Tag Archives: Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

A River Kid Grows Up – Evie Flaugh

In the fall of 2011, the River Kidz were born. A grassroots youth uprising due to Lake Okeechobee discharges hurting St Lucie River wildlife and the power of social media that was in its infancy. A mixture of over one-hundred children, parents, and politicians came to the original River Kidz gathering and fundraiser at Sewall’s Point Park. A ten year old and an eleven year old had just changed the trajectory of their lives, and the river found a voice in a new generation.

Now it’s ten years later…

~Full disclosure, Evie Flaugh is my niece, the daughter of my younger sister Jenny and her husband Mike. Evie is the only child I have seen born into this world and it is heartwarming to watch her mature.

Recently, while I was Adrift on the St Johns River, Evie released her Capstone Project 2021 for Rollins College staring first and foremost the Everglades, along with interviews with Dr Leslie Poole, me, Maggy Hurchalla, Eve Samples, Mark Perry, and Nic Mader. The product is ¬†impressive and very professional. So proud of my River Kid! BTW Evie won “best” class! I’m allowed to brag; I’m her Aunt ūüôā

Evie’s fourteen minute video “Send it South” is posted below on YouTube. Please watch. Please share. Please comment. My plan is to do a series of post about our grown up River Kidz.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-cj3VsK8hk

-Evie Flaugh (11) and Naia Mader (10), September 17, 2011 co-founders of River Kidz, Sewall’s Point Park, 1st official event. Photo JTL-Evie 2021. Born and raised in Stuart, Evie co-founded¬†River Kidz with Naia Mader in 2011. She remains¬†passionate¬†about¬†activism¬†and fighting for the environment. She recently graduated from Rollins College with a degree in¬†Critical¬†Media & Cultural Studies and is currently in her first year at the Crummer Graduate School of Business, on track to receive her MBA in May 2023. ¬†The “Send It South” documentary was her senior capstone last May. (Taken from Evie’s interview on WFLM with Robert Delancy, September 30, 2021; photo Evie’s Facebook page)

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. 

The Dream of the Sleeping Jellyfish

When I saw them I was immediately struck by their shapes. They looked like hundreds of snowflakes lying at the bottom of the mudflats in the Florida Keys’ Tavernier mangrove swamp.

I became preoccupied with them, checking them during different times of day.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes, I’m going to visit those underwater snowflakes.” I told my husband, Ed.

“Are they sea anemones?” I wondered. “Are they some kind of tropical underwater flower?”

I lay prone on the dock, staring. And there I saw it. I saw upside down jellyfish- yes standing on their heads as if they were sleeping. I realized the beautiful geometric shapes, the snowflakes, were their out folded branching tentacles.

How bizarre!

Some of the jellyfish were “breathing,” their heads expanding and contracting, pushing water, while others seemed completely comatose, not moving at all.

A few smaller ones were actually swimming heads-up the way I would expect a jellyfish to!

I took lots of photos while hoping no boat would disturb their slumber.

I read, laughing, when I learned that they are indeed known as Cassiopea, the “upside down jellyfish,” ironically, all part of a symbiotic relationship with algae. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassiopea)

I really fell in love with this snowflake jelly forest. Now, before I go to bed, I often wonder what they are dreaming about.

Perhaps clean water and a healthy sea…

https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/img_1105-1.mov

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.¬†

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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

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

II.

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! 

https://apps.sfwmd.gov/webapps/publicMeetings/viewFile/25566

 

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

MOVIE:

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)

Beautiful -But I See Some Algae at Port Mayaca…

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

REMNANTS OF THE ORANGE GROVE THAT IS NOW THE C-44 RESERVOIR AND STA.

SLR basins. SFMWD. You can see FPL cooling pond just northeast of S-308.

 

Beauty After the Storm

If you live in Martin County, you may have experienced a short lived violent storm this past Sunday, April 26th, 2020. In south Sewall’s Point, early afternoon, the winds exploded in a crash of falling branches, rain, thunder, and hail! Under the deafening sound of our metal roof, Ed and I stood on the porch in amazement, looked at each other and said, “well at least it’s raining,” as presently drought conditions cover much of the state.¬†

The following day, Ed took wing taking these aerial photographs. They are a good example of “local runoff.” No Lake Okeechobee thankfully! Lake O too though looked beautiful after the storm as displayed at the end of this aerial series. Somehow, it always seems most beautiful after the storm…

L-R: ST LUCIE RIVER, SEWALL’S POINT, INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, HUTCHINSON ISLAND, ATLANTIC OCEAN, by Ed Lippisch 4-27-20

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, ST LUCIE COUNTY, HUTCHINSON ISLAND ~NOTE ST LUCIE POWER PLANT AND SAVANNAHS ON MAINLAND TO WEST

A SHINING LAKE OKEECHOBEE at S-308 PORT MAYACA

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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A Better Water Future for all Children of South Florida, SLR/IRL

Governor Ron DeSantis and JTL at FloridaOceanographic in Stuart, Florida, Thursday, Feburary 21, 2019 : https://www.wptv.com/news/region-martin-county/stuart/gov-desantis-to-make-announcement-in-stuart-thursday

As you may have heard, on Thursday, February 21, 2019, I was appointed to the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, by Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis.

Of course, I am very excited!

Today I wish to share my written comments of this very special day. Please note, just as when I served on Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission 2017-2018, this blog and all comments now fall under Florida’s public records laws.

Our river journey continues!

_______________________________________________________________

“…What an honor!¬†

Thank you Governor DeSantis! Thank you everyone who is here in spirit today, everyone who has been part of this journey to save our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. I will begin with some words from our beloved Ernie Lyons, who worked as the editor of the Stuart News for many decades leading the charge to save our river:   

‚ÄúWhat men do they can undo, and the hope for our river is in the hundreds of men and women in our communities who are resolved to save the St Lucie.‚ÄĚ

Yes, there have been many before us, but in 2013’s LOST SUMMER  we continued Ernie Lyons’ passion through TC Palm, the River Warriors, and the River Kidz. 

And it was the River Kidz that really gave us a new perspective…

We as adults, know, there are many things we disagree on, but there is one, we do not, for sure. We wish a better water future for all children, of all communities, in South Florida. 

This goal unifies us all. 

When I was a kid, and Stuart was not very populated, my friends and I used to build forts on the edge of the St Lucie River. The giant Australian Pines had fallen with their twisted roots exposed, and we played for hours pretending we were pirates on a ship. We’d splash in the water and drop anchor. We’d try not to cut our feet on sharp oyster beds as we retrieved our gold, or get stung by a stingray when we were catching a fish in the thick seagrasses.

Today such a thing is not possible. There are few oysters, little seagrass, and sometimes the water is toxic. Yes toxic. Can you believe it? Toxic water.

Generation after generation we have ignored the science and the signs. In our excitement to develop cites and towns and build the greatest agriculture empire on earth, waterbodies across South Florida have become ‚Äúimpaired.‚ÄĚ Some no longer healthy: the St Lucie River, the Indian River Lagoon, Lake Worth, Lake Okeechobee, Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, the Caloosahatchee, and numerous creeks and rivers like the New River and the Miami, are now not much more than dead canals.¬†

It is said: ‚ÄúFor what profits a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?‚ÄĚ

The soul of Florida is water!

I believe that with the leadership of our new governor, and people like Congressman Brian Mast, former Senate President Joe Negron, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuzez, who I know from serving on our state’s Constitution Revision Commission, and others, we will lay the groundwork to give Florida back her soul.

I don’t know if you have had a chance to read it word for word, but if you have not, you must. This incredible executive order recently given by Governor DeSantis, number 19-12 actually reads, as he quotes President Theodore Roosevelt: 

‚Äú‚Ķ.A primary mission of my tenure is to follow in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt by having Florida treat its natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation, increased and not impaired in value.‚ÄĚ

I shall do all I can to serve with honor, our new governor, and to leave all children of all South Florida a better water future.”¬†

~Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch 

Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/EO-19-12-.pdf

TCPalm:https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2019/02/21/florida-governor-ron-desantis-appoints-jacqui-thurlow-lippisch-sfwmd-board/2767276002/

River Kidz art contest 2013

Stuart to Chokoloskee; EAA Reservoir Between…

 

Pin is location east of EAA Reservoir area; Stuart is blue dot, and Chokoloskee is next to Everglades City on lower west coast.

The day began with smoke, smoke off the sugarcane fields.

