Tag Archives: scott kuhns

Prohibiting Toxic Discharges, Would Change Everything

On almost any summer day, Lake Okeechobee is green with algae.

A recent press release states:

“Congressman Brain Mast has introduced legislation to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon.  This legislation would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.”

(Microcystins are hepatotoxins (liver toxins) produced by cyanobacteria, blue green algae.) 

Such a law regarding blue-green algae would push back and change everything. ~The toxic algae, the discharges, the years’ long built up non-point pollution that has made Lake Okeechobee eutrophic.

Let’s think about this.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has codified exactly what level of microcystin is too toxic for human contact. The number is 8 parts per billion.

Some people in opposition to this bill say it is outlandish. I think it is outlandish that any business interests, neighboring communities, or level of government would think it is OK to literally dump toxic water onto the citizenry of Martin County.

Thank you Congressman Mast!

St Lucie River wide water, 2016.

Please be familiar with this press release and accompanying bill.

August 12, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kyle VonEnde, 202-329-1890

                     Kyle.VonEnde@mail.house.gov

Mast Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Toxic Discharges

 

Stuart, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today introduced legislation to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon.  This legislation would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.

“The Army Corps has proven that if left to their own devices, they will continue to poison our communities with toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee that they have acknowledged to be toxic.  No Floridian should tolerate being poisoned by their government,” Rep. Mast said. “The EPA has told us exactly what level of microcystin is too toxic for human contact, and now we must tell the Corps to stop these discharges that are destroying our waterways and putting our health at risk!”

The legislation is supported by Captains For Clean Water and Friends of the Everglades.

BACKGROUND

 

For decades, Florida’s coastal communities have been on the receiving end of toxic discharges, including recently discharges that have tested more than 60 times more toxic than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human contact.  These discharges put public health at risk, damage the economy and destroy the environment.   Last year, Rep. Mast worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a new public health standard for microcystin (8 parts per billion), which in turn forced the Army Corps of Engineers to admit to knowingly discharging toxic water to the coastal estuaries.  Despite acknowledging that these releases are toxic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has continued to poison Americans.  

The legislation is attached: MAST_8ppb

_____________________________________________________

The photos below were taken just today, 8-12-20, at 9:30 am, by pilot Dr Scott Kuhns from the SuperCub. They show algae clusters in Lake Okeechobee. These algae clusters can grow very rapidly. Following are aerials of S-80 in the C-44 canal: when opened by the ACOE this structure allows water to discharge from Lake Okeechobee  into the St Lucie River.  Photo#1 JTL & Congressman Mast today at the Riverwalk along the St Lucie River, Stuart, Florida.  

 

 

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. 

I.

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.

 

“A Wider Perspective,” the St Luice River-Indian River Lagoon Looking Great!

Thank you to pilots Scott Kuhns and Steve Schimming for providing a “wider perspective.” This morning, March 18th, their photos reveal an unravaged St Lucie River-Indian River Lagoon ~from 2500feet. These are shots I definitely could not get with my iPhone!

Thank you for the good news that shall be documented for all.  ~The St Lucie, Indian River Lagoon -a year and a half into no Lake Okeechobee discharges- looks GREAT!

CROSSROADS ST LUCIE RIVER/INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, ST LUCIE INLET, MARTIN COUNTY, FL

SAILFISH POINT, HUTCHINSON ISALND

THE FAMOUS HOUSE OF REFUGE, BUILT IN 1876, HUTCHINSON ISLAND ocean and IRL

JUPITER NARROWS, INDIAN RIVER LAGOON SOUTH OF ST LUCIE INLET, ST LUCIE INLET STATE PARK

THE ST LUCIE RIVER-INDIAN RIVER LAGOON, COMING BACK, WHEN ALLOWED TO BE, IT IS “THE MOST BIO-DIVERSE ESTUARY IN NORTH AMERICA!”

Documenting the Discharges 11-8-17, SLR/IRL

A lone sailboat is a sea of blackness, confluence of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, once considered the most biodiverse estuary in North America and full of seagrasses, a nursery for the ocean..
http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/plots/s308h.pdf
I am very fortunate to have a small army of people helping me document the  Lake Okeechobee discharges this year. Presently, it  is the tremendous rate of government sponsored discharge from Lake O that is destroying the regions’ economy and ecology, right before our eyes, ~once again.

