Tag Archives: Heavy rains turn St Lucie coffee brown

Visual Update St Lucie River 12-20-22

I wanted to provide a visual update of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. Even though the river looks dark and silty, as 2022 comes to a close, we remain fortunate that there have been no major discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St Lucie River since 2018 and no discharges to the St Lucie this year even though Lake Okeechobee got very high -maxing out at 16.51 feet.

Recently, there has been quite a bit of rain in Martin County. This follows the rains of Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole. Thus the river looks dark and silty from weeks of runoff. The runoff now is coming from surrounding lands as well as C-23, C-24 and C-25 out in the IRL at Ft Pierce. There are also hundreds of old ditches that dump into the St Lucie River running though creeks such as Dansforth, Willoughby, Warner and others.

Thankfully the Indian River Lagoon South project is underway by the ACOE and local sponsor SFWMD to offset the destruction of the major canals of the Central and Southern Florida Plan. If things go well and the economy and political will remain in place, the remainder of these projects should be complete in ten or fifteen years. The C-44 Reservoir and STA in Indiantown, Martin County is complete.  Ten to fifteen years sounds like a long time, however, these  are gigantic, expensive  projects working to undo gigantic problems as our population skyrockets.

In the meanwhile we should be working on going septic to sewer where necessary and improving our yards by using little grass, fertilizer, or pesticides;  planting more native and Florida Friendly plants; using less water, picking up dog waste; and realizing everything we put on our laws or fertilize -crops and/or yard plants- ends up in the water ways! We have to be part of the solution. Don’t expect the government to do it all.


Ed Lippisch, my husband, and Scott Kuhns, our dear friend, took the aerials  I am sharing today. The river does not look great due to so much rain. Thank goodness there are no Lake O discharges on top of this “local runoff.” Of which it really is not! This runoff has been mainlined here through canals of the Central and Southern Florida Plan.

SFWMD canal and basin map.

Next year they both Ed and Scott will have been River Warriors for ten years documenting the St Lucie! As eyes in the sky they provide a wider view and inspire a wider net of recovery for these waters. My brother, Todd’s web site eyeonlakeo allows for full time satellite and data updates.

SCOTT KUHNS, SUPER CUB, December 16, 2022 around 9:40 am. St Lucie Inlet (Hutchinson Island) plume about 12 miles south past Peck’s Lake, (Hobe Sound).

ED LIPPISCH, VAN’S RV December 18, 2022 around 12:15 pm. Plume at St Lucie Inlet, and dark runoff waters discoloring the entire estuary even close to the inlet around Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point, Hutchinson Island.

Most recent rain as shown in my rain gauge. Just under 4 inches around December 14.

12-21-22 Added Presentation from ACOE Periodic Scientist Call: Periodic_Scientists_Call_2022-12-20

Documenting SLR and LO-June 2020

Documenting St Lucie River and Lake Okeechobee, Saturday, June 13, 2020

Today’s post includes two sets of photos taken from two different planes: the Supercub and the Baron. The Supercub is the classic yellow “River Warrior” open-air plane, and the Baron is a closed cockpit twin-engine with the distinctive upturned wing-tip. The Supercub can fly low and slow, the Baron can fly higher and faster. Both offer unique perspectives to photograph our waterways. 


Dr. Scott Kuhns and Steve Schimming shared photos taken from the Supercub in the morning hours of Saturday, 6-13-20. Scott uses a quality Nikon camera thus his photos offer a wider or closer perspective. Thank you Scott and Steve, long time River Warriors and  friends. Their photos reveal the coffee color of the St Lucie following torrential rains.

Canal systems dumping fresh water into SLR  presently is primarily from C-23 and C-24. Good for the S.L. the SFWMD is advocating and the ACOE is allowing the water in the C-44 to run back into L.O. as lake was not in “ecological envelope.” Note: presently there are no discharges from LO into the SLR. ~Image SFWMD

St Lucie Inlet

Confluence SLR/IRL
Looking southt to St Lucie Inlet and Jupiter Narrows
Seagrasses looking bleak

Bird Island
Sailfish Point
Sailfish Point
Crossroads SLR/IRL

Bird Island IRL
Photos Dr Scott Kuhns: Sewall’s Point


This next set of aerials was taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, and myself the same day, 6-13-20,  a few hours later, closer to noon.  Again, it is important to note the St Lucie area recently experienced particularly heavy rains, only Broward County and parts of Miami- Dade had more. So we can learn about this, I am sharing the most recent Water Conditions Report of the SFWMD for details of all the St Lucie and all south and central Florida. See link under Rainfall Distribution Comparison slide below. 

The first group of photos from Ed and I in the Baron is of the St Lucie River and the second set is of algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee. NOTE THE ACOE IS NOT DISCHARGING INTO THE ST LUCIE AT THIS TIME.

We continue to document and thank all who are working towards projects and ways of life that better water quality in the state of Florida. We know what we need to do! 



Sailfish Flats IRL
Exiting St Lucie Inlet looking south along Jupiter Narrows/Jupiter Island
Plume becoming visible
Looking back again into southern edge of SL Inlet

Now back at the St Lucie River and St Lucie Inlet at higher altitude
St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon
Sailfish Point St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon
Plume from higher perspective
Veteran’s Bridge in Palm City looking back to Stuart, note Witham Field and ocean in distance
Circling around- Hobe Sound looking north to St Lucie Inlet.
Heading west over Atlantic Ridge natural area
Approaching Lake O. FPL cooling pond visible.
S-308 at L.O. and C-44 Canal
My brother Todd Thurlow’s website shows that algae in L.O. is now showing on low resolution satellite imagery: Terra, Aqua, Suomi: http://eyeonlakeo.com/LakeO3x7days.html; http://eyeonlakeo.com
algae bloom southern rim
algae bloom like this was basically throughout southern area of lake, but denser in some areas and not so dense in others….
Ed’s palne GPS, present location south L.O.
South Lake O over southern rim
LakeO lapping towards Port Mayaca not FPL cooling pond, this area is by far the most algae ridden

Lake O
Lake O
Lake O
Lots of algae in Lake Okeechobee


Now after flying west again over Lake Okeechobee algae here as well but more spread out

Another great SFWMD is the most recent Ecological Report as it discusses effects of water quantity and quality on fish and wildlife for all central and S.F.: (https://apps.sfwmd.gov/webapps/publicMeetings/viewFile/25567)