Tag Archives: St Lucie County

Pesticide Contamination in the Region of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

Muck from the SLR/IRL region. Public photo.
Muck from the SLR/IRL region. Muck holds pesticides and other chemical residue. Public photo.

When I got up this morning, I saw a Facebook post by Delta Gamma sorority sister, Katie Schwader. Katie, who runs a page entitled “Love Your Neighbor,” had posted: “As September wraps up, I encourage all to join the Support Peyton McCaughey Facebook page. ” (https://www.facebook.com/PeytonRecovery?fref=ts)

Most of us are familiar with the tragic story…

Peyton McCaughey…the 10-year-old Martin County, Palm City boy who lost 90 percent of his motor skills after exposure to chemicals and pesticides used to fumigate his family’s home for termites. (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/family-alleges-pest-fumigation-left-boy-severely-injured/story?id=33539389)

According to TC Palm reporter Paul Ivice: “...the three-bedroom house was fumigated for termites by Terminix in August 2014, but the termites returned. “Under the direction of Terminix, the home was re-tented and fumigated” on Aug. 14 by Sunland…Zythor was used..Sunland didn’t use the proper dosage…and “didn’t properly ventilate what was pumped into the home to kill the termites…”

Now this 10 year old child is “not able to walk, or even lift his own head,” according to Ed Gribben Jr., the brother of mother and Martin County Hight School assistant principal, Lori Ann McCaughey. 

Is there any greater nightmare than this? I cannot imagine…We all must support this family.

Family photo of Peyton Mc Caughey as shared on the Facebook page for his families' fundraiser.
Family photo of Peyton Mc Caughey as shared on the Facebook page for his families’ fundraiser.

Fundraiser this weekend: (https://www.facebook.com/events/563020633835889/)

 

Ten Mile Creek sits in a passive operating state.
An altered Ten Mile Creek watershed… (JTL 2014)

Chemicals and pesticides are very dangerous. And many of them are lurking in our river…

Image from USGA DEP report, 2003.
Image from USGA DEP report SLR pesticide contamination, 2003.
Cover of USGS/DEP Report
Cover of USGS/DEP Report, 2003.

High levels of pesticides also exist in areas of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, and many of us are not even aware of this. Most of the chemicals end up in the sediment or “muck” at the bottom of the river, so even if issues of contamination are addressed, the river bottom remains poisonous.

The following is an excerpt from a the “Water Resources Investigations Report Occurrence and Distribution of Pesticides in the St Lucie River Watershed” prepared by A.C. Lietz, of the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in 2003. I wonder how much has changed in just over ten years? I could not find a follow-up report.

An excerpt reads:

“The St. Lucie River watershed is a valuable estuarine eco- system and resource in south- central Florida. The watershed has undergone extensive changes over the last century because of anthropogenic activities. These activities have resulted in a complex urban and agricultural drainage network that facilitates the transport of contaminants, including pesticides, to the primary canals and then to the estuary. Historical data indicate that aquatic life criteria for selected pesticides have been exceeded. To address this concern, a reconnaissance was conducted to assess the occurrence and distribution of selected pesticides within the
St. Lucie River watershed.” –A.C. Lietz, USGA, 2003

Full report: (http://fl.water.usgs.gov/PDF_files/wri02_4304_lietz.pdf)

If you take a look at this write-up, you will see the pesticide contamination and locations  listed, and the “BMPs,” Best Management Practices, recommended to correct the situation. These pesticides have killed and distorted many fish and other species that used to live at the bottom of this area of the river. As the river bottom remains full of chemicals and grasses can’t grow, many animals and fish never came back. Some that remain have been reported sick and malformed.

The second publication we should all be familiar with is the 1995 DEP report “Pesticide Contamination in 10 Mile Creek” by Gregory A. Graves and Douglas G. Stone. This report is about the agricultural contamination of Ten Mile Creek, the headwaters of the north fork of the St Lucie River, in St Lucie County—- this creek runs south into Martin County. Believe it or not, the North Fork of the St Lucie River is  a state designated “aquatic preserve.”

An aquatic preserve! Sometimes things just don’t make sense, do they?

Conclusion from report:

” Fourteen separate pesticides were detected in the water and sediment of Ten Mile Creek, several at concentrations exceeding applicable water quality standards. Some of these concentrations appear to be the highest found anywhere in Florida surface waters (Storet). ….The true scope of the adverse impact upon the resident biota may be underestimated due to unobserved events. Ten Mile Creek is classified by the State of Florida as Class III waters. As such, these waters are presumed suitable for “recreation, propagation. (FAC 62-302.530). The contamination and resultant biological impairment documented constitutes a loss of Class III function for Ten Mile Creek waters.”

