglades system.

Below is an explanation of aerials documenting discharges December 9, 2020. All photos by Ed Lippisch.

-S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam discharging local basin S-80 runoff on December 9, 2020

S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee closed on December 9, 2020. No algae visible. 

-Plume of along Jupiter Island south of St Lucie Inlet

-Dispersing plume in Atlantic Ocean just past Peck’s Lake in Jupiter Narrows

-St Lucie Inlet -St Lucie Inlet State Park, Sailfish Point, Sewall’s Point, Stuart, Jensen 

-Looking north to Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island. This area has greatly degraded since 2013 as far as loss of seagrasses and fishing opportunities 

-The area below, especially around Sailfish Point, was once considered “the most biodiverse estuary in North America” as documented, first, by Grant Gilmore

-This photo reveals seagrass loss across many areas of the Sailfish Flats 

-Another view between Sewall’s and Sailfish Point, a seeming desert…

-Close up, Sailfish Point 

-Sewall’s Point, east Indian River Lagoon 

-Sewall’s Point is a peninsula surrounded by the St Lucie River on west side, and Indian River Lagoon on east side 

Ed Lippisch, selfie. Thank you Ed! 

As you can tell, I have lots of people helping me. Whether it is Ed flying or my brother Todd who provides an incredible easy to read website called EyeonLakeO. You can click below to check it out. The more we know, the more we document, the more we can overturn the destruction of our beloved estuary…

Eyeonlakeo website by my brother, Todd Thurlow. 

Documenting the Discharges, 3-17-19

*Please note all comments become public record.

1.Ed and the Super Cub 2019. Our “eye in the sky” since 2013.

2.Tip of South Sewall’s Point looking north to Hell’s Gate. Witham Field, Stuart, west.

We continue to document the discharges…

Yesterday, 3-17-19, my husband, Ed, flew the Super-Cub over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon ~ twenty-one days after the ACOE started discharging from Lake Okeechobee on February 24, 2019.

When Ed arrived home, I asked, “So how was it?”

“Brown,” he replied.

“Like dark coffee brown, or kind of like that weird mixed greenish-brown?”

He looked at me, and smiled. “Jacqui, it was brown.”

“OK, I said, I’ll take a look at your photos.”

So here are the photos from Ed’s flight from Witham Field in Stuart, over Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island, then out west  to S-80 to see the “Seven Gates of Hell” where you can see the one gate discharging now at an average of 250 cubic feet per second, down from an average of 500 cubic feet per second. As you can see from the SFWMD chart below, there has been other runoff locations as well, but the majority is from Lake Okeechobee.

ACOE Press Release: 3-14-19, ACOE, showing decision to go to 250 cfs to SLR/IRL. ACOE says they are “pulse releasing,” however, these are not the “pulse releases” we are familiar with during prior discharge destruction events, as the number never goes to 0, it just goes up and down. https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1784910/corps-to-continue-lake-o-release-plan-with-minor-adjustments/

Thank you to my husband Ed, for showing us that right now, the river is brown.

ACOE, Periodic Scientists Call, 3-12-19, http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm

 

3. Approaching the SL Inlet, algae covered remaining seagrass beds

4.Sandbar formation inside of SL Inlet

5.Blurry but shows boats at the Sandbar and that weird green brown color

6.Sailfish Point and SL Inlet algae covered remaining seagrass beds

7. Ernie Lyons Bridge, IRL with SL inlet and Hutchinson Island in distance

8. S-80 along C-44 Canal or the Seven Gate of Hell, boats going through locks, “250” cubic feet per second coming though

The following phots are of Caulkins Water Farm, a former orange grove that died due to citrus greening that now holds water from the C-44 Canal. This is a wonderful thing! As local ag-man Mr. Hadad, told me once, “Jacqui we spent 100 years taking the water off the land, and we’ll spend the next 100 years putting it back on.” The later photos are of S-80 again with view of C-44 canal leading west to Lake O.(https://www.facebook.com/CaulkinsWaterFarm/)

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The following photos are when Ed headed back to Witham Field going once again over the St Lucie Inlet over the Atlantic Ocean. You can see the water looks blue north of Sailfish Point north of the inlet with nearshore reefs visible. Plume is also visible south of St Lucie Inlet. Also in photos is the winding Jupiter Narrows and St Lucie River in the area of Stuart and Rio. You can see Langford Landing with scraped orange soil and docks built into river still under construction since 2015.

Thank you to my husband Ed, our eye in the sky!

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Documenting the Discharges, SLR/IRL 2-24-19

*Please note comments become public record.

S-80 looking towards Lake Okeechobee one sees discharges coming through gates, photo Ed Lippisch 2-24-19

These aerial photos were taken yesterday, 2-24-19, by my husband, Ed Lippisch. The first two are of S-80, the structure at St Lucie Locks and Dam that drains water from the surrounding C-44 basin and also allows water to enter the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon from Lake Okeechobee.