Yesterday, Ed and I took a flight from Stuart to Everglades City, passing Chokoloskee¬†and photographing the EAA Reservoir lands along the way. It is huge out there in the “Everglades,” seemingly endless. The easiest way to get one’s bearings is to look for the Miami and New River Canals that run south of Lake Okeechobee. Highway 27 parallels the New River Canal; where the red balloon is located above is the area east of where the EAA Reservoir will be constructed. For more specifics see link (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/a-1-aerial/)

For Ed and I the flight, although hazy, was an opportunity to learn to recognize from the air Water Conservation Area 3, just south of the EAA Reservoir Area. The water conservation area lands are not located in Everglades National Park, but water quality is protected.

“To me these are the Everglades,” Ed said looking down.

“They are but they aren’t,” I replied. “They are part of the Central and South Florida Project, they are not natural; they are controlled. When they are too full from EAA water, the water from Lake O is not allowed to go south. If too full, from rain, or otherwise the animals can drown. Trapped on the tree islands raccoon, and deer, and panther together. Terrible.”

“Why can’t the water just flow south,” Ed asked.

“Lot of reasons, people like to say it’s because of an endangered bird, but its bigger than that, mostly because we have chosen to make it that way, and powerful entities keep our legislature from changing it in spite of what the voters say.” (SFWMD Constraints: https://apps.sfwmd.gov/SystemConstraintsDataApp/)

Ed did not reply.

We looked forward to what appeared to be little hills. The cypress domes of Big Cypress National Park reflected in the sunlight, and I could see “end of the earth” Chockoloskee right next to Everglades City in the distance. Pretty…

I can understand why people like to live down there so far away from everything. But they too can not escape our problems ~not with water.

WCAs: https://archive.usgs.gov/archive/sites/sofia.usgs.gov/virtual_tour/controlling/wca.html

Water Conservation Area 3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Conservation_Area_3

Big Cypress National Preserve: https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm

Chockoloskee: https://www.florida-everglades.com/chokol/home.htm

Cape Seaside Sparrow:
http://www.wlrn.org/post/controversial-bird-should-everglades-restoration-hinge-single-species

https://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/atlss/sparrows/ibsemabgeer00.html#fig1

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/seaside-sparrow

Water Conservation Areas

IMG_5873.jpg
Smoke rises over sugarcane fields southwest of Martin County near the Palm Beach Canal

img_5876
Smoke, canals, sugarcane fields

 

IMG_5880.jpg
Belle Glade, FL south of Lake Okeechobee

img_5882
Ed asked what this is. Not sure flooded fields, mining?

IMG_5886.jpg
Flowing Highway 27, the A1 on west side begins to show. Now a Flow Equalization Basin this land was once the Tailman Sugar Mill and is located on the east side of where the EAA reservoir is to be constructed.

IMG_5888.jpg
Looking west of A1 towards A2 where EAA Reservoir is to be built

IMG_5889.jpg
A1 from another position

img_5906
The North New River Canal to Ft Lauderdale now follows Highway 27. It once was in isolation as people used the canal to get to and from Lake O from the mouth of the New River

img_5897
Water Conservation Area 3 (WCA3) lies under A1 and A2 area; although not part of Everglades National Park, it’s water quality is protected:

Continue reading Stuart to Chokoloskee; EAA Reservoir Between…

Ron DeSantis: Protecting Florida’s Environment on Day 1

Yesterday, I called in for the final conference call of Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’ Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment, ¬†chaired by our own, Congressman Brian Mast. It was very, very interesting. Highlights of the call were recorded by TC Palm’s Ali Schmitz:

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/politics/2018/12/28/desantis-transition-work-agriculture-limit-pollution/2424629002/

https://desantistransition.com/governor-elect-ron-desantis-announces-transition-advisory-committee-on-the-environment-natural-resources-agriculture/

As a member of the public, I was able to listen-in on the call ~this one focusing on Agriculture, and make my recommendation.

Having served on the Constitution Revision Commission in 2018, I am especially drawn to the importance of government structure. DeSantis’ originally posted environmental policy statement listed¬†Accountability for Water Quality. Right now, many Floridians wonder “who is charge,” who answers for our present lack of water quality? Some even think, understandably so, that it is the Army Corp of Engineers. It is not. Under the law, the state of Florida is responsible for water quality, but with “three cooks in the kitchen,” (DEP, Water Management Districts, and Dept of Agriculture) this is difficult. So with my time on the call, I asked for centralization of enforcement of water quality standards and a strong Lead Agency:

CENTRALIZE THE ENFORCEMENT OF WATER QUALITY STANDARDS. A Majority of water quality regulation is currently housed at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, certain water quality standards and monitoring reside within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) which is overseen by the Commission of Agriculture. DeSantis will work with the Florida legislature to move all components of water quality regulation within the Executive Branch to DEP. This will increase uniformity and ensure that the Secretary of DEP, who is accountable to the Governor, has the tools necessary to meet the water quality standards that Floridians deserve. ~DeSantis for Governor website Sept. 2018.

As we all know, the inauguration is January 8th, 2019. Very exciting! Congratulations Governor DeSantis! And awesome that Congressman Mast is by your side!!

Before we get too excited, let’s not forget…

Today, I will post the website of Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis on the environment so we can remember what was promised and hold the governor and all members of the Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment accountable for next four years. Looking forward to a governor who will protect the environment on day one!

Website links:

GOVERNOR-ELECT RON DESANTIS

https://rondesantis.com/issues/

https://rondesantis.com/environment/

Looking Back, St Lucie River ~Rain and Algae 2018

Even though the water in yesterday’s photo looked gorgeous, lest we forget, here are some images of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon area during a rainy and cyanobacteria ridden 2018.

Ed and I didn’t start taking pictures until were motivated…

In March 2018 there was a tremendous rain event. (https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/flood-control/managing-high-water)
My homemade rain gauge showed over 27 inches in just a few days along the coast!

You’ll see that after the rain event, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon looks terrible even with out Lake Okeechobee discharges. This is caused by directed water runoff from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44 and “local” coastal runoff. ¬†Naturally, the river never took all this water. Humans made it this way, and we must fix it.

SFWMD canal and basin map.

Soon after the torrential rain, the Army Corp of Engineers made things even worse and started dumping from Lake Okeechobee through the C-44 Canal into the St Lucie River by opening up the gates at S-308 and S-80.

My husband, Ed,  first flew over Lake O on June 1st,  just by chance. At this time, he spotted algae on the lake and took a photo.  Ironically, the next day, the Army Corp started dumping from Lake Okeechobee on June 2nd!

The algae or cyanobacteria (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/bacteria/cyanointro.html)
that was festering in the Lake began to show up almost immediately thereafter in the St Lucie River that has also become ¬†a “nutrient porridge.”

The rest unfortunately is history. 2018  was bad, but in my opinion not as awful as 2016 when the ocean was totally green: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/bathtub-beach-algae/

After another long, hot summer, the Army Corp finally stopped discharging in the fall~October 5th… Take a look at the photos and remember to enjoy the blue water when it is here, but NEVER FORGET! Only though looking back, will we have the determination to change the future.

Major rain event in March 2018.  Rain filled this vile up many times!

SLR IRL following major rain event in March 2018. This is runoff from C-23, C-24, C-25, C-44, ¬†and “locally” from developed areas along the river and uplands made to drain into river. JTL

Following rain event in March 2018. A brown Atlantic.

Following rain event in March 2018, the SLR/IRL ~Scott Kuhns

Following rain event in March 2018 Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points ~Scott Kuhns

June 5th. A very dark plume moves south along Jupiter Island, just days after ACOE begins dumping so this is a combination of all pollution/runoff ¬†waters…

LAKE OKEECHBEE DISCHARGES ADDED

Ed in the Cub after plume photo

Algae as photographed/spotted by Ed in Lake O on June 1st 2018.

City of Stuart, June 9 2018.

Rio near Central Marine, week of June 12, 2018

Photographing a manatee in the algae along seawall by Mary Radabaugh

Mary Radabaugh manages Central Marine with her husband. JTL

Mary found a dead baby manatee floating in the putrid water shortly after LO discharges.  MR

LAKE O: Week of June 16th, June 25th, and July 22nd. Cyanobacteria (blue green algae) blooms and then subsides. ~All the while, this water is dumped into the St Lucie River by the Federal Govt.; the water quality is terrible and this the responsibility not of the Feds but of the State of Florida.

Algae is now very visible in Lake O, June 16, 2018 JTL

June 25, 2018 Lake O, near S-308, Port Mayaca.  JTL

C-44 canal leading to SLR from Lake O.

C-44 canal leading from LO to SLR.

Satellite view LO bloom on June 24, 2018. ~At its height.

