Rain, Flooding, Drainage/Building a Better Future for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

 

Riverview and South Sewall's Point Road flooded in the Town of Sewall's Point 9-17-15 (JTL)
Riverview and South Sewall’s Point Road flooded in the Town of Sewall’s Point 9-16-15 (JTL)

When I was a kid growing up in Indialucie, named so as it is located between the Indian River Lagoon and the St Lucie River….it flooded a lot. We kids loved it! We would  play and play! Just like kids did in the Town of Sewall’s Point when it rained so hard the past couple of days. I was told yesterday by Pam Hopkins, water quality specialist, at Florida Oceanographic that their gauge showed 8.5 inches!

Kids play in the retention pond in Sewall's Point. (Photo Simone McPhee)
Kids play in the retention pond in Sewall’s Point, 9-16-15. (Photo courtesy of Simone McPhee)

Rain is not the problem. It’s the drainage!

Florida was drained so agriculture and development could flourish. But we have literally outgrown the plumbing system of the 1920, 30s, 40, 50, 60, and 70s….we must begin to  think anew.

Rain events like the past couple of days allow us to clearly see the problem and it allows us to be creative in thinking about solutions. When Lake Okeechobee’s water is added on top of such events, it is the nail in the coffin.

If nothing else experiences like the past few days, make it very clear that we need storage as fresh water is a resource and should not be wasted!

I have used the basin/canal chart a lot recently as it applied to everything.  Here you can see the drainage system draining the lands into the SRL/IRL and then of course there more local infrastructure drainage such as street “gutters,” drains and underground piping. The goal is to get the water off the land as soon as possible and drain it to the lowest point, the river……

Well that has got to change.

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.
South Sewall's Point Road 9-16-15....(JTL)
South Sewall’s Point Road 9-16-15….(JTL)
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HUTCHINSON ISLAND, FLORIDA OCEANOGRAPHIC AREA

Video of storm water going into local drainage system:(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTN51n6ICMI)

 

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A flooded Publix parking lot on Hutchinson Island....
A flooded Publix parking lot on Hutchinson Island….
Oil atop the water from parking lot and street. This all drains into the river.
Oil atop the water from parking lot and street. This all drains into the river.

To get the current conditions of drainage from canals see this ACOE link; the drainage from around the coastal area is not shown here but estimated in other models.
Current Conditions report ACOE drainage: (https://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports/StatusDaily_files/slide0178.htm)

ACOE Jville: (https://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/reports.htm)

SFWMD shows canals C-23, C-24 and C-25 but it is deeply imbedded and hard to find: (https://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/home%20page)

Jacqui Thurlow LopswitchAbout Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch:

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville. Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui is journalism graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach English and German and later after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. Later, she ran for public office having served on the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission since 2008, and is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education  into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and a six year member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and is a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, in St Lucie County.  She also serves as a board member (ex-officio) for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for her beloved River Kidz, now a division of the Rivers Coalition.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of  Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team to influence and educate Tallahassee. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism” working to organize and educate the public about Everglades restoration. Most recently she has been recruited as a fellow by the University of Florida/IFAS’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute Class XV. The institute focuses on teaching leaders how to facilitate participatory decision making in the most controversial of situations.

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  • Posted 9 years ago

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