Tag Archives: lessons

Don’t Kill the Albatross, Florida Legislature 2017, SLR/IRL


The Albatross from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834.

Today the Florida Legislature convenes for year 2017.  As we look down from the Heavens upon our great state what do we see? Mostly water… And yet water is such a problem for us. As the third largest state in the nation, and for the children of the future, it is imperative that we get this water problem straightened out….starting with the St Lucie River and the destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Because of Senate President Joe Negron,  I am very hopeful. Let’s just hope the state legislature doesn’t kill the albatross. The albatross? Let us remember the story of the albatross.

Remember 8th grade? Remember reading Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner?” You may at least recall these lines:

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white…

St Lucie River 2016 toxic algae bloom, JTL

In case you have forgotten, in this famous poem, the Mariner is punished by the crew for killing the albatross with no good reason, a sign of good luck and of hope, and thus bringing devastation upon all.

We the citizens have been in a sea of frustration and thirst with “no wind” for years; we have watched our water as before the tortured Mariner turn blue and green and white. But hark, the  wind is blowing; the albatross is flying over… we have hope – a sign.

How shall the state legislature react? My hope is that they recall the lesson of the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” and remember, to whom they answer, and from whom they derive their power.

Water, water, everywhere…


Watch interview with Senate President Joe Negron on TC Palm regarding water issues Destruction of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon via Lake Okeechobee/Goal for EAA reservoir to offset: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/politics/2017/01/26/negron-defends-lake-o-discharges-bill/97047520/


Florida Bar Calendar of Legislative Dates: https://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLegNW.nsf/dc7ee304c562ed5b85256709006a26ee/47cccd05ad13623785256b2f006ccfa6?OpenDocument

“March 7, 2017 Regular Session convenes (Art. III, &3(b), Fla. Const.) 12:00 noon, deadline for filing bills for introduction (Senate Rule 6.4(4))”


Full text, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Smauel Taylor Coleridge: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43997

HBOI’s Indian River Lagoon Symposium, Great Minds Collaborating to Save Our Greatest Resource, SLR/IRL

Central Indian River Lagoon (Photo Ed Lippisch, 2013)
Central Indian River Lagoon. The entire lagoon spans 156 miles from Volusia to Palm Beach county. (Photo Ed Lippisch, 2013)
HBOI IRL Symposium, 2015
HBOI IRL Symposium, 2015

Today, at the FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is the “Indian River Lagoon Symposium.” (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/Symposium.html) that is part of “Love Your Lagoon,” sponsored by the Harbor Branch Foundation (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/Love-Your-Lagoon-Dinner-.html).

This symposium consist of one full day of presentations, and poster displays, and is then followed by a day including “public meeting and interaction” going forward. The symposium is a collaboration of many, but is led by beloved, Dr Dennis Hannisak of Harbor Branch, who specializes in seagrasses and has written many valuable publications on the subject. (http://www.fau.edu/hboi/meh/mb.php)

Dr Dennis Hannisak, HBOI.
Dr Dennis Hannisak, HBOI.

I would be remiss if I called the HBOI Symposium, the “4th annual,” as Harbor Branch (http://www.fau.edu/hboi/has a very long history of ocean, and thus estuarine research, here on the Treasure Coast, and has had a number of important symposiums over the past 40 plus years. (http://www.hboifoundation.org/p/28/history)

Nonetheless, the past four have been consistent and coincide with the recent crisis and super-bloom “crash” of the Indian River Lagoon’s northern and central seagrass health, and the 2013 “lost summer,” from devastating polluted releases from Lake Okeechobee on top of canals C-23, C-24 , C-44 and C-25 in the southern lagoon.

Since that time, there has been a public outcry for research, funding, and understanding. These symposiums provide an incredible opportunity for the scientific community, government agencies, youth, budding scientists, and the public to collaborate sharing  knowledge and questions regarding our treasured and ailing Indian River Lagoon. Harbor Branch, founded by Steward Johnson and Edwin Link in 1971 is the perfect place. 


Sunset , Indian River Lagoon. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch, 2014.)
Sunset , Indian River Lagoon. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch, 2014.)

The overview for the symposium states:

“The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Symposium is the result of a multi-institutional, multi-agency effort to provide a forum for discussing IRL science and its application to management of the lagoon. The symposium is open to scientists, decision makers, students, education and outreach professionals, and the interested public. The intent is to help facilitate better communication among these groups so that the gaps between research and its application can be narrowed.”

Here is a summary over the past four years:

2102, “Looking Forward:” (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/IRLS_2012_Program.pdf)

2013, “Health of the Lagoon:”(http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/IRLS_2013_Abstracts_of_Presentations.pdf)

2014, “Lagoon Bio-diverstiy:” (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/IRLS_2014_Abstracts_of_Presentations_Final_copy.pdf)

2015, “Lessons, Challenges, Opportunities:” (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/IRLS_2015_Abstracts_of_Presentations_Final.pdf)

SEE THIS LINK TO VIEW programs, and technical abstracts and more: (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/Symposium.html)

Kudos to the Harbor Branch and to the steering committee and to the public.  Together, may we inspire each other, and our government to “Save our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!”

•Jeff Beal – Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission
•Patti Gorman – South Florida Water Management District
•Dennis Hanisak – Florida Atlantic University
•Chuck Jacoby – IRL National Estuary Program/St. Johns River Water Management District
•Sea McKeon – Smithsonian Institution
•Mark Perry – Florida Oceanographic Society
•Chris Wilson – University of Florida
•John Windsor – Florida Institute of Technology

To attend the public form, this year entitled: “Engaging the Public: Citizen Science, “please see link: (http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/IRLS_2015_Forum_Program.pdf)(http://www.indianriverlagoon.org/Symposium.html)