By July 22, 2018 the bloom in the LO is lessening, JTL

August 29, algae would come and go, throughout the SLR. Here near Overlook Drive JTL

September 4, algae still “coming and going” ~2018 Snug Harbor, Stuart. ¬†Photo by my uncle, Dale Hudson

October 5, the ACOE stops dumping from Lake O. The blooms stop almost right away but the damage remains….

December 8, 2018 the river looks “normal” again near Sewall’s Point but it is not. JTL

Blue Water on Christmas Day, 2018

What should be normal, was a gift on Christmas Day, blue water in the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. The peninsula of Sewall’s Point shone like the gem it¬†is surrounded by aquamarine on both sides: the St Lucie River on its west, and the Indian River Lagoon on its east…

Feeling like the Bahamas, rather than the toxic-sludge we had to endure ~coming mostly from Lake Okeechobee this past summer, 2018, and yes, remember 2016, and 2013….the destruction must stop!

As 2019 edges into the picture, we will once again have to give everything we have to fight for clean water and encourage our state and federal government to support legislation “sending the water south.”

Seeing these beautiful blue waters once again is certainly encouraging. Now to keep the Army Corp and South Florida Water Management District at bay long enough, as projects proceed, and allow our precious seagrass beds to return so baby fish can once again hide, swim, and grow to maturity in these waters; once christened the “most bio-diverse in North America.”

Thank you to my dear husband, Ed, for these photos all taken 12-25-18. And from both of us, “Merry Christmas!”

Sewall’s Point lies between the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon

Sailfish Flats between Sewall’s and Sailfish Point. Seagrass remains bleak after years of discharges from Lake O, and other area canals

St Lucie Inlet opening to the Atlantic Ocean between Sailfish Point and the southern end of St Lucie Inlet State Park on Jupiter Island

Another angle of St Lucie Inlet area

Remnants of once lush sea grass beds off Sewall’s Point

Another angle: Evan’s Crary and Ernest Lyons Bridges on far right

A great shot of the now pathetic seagrass beds. This area was once considered “the most bio-diverse in North America,” with approximately 700 acres of healthy seagrasses in this area between Sewall’s and Sailfish Points

Photo below as a comparison ___________________________________________________________________________

NEVER FORGET! Town of Sewall’s Point, Martin County Florida, 9-2013 surrounded by polluted waters released from Lake Okeechobee. Even the ocean brown! Similar years were 2016 and 2018 both with cyanobacteria blooms along shorelines. This awful sediment, and nutrient filled water is dumped on us by our federal and state government and is a health hazard.

Leadership, Florida House of Representatives, Water in Mind 2019

Recently, the Florida House of Representatives announced its committee appointments made by new House Speaker Jose Oliva. Today, I will note those appointed to environmental committees which, of course, function in the dark ages, bound together with agriculture. Advocates should know these key players and build relationships now, and during the committee process that beings January 8, 2019 ~not once Legislative Session begins in March. Too late!

So here we go…

The really all-powerful Speaker of the House is Jose Oliva who will reign from the end of 2018 to 2020. He is from Miami Lakes and is C.E.O. of Oliva Cigar Co. Read about him below and the committees and representatives over which he has great influence. Congratulations to him on attaining this leadership role that very few achieve.

Speaker 2018-2020, Jose R. Oliva: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4534

Committees of the HOR: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committees.aspx

Speaker Oliva’s environmental appointments are below with an article or two giving background on each appointee. Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Chair,¬†Rep. Holly Raschein is from Key Largo and a Health Care Special Projects Manager. Vice-chair,¬†Rep. Rick Roth is from West Palm Beach and his heritage is linked to a multi-generational family-farm in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Holly has a track record supporting environmental issues such as the EAA Reservoir and Rick works for the environment within the goals of the EAA Environmental Protection District and the 1994 Everglades Forever Act. ¬†Read below about both representatives and what they have to say.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=3003

Rep. Holly Raschein: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4562

Holly Raschein :https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article213189389.html

Rep. Rick Roth:https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4648

Roth Farms: https://www.rothfarms.com/roth-farms-history/

Rick Roth:https://www.farmprogress.com/vegetables/heritage-success-rick-roths-roots-go-lot-deeper-muck-soils

Interestingly, Holly Raschein also serves on the Subcommittee for Agriculture as ¬†and ¬†Natural Resources as vice-chair to, chair,¬†Chuck Wesley, a College ¬†Administrator from Newberry (near Gainesville). Rep Wesley notes that “sustainable agriculture and the environment are some of his top goals.” You can read what he wrote in an op-ed for below. All this sounds good. But what does that really mean?¬†Our job is to hold all of these politicians accountable.¬†

Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=3024

Rep. : https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4655

Chuck Clemons: https://www.gainesville.com/opinion/20181001/chuck-clemons-my-record-shows-support-for-agriculture-environment

Yes, it is important we know and communicate with who is in charge. I hope you will reach out to all of them through letter best, but email, or phone call helps too. ¬†I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thank you for reading my blog in 2019. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring…

For more information on Florida House of Representatives go here https://www.myfloridahouse.gov. Look at their calendar, see when committees meet, follow what they are reviewing and call, write their office to let them know how much you love Florida and that water is key!

Since 1970, Lake O reported as “Sick”-dying of eutrophication

eu·troph·i·ca·tion
/yoÕěoňĆtr√§f…ôňąkńĀSH(…ô)n/
noun
  1. excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.

    6-16-18  Lake O cyanobacteria bloom, JTL

Although once known for her great life and beauty, modern-day Lake Okeechobee, has been dying for years…

Since the early 1970s, scientists were forecasting the imminent demise of the huge lake due to the tremendous influx of fertilizers and waste (oddly termed “nutrients”), especially from the Kissimmee River. The river had been channelized ¬†in the 60s, made straight, for flood control and the “benefit” of creating more agricultural lands. This was done by none other than the¬†U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and, of course, supported by Florida politicians.

All of these problems were one of the reasons that Florida politicians reversed course and took action in the 1970s to do something for the environment. ¬†According to the book River of Interests¬†“during the 1972 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed several land and planning measures, including an authorization of a major study on eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee.

Although, I could not find any of the original reports of the Florida Department  of Environmental Regulation, (the original name of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection РGod forbid we say the word regulation!), I did come across the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Eutrophication Survey of 1977.

It is interesting to read, as if we are watching the soap opera General Hospital, where one can come back after many years and the same plot is playing out. In our soap opera episode today, most glaringly shown by non-point pollution still causing over 95% of the contamination. (https://www.epa.gov/nps/basic-information-about-nonpoint-source-nps-pollution)

Nonetheless, there have been positive changes in the characters!

A huge thing that has changed is that the Belle Glades sewage treatment plant, that once discharged into the Hillsborough Canal and was back pumped into Lake O, ~approximately 1/3 of the year, no longer does. This is no surprise. When I was a kid in Stuart in the 70s, there were still houses along the Indian River Lagoon that discharged sewage directly into the river! GROSS!

So I guess the plot has changed bit, but not enough yet to save Lake Okeechobee. We need to change the channel and do what we have known we need to do since I was ten years old…

Me, my sister Jenny, and me brother Todd in the 1970s…

You can read the full 1977 report at this long link below:

https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/9100D2F8.TXT?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=1976+Thru+1980&Docs=&Query=&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5Czyfiles%5CIndex%20Data%5C76thru80%5CTxt%5C00000013%5C9100D2F8.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=hpfr&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL

Book River of Interests, ACOE: http://141.232.10.32/docs/river_interest/031512_river_interest_2012_complete.pdf

The Heart of the 1947 Central and South Florida Project, the SFWMD

Everglades National Park, JTL

Sometimes the history of the Everglades is really confusing. ¬†Why, with all of the environmental advocacy, since the 1970s, does the health of our environment remain crippled? ¬†One way to simplify it is to think in terms of before and after the 1947¬†U.S. Central and South Florida Plan.¬†Of course there is extensive history before 1947, but it was after 1947 that things in South Florida’s water world became culturalized, compartmentalized, and legally defined. Before we talk about this 1947¬†Central and South Florida Plan, let’s review some important highlights pre-1947.