The full report is here:
(http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/tenmile_creek.pdf)

 

How was the situation resolved? The report states:

“Several State of Florida biological and chemical water quality standards were violated. Recommendations include application of best management practices (BMP), review of pesticide use within the basin, regional water management and expanded study of the implications of pesticides entering the North Fork St .Lucie River OFW. (Outstanding Florida Waters). A cooperative panel including local agricultural concerns is recommended to resolve this situation with minimal conflict.”

That’s nice they resolved this terrible situation with “minimal conflict,”but I do hope the situation has been resolved; I would like to get my hands on a follow-up report that is easy to access on-line…

 

The History of the “EAA” Along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, St Lucie Gardens

This image shows St Lucie Farms separated from the entire land purchase of reed from Disston. (overlay created by Todd Thurlow)
This image shows St Lucie Farms separated from the entire land purchase of Disston to Reed. IRL east and PSL west.(Overlay created by Todd Thurlow)

 

St Lucie Gardens...overlay by Todd Thurlow.
Lands purchased by Sir Edward J. Reed from Hamilton Disston, as platted in the late 1880s/early 1900s. This land includes areas of Martin and St Lucie Counties…overlay on Google map by Todd Thurlow.

It all started with a recent comment by Bob Ulevich, at a Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council meeting.  In the course of his presentation and questioning on the history of the water management districts, Bob noted that the EAA, the Everglades Agricultural Area, was not historically “just located” where it is today, south of Lake Okeechobee, but basically included all of Disston’s lands. Are you kidding me? “Gulp”….

TCRPC meeting excerpt, no video, just sound: (http://youtu.be/acP_ri2vElc)
Mr Ulevich’s powerpoint: (http://www.tcrpc.org/council_meetings/2015/SEPT15/Final_Reports/Water_Presentation.pdf)
 

The red colored blocks south of Lake O. are the EAA-700,000 acres of sugar lands and vegetables. South of the EAA are the STAs and water conservation areas .(SFWMD map, 2012.)
The red colored blocks south of Lake O. are the EAA-700,000 acres of sugar lands and vegetables. South of the EAA are the STAs and water conservation areas .(SFWMD map, 2012.)

Hamilton Disston. Remember him?  The “savior,” “the drainer” of our state—-who basically bought the entire state from a bankrupt entity, the Internal Improvement Fund? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Disston)
The more I read and think about it, I think what Bob meant was that almost of all the swamp lands sold to Disston and then others were marketed for people to purchase and farm….basically creating a giant Everglades agricultural area…but it wasn’t always so easy….

Orginal everglades document of the state of Florida. (TT)
Orginal Everglades document of the state of Florida. (Downloaded by TT)
TT
Ddisston’s AGCCOL Co. (TT)

When I was trying to figure all this out, I went back to a map I had seen before, reread a chapter in my mother’s Jensen and Eden book, and contacted my brother, Todd,  to help me answer a question.

Map
Map of Disston’s lands.

“Todd, why isn’t St Lucie Gardens in pink on the Disston map? …And wasn’t this area supposed to be farmland?”

St Lucie Gardens was a huge subdivision in the region of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon including the savannas filed in 1911 by the Franklin Land Company of Jacksonville. According to my mother’s book, “the land was advertised as far away a Kansas and a few families bought land and tried to make a living farming. However land that had been pine flat woods continued to have cycles of flooding a drought and was impossible to farm profitably. The families that came to farm in St Lucie Gardens either gave up or turned to other ways to make a living.”

St Lucie Gardens...overlay by Todd Thurlow.
St Lucie Gardens…overlay by Todd Thurlow.
St Lucie Gardens plat map 1881. MC Property appraiser, via Todd Thurlow.
St Lucie Gardens plat map 1910. MC Property appraiser, via Todd Thurlow.
The Waters family promoting St Lucie Gardens 1910. (Photo Reginald Waters Rice) from Jensen and Eden by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
The Waters family promoting St Lucie Gardens 1910. (Photo Reginald Waters Rice) from Jensen and Eden by Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Draining the savannas around St Lucie Gardens, 1911. Franklin Land Co. (Reginald Waters Rice) Jensen and Eden, Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Draining the savannas around St Lucie Gardens, 1911. Franklin Land Co. (Reginald Waters Rice) Jensen and Eden, Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Page listing lands of Disston, mind you county boarders were different at this time. Matin was Brevard.
Page listing lands of Disston, mind you county boarders were different at this time. Martin was Brevard. (TT)

Todd and I never found our why those lands of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon were not included on the 1881 Disston lands map, and the people who created it are not around to ask, but Todd did create the awesome visuals at the beginning of this post and he did find the deed of the purchase of the lands in our region. To have this document is an incredible part of our history.

