Tag Archives: restoration

C-44 Reservoir/STA Aerial Update -June 2020

C-44 Reservoir and Storm Water Treatment Area (STA) 

After weeks of algae Lake O shots, when my husband, Ed, went up in the Baron on June 17th, 2020,  I looked at him and said: “Could you please also take some photos of the C-44 Reservoir and STA for an update? I need a positive fix.”

Thus today’s photos of the C-44 Reservoir/STA in Martin County, off the C-44 canal near Indiantown, share good news. Most important for me, the pictures reveal that many more of the STA cells are slowly getting filled with water -in December 2019 they started with one as Governor DeSantis pulled the lever. One can see many more cells are now filled. When complete, these cells will cleanse tremendous amounts of nutrient polluted water prior to entry into the St Lucie River. The ACOE projects that construction will be completed by next year. It has been in progress for many years and is a” cooperative” between the ACOE (reservoir) and SFWMD (STA) and a component of CERP

Program: Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)

“Located on approximately 12,000 acres on the northern side of the St. Lucie Canal in western Martin County, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project will capture local basin runoff…”  ~SFWMD Achieve More Now” 

There are maps and links at the bottom of this post should you like to learn more. Thank you to all over the years and today helping with the completion of the C-44 Reservoir STA as we work to save the St Lucie River.  


Computer Generated Model: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BsC0BoIPJ4

ACOE INFO SHEET:(https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/util s/getfile/collection/p16021coll11/id/4599)Without

Martin County: “Martin County’s land acquisition efforts, this most critical and important project would not be under construction today.” (https://www.martin.fl.us/land-acquisition)

JTL  Past blog posts

SFWMD FIELD TRIP 2019 (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2019/11/11/a-fly-over-a-field-trip-and-watching-the-governor-activate-the-c-44-sta/)

EARLY FLY OVER 2014 (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/c-44-sta-and-reservoir/)

HISTORY: A LOOK BACK TO THE ORANGE GROVES OF TODAY’S C-44 RESERVOIR 1964 AERIALS: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/10/29/a-look-back-to-the-orange-groves-of-todays-acoe-sfwmds-c-44-reservoirsta-1964-slrirl/)

Red Balloon with black dot signifies footprint of former orange groves that became the footprint  of C-44 Reservoir STA approx. 10,000 to 12,000 acres

An Incredible Flight! 1958 USGS Quads ~Everglades, Loxahatchee Slough, Allapattah Flats, and St. Johns River Marsh, by Todd Thurlow

USGS 1958 Quad Western Martin and St.Lucie, slide Todd Thurlow, Time -Capsule Flights

Today, I present, yet another incredible Time-Capsule Flight by my brother Todd Thurlow. (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/todd-thurlows-time-capsule-flights/). This flight takes us on a tour over the Everglades, the Everglades Agricultural Area,  Loxahatchee Slough,  Allapattah Flats, Ten Mile Creek, and the St Johns River Marsh, fading in and out, so one can see what the landscape/waterscape looked like in 1958 using USGA topographical maps compared to today’s Google Earth maps.

What is most striking for me, is how undeveloped, how undrained, much of the land was in 1958, not really that long ago… 61 years ago.  For reference, my husband, Ed, is 62 years young!

More than we can image has happened to South Florida since 1958…

For instance, when Todd flies by notice how little sugarcane and other crop production was taking place in the Everglades Agricultural Area just south of Lake Okeechobee compared to today. Now there are about 525,000 acres of sugarcane, back then, there appears to have been fewer than 50,000 acres of sugarcane in acreage.

Everglades National Park had been in place since 1947, but look at the difference in Whitewater Bay,  as well as Taylor and Shark River Slough; and what about Florida Bay?

The Loxahatchee Slough region, near Jupiter, in Palm Beach County? Holy moley, notice how the once magnificent slough was made smaller by development encroaching  from every direction, eventually leaving “Grassy Waters” at the southern end – as the sole water supply, via rainfall for all of West Palm Beach…

When Todd travels north over Marin, St Lucie, and the southern edge of Indian River County, perhaps the biggest shock for me endures, as I grew up in this area ~(For reference, I’m 55 years old 🙂

You’ll see that on the USGA map, southern Indian River, St Lucie, and Martin counties are shown in wavy blue as a gigantic marsh, at certain times of year, FULL of clean water!!!! Crazy! Since 1958 these lands have been drained (Ten Mile Creek) that was hydrologically connected to the marsh, through canals C-23, C-24 and C-25; and the waters of the St Johns “Stick Marsh,”( the headwaters of the St Johns River), a north flowing river, are now also drained south into the St Lucie River.  Agriculture fields and nearby highways cover those most of those stick marsh lands today.