1. Hamilton Disston begins the drainage of Lake Okeechobee (1881)

2. Governor Napoleon Broward hires U.S.D.A. scientist James Wright who determines that “eight canals would indeed drain 1,850,000 acres of swampland” (1904)

3. The U.S. Congress’ Rivers and Harbors Act ¬†includes significant funds to deepen ¬†the manmade Hamilton Disston connection of the Calooshahatchee River to Lake Okeechobee (ca.1910)

4. The scandal of James Wright (from #2 above) who was deemed “a fraud” for the failure of the land to drain as expected ~causing the slump in swampy real estate sales (1914)

5. The resurgence of confidence in sales and a 1920s real estate boom fueled by advances in soil science, and the success of agricultural start-ups located in Moore Haven, Belle Glade, and Clewiston south of Lake Okeechobee

6. ¬†Land in a defined “Everglades Drainage District” more fully being systematically cut into sections for development with canals draining agricultural fertilizers and other chemicals into the waters of the state (1924)

6. Two very powerful hurricanes causing thousands of deaths and the destruction of property, and thus the state’s “call for a higher dike” (1926 and 1928)

7. The state’s reaction to the hurricanes, the 1929 establishment of the “Okeechobee Flood Control District” for the “Everglades Drainage District” as well as the Federal Government’s Army Corp of Engineers taking over “field operations”around Lake Okeechobee ~including the building of a thirty-five foot earthen dike and ingeniously using navigation funding to build the cross-state-canal, connecting the Caloosahatchee and the St Lucie Estuaries to Lake Okeechobee ~conveniently working as discharge-escapes through those estuaries when “necessary”

So, as we can see, a lot happened pre-1947, but it was what happened after, were things really changed…

In 1947 it rained and rained, and there were two hurricanes. From Orlando to Florida Bay the agricultural and developed lands, that had been built in drained, once marshy, swampy areas, really flooded, and in some places a foot of water sat for months. There was great economic loss.

The crying cow booklet, above, was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress.

The country as a whole was empowered with its post World War II success and prosperity, and with that same determination, the U.S. Congress came to Florida’s rescue…

To fight Florida’s destructive “flood waters” the 1948 U.S. Congress adopted legislation for the CENTRAL AND SOUTH FLORIDA PROJECT, a twenty year flood plan from Orlando to Florida Bay that included the formal creation and protection of the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake O, the Water Conservation Areas, intertwined with thousands of miles of canals and structures to control the once headwaters and River of Grass.¬†HOUSE DOCUMENT 643 – 80TH CONGRESS (00570762xBA9D6)

Next, mirroring the same terminology the United States Government had used (the Central and South Florid Project) the state of Florida created the “Central and South Florida Flood Control District” to manage that CENTRAL and SOUTH FLORIDA PROJECT. A bit confusing huh? A tongue twister. And in a way one could say, at that time, the Central and South Florida Project and the ¬†Central and South Florida Flood Control District “became one.” The overall goal above all other things was flood control. And this marriage of the Central and South Florida Project and the Central and South Florida Flood Control District was successful at controlling the waters, but it also killed the natural environment, thus Florida herself.

This embedded cultural philosophy of “flood control only” was challenged in 1972 with the birth of the national environmental movement, and a consciousness that the natural system that supported Florida’s tourism, quality of life, agriculture, not to mention valuable wildlife, ¬†was in tremendous decline.

As Florida matured came Governor Claude Kirk, a republican, ¬†in 1968, who was advised by environmentalist Nathaniel Reed. Then came Governor Reubin Askew, a democrat. The Florida Legislature, seeing the destruction of the state’s natural resources, passed a very important piece of legislation, the “Florida Water Resources Act,” today’s Chapter 373 in Florida Statures. (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0373/0373ContentsIndex.html)

This law created five Florida water management districts with expanded responsibilities for regional water resources management including environmental protection not just flood control.

Accordingly, the Central and South Florida Flood Control District changed its name, but not its heart, becoming the South Florida Water Management District, we know today…(https://www.sfwmd.gov)

Everglades National Park, JTL

Implementing Amendment 9: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces 

~2018 Constitutional Amendments, Florida Division of Elections: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/Amendments
~2018 Amendments, Florida Division of Elections, Amd. 9 Results by County: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/ContestResultsByCounty/900009
~Ballotpedia Amendment 9 2018: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_9,_Ban_Offshore_Oil_and_Gas_Drilling_and_Ban_Vaping_in_Enclosed_Indoor_Workplaces_Amendment_(2018)

For me, the best thing about Election Day 2018 was the passage of Constitutional  Amendment 9. But that will not be the end of it. Now it is the job of the state legislature to implement the amendment and for us to keep watch that they do.

Hmmm?

Implement?

What does that mean?

Basically, this means that the language that makes up the ballot amendment must be put into the Florida Constitution and “implemented,” or fulfilled. ¬†To be “implemented” the ballot language that composes the amendment must be inserted and followed.

Amendment 9 was made up of two parts. During the Constitution Revision Commission process, ¬†I had¬†sponsored Proposal #91 Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling,¬†and Commissioner Lisa Carlton had sponsored Proposal #65 Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces. These two proposals made it through the arduous CRC committee process and then were “bundled” by the CRC Style and Drafting Committee relating as “Clean Air and Clean Water.” Thus on the ballot, married, what were P#91 and P#65 composed a new whole: Amendment 9 ~¬†Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces.

As everyone who followed the election knows, the #RoadToTheBallot¬†wasn’t easy, and Amendment 9 was criticized unmercifully by the press, and even went before the Florida Supreme Court. In the end, the court supported the bundling ¬†and the people of Florida did too. The voters read, studied, and decided for themselves, Clean Air and Clean Water in Florida is very, very important. The required 60% passage was exceeded; ¬†the amendment passed by 68.92%!

See how your county voted here: https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/CompareStateToCounty/900009

The people  have spoken and now the state Legislature must do its work and implement the amendment by placing  the ballot language into the Florida Constitution.  See the language that comes off the Florida Division of Elections website below.

Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling will go into Article II and Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces will go into Article X. See a copy of the full Florida Constitution and all its articles here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?submenu=3

There have been times in the past, ¬†as with Amendment 1 2014, ¬†Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Initiative,¬†where the state legislature did not follow the intent of the language once it was in the constitution. They interpreted it rather to benefit the state power structure. Some say this is partially because the ¬†language¬†¬†was vague and a court case was brought to try to clear up the amendment’s interpretation by the state legislature.

https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Water_and_Land_Conservation_Initiative,_Amendment_1_%282014%29

Thankfully, the language of ¬†both P#91 Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and¬†¬†#65 Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces¬†are legally solid, specific, ¬†and should not leave any cracks open to be perverted by the state legislature. Nonetheless, we must keep a very watchful eye, as when it comes to Florida’s Legislature there is always the chance for corruption…

Read this article below to see why….

What do they say? “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely….” And who is the most powerful of all? The State Legislature!

New push for offshore drilling as Florida awaits recount results

FLORIDA POLITICS, STAFF REPORTS
November 15, 2018, 4:02 pm
http://floridapolitics.com/archives/281341-offshore-drilling-recount

CRC Commissioner List: http://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners.html
CRC Web-site: http://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners.html

Florida Water, A Thing of the Past? SLR/IRL

My mother gave me a late birthday present: antique post cards and a bottle once filled with “Florida Water,” a popular tonic sold for health and beauty around the world. Believe it or not, “Florida Water” is still selling across the globe, and has been since 1808 ~for 210 years!

It was poignant to receive such a rare and special gift from my mother because if Murray & Landman began marketing Florida water today, the product would not be so romantic; in fact, the branding  would more look like war.

“Florida Water,” a thing of the past?

Not if we fight to win.

TCPalm reporter Tyler Treadway holds a container of Florida Water in July 2018, Photo by John Moran

Posted on #toxic18, Florida’s new image

LINKS:

Florida Water Cures: http://www.nydailynews.com/making-splash-old-fashioned-florida-water-cures-ails-ya-smells-good-article-1.828293

Florida Water, History WIKI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Water

Florida is Losing it’s Brand:

Graham Brink, Business Columnist: Toxic algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee are a stain on Florida, Tampa Bay Times: https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/tourism/Brink-Toxic-algae-blooms-from-Lake-Okeechobee-are-a-stain-on-Florida-_169667590

Julie Dermansky, Fueled by Pollution and Unsound Policies, Toxic Algae Overtakes Florida Beaches and Waterways,https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/08/02/pollution-policies-toxic-algae-red-tide-cyanobacteria-florida-lake-okeechobee

The River of No Return, Idaho

Boundary Creek, Middle Fork/Salmon River, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Gasiorek.

I am back from the “River of No Return,” and before I return to writing about the toxic algae crisis, I’d like to share my experience…

Camping? Are you kidding me?! I had not been camping since my parents took the family to Boy Scout Island to see the full moon over the Indian River Lagoon ca. 1978. Five nights, six days camping and rafting in Idaho with friends, the Wigleys, was great fun, but I am certainly aware that I am in no condition to survive in the wilderness!