On Friday, the ACOE announced it would be working up to 500 cubic feet per second to be discharged from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River for possibly the next three weeks. These photos are meant as a starting point, and Ed and I will continue, weather allowing, to document the discharges. The discharge numbers can be viewed on the ACOE website but they are alway a day behind: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm Website: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil

According to Corps’ PR, their theory in doing this is to lower lake stage through structures they control S-80 (SL) east; & S-77; (Cal.) west, by dumping non-algae water now, rather than cyanobacteria laden water during summer later. 
News Release: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1764322/corps-takes-action-to-lower-lake-okeechobee-in-advance-of-wet-season/fbclid/IwAR3XE7bPGMw8nscQwlVO7Rf6VowbwG2In1XznVY42rSbfgjgMTsO2F2N5yE/

Structures and canals south of LO 2013 SFWMD map showing canals. The ACOE controls the structures discharging to the estuaries on east and west and the SFWMD controls those going south.

The four gates south of the lake are exclusively controlled by the South Florida Water Management District. The following is provided to check data:https://www.sfwmd.gov/science-data/current-water-conditions?fbclid=IwAR3CSQnkhhAJvXs1qxP-kGg728CLDewcgoDBo81GJf8URtwWURFnq7XjtAA. Here is the full structure and facilities list, it’s a whopper: https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/facility_map_overview.pdf

Ed and I plan on taking another flight next week to see how these discharges have visually affected the St Lucie and will do so until they are ended.

S-80 of the C-44 Canal is connected to the South Fork of the St Lucie River, here looking towards Stuart and Atlantic Ocean, note discharges coming through gates. Ed Lippisch 2-24-19

Beaches south of St Lucie Inlet by Peck’s Lake, (being-renourished). This area is also known as the Jupiter Narrows. Photo Ed Lippisch 2-14-19.

View of Sailfish Flats over Hutchinson Island, 2-24-19 Ed Lippisch

St Lucie Inlet where SLR and IRL meet at Atlantic Ocean, 2-24-19 Ed Lippisch

SL Inlet showing Jupiter Island south and Hutchinson Island north, 2-14-19 Ed Lippisch

Blue-Green Algae Present, Lake O Bloom Subsiding, SLR/IRL

 

Documenting the discharges, is critical whether by air, on the ground, or from outer space.

The two videos above were taken by me over S-308 at Port Mayaca,  the opening from  Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River, and over S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam on Friday, July 20th, 2018. The satellite images below, my brother Todd Thurlow provided, were taken the same day.

It is clear that the blue-green algae/cyanobacteria, covering, at its height, 90% of Lake Okeechobee, has run its course and bloomed. Now, as the “flower falls,” we see what’s  left.

As seen in the aerials, and what the satellite images cannot portray, is that the algae is still there just lessened. Flying out over the lake a light green algae film remains over the water, a pastel shadow of its once flourescent self.

7-20-18, light colored algae, Lake O off eastern shoreline, JTL

The seven aerials at the end of this blog post were taken by my husband, Ed,  this afternoon, July 22, 2018 around 4pm. The tremendous green shock is gone, but squiggly lines of nutrient bubbles remain, and blue-green algae visibly lines the eastern shoreline to be sucked into the gates…

Will another gigantic bloom arise? Another flower to replace the dropped blooms of yesterday? Only time shall tell…

One thing is certain. Nutrient pollution (Phosphorus and Nitrogen) is destroying Florida’s waters, and unless non-point pollution, especially fertilizer runoff from the agriculture community, is addressed, faster than Florida’s Basin Management Action Plan requires- pushed out 30  or more years, we are will be living with reoccurring blooms indefinitely.

A great book on this subject is Clean Coastal Waters, Understanding and Reducing the Effects of Nutrient Pollution, National Reaseach Council 2000, https://www.nap.edu/catalog/9812/clean-coastal-waters-understanding-and-reducing-the-effects-of-nutrient

Read below how Florida is trying to fix its impaired waters; nice try but no urgency. As we all know, there is no time to wait.

Florida Dept. of Environmental Protections Basin Management Action Plan: https://floridadep.gov/dear/water-quality-restoration/content/basin-management-action-plans-bmaps

 

Sentinel-2 L1C, SWIR on 2018-07-20.jpg 1,638×1,637 pixels, courtesy of Todd Thurlow. Visit his site here: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/%5B/

Sentinel-2 L1C, True color on 2018-07-20.jpg 1,668×1,668 pixels, courtesy of Todd Thurlow. Visit Todd’s site here: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/

Ed Lippisch S-308 at Port Mayaca, the opening form Lake O to C-44 Canal and SLR, 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Ed Lippisch 7-22-18

Timely quote for thought by the late Mr Nathaniel Reed 1933-2018

“…The fact that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Everglades Foundation have at last identified every polluter in the vast Okeechobee headwaters is an astonishing feat. The sheer number of polluters is mind-boggling.

The failure to enforce the possibly unenforceable standard (best management practices) shines through the research as testament to the carelessness of our state governmental agencies about enforcing strict water quality standards within the watershed.

There is not a lake, river nor estuary in Florida that is not adversely impacted by agricultural pollution.

As one of the authors of the 1973 Clean Water Act, I attempted late in the process to include agricultural pollution in the bill, but the major congressional supporters of the pending bill felt that by adding controls on agricultural pollution the bill would fail.

Now, 54 years later, fertilizer and dairy wastes are the main contributors to the pollution of the waters of our nation. Algal blooms are all too common even on the Great Lakes.”

Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Stuart News, 2017