And the central larger marsh?  “Allattah Flats,” also known as “Allpattah Marsh,” or in old military Indian war maps, “Alpatiokee Swamp? Well, the City of Port St Lucie, with over 250,000 residents, and acres of ailing greening orange groves, and more agricultural fields fill these areas today.

Just unbelievable, isn’t it?

Talk about “taking control of one’s environment. “Kind of cool, but I’d say we have really over done it, considering that now our waters, critical for life itself, are almost entirely impaired.

It is my wish that as the residents of Florida push their governments to work for cleaner water, and restore some of these lands, that we all keep in mind the history of what the lands were, working with Mother Nature, not against her.

Todd’s Time Capsule Flights are an invaluable tool in recognizing how much human determination has changed these lands, and how a modern-day determination can restore them. Please click on below and enjoy! Thank you Todd!

An Incredible Flight! 1958 USGS Quads, the Everglades, Loxahatchee Slough, Allapattah Flats, and St. Johns River Marsh, by Todd Thurlow


1958 USGS Quads of the Everglades, Loxahatchee Slough, Allapattah Flats, and St. Johns River Marsh

This time capsule flight overlays three 1958 USGS Quadrangle Maps of southeast Florida from Florida Bay to the St. Johns River Marsh in Indian River County. You will see the following places:
0:30 Whitewater Bay
0:39 Shark River
1:44 The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA)
2:20 Loxahatchee Slough
3:15 Allapattah Flats
3:35 Tenmile Creek
4:03 St. Johns River Marsh

Historical Topographic Map Collection legend

The False Edge of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

screenshot 2.jpgIMG_6449.jpg

Road trip series:

Today we continue our road trip in the Glades atop the Herbert Hoover Dike.

In the short video below you can see my Glades tour-guide, former mayor JP Sasser, driving, –in his hometown of which he knows so much about–Pahokee. On the right lies the city, and on the left is Lake Okeechobee. A precarious position indeed!

Pahokee is actually unusual in that this little town is “high-ground.” According to JP, about 13 feet above ground. This is not the case for most of the Glades.

Interestingly, in the video, JP discusses how the Army Corp recently decided where to strengthen the dike in Pahokee, because if they had extended it out 500 feet as was done along the rest of the eastern shore, the town of Pahokee would have been covered up as it is located right beside the dike.

Video: Driving along dike:https://youtu.be/fQILKYeQbeU

Lake Okeechobee’s dike and its history are fascinating just as is all our area of the Northern Everglades including the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon that in 1923 became the primary exit point for waters that could no longer flow south after the Herbert Hoover Dike was built.

According to historian and Gladesman Lawrence E. Will:

“…following the floods of 1923 and 1924 water stood over farm lands nearly the entire winter. To protect the farms, the state of Florida had then constructed an earthen dike along the whole south shore. It was some five to eight feet above ground level but this dike was never intended to withstand a hurricane.”

Regarding the expansion of the dike, as the “Herbert Hoover,”after the horrific hurricanes of 1926, ’28 and again in again in ’49, Mr. Nathaniel Reed notes in his writing “Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades: “The Corps of Engineers studied the average size of Lake Okeechobee and designed a dike around it…”

Now this is where things get very interesting.

“The average size of the lake….” what’s that?

Now if we look at this slide taken from a 2016, presented by Jeff Sumner, who was at the time Office Chief State and Agricultural Policy, SFWMD, it shows the size of the lake pre-development. One can see it was about once about 1000 square miles in size and today it is 750.

screenshot The False Edge of Lake Okeechobee IFAS NARLI
The False Edge of Lake Okeechobee, SFWMD

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The checkered fields were once lake bottom. L. E. Will, “Okeechobee Hurricane”

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L.E. Will Swamp to Sugar Bowl. The Glades area, today’s Everglades Agricultural Area has  become one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world…

Of course the size expanded and contracted based on rainfall, but one still gets the point…this lower area was nature’s shoreline, a boggy marsh with rivers leading into a sawgrass “river of grass” bordered by a forest of over 30,000 acres of Custard Apple trees that functioned like mangroves extending up to five miles or more south into what is today’s Belle Glade. As Mr Lawrence Will would have said: “Who wudda thought!” (http://museumoftheglades.org)

Pahokee is in upper right. Map Laurence E Will

The lake once went further south here and there following the rivers to  Hwy. 80

Land ownership today

Sen. Joe Negron’s map for land purchase


Jupiter Lighthouse, a Magical-Historic Place, Loxahatchee/Indian River Lagoon

The Jupiter lighthouse, built in 1860 and still looking beautiful.
The Jupiter lighthouse, built in 1860 remains a stunning landmark as one passes over the confluence of the Loxahatchee River and southern Indian River Lagoon. (Photos by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2014.)