Let’s remind ourselves – Where’s Idaho? Far out west, just east of Washington and Oregon, and just west of Montana and Colorado. Although a different world, dealing with fires not hurricanes, we do have a connection. We both have federally protected scenic rivers.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, A.K.A. the “River of No Return,” was one of the first eight rivers to be protected under the federal Wild & Scenic Rivers Act in 1968: (https://rivers.gov). In Florida, we have two designated Scenic Rivers: Indian River Lagoon neighbor, the Loxahatchee River, ¬†and the north central Florida’s Wekiva River: (https://www.rivers.gov/florida.php). Only a handful of U.S. rivers hold this special, protected status.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon with clean, clear water, challenging rapids, and spectacular mountain and desert scenery flows free for 104 miles. Nonetheless, due to dams along the connected Snake River, the salmon, for which the river is named, are far and few between compared to the pre-gold rush times when the native Shoshone “Sheepeater” people could “walk across” this river of salmon.

There is much talk in Idaho about removing dams, and of course a huge conflict with stakeholder farming entities. Sound familiar? Whether is the Florida Everglades’ River of Grass diversion to the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers, or Hells Canyon Dam in Idaho, people are looking for ways to undo some of what has been done to kill the rivers of the United States. Water is meant to flow, and when it does not, eventually sickness sets in, not only for wildlife and fauna, but for people too. It was Stuart’s famed environmentalist and Stuart News editor, Ernie Lyons, who said it best: “What people do, they can undo…” and this I believe is our journey, everywhere.

Since pictures speak louder than words, I will stop here, and say that even though the river was beautiful, and I was super excited to sees two bears, mountain sheep, eagles, and a plethora of other awesome animals – the most memorable experience I have no photo of, ~just a memory~ of endless stars in a black velvet sky with the Milky Way so thick and bright I felt like I could touch it, that I was it…

Remembering that we all are but a flicker in the grand scale of time, and most certainly, part of something much greater than ourselves.

Mexican night. Thank you to the Wigley family for inviting us on this trip!

Links:

USDA, Salmon River – Middle Fork, IDAHO: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/recreation/wateractivities/?cid=stelprdb5302105

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is not dammed ~running free, but connected to the Snake River that is: Dammed Rivers of the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dams_and_reservoirs_in_United_States

John Moran’s “Florida‚Äôs Summer of Slime: Stuart and Lake Okeechobee”

It’s an honor to present:

“Florida‚Äôs Summer of Slime: Stuart and Lake Okeechobee,” photo essay by John Moran, August 2018

I reported last month on the plight of the Caloosahatchee River and its befouled waters flowing from Lake Okeechobee; delivering slime to waterfront neighborhoods in Fort Myers and Cape Coral along the way to the Gulf Islands of Southwest Florida.

Next up on our Summer of Slime photo tour is a visit to Stuart and Lake O‚ĶStuart and environs is a glistening jewel born of water. It may well top the list of Florida cities in shoreline per capita. There’s simply water everywhere. Two forks of the St. Lucie River, the Indian River Lagoon, canals and peninsulas and islands, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Stuart is pictured above; below is neighboring Hutchinson Island.

But it wasn‚Äôt Stuart‚Äôs reputation for abundant clean water that drew me south from Gainesville with my cameras. In effect, I‚Äôve become a traveling crime scene photographer‚ÄĒand slime is the crime. A devastating outbreak of toxic algae has once again hit the St. Lucie River and the Treasure Coast, fueled by the polluted waters of Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River basin to the north.¬†Damaging headlines trumpet the story to the nation and the world and Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency. It‚Äôs d√©j√† vu all over again.

My hosts in Stuart were water blogger Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and her husband, Ed Lippisch.

Ed took me up for a photo flight in his Piper Cub so I could get the big picture.

Seen from a small plane at 500 feet, Florida is a beautiful place.

Here’s Lake Okeechobee and the western terminus of the St. Lucie C-44 Canal. Administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam has the capacity to discharge 14,800 cubic feet of water per second downstream to Stuart and the¬†St. Lucie River Estuary, 26 miles away.

Sugar industry representatives say the water coming out of Lake Okeechobee is not the problem and that the algae outbreak in Stuart is primarily caused by Stuart’s own septic tanks and urban stormwater. This claim is contradicted by the extensive algae mats seen along the C-44 Canal between the Port Mayaca and St. Lucie Locks, well upstream from Stuart.

Lake Okeechobee historically drained south to Florida Bay, not east and west to the Atlantic and Gulf. The C-44 canal was built in 1916 to divert floodwaters to the coast.

A view of the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, several miles southwest of Stuart. On the day of my photo flight in late July, the dam gates were closed, visibly holding back algae from flowing downstream. Look closely and you can see what some people call The Seven Gates of Hell.

The St. Lucie Lock and Dam are an integral part of South Florida’s complex web of water management structures, born of an age when the Everglades was reviled as a watery wasteland and America was driven to drain it.

Below the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, in Palm City and Stuart, you can still find waterfront homes untouched by the algae bloom. But that’s no consolation for the thousands of Martin County residents whose lives are in upheaval once again this summer. The familiar pattern of algae outbreaks is fueled by fertilizer, manure and urban sources of nutrient pollution, including septic tanks.

All of this is compounded by denial and neglect by elected officials and agencies to whom we entrust the important work of environmental protection and public health.

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch took me on a driving tour of the C-44 Canal from Stuart to enormous Lake O, which is more like a stormwater treatment pond than a biologically healthy lake. ‚ÄúThere are toxic algae blooms across the globe, but only one place where the government dumps it on you: Florida,‚ÄĚ she says.

It’s not just the algae from Lake Okeechobee causing headaches along Florida’s east coast; the sheer volume of freshwater discharges is an environmental pollutant that overwhelms the estuary.

The Lake O gunk visible in the satellite view, above, is shown in the detail photo below.

Fishermen are still drawn to Port Mayaca. On the day we visited, I counted nine.

Dinner in hand (speckled perch), Felix Gui, Jr. has been fishing Lake O for 30 years. ‚ÄúThe algae doesn‚Äôt affect the fish,‚ÄĚ he says. “They eat the same, algae or no algae, and I haven‚Äôt gotten sick.‚ÄĚ Experts have warned against eating fish exposed to the algae.

A Martin County Health Department sign at Port Mayaca warns against contact with the water but I saw no messaging about whether fish caught in these waters is safe to eat.

Enroute home to Stuart, Jacqui and I stopped at deserted Timer Powers Park on the St. Lucie Canal in Indiantown.

At the St. Lucie Lock, a surreal scene of impaired water, above, and a vortex of slime, below, waiting to be flushed downstream.

A pair of jet-skiers signaled for the lock to be opened, and another pulse of algae-laden water is released towards Stuart and the coast.

Wouldn’t want to anyway, thanks.

Further downstream, the algae spreads…

Nearing the coast, Rio Nature Park and the neighboring Central Marine in Stuart are slimed again. This was the epicenter of the infamous Treasure Coast algae outbreak of 2016.

Reporter Tyler Treadway of TCPalm gathered a sample of the polluted water from a canal behind the offices of Florida Sportsman magazine in Stuart.

Staff complaints of headaches, nausea and dizziness prompted Florida Sportsman publisher Blair Wickstrom to temporarily close the office in late July. ‚ÄúIt smells like death,‚ÄĚ he said.

The Shepard Park boat ramp parking lot in Stuart was nearly empty on the day we visited.

A man on a mission, Mike Knepper, above and below, posts videos on his Youtube channel documenting the degradation of natural Florida.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs totally unacceptable to me what we‚Äôre doing to this planet because we’re very rapidly destroying it,‚ÄĚ Knepper says. ‚ÄúMy children and grandchildren will be paying the price for all the bad decisions we’re making today. I want to be able to look them in the face and say, ‚ÄėI tried to make a difference.‚Äô”

Dead-end canals along the St. Lucie River with their limited water exchange have been hardest hit by the toxic blue-green algae, which scientists refer to as cyanobacteria.

A growing body of medical research links exposure to cyanobacteria with neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s. Google it.

Meanwhile, we‚Äôre getting conflicting messages from officialdom. Martin County has erected signs warning against contact with the water but the Florida Dept. of Health website, under the heading How to Keep Your Family Safe While Enjoying Florida‚Äôs Water Ways, has this to say: ‚ÄúCyanobacteria/ blue-green algae‚Ķare naturally occurring in Florida‚Äôs environment and are also found all over the world. They are part of a healthy ecosystem and help support a wide variety of aquatic life.‚ÄĚ (http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/cyanobacteria.html) In other words, Lighten up, Florida. This is just nature being natural.

An open question remains: What will become of the value of the Florida brand when the world fully sees what we have done to our waters?

Even in disaster, strange beauty emerges.