Friends of my husband, pilots Dave Stone and Scott Kuhns, took these aerials yesterday, 11-8-17 around 5 pm. When I asked Scott about the plume, he relayed that it went 15 miles south almost all the way to Jupiter Inlet, and since there is also rain driven, fresh, dark- stained water flowing out of the Jupiter Inlet (not over-nutrified, black-sediment water from Lake O) there was no clear delineation of blackened plume to aqua ocean water, like usual–rather, the waters are all dark….

“How far did the plume go east from the St Lucie Inlet?” I asked. “From the coast, as far as the eye could see…”

End of plume, near Jupiter Inlet
Another angle end of plume near Jupiter Inlet
Up close of a boat in the plume. Look at the sediment! Covering what once was seagrasses and killing our near shore “protected” reefs.
Plume in black water. Brown on black. The ocean? You’d think it was an oil spill.
Plume as seen at mouth of St Lucie Inlet near multi million dollar homes in Sailfish Point.
Plume at mouth of St Lucie Inlet on south side as seen against Jupiter Island’s state park/Jupiter Narrows.
A lone sailboat is a sea of blackness, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, once considered the most biodiverse estuary in North America and full of seagrasses, a nursery for the ocean.
Plume exiting St Lucie Inlet
The north Jetty at the St Lucie Inlet with plume waters going into the Atlantic Ocean. The plume goes east for many miles.

http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm–cfs over 4000 has been going on for weeks. A total blowout.
 

Lake O is connected to the St Lucie through the C-44 canal.
*Lake O level:http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

*The ACOE has been discharging from Lake O since Hurricane IRMA hit on Sept 2oth, 2017. The rate of discharge has gone up and down, however increasing over recent weeks. Word is the St Lucie could be dumped on for many more months, possibly through the end of the year. So don’t count on taking your visiting relatives out fishing this holiday season even though you moved here for the water. This ecological disaster is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel as Senator Joe Negron, alongside the public, and “River Warrior” groups, particularly Bullsugar, has pushed so hard  that the SFWMD and ACOE are finally working  towards building an EAA Reservoir that will begin the long journey of changing water drainage culture in South Florida, and “sending the water south.” Please get involved and learn more by viewing this SFWMD EAA RESERVOIR website:https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/cerp-project-planning/eaa-reservoir

*Thank you to the people, and the children, groups such as the C4CW, Rivers Coalition, grandparents’ HOA email chains, leadership at Martin Health System, and to the those working for the agencies trying to help the St Lucie. As the River Kidz say: 

Destiny, The Man Behind the Protests, SAVE OUR RIVERS/BUY THE LAND, SLR/IRL

Evan Miller listens during a Rivers Coalition meeting. Evan represents Citizens for Clean Water. (Facebook)
Evan Miller listens during a Rivers Coalition meeting. Since 2013,  Evan represents Citizens for Clean Water for the coalition. (Facebook)

C4CW: http://www.citizensforcleanwater.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/citizens4cleanwater/

Evan Surfing....
Evan Miller

....
Facebook July 2016

Evan Miller grew up in Stuart, Florida, not far from the St Lucie Locks and Dam. He attended Crystal Lakes Elementary School, Hidden Oaks Middle School, South Fork and Martin County High Schools, graduating in 2002.

As a kid, Evan would ride his bike down to the St Lucie Locks and Dam with his friends. He knew the sad story of the lake and St Lucie River. He knew about the long history and  steady destruction of the waterways he loved that one day would come to a head. But little did he know, that it would happen in his lifetime, and he would lead the message.

The story is  this—

After graduating, Evan was sponsored as a professional surfer and lived in Costa Rica, and came home in 2012.  Upon his return, he saw the river’s decline and  innocently put a message on his Facebook page during the “Lost Summer os 2013,” when the river was posted by the Health Department as “off-limits.” Evan’s message read: “Who wants to meet me at the locks?”

Believe it or not, this request turned into a rally of over 5000 people!

Two weeks later, Evan organized a beach rally, putting down stakes and having a surveyor friend help him create the letters–over 2000 people came and spelled out in the sand SAVE OUR RIVER.

