Tag Archives: myth local runoff

The Myth of Local Runoff, St Lucie River/IRL “Rain Event,” 9-16-15

St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Point area after approximate 7-10 inches of regional rainfall in area 9-16-18. Photo taken on 9-23-15, Ed Lippisch.
St Lucie Inlet and Sailfish Point area after approximate 7-10 inches of regional rainfall in area 9-16-15. Photo taken on 9-23-15, Ed Lippisch.

“From 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday, the heaviest rainfall was reported at the Savannas Preserve State Park in southeastern St. Lucie County, with 7.67 inches. Next highest in 24-hour rainfall, according to the Weather Service, was 6.87 inches at Hobe Sound.” —-from article y Elliot Jones, TCPalm, 9-17-15

SFWMD showing releases through canals recently. Note spike after recent rainfall.
SFWMD chart showing releases through canals recently. Note spike after recent rainfall.

Today I will share aerial photos of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon taken by my husband, Ed, on 9-23-15. I asked Ed to document the after effects of the tremendous rainfall event in the region from September 16th  through the 17th, 2015. After reviewing his photos, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon has dark waters, this is evident, but first, let’s set some things straight….

We hear a lot about “local runoff,” however, it is becoming more and more understood, there is no such thing as “local runoff” for the St Lucie River/IRL…. The canals that dump into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon are regional canals that have been “plumbed” over the past 100 years to drain and dump waters off the lands from as far away as western Martin County, Okeechobee County, and even what used to be the north flowing waters of the St Johns River in Indian River County! Then when things are really bad, since the water can’t flow south, “they” dump the overflow waters of Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River to boot.

The poor St Lucie River is inundated with “everyone’s water” not just “its own.”

Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative's Report to Congress 1994.)
Drainage changes to the SLR. Green is the original watershed. Yellow and pink have been added since ca.1920. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)
SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. The St Lucie’s natural basin as seen above in green has been very much enlarged by  the C-44 canal built in the 1920s —with expanded basin and often Lake O overflow; also C-23, C-24 and C-25 were built  ca. 1950 to drain lands in St Lucie County for orange groves/agricultural development  and land development by General Development Corp and others.

It is critical that we study and understand what happens in our area after a huge rain, with or without the “extra-extra killing waters of Lake Okeechobee.” Why?  Because maybe, just maybe, if the SFWMD, ACOE, as well as state and federal politicians will see how much the river is already suffering, they will do all they can, “not to kill it more.”

So here are Ed’s photos, taken one week after the rain event. It takes the water coming in through the canals some time to move through the St Lucie River;  I imagine a lot had already exited the St Lucie Inlet. The 23rd was the soonest Ed could “get up in the air.”

I am thankful to my husband, as for me going up in that plane? It is really amazing to be flying,  but also very stressful. Somehow to me it seems God only meant for birds to fly….

At least with the Cub, I feel like if something ever happened, over the ocean anyway…. we could just jump out!

2013.
2013 Ed Lippisch/Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.
St Lucie Inlet at Sailfish Point. 9-23-15.
St Lucie Inlet at Sailfish Point. 9-23-15.
Crossroads, Sewall's Point and Sailfish Flats. 9-23-15.
Crossroads, Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Flats. 9-23-15.
St Lucie Inlet 9-23-15.
St Lucie Inlet 9-23-15.
Water in Jupiter Narrows very close to St Lucie Inlet. 9-23-15.
Water in Jupiter Narrows very close to St Lucie Inlet. 9-23-15.
Unusual in that plume was flowing north and south. Here north at Sailfish Point 9-23-15.
Unusual in that plume was flowing north and south. Here north at Sailfish Point at SL Inlet. 9-23-15.
Northerly movement of plume. 9-23-15.
Northerly movement of plume. 9-23-15.
Sailfish Flats of SLR/IRL confluence as seen from ocean over Hutchinson Island. 9-23-15.
Sailfish Flats of SLR/IRL confluence as seen from ocean over Hutchinson Island. 9-23-15.
Heading back...9-23-15.
Heading back…9-23-15.
On the way back to Witham Field. Sewall's Point Crossroads 9-23-14.
On the way back to Witham Field. Sewall’s Point Crossroads 9-23-15.

TCPALM article on rainfall: Subscription may be necessary to view, (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/local-news/weather/rain-likely-to-continue-friday_95415704)