Greg Fedele has lived in his water-front home since 1991. He grieves for his loss. ‚ÄúI have three kids who can‚Äôt enjoy the waterways of Martin County like I did growing up.‚ÄĚ

The sign at Ocean Blue Yacht Sales in Stuart echoes a wide swath of community sentiment. Asked to describe in a word how the algae outbreak has impacted his business, president Bryan Boyd replied, ‚ÄúHorrible. The last three years, our bay boat sales have been a third of what they used to be.‚ÄĚ

A roadside sign seen in Stuart in late July. If you’re wondering what you can do about the ongoing crisis of Florida waters, we are called to consider our own water footprint, learn about the issues and get involved. And never forget that elections have consequences. Vote for Clean Water. (https://www.bullsugar.org/#)

What we have here in Florida is not just a crisis of water, we have a crisis of democracy and civic engagement.

From the beleaguered springs of North Florida to the sickened rivers and coasts of South Florida, we must understand that no savior is waiting on the horizon who will fix this thing for us.

It took a group effort to create this mess and we need all hands on deck if are to reclaim our waters. Florida needs environmental patriots willing to face down politicians funded by wealthy interests who think nothing of sacrificing our public waters on the altar of their private profits.

We don’t have the luxury of time to get this right. We are losing our waters now. This is our moment. It’s time to set aside our differences and focus on what is at stake, for this is nothing less than a battle for the soul of Florida.

The pictures don’t lie. We the people of Florida bear witness today to nothing less than a crime against nature, and a crime against the children who shall inherit our natural legacy.

A long time ago, Florida political leaders‚ÄĒRepublicans and Democrats in common cause‚ÄĒunderstood there can be no healthy economy without a healthy environment. They wisely enacted laws and regulatory safeguards accordingly.

But that was then and this is now. It’s time to end the popular fiction in Florida that we can plunder and pollute our way to prosperity.

Gov. Reubin Askew said it best when he declared in 1971, ‚ÄúEcological destruction is nothing less than economic suicide.‚ÄĚ

In this, our Summer of Slime, can I get an amen?

by John Moran
August 2018

web: http://johnmoranphoto.com
email: JohnMoranPhoto@gmail.com
cell: 352.514.7670

Feel free to forward or post this photo essay as you wish; attribution is appreciated. Please share this with elected officials and ask them: what’s their plan to clean up our waters?

“Farewell Dear Friend,” River Warrior Plane, SLR/IRL

I’m the kind of person who gets attached. I’m loyal to people and things that are good to me. One of those is the Legend Cub, the little yellow airplane that started flying in Stuart in 2013.

As she began to fly over the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon helping spot destruction from Lake Okeechobee discharges, she came to be known by those who saw her from the ground as the “River Warrior.” Over time, she became known¬†far and wide to pilots, guests, reporters, home-owners, boaters, beach-goers, and children. She flew over multiple river rallies tipping wings side-to-side “waving” inspiring thousands of people.

She inspired me too.

When I was too afraid to get up in the air with my husband, it was she who gave me wings. I trusted her to help me tell our River Story and she did. She discovered algae water pouring through S-80 and the gigantic algae blooms documented in Lake Okeechobee…

Looking back on the thousands of photos Ed and I took from her open cockpit, these photos starting with the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments, were shared and published~during that changing “Lost Summer,” of 2013, and then 2016, and now, 2018.

The River Warrior’s distinctive yellow strutted aerials have been instrumental in gaining statewide and national attention of the government sponsored destruction of our St Lucie River. The little plane gave us our first look from above and she woke us to action, yes, she did.

~Never a stutter and always with a singing engine she flew…

Since 2013, there have been more “Lost Summers,” now complete with disappeared seagrasses, and toxic blue-green algae to boot. She has seen it all. And today, there are now a total of five Cubs in Martin and Lee Counties. Indeed, being so cute and reliable, she stared a trend.

Nonetheless, next week, she is being sold and replaced with a “better” model. For me, there is no better model. She has changed the game; she gave me confidence to fly when I had none; she shall be missed and remembered forever. So if you see her this final week please wave “goodbye” and wish her well.

Farewell and thank you River Warrior plane. May your next adventure be as touching to those around you, as you have been to me. You are, and alway will be, the soul and heart of our river movement legend.

Love,

Jacqui

Photos from 2013

One of many algae blooms on Lake O:

July 18, 2017

May 30, 2016

One of many river rallies:

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√ó1,637 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√ó1,668 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

Lake Okeechobee Satellite Images 1972-2013, Todd Thurlow, SLR/IRL

My brother Todd looked through near 1000 historic satellite images to create this video of Lake Okeechobee images from 1972-2013. Wait until 2014-2018 are added! That will say a lot. But wait, it’s interesting to note, that in this video, one can see a substantial algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee in 1979.

The state of Florida has known for decades how passive “environmental protection” would add-up, that Lake O is eutrophic,¬†and sick. The lake was made to over-flow and we contain it. We should know, you can’t contain an “ocean…”

It’s time #Florida.

WATCH VIDEO, LINK BELOW:

http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/Landsat1-4_1972-2013.html

Todd Thurlow:http://www.thurlowpa.com

~“The consequences of ignoring ecological planning and environmental protection could be economically devastating in a way not commonly foreseen.” Environments of South Florida Present and Past, by Patrick J. Gleason 1974.

Is it Time to Address South Florida’s Greatest Taboo? “Shared Adversity,” SLR/IRL

LAKE OKEECHOBEE REGULATION SCHEDULE (LORS) http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/h2omgmt/LORSdocs/2008_LORS_WCP_mar2008.pdf

The second she said it, I was at full attention. This past Tuesday, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Director, Ms. Rae Ann Wessel, spoke on the Army Corps of Engineers Periodic Scientists Call. In seven years of listening, in seven years of agency and public comment, I had never heard, seriously, and scientifically, someone address South Florida’s greatest taboo.

Ms Wessel said something like this:

Part of the LORS (Lake Okeechobee¬†Release Schedule 2008) ¬†addresses “shared adversity.” Lake Okeechobee is approximately 470,000 acres. Would it be possible to put the water the Corps plans ¬†to release from the lake over¬†approximately¬†484,000 acres of ¬†crop lands just south of the lake, rather than into estuaries? The Caloosahatchee¬†algae situation is already at its absolute worst…

You could hear a pin drop…

Wessel was recommending options to the Army Corps and stakeholders regarding the ACOE restarting discharges to the estuaries. Since the previous week’s call, due to NOAA images showing 90% of the lake covered in cyanobacteria blooms, and crisis of algae in both estuaries, the Governor and other powerful politicians asked the federal agency to temporarily stop discharges considering all options before discharging, once again.

Just the previous day, before Wessel’s comment, after viewing the putrid algal mess in the Caloosahatchee, Gov. Rick Scott called for a State of Emergency encompassing seven counties.

Some history, earlier this year, the Caloosahatchee was almost begging the South Florida Water Management District and ACOE for water, but was denied. Now the Caloosahatchee is receiving so much water, with algae to boot, that they are experiencing a toxic summer similar to what the St Lucie experienced in 2016. The Caloosahatchee has had it especially tough this year.

The elephant in the room, or perhaps better described as the Tyrannosaurus rex¬†in the room, is that with Lake Okeechobee over 14 feet, and the fact that we are now approaching the most turbulent part of hurricane season, the ACOE “has to start releasing again,” like now! And everybody knows this.

Therefore, Rae Ann was looking for options, for sharing adversity, and this was fair as the Calloosahatchee has bore most of the adversity this year. She wasn’t talking about flooding the cities in the EAA, she was inquiring about flooding the fields, by less than a foot of water that would evaporate quickly at that extension and depth, maybe stressing but not killing the crops. Sugarcane in particular, is a hardy and durable crop for intermittent periods of water.

Shared adversity… Certainly, the estuaries have have their “fair” share…

So why does the ACOEhave to dump to the estuaries? Why is it taboo to talk about flooding the fields? Because although the 2008 LORS talks about shared adversity the EAA is federally protected by an older and more important document. 

The ACOE in not a teacher picking favorites, they are the military taking orders from Congress.