Deed of Disston lands sold to Reed, 1881. (TT)
Deed of Disston lands sold to Reed, 1881, page 1. (TT)
Page 2. (TT)
Page 2. (TT)
Disston 4,000,000 acres from the state of Florida in 1881, which included much of the land within the savannas. ( Public map, 1881.)
Disston bought 4,000,000 acres from the state of Florida then sold half to Reed. Some of those lands included land in the SLR/IRL region. These lands are not shown on this map. ( Public map, 1881.)

And the EAA? With all the water problems we have today, I am glad it does not include everything in pink and green on the map and that something remains of our Savannas along the Indian River Lagoon.

____________________________________

An interesting email from Todd; Thank you Todd for all the research!

Jacqui,

It was fun to go through some of the stuff on my computer tonight. I just downloaded this publication “Disston Lands of Florida”, published 1885. I attached the intro page.

Disston had the pick of ALL the public lands owned by the state. It took three years to make the selection. Perhaps the pink area had been picked as of the date of the map and St. Lucie Gardens had not yet been picked?

Or maybe the St. Lucie Gardens land is not shown in pink on the map because Disston directed that the St. Lucie Gardens property be deeded directly from TIIF to Sir Edward James Reed. The Florida Land and Improvement Company never took title.

The TIIF deed that we pulled up for Sir Edward James Reed (attached) is dated 6/1/1881. In includes a little more land (21,577 Acres) than ended up in St. Lucie Gardens (e.g. Section 1, of T36S R40E is not part of St. Lucie Gardens but is included in the deed.)

Disston Lands of Florida: https://archive.org/details/disstonlandsoffl00flor
St. Lucie Gardens Plat: http://plat.martinclerk.com/St%20Lucie%20County%20Plat%20Books/BK%2001%20PG%20035-001.tif

Todd Thurlow (http://www.thurlowpa.com)

The WWII Beach Horses of the Indian River Lagoon, Yesterday and Today, SLR/IRL

Army horses were used to patrol Indian River Lagoon area beaches during WWII. (Photo untitled: http://olive-drab.com/od_army-horses-mules_ww2.php)
Horses were used to patrol the  Indian River Lagoon region’s area beaches during WWII. (Photo untitled: http://olive-drab.com/od_army-horses-mules_ww2.php)
Men on horseback looking fro enemy invaders, Hutchinson Island. Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida's Indian River, Sandra Henderson Thurlow,. Photo James W Harrington.
Men on horseback looking for enemy invaders, Hutchinson Island. “Historic Jensen and Eden on Florida’s Indian River,” Sandra Henderson Thurlow,. Photo James W. Harrington.
1945 US Coast Guard Station and stables for horses were later converted to the Kensington Club located in the area where Jensen Beaches are today. (Photo Dale Hipson via Sandra H. Thurlow.)
1945 US Coast Guard Station and stables for horses were later converted to the Kensington Club located in the area where Jensen beaches are today. (Photo Dale Hipson via Sandra H. Thurlow.)
US Coast Guard patrol and former snack shop at Jensen Beach. 1943. (Thurlow Collection)
US Coast Guard patrol and former “snack shop” at Jensen Beach. 1943. (Thurlow Collection.)
Jensen residents could hear explosions and see billowing smoke from freighters torpedoed by German U boats. in 1942. (Florida Photographic Archives via Sandra Henderson Thurlow's book "Eden and Jensen."
“Jensen residents could hear explosions and see billowing smoke from freighters torpedoed by German U boats. in 1942.” SHT (Florida Photographic Archives via Sandra Henderson Thurlow’s book “Eden and Jensen.”

I love animals whether they walk, fly, hop, slither, swim, run, or trot…

As a young person growing up along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, one of my very finest memories is riding horses along the beaches of Hutchinson Island. My friend Michelle White whose father still lives on McArthur Boulevard, had horses at their ranch in Palm City and would often bring them to —keeping them under the shade at the “beach house.” Michelle and I would get up at the crack of dawn and ride these horses bareback along the beach. It was wondrous.  Obviously, the laws were not as restrictive then. We even got our picture in the Stuart News!

Stuart News photo ca 1980, Joseph Noble. Michelle White and Jacqui Thurlow ride along the beach Hutchinson Island.
Stuart News photo ca 1980, Joseph Noble. Michelle White and Jacqui Thurlow ride along the beach Hutchinson Island.(Sandra Thurlow’s photo archives)

So horses……

Today, I will share a story sent to me by blog reader Stan Field, A.K.A. Anthony Stevens who is a professional writer who lives in Rio and friend of my family.

When he sent me this excerpt about the beach horses of WWII, I wrote back: “I do hope none of the horses were hurt jumping off the Jensen Beach Bridge.” He assured me all were fine. Here is his amazing story:

Horse Patrols on Hutchinson Island
“Early in the war, it was decided that they needed to maintain regular patrols of the Atlantic beaches. Someone in Washington thought that horse patrols would be a good idea.

