Tag Archives: Mayor Greg Oravec

Port St Lucie, Bringing the Alpatiokee Swamp Back to Life, SLR/IRL

*Please note, all comments become public record.

Port St Lucie was a Swamp? Really? https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/05/21/port-st-lucie-was-a-swamp-really-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/

Prior to modern development, the enormous Alpatiokee Swamp connected lower Indian River, St Lucie, and Martin Counties, only remnants remain today.

History of the word “Alpatiokee” https://www.floridamemory.com/blog/2013/08/21/halpatiokee/

This past week, I was invited by the City of Port St Luice for their “St Lucie County and City of Port St Lucie IRL South Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and McCarty Ranch Tour.”

First, Natural Resources Manager, Mike Middlebrook gave the best presentation I have ever witnessed, about the Ten Mile Creek oxbow reconnection at newly acquired Richard  E. Becker Preserve. Mike incorporated historic maps and watersheds into the goals of the restoration projects for today. Very educational.(https://www.stlucieco.gov/departments-services/a-z/environmental-resources/preserve-listing/richard-e-becker-preserve)

As McCarty Ranch was presented by video, I couldn’t help but grin as I watched ACOE Lt Col Jennifer Reynolds. It appeared we were watching a project featured by the Army Corp of Engineers itself.

“Maybe the Army Corp has met its competition, ” I thought.

McCarty Ranch Water Project:https://www.cityofpsl.com/government/departments/utility-systems/mccarty-ranch-water-project

City of Port St Lucie, Mayor Greg Oravec praised his city’s Water Quality Warriors, “Our City is doing projects on scale with the Central Everglades Restoration Plan, CERP.”

I find this inspirational and amazing.

The tour showcased the good that we can do ourselves. With the leadership of charismatic visionaries like Mayor Oravec, local governments can get started today!

Lt Col. Reynold’s response? “You don’t have to do everything. You just have to do what you can do.” 🙂

Kudos, Port St Lucie and St Lucie County! You are setting an example for all!

PSL Mayor Oravec (https://www.cityofpsl.com/government/mayor-city-council/mayor-gregory-j-oravec) explains how polluted water is taken from the C-23 canals, cleaned, stored and one day is to be used for water supply.

Here a portion of Ten Mile Creek is presently blocked by fill. It will be opened and restored. Many unique fish species use these upper areas of the North Fork and Dr Grant Gilmore studies this area closely.
Ten Mile Creek stopped up by fill
Blue shirt, Mike Middlebrook Natural Resources Manager explains the reconnection.

Website City of Port St Lucie:https://www.cityofpsl.com

Website St Luice County:https://www.stlucieco.gov

Port St Lucie’s New Mayor, a Friend to the SLR/Indian River Lagoon

Greg Orvac
Greg Oravec, PSL’s new mayor. Treasure Coast a Council of Local Governments meeting 12/14. Photo JTL.

(http://www.oravecformayor.com/)

Greg Oravec, Port St Lucie’s new mayor, is a friend to the Indian River Lagoon. Although many of us know him already, as he is the former city manager of PSL, we need to get to know him even better. We need to make him a close ally. He has qualities and desires to help us improve the health of the SLR/ IRL and to work together between Martin, St Lucie and Indian River counties, as well as between the state and federal government.

Mayor Oravec graduated magna cum laude from University of Miami’s honors program in “Marine Environmental Systems.” According to Greg’s bio, as a kid he “grew up fishing and building forts.”  Greg loves and appreciates our “good nature….” Today, Greg and his wife are raising three children and want their children to have access to clean water and an healthy outdoor environment too.

Mayor Orvac
Mayor Oravec

So how can Mayor Oravec help us?

Well, in terms of Martin and St Lucie counties, we don’t always think about it, but a tremendous portion of the runoff into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is from St Lucie County. Thank God they are on sewer and not septic for all but 22,000 of their residential properties… This runoff  is primarily because of canals C-23 and C-24. These two canals were built as part of the Central and South Florida Project in the 50s and 60s to drain the lands mostly of St Lucie County for agriculture (citrus) and for development. These two canals release untreated agricultural and urban runoff  into the north fork and central area of the St Lucie River. In case you don’t know, C-23 is the dividing line between St Lucie and Martin counties, but of course the river knows no boundaries….

Basin
Basin and canal  map SLR

For us today, it is important to note that St Lucie County with 250,000 residents is now the 9th largest city in Florida! And it is only going to get bigger with a projected 450,000 plus people by 2050. This is a negative but also a positive, in that St Lucie County and especially the City of Port St Lucie now have significant political power due to this population growth. They are a giant part of the key to getting what we want: more water moving south; no releases from Lake Okeechobee; and the clean up and water storage of excess polluted runoff of canals C-23, C-24 and C-25 into the SLR/IRL.

In fact, the first time I was ever invited to Port St Lucie County to learn about all the city  had been doing over the past few years to improve water quality was when I was mayor of Sewall’s Point in 2012 and Greg invited me up to PSL as their city manager. He showed me maps of McCarthy Ranch and the C-23 canal that were part of planning for the city’s water supply, growth,  and to clean the polluted water of C-23, along with other impressive local projects.

I have to say, honestly, Greg is one of the most polite yet determined people I have ever met. A true gentleman and a driven man of service. I ask everyone to welcome him and to make him a friend. Email him and congratulate him! Go out of your way to get to know him. Invite him to a Rivers Coalition or River Warrior meeting. Attend a PSL city commission meeting and “speak up!”

It is a rare day, to have such a person as Greg holding the reigns of Port St Lucie.

If you check out his website you will see that he dedicated an entire page to the Indian River Lagoon, stating as part of his goals: “to preserve our natural areas, especially the Indian River Lagoon.”

(http://oravecformayor.com/ourriver.html)

You can email Mayor Greg Oravec at his new official email : mayor@cityofpsl.com

Believe me, we need him more than ever; there is lots of work to do in PSL, but we sure do look forward working together on regional, state and federal issues to help save our shared resource, quality of life, and economy builder, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!

Mo
Mayor Oravec and Comr. JTL at the TCCLG meeting. We were trying to get the IRL in the background, but there was too much light!

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C-23 DEP
(http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf)
C-24 DEP
(http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf)

Thank you to Diane Hughes of Martin County’s Ecosystem and Restoration Division, who helped me with numbers for this post.