Tag Archives: eye in the sky

No Visible Algae in Lake O? Really Hunny?

This past Saturday, July 25, 2020, my husband, Ed, flew across the state to Ft Meyers  to visit pilot and fellow River Warrior, Dave Stone. Along for the ride were two other friends, Scott Kuhns and Don Page. 

Before the men flew off, I asked the question, like a tape-recorded message: “Could you please take some photos of the algae in Lake Okeechobee?”

Sure,” Ed replied. “But we’re just going straight across.”

The afternoon went by, and when Ed returned home, my first question was, “Did you see any algae?”

“No,” he answered. “Didn’t you look at the photos I shared?”

I looked at my phone and clicked on the 52 photos. “No visible algae in Lake Okeechobee? Really hunny?

…Where did you guys fly?”

Ed took a long breath. “I told you Jacqui- straight across.”  

“What was your altitude?” I shot out. 

“About 2000 feet; why are you asking?” Ed looked at me with wide eyes.  

“Were you talking to Scott and Don so much that you didn’t really look?” I inquired. 

Ed looked me straight in the eye: “Jacqui, we were ALL looking. I told you, there was none, zero, nada.”

“Hmm.” I mused. “Why then aren’t there any photos of the central or west side of the lake?” 

“Because there wasn’t any algae!” His final reply.  

So today, I share Ed’s photos.

They highlight Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee, C-44 Canal, St Lucie Inlet, Hutchinson Island (with a lot of seaweed), Sailfish Flats (seagrass kind of coming back), and Sewall’s Point (with very little seagrass around Bird Island.) Nonetheless, you’ll see that the water itself looks better all around.

And the algae?

It is wonderful that Ed and his friends saw no visible algae.” Really great.

“Visible” though is the key word here. Cyanobacteria is known for its ability to move up and down in the water column. Sunlight is key. My brother Todd’s website eyeonlakeo reveals daily pass satellites Terra, Aqua -there was heavy cloud cover over Lake Okeechobee parts of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

In 2016, the year the lake was 90% covered in algae, Dr Edward Philips of the University of Florida Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Science was quoted in an Okeechobee publication. I thought it explained all so well, I wrote it down: 

“Cyanobacteria have gas vesicles which act as buoyancy control devices. The vesicles can be expanded and filled with gas, causing the cyanobacteria to float on the surface, or deflated, which causes the cyanobacteria to descend into the water column. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on.”

No Visible Algae in LakeO? Really Hunny? 

Ed and I will back up in the air again soon! 🙂

~Your Eye in the Sky,

Jacqui and Ed 

Port Mayaca at Lake Okeechobee

C-44 Canal and S-80. Now closed. 

St Luice Inlet and Hutchinson Island 

Sailfish Flats between Hutchison Island and Sewall’s Point.

Eutrophic Lake Okeechobee

My husband, Ed Lippisch, flew today from Clewiston to Port Mayaca, 6-10-20, 9:30 am, and this was the view of all southern Lake Okeechobee: giant steaks of cyanobacteria also known as blue-green algae. Unfortunately, pictures such as these have become commonplace and definitely existed years before we realized the frequency or the accompanying scary health issues.

Algae was throughout lake from Clewiston to Port Mayaca. EL

Eutrophication and non-point pollution,” words found in Florida’s scientific literature since the 1970s, have documented and warned of the deteriorating state of Florida’s water quality -due especially to agricultural fertilizer and residential fertilizer runoff. Recently elected Governor Ron DeSantis and the SFWMD have very much addressed this issue and I encourage all governmental agencies to become even more strict regarding such. We must do more. The greatest help of all could continue to come from increasing restrictions and documentation on non-point pollution supported by our state legislature. Programs such as “Be Floridian” and Florida’s Department of Agriculture’s Best Management Practices are noteworthy, but obviously, they are not enough. 

The most important thing for coastal residents along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee to know is that the cyanobacteria is there, and fight accordingly. Presently, Lake Okeechobee is at 12.10 NGVD and in spite of recent torrential rains there is no pressure for the ACOE to discharge. If a hurricane such as last year’s Dorian comes to visit, it will be a different story. 

I am sad to see these eutrophic waters, but forever grateful to my husband, Ed, who since 2013, has been our eye in the sky. 

 

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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