“In September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the beach patrol. The mounted portion of the patrol soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders. A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.” – US Coast Guard
One of these horse patrols groups was stationed on Hutchinson Island. What is not generally mentioned is one of those horrible snafus that always happen during wartime.
Well, they arranged for a large herd of horses to be delivered by the Florida East Coast Railroad and a corral and stables was built on Hutchinson Island, near the old wooden bridge in Jensen. Seaman from the Coast Guard base in Fort Pierce would be stationed there and at the House of Refuge and they would patrol the entire island.
Now since there were no roads on the island from Jensen north, this seemed like a great idea. The soft sand was murder on jeeps and mounted riders would be able to cut around swampy areas and investigate in the woods, if needed.
They asked for volunteers for the first herd and there was only one real cowboy in the base. There were only a few more who had pleasure riding experience.
Well, everyone was pretty excited when the big day came and several railroad cars were delivered to the siding just north of Jensen Beach Blvd. A temporary corral had been built there to hold them for inventory and basic tack was in the back of trucks, ready to mount the animals and ride them over to their permanent duty station, on the island.
There was an immediate problem when they opened the doors, however. In its infinite wisdom, the Government had decided that purchasing trained horses was too expensive. And since a lot of wild horses lived for free on Government land out west, they just rounded up a herd of wild ones, packed them onto cattle cars and shipped them to Jensen. Not one of them had ever been in close contact with a man before… much less a saddle.
Riding them to the island was out of the question. So the one loan cowpoke arranged a ‘drive’ and the entire community was drafted into helping with the operation.
Well, things seemed to be going pretty well, until they got to the old wooden bridge that led to the island. This was more than a mile and a quarter long, two narrow lanes wide and the decking has ½” gaps between each plank. The horses did NOT want to cross it!
About half of them were driven over by the shoving, shouting crowds behind. The other half jumped the sides of the bridge and the banks of the Indian River and swam for freedom. Most of the next couple of days was spent with the Pitchfords and other boat owners chasing them around the river and running them down on land. Eventually they all made it to the island and the serious breaking and training started.
The one loan cowhand and the base officers appealed to the locals for help once more and older cowhands, both male and female, volunteered to teach the Coast Guard people how to break and train the wild herd.

There is not a lot of information available on the mounted patrols of World War II. They did setup training facilities in Hilton Head, SC.” —-written by Anthony Stevens, in a letter to JTL August, 2015

Wow.  Can you imagine all those poor horses jumping off the bridge into the Indian River Lagoon? Crazy! And wild ones at that. Wonder what happened to them all after the war?

Well today horses are allowed on the beaches in St Lucie County and horseback riding is a very popular and extremely well rated experience. When my husband Ed flys the cub looking for pollution plumes in the Indian River Lagoon and area inlets, he often sees horseback riders from his plane. There is some romance left in the world…

—–Right here along the Indian River Lagoon…I wonder if any of those horses’ ancestors patrolled the beach? If only a horse could talk!

Horseback riding along the beaches of St Lucie County. Cover photo of website, 2015.
Horseback riding along the beaches of St Lucie County. Cover photo of website, 2015.

Beach Tours on Horseback: (http://www.beachtoursonhorseback.com)

__________________________________________________________

US Coast Guard: (http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=070-05-08&category=1334262365)

Cool blogs on horses and dogs used in WWII: (K9 http://www.k9history.com/WWII-uscg-beach-patrols.htm)
(http://www.navyatcapehenlopen.info/harborentrancecontrolpost.html)

 

Update: Our Deadly Canals, and the “Kiss of Death,” Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

C-25 at Taylor Creek, exits into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-2-15)
C-25 at Taylor Creek, exits into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-2-15)

On Wednesday, my husband Ed and I sat down for dinner. “Did you see my photos of the river? He asked.

“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t looked at them yet…”

“They are pretty dramatic,” he replied, taking a swig of his Lagunitas.

I didn’t think much more about it, but later that evening, when I reviewed his shots, I understood.

Today I will share Ed’s recent photos of the Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River that he took on Wednesday, September 2nd between 11:30AM-1PM. The first set of photos are from the Ft Pierce area around Taylor Creek where canal C-25 dumps into the IRL near Ft Pierce Inlet. C-25’s discharge can also be from C-24 or C-23 as they are all connected and can be manipulated to flow in different ways by the South Florida Water Management District. C-25, C-24 and C-23 ARE NOT connected to Lake Okeechobee. These photos are just showing rain runoff and all that is carried along with it and brought in by rising ground waters.

Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public)
Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public, SFWMD)
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. The watershed has been unnaturlaly expanded to include up to 5 times the amount of water in the natural watershed.LO is the final blow when it comes. (St Lucie River Initiative’s Report to Congress 1994.)
SFWMD chart showing flow into C-25 over past days.
SFWMD chart showing flow into C-25 over past days.

DEP C-25 Eco Summary: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf)

SFWMD link (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/realtime.pkg_rr.proc_rr?p_op=FORT_PIERCE)

I believe there have been recent improvements made at Taylor Creek (C-25), but perhaps there should be more as the outflow still looks like an oil spill. A cocktail of agriculture,  development, residential, and road runoff….a “river of death…”

Once a  reader wrote me saying,” Jacqui I like your blog but when it rains anywhere in the world there are these freshwater plumes….you are being misleading….”

I nicely replied. “I agree there are freshwater plumes all over the world, but I have to say, ours in the SLR/IRL region are beyond freshwater-soil plumes…they are deadly, full of heavy pollution. You can read it on agency web sites if you look hard enough…It is unnatural…and it is killing the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.”

C-25 Canal in Ft Pierce. (EL)
C-25 Canal in Ft Pierce. 9-2-15. (EL)
C-25 discharging into Taylor Creek and the Marina, IRL Ft Pierce. (EL)
C-25 discharging into Taylor Creek and the Marina, IRL Ft Pierce. 9-2-15. (EL)
9-2-15 EL
9-2-15 EL
9-2-15 EL
9-2-15 EL
9-2-15. EL
9-2-15. EL

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This second set of photos is from the same day, but further south along the Indian River Lagoon where it meets the St Lucie River at Sewall’s Point. Here you will see a plume at Hell’s Gate, not so dramatic as the C-25 plume, but a definite plume nonetheless.

The ACOE did recently dump BASIN runoff from around the C-44 canal (see map above) in preparation for ERIKA, but they DID NOT dump from Lake Okeechobee. In fact the canal is higher than the lake. I think this blog makes clear we have enough problems even with out releases from Lake Okeechobee.

Well, hope you learned something.  Have a good Labor Day weekend as we honor the American Labor Movement and the contributions laborers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. —Sounds like just who we need to rework our canals….

ACOE/SFWMD slide showing breakdown of runoff into SLR. (9-1-15)
ACOE/SFWMD slide showing breakdown of runoff into SLR. (9-1-15)
ACOE website shows
ACOE website shows no releases from S-308 or Lake O.

ACOE link to Lake O: (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm)

ACOE website does show releases from S-80. In this case this is from the C-44 basin only. The basin is huge and mostly agricultural. See above chart.
ACOE website does show releases from S-80. In this case this is from the C-44 basin only. The basin is huge and mostly agricultural. See above chart.
Plume at Hell's Gate St Lucie River, west side of Sewall's Point. This water is from rain runoff probably from C-44, C-24, and C-23 unless the SFWMD is dumping C-23 and C-24 through C-25 in Ft Pierce. (Photo EL 9-2-15)
Plume at Hell’s Gate St Lucie River, west side of Sewall’s Point. This water is from rain runoff probably from C-44, C-24, and C-23 unless the SFWMD is dumping C-23 and C-24 through C-25 in Ft Pierce. (Photo EL 9-2-15)
9-2-15 EL Another angle of Hell's Gate and SP, SLR
9-2-15 EL Another angle of Hell’s Gate and SP, SLR
9-12-15 EL
9-12-15 EL
Incoming tide still clear around southern tip of Sewall's Point. 9-2-15
Incoming tide still clear around southern tip of Sewall’s Point. 9-2-15 EL –Hell’s Gate jutting forward far left.
Confluence of SLR/IRL between Sailfish Point and Sewall's Point. St Lucie Inlet in full view. (Photo EL 9-12-15)
Confluence of SLR/IRL between Sailfish Point and Sewall’s Point. St Lucie Inlet in full view. (Photo EL 9-12-15)
EL 9-2-15. Another view.
EL 9-2-15. Another view. Sailfish Point, SLR/IRL This areas seagrasses have still not recovered from 2013 even though water is blue in this photo.
Sailfish Flats in distance SLR/IRLEL 9-2-15.
Sailfish Flats in distance SLR/IRL EL 9-2-15.

South Florida Water Management District: (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

Army Corp of Engineers, Lake O: (http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm)

Canal C-23: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c23.pdf)
Canal C-24: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c24.pdf)
Canal C-25: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/c-25.pdf)
Canal C-44: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/southeast/ecosum/ecosums/C-44%20Canal%20.pdf)

Goodwill For the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!

Gulfstream Goodwill Industires, Inc. Stuart, Fl. The group has been studying the river for months and and advocates for its goodwill. Group photo with guest speaker JTL, photo, Irene Laverty 9-1-15.)
Gulfstream Goodwill industries, Inc. Stuart, Fl. The group has been studying the river for months and now advocates for its goodwill. Group photo with guest speaker JTL, photo, Irene Laverty 9-1-15.)

