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.
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.
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!
-St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon March 27, 2021. Photos Dr Scott Kuhns.As we all know, the ACOE began discharging 500 cubic feet per second of Lake Okeechobee water to the St Lucie River on March 6, 2021. At this time the lake was at 15.23 feet. There were/are great concern as wet season is rapidly approaching…
Since March 6th, Ed and I have been documenting the discharges for 2021 so that visually we have a record of changes as time goes on. We have been doing this since 2013’s Lost Summer that spurred a River Movement that turned over the tables, has evolved in many directions, and continues to work on changing Florida water policy today.
In today’s blog post it not Ed and I, but friend Dr Scott Kuhns who is documenting the discharges. Unlike me addicted to my iPhone, Scott uses a professional level camera. Wow!
Presently, Ed’s plane is in the shop so I am very grateful to pilot Steve Schimming and pilot/photographer Kuhns, for filling in and taking these excellent aerials yesterday, March 27, 2021 around 10:30 am. It was a full incoming tide with full moon rising today, March 28th. The water looks beautiful. The photos even reveal the near shore reefs!
Such conditions can push back against 500cfs coming from S-80 as presently there are no discharges from canals C-23 and C-24 because it is bone dry right now. Lake Okeechobee is evaporating and is now at 14.56 feet. This remains high. Please view the information I have included at the end of this blog for details of conditions from Florida Oceanographic as well as SFWMD & ACOE content. No discharges are good discharges but it is wonderful to see these blue aerial photographs as Spring is sprung and wildlife is procreating! Hopefully oysters, fish, and bird life will have a good season and mature before summer storms are arrive.
In closing, thank you Scott and Steve for a classic view from the Cub also known as the “River Warrior II;” so good to see her! She was and remains the “original!”
~Documentation St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, March 27, 2021. Scott Kuhns & Steve Schimming reporting from the Piper Super Cub.
-Over nearshore reefs off Peck’s Lake, all photos by Dr Scott Kuhns.-Wide views St Lucie Inlet State Park and St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.-Sailfish Point and St Lucie Inlet note near shore reef! Beautiful! Also damaged by discharges as documented by Harbor Branch. -Great shot of nearshore reefs off the St Lucie Inlet.-Looking towards Stuart and the Crossroads over St Lucie Inlet.-Part of Sandbar area. Could that be seagrass coming up?-Opening to Jupiter Narrows. Note dredge.-Sailfish Flats still devoid of seagrass.-Sewall’s Point between St Lucie River on west and Indian River Lagoon on east-Over south Sewall’s Point looking towards Stuart -Hell’s Gate, bottleneck between Stuart and Sewall’s Point, St Lucie River.-Witham Field, Stuart and looking west.-Below: Over Langford Landing that still looks like an atom bomb hit after five years of development-after they tore down all of Francis Langford’s beautiful trees and flattened the historic bluff that pirates used to use for an outlook. I hope they plant some vegetation soon! Aggg!-Roosevelt Bride over St Lucie River.-Looking west towards the Roosevelt Bridge, Palm City and Rio in foreground. South Fork and Beginning of North Fork visible-Another view of Langford Landing with no trees after five years, the former home of the famous and generous Frances Langford.-Langford Landing marina is filling up and is located at the merging point of north Sewall’s Point and Rio. This would look a lot better with some stately trees.-Here we see the Harborage Marina near the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart/Rio. River water is not blue here as flushing is poor compared to St Lucie Inlet. The St Lucie has been ravaged by discharges from C-44, Lake O, C-23 and C-24 beginning in the 1920s.-Looking west over the Roosevelt Bridge note C-23 Canal in distance that separates Martin and St Luice County. Over-drainage is the root of Florida’s water problems today. As a farmer once told me, “We spent 100 years taking the water off the land, and we’ll spend 100 years putting it back on…”
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.”
Family friend Scott Kuhns is a great dentist, pilot, and photographer. For years, Scott has been one of our “eyes in the sky,” taking flight over the St Lucie River-Indian River Lagoon -and west out to Lake Okeechobee.
Today, Sunday, May 3, 2020, before noon, Scott forwarded these striking photos. He wrote “I can see some algae at Port Mayaca.”
When I first reviewed the impressive photographs -coast to lake- I found it hard to believe, but indeed looking very closely, there is a wisp of algae close to S-308 at Port Mayaca in Lake Okeechobee.
Can you see it? When things are so beautiful, like right now, it’s easy to miss!