The federal “law,” connected to the Central and South Florida Project (http://141.232.10.32/about/restudy_csf_devel.aspx) is complex, but perhaps best explained by sharing an excerpt from the book, River of Interests, by the Army Corp of Engineers. Page 35, discusses the 1948 Central and South Florida Project, what it did, and requires of the ACOE.(http://sccf.org/downloadable-files/5b465bf85f38152b048d1cce.pdf)

First, the Corps would build a levee from northwest Palm Beach County to the south of Dade County along the east coast, thereby preventing flooding from the Everglades to the coastal communities. Second, the Corps would modify control facilities and levees around Lake Okeechobee in order to create more water storage, and it would increase the discharge capacity from the lake in order to prevent flooding. Third, the Corps would create three water conservation areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties for water storage. Fourth, the Corps would construct canals, levees, and pumping stations to protect 700,000 acres of agriculture south of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach, Hendry, and Glades counties, known as the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Fifth, the Corps would build canals and water control structures to handle drainage in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie counties.

This bolded section is the key, this is why Rae Ann Wessel’s question rung so loudly in the silence of the ACOE call. For the ACOE, it is “understood,” that no matter the case, even with LORS, and in spite of “shared adversity,” that 700,000 acres of agriculture fields, south of Lake Okeechobee is to be protected from flooding destruction.

But as we all know, nothing lasts forever.

Just like other laws of our great county, some do, indeed over time, become outdated for the times. Things change. Among other issues, in 1950, when the Central and South Flood Project law was structured and voted upon to protect the crops in the EAA as part of flood control ¬†2.81 million people lived in Florida. Today, 20 million people reside here. In the old days, the discharges did not have the impact as they do today, the rivers were healthier, and the Lake, it wasn’t so polluted.¬†But now, seventy years later, water quality, pollution, and human health issues have risen to a point of question. “In emergency situations”, is discharging cyanobacteria water from Lake Okeechobee into the now heavily populated areas along the estuaries to prevent flooding of the Everglades Agricultural Area in the state’s best interest, or is it archaic, like the T-Rex in the room?

It might be time to re-evaluate South Florida’s greatest taboo.

-Above aerials: Caloosahatchee algae bloom 7-6-18, photo courtesy pilot Dave Stone.

What is the Everglades Agricultural Area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everglades_Agricultural_Area

Gov.Rick Scott State of Emergency proclamation: https://www.flgov.com/2018/07/09/gov-scott-issues-emergency-order-to-combat-algal-blooms-in-south-florida/

SCCF: (https://fortmyersbeach.news/rae-anne-wessel-of-sanibel-captiva-conservation-foundation/)

What are the ACOE Periodic Scientists Calls? Former blog post 2014: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/03/06/the-acoes-periodic-scientists-call-and-the-indian-river-lagoon/

A Tear for Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

Ed and I have just returned from vacation. Ironically leaving June 28th, the day the ACOE announced a nine-day reprieve due to algae in Lake Okeechobee; and returning July 8, the day before the ACOE may open S-308 into the St Lucie River once again.

It was a great trip and the weather was excellent.

Ed was our pilot, and we flew with stops from Stuart to Michigan.¬†It was remarkable to sit in the airplane and see the land below me ~ever changing from swampland, to farmland, to cites, to forest, to mountains, to rivers, and peppered with hundreds of lakes….

When we finally approached the Great Lakes Region, I was looking for the algae I had read so much about, and yes, there were some lakes turned green. But not in the vast northern waters of Lake Michigan, or Lake Huron, these lakes were deep mirrors of blue.

“The water here looks like the Bahamas,” Ed noted. We both looked in wonder at their hue.

Sometimes, I awoke at night, thinking of home. Thinking about how there is nothing like it, in spite of the many wonders of our great county. In spite of the beautiful, blue, icy waters of Lake Michigan.

On the way home to Stuart, I asked Ed if we could fly inland over Lake Okeechobee just to see. ¬†It was midday and the clouds had popped up and I knew we’d have to do my least favorite thing, fly though them. As the turbulence engulfed the airplane, I closed my eyes and prayed. And then finally, as always, we were through.

The lake opened up before us like an ocean.

I could clearly see the algae at about three thousand feet. It was visible roughly a mile off the lake’s east coast out into the lake for as far as the eye could see. Ed flew west and then circled around. The green masses of algae had been pushed into geometric designs by the wind, and they were everywhere. We flew for miles over the middle of the lake and beyond. To my surprise, the repetitive, endless, formations of cyanobacteria caused something unexpected to happen. Rather than my usual disgust, or anger for the destruction of the St Lucie, I felt myself begin to tear-up. “This poor lake,” ¬†I thought to myself. “I know you were once so beautiful even mythical; ¬†what have we done to you?

Just unbelievable…”

I wiped the tear from my eye, so sad for what is happening to the waters of my beloved Florida. Ed turned the plane, and we headed home…

S-308 algae was visible about a mile off the east coast of the lake and on and off, sometimes heavy, inside of the S-308 structure and in the C-44 canal to S-80 at St Lucie Locks and Dam.

S-80 was open and algae could be seen going through the gates  from the C-44 canal

Home at last. Sewall’s Point Park River Kidz FDOT recycled sign art

All photos take on July 7, 2018, 3pm. JTL/EL

Masses of Algae Pressing the Gates; Will ACOE Discharge Tomorrow? SLR/IRL

6-24-18, (Sunday)

I am posting this, not because I want to but because I have to. I much rather be enjoying the day instead of once again sitting at my computer. But time is of the essence.

This morning I read a comment by TcPalm reporter, Ed Killer, on Facebook stating the ACOE’s pulse release schedule for the St Lucie River.

Ed KillerThe Corps gave me this today

Sat- 0
Sun- 0
Mon- 1270 cfs
Tues- 2000
Wed- 2100
Thu- 1650

If this is true, and with Ed Killer posting, I believe it is, the ACOE will start releasing again Monday, 6-25-18. I did not know this until I read his post.

Today, my husband Ed and I were flying other people over Florida as usual, and during our flight I took this video expecting maybe some algae in C-44 but instead also found the gigantic bloom against the gates of S-308 in Lake Okeechobee leading into C-44/SLR.

So I wrote on Facebook:

I am so over this, but cannot fail to report. According to Ed Killer ACOE will start discharging from Lake O tomorrow in spite of Governor’s Emergency Order. Look at this algae mess waiting at gates of Port Mayaca. Write ACOE’s LTC Jennifer Reynolds and politely ask for ACOE to wait and to have DEP test again: jennifer.a.reynolds@usace.army.mil (JTL-S-308 video taken 6-24-15 at 12pm) #toxic2018

As Monday is tomorrow, and I fly to DC with the River Kidz tomorrow, I am posting this now. I truly believe considering the circumstances, that the ACOE¬†should refrain from discharging at S-308 or S-80. And the state’s FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) should have this water tested, again, as bloom has changed.

To just dump this on the people of Martin County along the St Lucie River is a crime.

Respectfully,

Jacqui

PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO

The recognizable shape of S-308 the entrance to C-44 and the SLR. Lake O’s connection to the river—obvious massive algae bloom at gates.

Bloom as satellites show is throughout and scattered in lake. This shot is looking more towards middle of lake in southern area.

Entrance to Caloosahatchee on west side of lake and near Clewiston Bloom is all through lake.

102 Sq. Mile Algae Bloom in Lake Okeechobee, 6-16-18

AlgaeBloom06-15-2018SWIR, Todd Thurlow

I could never do what I do without the people who help me. My husband, his pilot friends, the everyday people sending me “toxic-algae” imagery, the River Warriors community, and when it comes to striking the bull’s-eye, my science-studied-lawyer, little brother, Todd.

Just hours ago, Todd forwarded these images from satellites, Landsat 7, and Sentinel 2, clearly showing a large algae bloom photographed yesterday in Lake Okeechobee. 102 square-miles of it!

So Florida state agencies, and others…

…Do not tell me the algae comes from our river. It does not. We have been through this before….

The algae, that can become toxic, and maybe already is, starts in, and comes from the crock-pot of Lake Okeechobee. The Army Corp of Engineers should stop discharging right now.  Right when the Colonel sees these images. And these images have been seen, because NASA makes these images available to the Corp.

When a satellite image like this is made public, it cannot be ignored.

The ACOE should close the gates of S-308 until DEP has tested all edges of this large bloom. And work for never discharging when there is an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee.

Stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee!

LE07_L1TP_015041_20180614_20180614_01_RT-crop

Sentinel-2 L1C from 2018-06-15

Sentinel-2 L1C SWIR from 2018-06-15

Sentinel-2 L1C NDVI from 2018-06-15

Sentinel-2 L1C SWIR crop from 2018-

Sentinel-2 L1C NDVI crop from 2018-06-15

See this link of Todd’s for site with more satellite imagery: http://www.thurlowpa.com/LakeOImagery/

#toxic2018

The Algae Comes From the Lake, Documenting the Discharges, 2018, SLR/IRL

Since my husband, Ed, accidentally spotted an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee, while running new engines on the Baron, I have posted many photos on Facebook and the word is out.

