Tag Archives: indian river lagoon inlets

Four Inlets South of the St Lucie Inlet? And How Much Sand Has Washed Away… Really? SLR/IRL

Comparison of 1947 USGS map/natural inlet break 1.1 miles south of  St Lucie Inlet and an aerial from Google Earth 2014.
Comparison of 1947 USGS map/and Google Earth aerial 2014–Shows natural inlet break 1.1 miles south of St Lucie Inlet in 1947 and how much Jupiter Island has migrated towards the coast since then.

“The only thing that is constant is change…” Heraclitus

In a world that is constantly in flux, it is natural to try to make things permanent. Nonetheless, this is to no avail. Nowhere is this as strikingly apparent as our barrier islands off the U.S. Atlantic coastline, right here at home, along our beautiful Indian River Lagoon.

As you know, over thousands of years, storms, winds and tides, along with other forces, have caused the openings of natural inlets along the Indian River Lagoon. Since the late 1800s, humankind, with the help of the Army Corp of Engineers, has “determined” where “permanent” inlets should be located, and filled in those otherwise forming…

My brother, Todd Thurlow, (http://thurlowpa.com) has finalized his Time Capsule Flight video of “The Inlets of Peck’s Lake and the Jupiter Narrows,” that I first shared with you in “trial version” last week. His result is even more remarkable.

Through the overlay of Google Earth, historic aerial photographs, NOAA, and USGS maps, his work provides a look back in history to see that our coastline south of today’s St Lucie Inlet has broken through at least four times to form four natural inlets since 1947.

They are: 1947 (1.1 mile south); 1952 (0.5 miles south); 1958 (1.1 south again or another in close proximity; and 1962 at Peck’s Lake during the famous Ash Wed storm.

Watch Todd’s awesome video here:  “The Inlets at Peck’s Lake and Jupiter Narrows:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO650JyADwQ

I find these “visions” absolutely beautiful.

At one point, I tried to pin Todd down about the number of barrier island breakthroughs. This was his reply:

“Jacqui – at least four breaks sounds right, but I am sure there have been an infinite number of breaks over the centuries – Joes point, Herman Bay, the Cove at IRP, Big and Little Mud creeks… “

I also tried to get an answer out of him that I have been wondering about for years: “How much shoreline along Jupiter Island near Peck’s Lake  has “disappeared?” Todd was quick to say that it is “not that easy” and that this area has probably been coming and going for a long, long  time…

Nonetheless, it is cool to think about. Here is his map. According to Todd, the red polygon in the attached image measures 445 Acres – approximately the amount of land that disappeared between Peck’s Lake and the Inlet since the 1887 NOAA chart. The yellow line measures 1770 feet – a third of a mile.

Yikes! 🙂

Shoreline loss since 1887 map as determined by
Shoreline loss close to Peck’s Lake since 1887 map.

I am excited that Todd is sharing his “evolved” Thurlow map talents, and I am looking forward to a 2015 where he is a regular guest on my blog, taking us all to a high and fluid perspective where we can see change along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in a way never before.

Happy Flying!

( Again ) Watch Todd’s awesome video here: “The Inlets at Peck’s Lake and Jupiter Narrows:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO650JyADwQ

To contact Todd directly you can post on the video itself, or email him todd@thurlowpa.com


Peck’s Lake Ash Wednesday Storm post: (http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/12/17/mystery-revealed-exact-date-of-peck-lakes-inlet-break-through-ash-wednesday-storm-1962-indian-river-lagoon/)

Old Treasure Coast Inlet Photos, Indian River Lagoon

Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. Photo by Ruhnke or Sterling Hawk, 1936. Courtesy, archives of Sandra Thurlow.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936. (Photo Ruhnke Collection, courtesy, Thurlow archives.)

Just recently, my husband Ed and I had the hardwood floors of our 1977 home redone. During this time, we literally “moved out” into one room of the house for almost four weeks.  As much as this turned my world upside-down, it forced me to go through all of the “stuff” I have acquired over the past ten years  in my St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon files.  I found some cool things I had forgotten about.

The folder I am sharing today is entitled OLD INLET PHOTOS. It includes aerial photos of the Jupiter, Stuart (St Lucie), Ft Pierce, and Sebastian inlets.  I borrowed the photos from my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow,  years ago. My photos are copies of the originals. I believe she and my father acquired the photos through Aurthur Ruhnke’s  Photography Shop that once was located in Downtown, Stuart.

Written on the back of all photos except the Sebastian Inlet, was the year “1936.” The photographer was R.B. Holt. The Sebastian Inlet however, has “1962” written on the back of the photo along with “Sterling Hawk’s name,” a different photographer.

I love old stuff like this; I hope you do too.

Enjoy and dream of a time long ago…the fishing must have been great, and look how undeveloped the surrounding lands were! The inlets helped promote the development of the Treasure Coast Region.

Of course before man created the inlets permanently along the Indian River Lagoon, Mother Nature’s winds and tides would decide if an inlet was open or closed to the sea. Over thousands of years, inlets opened and closed all along the Indian River Lagoon making the naturally fresh waters brackish for a time and allowing wildlife to flourish in these areas.

Man was attracted to these natural inlets as well. I was just reading last night about how the inlet at Jupiter closed in the 1860s when the US government was building the Jupiter Lighthouse. Nature’s closing of the inlet  was a “great inconvenience.” Today we would also consider it a great inconvenience to have any of our inlets closed.

The problem is that they are not meant to be permanently open and erosion problems occur over time. As most things in life, there is a positive and a negative; the tricky part is figuring our just where to draw the line in the sand…

Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (Facing west.)
Jupiter Inlet, 1936. (All aerials from the Rhunke Collection, R.B. Holt is believed to be the photographer for all but Sebastian Inlet photo, Thurlow archives.)
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Jupiter Inlet, March 18, 1936.
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936,
Stuart (St Lucie) Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Ft Pierce Inlet, 1936.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.
Sebastian Inlet, 1962. Photo by Sterling Hawk.


All photos courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, historian. Her books on Sewall’ Point, Stuart, Jensen and the House of Refuge can be purchased at both the Stuart Heritage Museum, (http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com) and at the Elliott Museum, (http://www.elliottmuseumfl.org).