Destiny had found its man…

Now in 2016, under even worse conditions, after the St Lucie River and area beaches turned into a toxic-soup from an onslaught of releases from Lake Okeechobee since January—- that in time were dumping toxic algae from the lake into the river—- Evan has used his Facebook talents again.

This past Saturday, on July 3rd, the Martin County Sheriff’s Department reported that over 3500 people, from every walk of life, came out to spell in the sand the message of the masses to fix the lake and river debacle:  BUY THE LAND.

This event played out over the 4th of July weekend on national media outlets. People in Martin County were getting phone calls from people in other states they had not spoken to in years. My father got a call from a man in his wedding from 1962 who lives in California. They had not spoken in years…

“What’s going on down there?”

Yes, the world has “seen” the peoples’ message thanks to Evan.

SAVE OUR RIVER/BUY THE LAND!

Sometimes it’s just destiny…

Evan Miller

2013/2016 Evan Miller

From the Cub Ed Lippisch and Scott Kuhns
From the Cub Ed Lippisch and Scott Kuhns

2016 Rebecca Fatzinger
2016 The crowd. Rebecca Fatzinger

2016, Rebecca Fatzinger
2016, The crowd. Rebecca Fatzinger

with daughter Summer
with daughter Summer

Tiger Shores-ocean of algae July 2016 (Evan Miller)
Ocean of algae July 2016 (Evan Miller)

Evan and Kenny at the bullhorn. Kenny Hinkle looks on. (Facebook)
Evan Miller at the bullhorn. Kenny Hinkle looks on. (Facebook)

&nbsp
CNN:http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/01/us/florida-algae-pollution/

“Too Unthinkable,” the Complete Destruction of the St Lucie River, SLR/IRL

"Too Unthinkable" sits in the algae waters of the St Lucie River. JTL
“Too Unthinkable” sits in the algae waters of the St Lucie River-with Evinrude motor. JTL 6-26-16

The blue-green algae, the cyanobacteria–sometimes toxic— that we first saw in aerial photos over Lake Okeechobee weeks ago, is not only here,  it is everywhere…our river has been made completely fresh by our government. Now the algae is blooming fluorescent green-blue, dying a putrid brown-green, flowing out of our inlet, and poisoning not only or rivers’ shores but our beaches.

On the widest level, this is a health hazard brought upon us by a “knowing government.” Our state, federal, and local governments  have seen this coming for years. The slow and steady destruction of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon is well documented.

The St Lucie River was first declared “impaired” by the state of Florida in the year 2002. I have been blogging about this for four years.
(http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/SLE_Impairment_Narrative_ver_3.7.pdf)

Now, in 2016, all of Martin County’s beaches and the southern most beach of St Lucie County are closed. Palm City; Stuart; Rio; Sewall’s Point, Jensen. All waters are off limits. “Don’t Touch the Water.” –A health, safety and welfare issue for the people, a nightmare for local government, and a complete environmental and economic disaster for us all.

Included for purposes of documentation– to be added to the thousands of other posts on social media this weekend— I share the following, some that were shared with me…Divided into 8 sections: 1. Algae in the waves at Bathtub Beach, by JTL; 2. algae aerials at C-44, S-80, and S-308,  by Dr Scott Kuhns; 3. Lake Okeechobee and St Lucie River’s extensive algae bloom, by jet pilot Dave Stone, and local pilot Ron Rowers; 4. Rio, a residential disaster, Jeff Tucker; 5. Sewall’s Point as seen from the Evan’s Cray Bridge with a river full of algae by walker Tracy Barnes; 6. Rebecca Fatzinger’s duck eating algae;  7. my Uncle Dale Hudson’s lead to Snug Harbor’s Marina “a multimillion dollar disaster,” and 8. Really blue-algae at Central Marina, Stuart/Rio.

The outpouring of the public is immense, and the powers that be, must look our way. Document, call, write, demand, and VOTE.