Nonetheless, for purposes of documentation, I am going to post some of the photos again on my blog for historical purposes and for those who do not use Facebook.

~Ed noticed the “lines of algae” in the lake on June 2, two miles or so northwest of Port Mayaca, the day after the ACOE started discharging from Lake O into the St Lucie River. Absolute chance, fate, or a tip from above, however you decide to look at it.

Since this time others have documented on the ground and DEP should be testing for toxicity.

So, after seeing the bloom on Friday, Ed went back the following day on Saturday in windy conditions so I stayed home–in the yellow plane, the Cub, getting more pictures of bloom, looking about the same but more dispersed from rain perhaps. These photos at lower altitude also include drainage structures around the lake, as well as the destruction of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon at Sewall’s Point and the St Lucie Inlet.

Photos will continue to be taken as we once again, document the discharges, and once again have seen first-hand, like we did in 2016, without the warning of our government, that the algae that contaminates the St Lucie River starts in Lake Okeechobee.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Slow is For Turtles, Not for Crises ~Lobbying for the EAA Reservoir, SLR/ILR

JTL not a happy camper ~at the zoo 1968

Fifty years have passed since my parents took this picture. The family was visiting the zoo and my mother told me to stand on the back of the giant tortoise for a photograph. I was four years old, and I refused. I “didn’t want to hurt the turtle” by standing on its back. My mother held the power in the negotiations. She won and I lost. I stood on the poor tortoise, but made sure my mother and father knew that I was mad about it. I gave it my best frown as there was no way I could hide my dismay ~as I wished to befriend and pet the turtle, not to stand on it.

The 1968 photo has become a family classic.

Over the years, I have learned that it is often the case, when dealing with the environment, that people with more power than I, tell me what to do. I often end up “standing on the turtle,” but today I smile. I have learned to conform, and I have definitely accepted that being mad, or mean, will get me few friends and even fewer successes.

This week, when I was in Washington DC with the Everglades Foundation, I was assigned to a great lobbying team. Our job, along with others, was to convince key congressional members of two things: 1. Authorization of the EAA Reservoir through the Water Resources Development Act as a portion of the CERP, (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan), the master plan to restore the Everglades, that is cost-shared 50/50 between the State of Florida and the Federal Government. 2. Increase the Federal Funding for CERP as the federal contribution needs to increase to at least $200 million to begin to meet its cost-share commitment.

The feedback we got from the lobbied members of Congress was positive; however, sometimes I felt like that little girl standing on the tortoise when members in power told me that even with the approvals, if they were approved, Everglades restoration and improving the state of the Northern Estuaries and Florida Bay will take many, many years. “After all the Army Corp of ¬†Engineers ¬†has a very specific process…”

I smiled, but deep down inside I was frowning.

The environment, like the giant tortoise, should be treated more respectfully. Slow is for turtles, not for crises.

My lobbying team, SMILING, Everglades Foundation Summit 2018, #Nowor NeverGlades, John Adornato, National Park System; JTL, Tori Liner, “Path of the Panther;”Mark Perry, Florida Oceanographic Society (http://www.evergladessummit.org)

America’s Everglades Summit 2018: http://www.evergladessummit.org

WRDA, Water Resources Development Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resources_Development_Act

EAA Reservoir: https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/cerp-project-planning/eaa-reservoir

Senate President Joe Negron/EAA Reservoir: http://sunshinestatenews.com/story/negron-concerned-about-initial-sfwmd-modeling-everglades-agricultural-area

CERP: http://141.232.10.32/pub/restudy_eis.aspx

Algae pouring in from Lake Okeechobee from Central Florida waters, 2016.

Algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee is estimated to be 263 square miles as shown in this NOAA satellite image on 7-2-16 shared by FOS on 7-6-16, Todd Thurlow.

Everglades Foundation handout 2018

What!? What was Approved by the CRC for the 2018 Ballot?

Full CRC, 3-21-18

P 6001: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
P 6002: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
P 6003: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
P 6004: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
P 6005: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
P 6006: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
P 6007: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
P 6012: Ends Dog Racing

You may have read a plethora of articles on the completed work of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission and thought to yourself, “What!?”

Today I am going share the CRC press release that includes all of the proposals, now revisions, that will become constitutional amendments for the public to vote for or against on the 2018 ballot. Here they are in one place where you can easily research them.

Six of the proposed amendments are grouped, and “related.” Although for many, controversial, in my opinion, this can be a good thing, is perfectly legal, and we all know this was done in similar but not exact fashion by both the ’78 and ’98 CRCs. Unlike Citizen Initiatives, the CRC is not held to a “single subject.” There is a reason for this; it allows more ideas to be included. To be inclusive was the goal as there were over 2000 public or commissioner proposals submitted, and only 20 were approved to go on the ballot. To accommodate, six groups that were determined to be legally related and achieved at least 22 votes by the commission are “bundled.” Two though are separate. ~for a total of 8. In the future we will study each amendment, grouped or alone, ¬†independently; today those that were voted to go forward to the ballot 2018 are presented.

I am proud of the work of the commission! It has been my greatest honor to be a part. We devoted over one year of service, and heard thousands of diverse Floridian’s speak out. We have provided¬†many varied choices for voters to move into the future of the next twenty years…until the 2038 Constitution Revision Commission convenes!¬†“Getting there” should be interesting, and we all must get involved to make Florida’s challenging and changing future the best possible. We must read, study, talk to other fellow Floridians, debate, and VOTE!

I have read many articles myself and wish to share one that is great at simplifying the 8 amendments as it provides a chart. This article is written by Aron C. Dunlap of Carlton Fields in West Palm Beach. I do not know him or the law firm, but I thank Mr Dunlap for publishing:

Please go here for chart: (https://www.carltonfields.com/florida-constitution-revision-commission-meets-for-final-time-and-approves-8-ballot-measures/)

Hmmm? 20 more years until the next CRC….I will be 74 years old by then! How about you? ūüôā

CRC Office ‚ÄĒ Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 16, 2018, CONTACT: Meredith Beatrice, (850) 508-5204

CRC APPROVES EIGHT REVISIONS FOR THE 2018 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ‚ÄstPursuant to Article XI, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution, the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) today voted to approve eight revisions to be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot for voter consideration.

CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff, said, ‚ÄúFor more than a year, Commissioners have traveled across the state to speak directly with citizens about the changes they want to see in the Florida Constitution. After months of in-depth research and debate, the CRC has narrowed down thousands of comments and ideas into eight final revisions for voter consideration. From protecting our state and territorial waters from oil drilling to strengthening our ethics laws, I commend my fellow Commissioners for their hard work and leadership representing the people of Florida. We are grateful to the thousands of Floridians who participated in this historic process and look forward to letting voters have the final say in November.‚ÄĚ

Proposed constitutional revisions on the ballot must secure at least 60 percent voter approval to become law. A formal report will be submitted to the Florida Secretary of State as soon as possible. A list of the final revisions approved by the CRC are provided below; the full text of each revision is available on flcrc.gov:

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ABOUT THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION (CRC)

Once every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution provides for the creation of a 37-member revision commission for the purpose of reviewing Florida’s Constitution and proposing changes for voter consideration. The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) meets for approximately one year, traveling the State of Florida, identifying issues, performing research and possibly recommending changes to the Constitution. Any amendments proposed by the CRC would be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot. For additional information, visit flcrc.gov. Follow the CRC on social media @FloridaCRC (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube).

CRC website, press release: http://www.flcrc.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/1099

CRC official photo March 2017

Stuart on the St Lucie River, Great Old Inlet Photos, 1937 Stuart Daily News

Page 10, historic Stuart Daily News, Special Edition 1937, in celebration of the Stuart to Ft Meyers Cross State Canal courtesy Knight A. Kiplinger

We are up to page 10 in our history lesson and today’s photos are some of my favorite. The first is an aerial of the St Lucie Inlet entitled “Stuart on the St Lucie River.” Since its earliest day’s, Stuart has always been defined by its proximity to the river. ¬†Below the aerial it boast: “World Famous For its Fishing, Provides an Ocean Entrance for Small Craft.” And by today’s standards, a rather comical or un-comical plug can’t be missed: “Where the Waters of Lake Okeechobee Meet the Atlantic.”

It is also fascinating to note the shape of the south side of the St Lucie Inlet as today it has shifted and filled in. I am sharing my brother’s Time Capsule Flight used in former posts as it is so interesting and shows the various inlets of this area and land shapes as documented on various historical maps. Although today, we try to make barrier islands, beaches, and inlets permanent, by watching my brother’s video the message is clear: “the only constant is change.”