The Dream of the Roseate Spoonbill, St Lucie River/IRL

The Dream of the Roseate Spoonbill, St Lucie River/IRL–Blog Break

Roseate Spoonbill image, public. https://7-themes.com/6946210-roseate-spoonbill.html)
Roseate Spoonbill image, public. (https://7-themes.com/6946210-roseate-spoonbill.html)
Close up of a roseate spoonbill, public photo.
Close up of a wet and happy roseate spoonbill, public photo.

I imagine if there is a dream of the roseate spoonbill, it would be for more water to be on the land…The recent heavy rains and local flooding have been a smorgasbord and reminder of better days for our local shore bird communities.

Last week, while driving by the county jail on Willoughby Boulevard , I witnessed a variety of shore birds in the flooded grasses behind the barbed-wire fence: great egrets, white egrets, blue herons, little blue herons, wood storks, a variety of ducks, and four beautiful pink roseate spoonbills!  I got out of my car and peered through the fence….Amazing I thought…”was this area too once wetlands?”

In Sewall’s Point, a group of as many a ten were reported foraging  both along North and South Sewall’s Point Roads. What a sight! People stopping in their cars to see…taking pictures and posting on Facebook.

In the past few years, it has been reported by Martin County and Audubon that the spoonbills are nesting on Bird Island just off the Archipelago in Sewall’s Point. This was never reported before. Nancy Beaver of Sunshine Wildlife Tours documents their progress…

Roseate spoonbills along N Sewall's Point Road, photo Dr Dave Carson, 2013.
Roseate spoonbills along N Sewall’s Point Road, photo courtesy of  Dr Dave Carson, 2015.
Roseate spoonbill photo from my Greg Braun/Bird Island file, 2013.
Roseate spoonbill photo from my Greg Braun/Bird Island file, 2013.

We humans complain when there is flooding; the shore birds love it, as this was their habitat before we drained the lands for agriculture and development. “Couldn’t there be a way to have both?”

This I think would be the dream of the roseate spoonbill…

I will be taking a blog break as this week I will be traveling to Silver Springs with University of Florida’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute, (https://nrli.ifas.ufl.edu)
Florida springs, like Florida’s estuaries —–such as the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon are in big trouble. Agriculture and development impacts have impaired the springs that were once the symbol of our state tourism industry. Read this 2013 NPR story for more details: (https://www.npr.org/2013/04/13/177105692/before-disney-floridas-silver-springs-lured-tourists)

Have a good week, and when you are driving be sure to look up and see the dream of the roseate spoonbill–it is really the dream of all.

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

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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