Jacqui

 

I. Bathtub Beach, JTL

Algae rolling in the tide at Bathtub Beach on Hutchison Island, 6-26-16, JTL
Algae rolling in the tide at Bathtub Beach on Hutchison Island, 6-26-16, JTL

Link to video: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYo6RNg3a1Y)

 

II. Photos by Dr Scott Kuhns Lake Okeechobee, Port Mayaca (S-308), St Lucie Locks and Dam (S-80) and C-44 canal. All aerial photos taken 6-25-16.

St Lucie Locks and Dam 6-25-16 Dr Scott Kuhns
St Lucie Locks and Dam 6-25-16 Dr Scott Kuhns

East side of Lake O north of Port Mayaca 6-25-16, SK
East side of Lake O north of Port Mayaca 6-25-16

S-308 structure at Port Mayaca, heavy glare on Lke Okeechobee--bloom visible on bottom side of photograph.
S-308 structure at Port Mayaca, heavy glare on Lke Okeechobee–bloom visible on bottom left area of photograph.

C-44 Canal connecting to St Lucie River
C-44 Canal connecting to St Lucie River

C-44 canal
C-44 canal

C-44 canal
C-44 canal

Near Fuge Street in Martin County approaching Palm City
Near Fuge Street in Martin County approaching Palm City from C-44 as it connects to the South Fork of the St Lucie River where original curves still can be seen.

 

III. Professional jet pilot Dave Stone coming from Lee County to Martin County  6-26-16.

Aerial Video St Lucie River approaching North River Shores at 700 feet.

Link to video: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WLU6uLUKHo)

Lake Okeechobee from 13,000 feet, Dave Stone 6-26-16.
Lake Okeechobee from 13,000 feet, Dave Stone 6-26-16. Mr Stone said algae on the top of the lake is visible as far as the eye can see.

Near the Harborage Marina in Stuart, Roosevelt Bridge in background
Near the Harborage Marina in Stuart, Roosevelt Bridge in background

 

...

...

Rio approaching Roosevelt Bridge from Sewall's Point
Rio approaching Roosevelt Bridge from Sewall’s Point

....
….

....
….

...

Sewall's Point SLR
Sewall’s Point SLR

Sewall's Point
Sewall’s Point

Floridian
Floridian on west side of SLR–the border of Martin and St Lucie Counties.

 

IV. Jeff Tucker, Rio

Rio St Lucie River, Jeff Tucker
Rio St Lucie River, Jeff Tucker 6-24-16

...

...
…green algae turning blue=toxic.

Video link Jeff Tucker, Rio: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DG687c8mgc)

 

V. Tracy Barnes walking over Evans Crary  Bridge from Stuart into to Sewall’s Point

Shoreline of Sewall's Point, Tracy Barnes 6-25-16
Shoreline of Sewall’s Point, Tracy Barnes 6-25-16

Video of Sewall’s Point walking over bridge. River full of algae.
Link to video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pEg9OPuN2w )

VI. Rebecca Fatziner’s duck in SLR

Duck in St Lucie River's bloom, Rebecca Fatzinger 6-24-16.
Duck in St Lucie River’s bloom, Rebecca Fatzinger 6-24-16.

VII. Dale Hudson, alerted Ed and I to Snug Harbor Marina where we took these photos yesterday.

Snug Harbor Marina, JTL Ed looks on.
Snug Harbor Marina, JTL Ed looks on.

blue on wall
blue on wall

dead oysters
dead oysters

VIII. *Central Marina, Rio/Stuart blue algae

Central Marina blue green algae
Central Marina blue green algae

....
….

Green algae turning blue at Central Marina.
Green algae turning blue at Central Marina 6-27-16.

....
….

 

“Too Unthinkable”

"Too Unthinkable" sits in the algae waters of the St Lucie River. JTL
“Too Unthinkable” sits in the algae waters of the St Lucie River, 6-26-16. JTL

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image, Lake O is released into the SLR through the C-44 canal. All canals and the lake destroy our estuary.  The water must be redirected south and stored north and south. Fill the canals in; they have killed this area. JTL

Blog from 2014 on impairment of SLR: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/03/26/impairment-of-the-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)

*blue algae photos, #8, added to this post later in afternoon on same date this was originally published. JTL

Aerial Photos Documenting October Canal/Area Discharges/Runoff 2015, SLR/IRL

St Lucie Inlet, plume exiting. 10-3-15. Photo Dr Scott Kuhns.
St Lucie Inlet, plume exiting SLR at Crossroads of SLR/IRL. 10-3-15. Photo Dr Scott Kuhns.