Thanks Scott for your continued service “River Warrior” extraordinaire! We will continue to keep an eye on the water as we move closer to hurricane season.
ST LUCIE INLET, CROSSROADS OF INDIAN AND ST LUCIE RIVERS DIVIDED BY SEWALL’S POINT, ~ALL PHOTOS BY DR SCOTT KUHNS
JUPITER NARROWS & ATLANTIC OCEAN SOUTH OF ST LUCIE INLET
C-44 CANAL at ST LUCIE LOCKS AND DAM, S-80
S-308, CONNECTION OF C-44 CANNAL to LAKE OKEECHOBEE
VERY TIP of S-308 with ALGAE WISPS SLIGHTLY VISIBLE, BUT DEFINITELY THERE
INSIDE STRUCTURE S-308, PORT MAYACA LAKE OKEECHOBEE ALONG C-44 CANAL. S-53 ON ANOTHER CANAL. ALSO FPL COOLING POND SURROUNDED ON WEST BY WHAT APPEARS TO BE SUGARCANE FIELDS
Today we will get a science lesson and see some new shocking photos…
Eutrophication: (Ecology.) (of a lake) characterized by an abundant accumulation of nutrients that support a dense growth of algae and other organisms, the decay of which depletes the shallow waters of oxygen in summer.
Today’s blog shares new aerial photos by Dr Scott Kuhns taken 6-22-16 of the extensive blue-green algae cyanobacteria bloom on the western side of the C-44 Canal being sent through S-80. The photos show a condition caused by mixture of polluted Lake Okeechobee and C-44 agricultural basin water filled with an overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus primarily from decades of intense agricultural farming north, south and around Lake Okeechobee. Scientists have documented this condition of “eutrophication” since the late 1960s and predicted it would worsen unless serious corrections were put in place.
These nutrients, now out of control, feed algae blooms and have caused the eutrophication (or overabundance of algae growth) of Lake Okeechobee. The St Lucie River is now experiencing this due to our manmade connection to the lake. Our agricultural canals of C-44, C-23, C-24, and C-25 are culprits too. The giant releases from the lake and canals make our river fresh and seeded with algae water. Sometimes growing toxic.
The bloom on the west side of S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam was first documented by local activist this time in late May. The ACOE has been dumping since January 29, 2016. The river is now almost entirely fresh. Perfect for blooms.
Yesterday the St Lucie River went up in algae with multiple reports throughout the entire river from Palm City, Rio, Stuart, Jensen, and Sewall’s Point. Could there be a correlation considering the bloom started in the eutrophic lake ? How could there not be.
Dr Kuhns’ comment?
“Ridiculous!!! What does it take?”
We should not be connected to the lake. Agricultural canals should be redirected. There must be storage to treat this algae water. It should not be sent into our estuary destroying property and the environment.
I am supposed to be on a blog break, but I did not want to miss the chance for Dr Scott Kuhns’ photos to be documented. Dr Kuhns has a much better camera than Ed or myself who use our iPhones. These photos were taken on Saturday, October 3, around 11:00am, 2015, with a Nikon D750.
So far this year, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon has avoided the releases from Lake Okeechobee, and we were fortune that Hurricane Joaquin did not hit Florida which certainly would have filled up that lake. Nevertheless, we have been getting the discharges from regional canals C-23, C-24, C-44 and C-25 up in Ft Pierce.
While this fresh water is running off Martin, St Lucie, Okeechobee, and Indian River County, and being dumped to tide through our ailing rivers, Lake Okeechobee is filling up from the Kissimmee and other tributaries.
Lake Okeechobee’s level today is at 14.77 NGVD. (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml) Hurricane Season officially ends November 30th….When the lake gets over approximately 15.5 feet there is a high chance its waters will be directed through C-44’s S-308 and S-80 to the St Lucie River/IRL by the SFWMD and the ACOE.
Presently according to NOAA, there is an El Nino (complicated, but basically a wet “winter” predicted/fewer hurricanes in summer) so this 2016 winter and Florida-spring, during what is normally the “dry season,” it may be rainy.
We must keep an eye on Lake O’s level every day, all year-long. I would still like to get a bank in Stuart to sponsor a “Lake O. Level Screen,” next to the temperatures….like they do in Clewiston. Like Clewiston, the lake affects our lives and livelihoods along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon on an everyday level—– whether we can “see” it or not.
Thank you Dr Scott Kuhns for the quality aerial photographs! Let’s keep documenting, learning, advocating, and affecting change.