GULFSTREAM GOODWILLS’ MISSION STATEMENT: “Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, Inc., assists people with disabilities and other barriers to employment to become self-sufficient, working members of our community.”  (http://www.gulfstreamgoodwill.com)

I am certain the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon has a new group of outspoken advocates. And let me tell you, they know their river stuff!

Yesterday, I spoke before sixty Martin and St Lucie County residents with disabilities at Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, in Stuart. The coordinator of “Adult Day Training Services” is Mr Tony Polito; he was fantastic with me and with his group.  My visit was a remarkable experience, one I shall always cherish. —-The river brings all people, yes, all people together for a common good.

Before I got there, I  was nervous. I taught eighth and ninth grade for many years, but never had more than thirty in a classroom and knew I’d be speaking an hour and a half. I never taught students with disabilities. I wondered if they would like me… If they would pay attention…

I awkwardly entered through the back, schlepping in my giant basket full of all my workbooks, maps, markers, pens, paper, giant photographs, and River Kidz FDOT signs. Many came to help me. The group all sat perfectly ready for me. All eyes were upon me….some were in wheel chairs, some had assistants, one lady was blind, others has nerve issues. There were young and old. They were smiling and happy to see me. I waved and introduced myself,  and then it the magic began.

I lectured for a few minutes and then we discussed what they had been learning  the past month studying the River Kidz/Rivers Coalition workbooks. I talked. They talked. They told stories about the river and animal life. They raised their hands. They were the patient. They were opinionated. They were excited to share. We spoke of the impacts to seagrasses and the river due to population, pollution, fertilizer, storm-water runoff, trash, oil from cars, as well as the long-term impacts of canals C-23, C-24,C-25, C-44 and the awful discharges from Lake Okeechobee. We spoke about what we can do to help.

STOP sign, STOP pollution of the River! Created by River Kidz at the Pine School, 2012.
Recycled FDOT stop sign. STOP pollution of the River! Created by Ms. Walker’s art class of River Kidz at the Pine School, 2012.

A young man by the name of D.J. told me the group has been directly affected by the poor state of the St Lucie River in that Tony, their coordinator, can no longer  take the group fishing at the Roosevelt Bridge. They had done this for years. This had been one of their favorite activities. We decided to write Senator Joe Negron letters, and we did. He will receive all sixty in the next few days.

Many told me they had actually waved signs for the river on the Roosevelt Bridge! They were brought before the group and applauded!

Of course, the daycare group at Goodwill Industries are voters, but now they are also advocates.

Together we all memorized the River Kidz mission statement changing one word to fit them: OUR MISSION IS TO SPEAK OUT, GET INVOLVED, AND RAISE AWARENESS, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE ADULTZ SHOULD HAVE A VOICE IN THE FUTURE OF OUR RIVERS!

And they my friends, —they will! 🙂

Fishing poles sitting on the wall, no longer used due the to condition of the fish of the SLR/IRL. (Photo, Goodwill Industries, 2015)
Fishing poles sitting on the wall, no longer used due the to condition of the fish of the SLR/IRL. (Photo, Goodwill Industries, 2015.)
Receiving River Kidz certificate.
Receiving River Kidz certificate.
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8.
Tony Polito,Ann Marie, JTL.
Coordinator, Tony Polito; helper Ann Marie; JTL.
Letter to Senator Negron.
Letter to Senator Negron.
Letter to Senator Negron.
Letter to Senator Negron.

To download River Kidz workbook II: (http://riverscoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/154611_RiverKidz_Workbook.pdf)

*There is signed permission to use all photos.

To contact Tony Polito and Goodwill Industries please call 772-337-0077. They are located at 1101 NW 21st Street , Stuart, Fl 34994.

 

The Lost Artesian Wells of the Indian River Lagoon, SLR/IRL

Man next to artesian well, IRL. "Mr Doug Witham allowed me to copy this photograph he purchased over eBay. It is of an unidentified man in St. Lucie Gardens. That is the huge subdivision of land Sir. Edward Reed purchased from Hamilton Disston. Since the notation on the back was written at Walton it is probably some place pretty close to the Indian River Lagoon. Sandra H.Thurlow 8-15)---Used with permission/purchased on Ebay by Doug Whitam and shared via Sandra Henderson Thurlow.
Man next to artesian well, IRL. “Mr Doug Witham allowed me to copy this photograph he purchased over eBay. It is of an unidentified man in St. Lucie Gardens. That is the huge subdivision of land Sir. Edward Reed purchased from Hamilton Disston. Since the notation on the back was written at Walton it is probably some place pretty close to the Indian River Lagoon.” Sandra H.Thurlow 8-15)
Plat map St Lucie Gardens, Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Plat map St Lucie Gardens, along IRL. Sandra Henderson Thurlow)

“Artesian well…”

The words hold such poetry for me…something from a time long, long ago when Florida was wild and pure. In all honesty, I don’t know much about artesian wells, but throughout my life I have heard stories that have intrigued, and yet sometimes confused me. It is of these wells that I will write briefly on today.