I am supposed to be on a blog break, but I did not want to miss the chance for Dr Scott Kuhns’ photos to be documented. Dr Kuhns has a much better camera than Ed or myself who use our  iPhones. These photos were taken on Saturday, October 3, around 11:00am, 2015, with a Nikon D750.

So far this year, the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon has avoided the releases from Lake Okeechobee, and we were fortune that Hurricane Joaquin did not hit Florida which certainly would have filled up that lake. Nevertheless, we have been getting the discharges from regional canals C-23, C-24, C-44 and C-25 up in Ft Pierce.

While this fresh water is running off Martin, St Lucie, Okeechobee, and Indian River County, and being dumped to tide through our ailing rivers, Lake Okeechobee is filling up from the Kissimmee and other tributaries.

10-3-15
10-3-15 plume rounds Jupiter Island south of St Lucie Inlet, Hutchinson Island over near shore reefs. Sailfish Point on right. (Kuhns)

10-3-15
10-3-15 —-(Kuhns)

10-3-15.
10-3-15 over Sailfish Point. (Kuhns)

SFWMD discharge chart from ACOE Per. Scientist Call 10-29-13
SFWMD discharge chart from ACOE Per. Scientist Call 10-29-15

SFWMD basin/canal map.
SFWMD basin/canal map, 10-29-15.

SFWMD salinity chart SLR.
SFWMD salinity chart SLR Roosevelt Bridge.10-29-15.

Thie big picture...
Thie big picture… image courtesy of the EF.

Lake Okeechobee’s level today is at 14.77 NGVD. (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml) Hurricane Season officially ends November 30th….When the lake gets over approximately 15.5 feet there is a high chance its waters will be directed through C-44’s S-308 and S-80 to the St Lucie River/IRL by the SFWMD and the ACOE.

Presently according to NOAA, there is an El Nino (complicated, but basically a wet “winter” predicted/fewer hurricanes in summer) so this 2016 winter and Florida-spring, during what is normally the “dry season,” it may be rainy.

We must keep an eye on Lake O’s level every day, all year-long. I would still like to get a bank in Stuart to sponsor a “Lake O. Level Screen,” next to the temperatures….like they do in Clewiston. Like Clewiston, the lake affects our lives and livelihoods along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon on an everyday level—– whether we can “see” it or not.

Thank you Dr Scott Kuhns for the quality aerial photographs! Let’s keep documenting,  learning, advocating, and affecting change.

Documenting the Destructive Discharges While “Keeping Our Eye on the Ball”-The River, 3-31-15, SLR/ILR

The Crossroads of the SLR/IRL with discharges from Lake O and Area canals. (Photo by Ed Lippisch, 3-30-15, 5:PM.)
The Crossroads of the SLR/IRL as seen during incoming tide with discharges from Lake O and area canals. (Photo by Ed Lippisch, 3-30-15, 5:PM.)

With all the fanfare of President Obama’s visit and the confrontation that seems likely at the April 2nd SFWMD, Water Resources Advisory Board meeting between “Stop the Land Grab” (http://goo.gl/2YVLXTand the River Warriors, it is important to keep our “eye on the ball.” THE RIVER.

Since January 16th of 2015, the ACOE and SFWMD have been overseeing the releases from Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. (The ACOE technically oversees this; however, collaboration includes the science of both agencies.)

January is very early to start releases, but the lake “is high” for this time of year. Due to releases and evaporation, it is slowly going down and now at 14.04 feet. The goal 13.5 (?) or so, but they won’t say that  because  one must  “be sensitive to water supply” for agriculture and other users…(http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml)

Today, I will share photos by my husband, Ed Lippisch,  that were taken yesterday around 5pm during the onset of an incoming  tide. Ed was piloted by friend Scott Kuhns. Thank you Scott and Ed! 🙂

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the ACOE is PULSE RELEASING and lowering releases into the SLR through S-80 right now in an attempt to help Martin County evaluate bacteria testing that cannot be done during heavy discharges. It is interesting to note that pulse releases mimic nature so that the estuary is not continually pounded, and can recover a bit. Just like during a rain event, the water flow is intense, salinity drops, and then salinity increases when the water lets up. You can see the schedule below.