This week I have been watching a high school friend’s seventh grade daughter, Hannah, so I have been particularly “adventurous,” taking advantage of sharing some of  the cool places to visit, right in “our own backyard.”

One such place visited this past weekend was the Jupiter Lighthouse. The first time I toured the Jupiter Lighthouse I was five and attending  St Mary’s Kindergarden in Stuart. The teacher and guide walked our class up the hundreds of twirling stairs to pop out at the top and see a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and Loxahatchee watershed.  We were awed!

I can still remember this experience. In fact for whatever reason, as a child, I believed the lighthouse could talk and that people sat up in the lighthouse in black leather chairs, men with cigars I recall, and  together with the lighthouse “invented words.” This childhood idea has stayed with me through out my lifetime and every time I drive past the lighthouse, I remember it…

But I never actually went back until last weekend.

So 45 years later, attending with Hannah, the lighthouse still held its magic.

Hannah and I at Jupiter Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built in 1860 to guide sea captains along the Atlantic’s treacherous waters. Its “Fresnel lens” shines 23 miles out to sea. The land around the lighthouse is located on a military reservation that was designated during the Indian Wars. Today the lighthouse  is the region’s “oldest active building.”

Original Fresnel lens.
Original Fresnel lens.

It’s light was quickly snuffed out during the Civil War, 1861-1864, but thereafter put back in place and still shines today as the only lighthouse in Florida using its original lens.  The lighthouse has been through fires, an earthquake, multiple hurricanes, the Indian Wars, and World War I and II. It has seen the entire growth of modern-day Jupiter. In 2000 it was restored and today, honestly, looks almost  brand new.

View of Atlantic from inside Jupiter Lighthouse.
View looking east of Atlantic Ocean and confluence of Loxahatchee River and S. Indian River Lagoon –from inside Jupiter Lighthouse.

For Hannah and I it was most interesting to note that the lighthouse sits atop an 45 foot sand dune/Indian shell midden lending to its prominence. Another interesting thing we learned afterwards from Facebook exchanges was that the Jupiter Inlet today is not in its original location.  When the lighthouse was built the inlet winded through today’s Carlin Park about a quarter-mile south of today’s ACOE’s straight shot into the Loxahatchee River.

The Loxahatchee River, along which the lighthouse sits, was Florida’s first designated “Wild and Scenic River” and translates as “river of turtles” in Seminole. (There used to be hundreds of Green turtles in the area.) Unfortunately for the native peoples the turtles were over harvested and according to local historian Bessie Wilson DuBois, 300 of the local Seminoles were trapped right at the mouth of the Loxahatchee and later sent west during one of the Indian Wars.

The remnants of the original native peoples who lived in the area for thousands of years before their destruction by Europeans, can be seen in their earthen mounds under, and around the lighthouse. (Most famously, under the DuBois Pioneer Home across the river.) These shell mounds, formed by thousands of years of shellfish consumption provided high sights for these ancient people to take watch and a place in some cases to bury their dead.

Native American tribes.
Native American tribes.

Most of these sacred places were used by the expanding European culture to make roads. Today they are protected historical sites reminding us of a culture that lived more in harmony with nature rather than trying to overpower it.

The highlight of our visit was when Hannah and I walked to the top of the lighthouse with our tour group which included kindergarten aged kids. I thought about how much time had passed since I myself walked to the top of the lighthouse at that age, I thought about my friend’s daughter growing up in a different but somehow similar world to what I grew up in….

At the very top, Hannah and I were exhilarated. Inspired! We walked all the way around in amazement.

Then it was time to go…

On the way down, I said “Hannah you don’t mind if I say a few word to the lighthouse before we leave do you? She smiled.

I turned my head, held tight to the railing, and whispered: “Good to see you agin Mrs Lighthouse, you are looking pretty good for 154 years old.”

I was silent, and then I swear,  I heard her say: ” You don’t look so bad yourself for 50, but please, don’t wait another 45 years to say hi.”

Jupiter Lighthouse sits a top an ancient Native American shell midden.
Jupiter Lighthouse sits a top an ancient Native American shell midden.


Jupiter Lighthouse: (http://jupiterlighhouse.org)

Native peoples of Florida: (http://trailoffloridasindianheritage.org/florida-indian-trial-jupiter-midden-2c.html)