When I was growing up, my historian mother told me stories of artesian wells made by simply hammering a pipe into the ground right here along the Indian River Lagoon. They would just flow and flow and both people and animals would drink from them. Many of these wells were made for irrigating farmland and for supplying the needs of pioneer families. My brother, Todd, recently told me of an artesian well located in the shallow waters off of Hutchinson Island that the pirates and sailors would stop to drink from to refresh themselves on their long and dangerous journeys…it was created by pressure under the earth by Nature. Not man-made but natural.

So an “artesian wells” can be natural or man-made. Apparently in 1957 the state started capping them as there were so many they were lowering the ground water level, and in some cases allowing salt water intrusion.

Most of them are gone today. I definitely consider myself someone who supports water conservation, and I still have memories when I take a shower of my parents yelling up the stairs to us as kids:  “turn off the water while soaping up!!!!” Nonetheless, the romantic image of a free-flowing well on a wild Florida piece of land is a beautiful image indeed…. 🙂

Artesian well on Bud Adam's Ranch in St Lucie Lucie County. Photo L to R Tom Thurlow, my father, and Dr and Mrs Powers long-time,good family friends. (Photo by Sandra Thurlow, ca early 2000.)
(I added this photo my mother shared on 8-17-15.) Photographed is an artesian well on Bud Adam’s Ranch in St Lucie Lucie County west of Ft Pierce. Photo L to R Tom Thurlow, my father, and Dr and Mrs Powers long-time,good family friends. (Photo by Sandra Thurlow, ca 2007.)

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Document to cap Florida Artesian Wells, 1957

STATE OF FLORIDA
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION Ernest Mitts, Director

FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Robert O. Vernon, Director

INFORMATION CIRCULAR NO. 21

FINAL REPORT
ON AN INVENTORY OF
FLOWING ARTESIAN WELLS IN FLORIDA

LEADING TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF SECTIONS 373. 021-373. 061 FLORIDA STATUTES
1957

Mr. Ernest Mitts, Director

Florida State Board of Conservation

Tallahassee, Florida Dear Mr. Mitts:

I respectfully transmit the final report on an inventory leading to the enforcement of Sections 373.021-373.061, Florida Statutes, 1957, prepared by Charles W. Hendry, Jr.

and James A. Lavender of the Water Investigations, Florida Geological Survey.

This report published as Information Circular No. 21, together with the interim report published in 1957 as Infor- mation Circular No. 10, Florida Geological Survey, illus-

trates as completely as possible the situation that now exists among the freely flowing wells of the State.

Submitted,

Robert O. Vernon, Director

An abandoned 8-inch well flowing in excess of 800 gallons per minute. This well is located in section 32, T. 7 S., R. 30 E., St. Johns County,

Florida.

iv

CHAPTER 28253, 1953 LAWS OF FLORIDA SENATE BILL NO. 57, 1953

AN ACT to protect and control the Artesian Waters of the State; providing duties of certain State and county officers in regard thereto; and providing a penalty for the viola- tion of this Act.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Section 1. Everyperson, stockcompany, association or corporation, county or municipality, owning or controlling the real estate upon which is located a flowing artesian well in this state, shall, within ninety (90) days after the passage of this act, provide each such well with a valve capable of controlling the discharge from such well, and shall keep such valve so adjusted that only such supply of water shall be avail- able as is necessary for ordinary use by the owner, tenant, occupant or person in control of said land for personal use and in conducting his business.

Section 2. The owner, tenant, occupant or person in control of an artesian well who shall allow the same to flow continuously without a valve, or mechanical device for check- ing or controlling the flow, or shallpermit the water to flow unnecessarily, or shall pump a well unnecessarily, or shall permit the water from such well to go to waste, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the penalties provided by law.

Section 3. For the purposes of this act, an artesian well is defined as anartifical hole in the ground fromwhich water supplies may be obtained and which penetrates any water

bearing rock, the water in which is raised to the surface by natural flow, or which rises to an elevation above the top of the water bearing bed. Artesian wells are defined further to include all holes, drilledas a source of water, that penetrate any water bearing beds that are a part of the artesian water system of Florida, as determined by representatives of the Florida Geological Survey.

