Trying to Understand “Water Classifications of the State,” SLR/IRL

 

Sunrise over Florida's "Waters of the State," SLR/IRL region.
Sunrise over Florida’s “Waters of the State,” SLR/IRL region.

The more I learn about water, “the more I learn what I don’t know”…Federal laws….state laws…and local governments living with the “sins of the fathers,” —just trying to keep up…

Because I taught eighth and ninth grade for so many years, it is my training to try to break down complicated information, so that it can be understood on a basic level and shared. Obviously, I am no expert on water law so please chime in!

Today’s lesson? CLASSIFICATION OF FLORIDA SURFACE WATERS

Classifications and designated uses of water by the state of Florida are required by the Clean Water Act of the United States. “The act requires that the surface waters of each state be classified according to “designated uses.” Florida has six classes with associated designated uses, which are arranged in order of degree of protection required.” DEP

From FAQ DEP 2012.
Classification, Waters of the State, FAQ Fl. Dept. of Environmental Protection, 2012.

(https://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/watersheds/assessment/faq.htm)

The classes are:

Class I: Potable Water

Class II Shellfish Propagation or Harvesting

Class III Fish Consumption, Recreation, Propagation and Maintenance of a Health, Well-Balanced, Population of Fish and Wildlife

Class III-Limited the same Class III but “with limited physical/habitat conditions…

Class IV Agriculture Water Supplies

Class V Navigation, Utility and Industrial Use.

I wonder what category the St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon falls under? This is not easy to find on-line. Let’s guess….Look at the chart above closely….

What do you think?

My guess would be Class III-Limited, but I don’t know. I could not find it “for sure” on-line.

Looking at the chart and reading the DEP website, it sounds like all waters of the state of Florida are “Class III” regular “unless otherwise specified….”

—–Finding a simple list of class designations for waters of the state is not easy. This download is what I found and it does not make sense.

(https://www.flrules.org/gateway/readFile.asp?sid=0&tid=3294816&type=1&File=62-302.400.doc)

Now to complicate the issue, certain classes of water that are listed as Class III or otherwise can also be listed separately as “Outstanding Waters of the State,” or as “Aquatic Preserves.” How can this be?

—–For instance, the North Fork of the St Lucie River is listed as an “Aquatic Preserve” and “Outstanding Water” of the State. Also the Indian River Lagoon has parts, including parts in St Lucie and Martin Counties, that are also Aquatic Preserves. This doesn’t make sense to me. These bodies of water have been designated as “protected” since the 70s but they are not protected with canals dumping pollution into them. We all see that!

SFWMD canal and basin map. C-44 canal is the canal most southerly in the image.
SFWMD canal and basin map.C-24 dumps pollution into North Fork of SLR, C-23 dumps into main area of SLR, C-44 dumps into South Fork, and C-25 into IRL near Ft Pierce. The North Fork of the SLR and parts of the IRL are Aquatic Preserves/and or Outstanding Florida Waters…..this makes no sense. 
Aquatic Preserves of the IRL as shown in DEP's IRL Management Plan draft June 2014.
Aquatic Preserves of the IRL as shown in DEP’s IRL Management Plan draft June 2014.

Now I am going to share some photos of the Southern Indian River Lagoon, (an Aquatic Preserve), that my husband, Ed, took last Sunday, September 13th. The photos are of the C-25 canal which is dumping into the Indian River Lagoon in Ft Pierce. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it makes sense to dump pollution into an aquatic preserve, no matter what class the waters are.

To be fair, I must mention that I recently received an email from Mr Glenn Henderson, the senior grants writer for St Lucie County. He noted that a blog reader sent him the shocking photographs of C-25 recently published.  Mr Henderson noted that he and others are working together with the St Lucie Issues Team to get a grant from the state for the San Lucie storm water detention project. The San Lucie is  an old subdivision that has dirt roads, few swales and no structures to hold stormwater — and it’s less than a mile from the IRL. This is one of the many things running into the lagoon.

Thank you Glenn and everyone!  And the state? “Let’s get back to class!”

Algae fills C-25 as this water is dumped into the IRL in Ft Pierce, an aquatic preserve. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-13-15)
Algae fills C-25 as this water is dumped into the IRL in Ft Pierce, an aquatic preserve. (Photo Ed Lippisch 9-13-15)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)
C-25 9-13-15 (EL)AA

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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