ACOE pulse release schedule May 26, 2015.
ACOE pulse release schedule May 26, 2015. S-80 is the structure from the C-44 to the SLR letting in water from S-308 at Lake O.

One of the most interesting photos is of Sailfish Point’s marina where the runoff into the SLR/IRL is very apparent. There is always runoff from land into the rivers, yet we must remember the rain takes everything on the land with it: fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, loose sediment….Martin County’s strong fertilizer ordinance rules don’t begin until June 1st, so it is likely that this runoff is full of pollution that like releases from Lake Okeechobee or area canals is not good for seagrasses.

For me the aerials of the seagrasses are most depressing. The once  healthy beds look horrible. One can see they have algae all over them . Maybe I’m  hyperbolizing, but the seagrasses do not look good to me. Having grown up here and swam in these area waters  as a kid when they were lush and full of life—-the present condition is not acceptable.

Anyway,  let’s keep our eye on river and we move through all these politics, and here is a look from above at YOUR RIVER!

1. SLR/IRL Crossroads with Willoughby Creek in foreground looking towards Jupiter Narrows and the SL Inlet.
1. SLR/IRL Crossroads with Willoughby Creek area in foreground looking towards Jupiter Narrows and the SL Inlet.

2
2 Confluence of SLR/IRL off west side of Sewall’s Point.

The Crossroads of the SLR/IRL with discharges from Lake O and Area canals. (Photo by Ed Lippisch, 3-30-15, 5:PM.)
The Crossroads of the SLR/IRL with discharges from Lake O and Area canals making it dark brown. (Photo by Ed Lippisch, 3-30-15, 5:PM.)

4
4. Sewall’s Point looking towards Hutchinson Island, IRL.

5.
5. Unhealthy looking seagrass beds off of Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point.

6.
6. Sad looking seagrass beds seem to have algae on them thus so dark and flat looking….

7.
7. The Sandbar.

8.
8. Sailfish Point and Simpson Island.

9.
9.Sailfish Flats.

10. Martina at Sailfish Point with runoff from land due to rains.
10. Martina at Sailfish Point with runoff from land due to rains.

Another shot of Sailfish Point Marina.
11. Another shot of Sailfish Point Marina.

Long shot of Sailfish Point marina with runoff clearly seen.
12. Long shot of Sailfish Point marina with runoff clearly seen and Ed’s thumb!

SL Inlet with plume on left as incoming tide enters.
13. SL Inlet with plume on left as incoming tide enters.

Hole in the Wall with plume and incoming tide.
14. Hole in the Wall with plume and incoming tide.

15.
15. SL Inlet.

16.
16. Sailfish Point and inlet; north side is clean incoming tide-water. Plume goes south….

 

basins of SLR/IRL SFWMD
Basins of SLR/IRL SFWMD

ACOE/SFWMD discharge most recent discharge chart. Most is from Lake O in this chart as seen in blue.
ACOE/SFWMD discharge most recent discharge chart. Most is from Lake O in this chart as seen in blue.

ACOE S-308 structure showing water released into SLR/IRL from Lake O.
ACOE S-308 structure showing water released into SLR/IRL from Lake O.

ACOE excerpt —Info that goes with the above pulse release schedule; it is from 3-26-14. Another will call will occur today and updates will be considered.

UNCLASSIFIED ACOE

Caveats: NONE

“Based on the current lake levels, tributary hydrologic conditions, and multi-seasonal forecast, 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (2008 LORS) Part D guidance is up to 3000 cfs at Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) and up to 1170 cfs at St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80). We have considered stakeholders input and recommendation from the South Florida Water Management District.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will be continuing discharges at S-79 at the same level as last week. However, the target discharges are reduced at S-80. The target flows over a 7-day period will be an average of 2500 cfs at S-79 and 500 cfs at S-80 cfs. These discharges will be made in a pulse-like manner (see attached).

These releases will start Friday, 27 March 2015 at 0700 hrs and end on Friday, 03 April 2015 at 0700 hrs.”

________________

ACOE Jacksonville: ((http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml))

SFWMD: (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)