Section 4. Waste is defined for the purposes of this act to be the causing, suffering, or permitting any water flowing

v

from, or being pumped from an artesian well to run into any river, creek, or other natural watercourse or channel, or into anybay or pond (unless used thereafter for the beneficial purposes of irrigation of land, mining or other industrial purposes of domestic use), or into any street, road or high- way, or upon the land of any person, or upon the public lands of the United States, or of the State of Florida, unless it be used thereon for the beneficial purposes of the irrigation

thereof, industrial purposes, domestic use, or the propaga- tion of fish. The use of any water flowing from an artesian well for the irrigation of land shall be restrictedto a minimum by the use of proper structural devices in the irrigation

system.

Section 5. The state geologist, assistant geologists, or any authorized representative of the Florida Geological Sur- vey, the sheriff or any deputy sheriff, shall have access to all wells in the state with the consent of the owner.

Should any well be not provided with a valve as required in section one (1) of this act, or should any well be allowed to flow in violation of section two (2) of this act, then and in such event, the state geologist, assistant geologists, or any authorized representative of the Florida Geological Survey, or the sheriff or any deputy sheriff shall, upon being informed of such fact, give notice to the owner to correct such defect, and if the same be not corrected within ten (10) days there- after, shall have authority to install the necessary valve or cap upon such well and control the flow therefrom in accord with the provisions of section one (1) and two (2) of this act. The cost of such installation of such valve and the control of the flow from such wells if made by such officials shall be at the expense of the owner, and for the payment thereof, the agency or party incurring the expense shall have a lien upon the lands upon which such well is located.
duly recorded in the public records in counties wherein such lands are located and may be enforced by foreclosure in the circuit courts of the circuit wherein such lands are located. In such foreclosure proceedings,
reasonable attorney’s fee to the plaintiff for the preparation and recording of such lien and the legal proceedings incident to the foreclosure of same. Such liens shall be assignable.
Full document “LEADING TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF SECTIONS 373. 021-373. 061 FLORIDA STATUTES”
1957: http://aquaticcommons.org/1538/1/UF00001081.pdf

Artestin well program SJRWMD: (http://www.ircgov.com/Departments/IRCCDD/SWCD/AgForumPres/SJRWMD.pdf)

What is an artesian well? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artesian_aquifer)
Hamilton Disston: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Disston)

“One Nation Under Mosquitos,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Mosquito County was formed from St Johns County in 1824; this was the era of the Indian Wars. Florida became a state in 1845. (Florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy of historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Mosquito County was formed from St Johns County in 1824; this was the era of the Indian Wars. Florida became a state in 1845. (Florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy of historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Mosquito County early map.
Mosquito County ca. 1827. All maps here and below are from University of South Florida’s map website.
Mosquito County early map
Mosquito County early map. USF.
Mosquito County early map
Mosquito County early map. USF.

Since the Lost Summer of 2013 and the super bloom of 2011-2013, the counties from the south and to the north along the Indian River Lagoon have been “coming together.” The more unified we are, the better we can protect, improve, and negotiate with our legislature  for our waters.  The revamped National Estuary Program of the Indian River Lagoon, under the leadership of Martin County Commissioner Ed Fielding, is proof of this and a great hope for a better future. (http://itsyourlagoon.com)

Of course the irony of it all is that the counties along the Indian River were once “one,” under the flag of “Mosquito County…”

Misquito--Mosquito---Musquito----
–Mosquito—Musquito—-

Such a fitting name….Too bad they exterminated the name for tourism. I like it.

I remember mosquitoes well. As I have written about before, one of our great joys as kids growing up in Stuart in the 1960s and 70s was riding our bikes behind the mosquito spray truck as it drove by just about every evening…. 🙂

Mosquito truck Hillsborough County archives.
Mosquito truck Hillsborough County archives.

Mosquito County was formed in 1824 and compromised most of east Florida including Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St Lucie, Martin,  Seminole, Osceola, Orange, Lake, and  Polk counties.

Apparently from 1500 until 1844 the east coast of Florida was known as “Los Musquitos…”

I think it is important to remember we all have been connected for a long, long, time and that we are still connected today through our waterways, the St Lucie, the Indian River Lagoon,  and really also the St Johns– if its headwaters had not been directed south through C-25…We must also recall that although during rainy times the native peoples and pioneers documented traveling through the St Johns into the Indian River —our waterways were never naturally connected to Lake Okeechobee…

Full counties evolution map
Full counties evolution map, florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

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USF Maps: (http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps/pages/4100/f4176/f4176.htm)

Mosquito County history: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_County,_Florida)

Canals in Stuart, C-23, C-24, C-25 built in the 50s and 60s. C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee constructed in the 1920s.
Canal C-25 at the top of this image is where the headwaters of the St John’s River– originally west of Vero and Sebastian– were redirected to go south through C-25 into the IRL and connecting canals that exit into the North Fork of the St Lucie River.