Thankful for Blue Water; Wondering About Our Seagrasses–Summer 2015, SLR/IRL

 

Aerial confluence of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie Inlet with low tide exposed sea grasses looking bleak. (Photo Ed Lippisch; plane piloted by Scott Kuhns 8-20-15.)
Aerial of SLR/IRL. Confluence of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near St Lucie Inlet with low tide exposed sea grasses looking bleak. (Photo Ed Lippisch; plane piloted by Scott Kuhns 8-20-15.)
Chart showing discharges into the SLR from area canals C-23 and C-24 from rainfall. (From ACOE Periodic Scientist Call 8-18-15. Image courtesy of the SFWMD.)
Most recent chart showing discharges into the SLR from area canals C-23, C-24, C-44 Ten Mile Creek, and “Tidal Basin” –from rainfall. No Lake O. (From ACOE Periodic Scientist Call 8-18-15. Image courtesy of the SFWMD.)
Basin chart, SFWMD.
Basin chart, SFWMD.

As we all know, until last week, it has been raining a lot! Almost daily it seems the grey clouds gather and beat their chests threateningly; most often making good on their promise. This past week was the first time in a long time, my husband, Ed, could get up in the Cub and photograph the river. I will share these photos today.

Following are two sets of photos; the first Ed took on Thursday, August 20, 2015, and the second set were taken by Ed and friend Scott Kuhns, Sunday, August 23, 2015.

The point of the blog is to share the photos, and celebrate our 2015 “clearer waters” near the Indian River Lagoon’s southern inlets, but also to feature the weaker-looking “rain-event, fresh-water plumes.” You may recall the wretched, horrific looking plumes of the Lost Summer of 2013 during the discharges from Lake Okeechobee and area canals? Here is a photo to remind you taken in September 2013:

St Lucie Inlet September 2013 looking north east towards Sailfish Point.
St Lucie Inlet September 2013 looking towards Sailfish Point.(JTL)

2015’s summer rain induced plumes do not include Lake Okeechobee releases, or the other conditions of 2013; this summer’s plumes are not as severe looking as 2013’s as you will see. Thus we have “clear water,” even when there is a lot of rain.

Last, I ask you to note the photos of the seagrasses around the Sailfish Flats area between Sewall’s Point and Sailfish Point. I am no scientist, but I think they look awful. Recently, I was told having some algae on the seagrasses is good in that when they are exposed during low tide they are protected from the burning sun. That is nice to know. Nevertheless, they look weird. Like there is too much algae; they do not look healthy. They appear grey and sickly. It is obvious they are not recovered yet from 2013 and before.

Aerial confluence of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie Inlet with low tide exposed sea grasses looking bleak. (Photo Ed Lippisch; plane piloted by Scott Kuhns 8-20-15.)
Seagrass beds of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon near St Lucie Inlet 8-20-15.

I do not have a “before aerial.” but this photo from the St Johns River Water Management District show up close what healthy seagrasses look like and I do not think ours look anything like this right now.

Photo by Lauren Hall, SJRWMD, showing healthy seagrasses in the IRL. (From Save the Manatee Website)
Photo by Lauren Hall, SJRWMD, “up close” showing what healthy seagrasses should look like  in the IRL. (From Save the Manatee Website)

So here are the photos, enjoy the clearer water thus far this summer, and please stay on the Water Districts and politicians noting that clear water doesn’t mean healthy seagrasses. We have a long way to go!

Sailfish Flats outskirts off Sewall's Point near St Lucie Inlet. 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Sailfish Flats outskirts off Sewall’s Point near St Lucie Inlet. Beautiful blue waters but odd-looking sea grass beds. 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
St Lucie Inlet with weak plume exiting. 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
St Lucie Inlet with weak plume exiting northerly through jetty with most going south. 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Sewall's Point, 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Sewall’s Point, 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Sailfish Flat between Sailfish Point and Sewall's Point. Here aside Hutchison Island looking southwest. 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Sailfish Flat between Sailfish Point and Sewall’s Point. Here aside Hutchison Island looking southwest. 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
St Lucie Inlet 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
St Lucie Inlet 8-20-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Weak rain plume exiting SL Inlet with near shore reefs in clear view through clear ocean water. 8-24-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Weak rain plume exiting SL Inlet with near shore reefs in clear view through clear ocean water. 8-24-15. (Ed Lippisch)
View of rain plume hugging shoreline as it leaves St Lucie Inlet along Jupiter Island. 8-24-15. (Ed Lippisch)
View of rain plume hugging shoreline as it leaves St Lucie Inlet along Jupiter Island. 8-24-15. (Ed Lippisch)

THESE LAST PHOTOS ARE OF FT PIERCE INLET. FT PIERCE INLET GETS WATER FROM C-25 WHICH DOES NOT DISCHARGE INTO THE ST LUCIE BUT DIRECTLY INTO THE IRL JUST OUTSIDE OF THE FT PIERCE INLET AT TAYLOR CREEK. C-25 IS NOT SHOWN ON THE CHART AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS POST FOR THE ST LUCIE RIVER. C-25 CAN ALSO RELEASE WATER FROM THE C-23 AND C-24 CANALS IF THE SFWMD DIRECTS SUCH. SEE CANAL MAP BELOW.

Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (Public)
Canal and basin map SLR/IRL. (SFWMD)
Ft Pierce Inlet takes water from C-25 not shown on the above chart. This water exits directly into the IRL at Taylor Creek and Marina. 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Ft Pierce Inlet takes water from C-25. This water exits directly into the IRL at Taylor Creek and Marina. 8-23-15. (Ed Lippisch)
Ft Pierce Inlet 8-23-15. (EL)
Ft Pierce Inlet 8-23-15. (EL)
Ft Pierce Inlet. Angle has a lot to do with color revealed. 8-23-15. (EL)
Ft Pierce Inlet. 8-23-15. (EL)

Thank you to my husband Ed Lippisch, friend Scott Kuhns for these photos. Also thank you the ACOE and SFWMD for sharing their chart information.

headshot-jtl-2013  About 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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