You may or may not have seen that Florida has declared a State of Emergency for Martin and St. Lucie Counties. I’ve recently read that Lee and Palm Beach Counties have been added to that.
Martin County is where I lived before moving to Virginia. I absolutely love it there. It is small and has a very laid back atmosphere, something my hometown of Naples, Florida can’t claim. In fact, Stuart was named Coastal Living’s Happiest Seaside Town for 2016. The secret is out about it, but hopefully it will continue to maintain its Old Florida charm. When we return to Florida, it is always included in our stop to visit friends, catch some waves, stroll around downtown, and meander along the riverfront boardwalk.
There has constantly been controversy over the release of the water from Lake Okeechobee and the algae blooms. I am not an expert, nor have I even delved into the thoughts behind each side. I will tell you that when I moved from Naples, we relocated to Okeechobee. This is the city on the North End of the lake. We lived there for two years before moving to the east coast so that I could go back to school (and smell the salt water).
In my time on the coast, we spent a lot of time at the beach. It was interesting that some days the water was very turquoise and some days a little less so. I didn’t think much of it because I am from the Gulf side of Florida and the water is much darker there. But in driving North toward Ft. Pierce or South toward Jupiter or West Palm Beach, there would be a definite line in the ocean where you could see the water become more turquoise.
We were down in Jensen Beach for vacation, right before the algae bloom. There were quite a few heavy downpours, which I suspect was what prompted the lake release. A storm rolling in had created 8-9 foot waves. We did not go out that day, but went the next few days when they were 4-5 foot. My daughter was able to surf on the last day, which was finally even smaller. The seaweed was getting pretty thick that day so we were only there a couple hours. That was on June 22nd and we left to see my family in Naples on the morning of the 23rd. You can see in this aerial what the water looked like on June 29th.
This bloom coming right into a holiday weekend is a major economic upset. I’m sure people were counting on the visitors who would be there. We like to stay at River Palm Cottages because it is right on the Indian River. We were there for spring break also and try to get a place when I plan far enough in advance (which is not my strong skill).
I hope they get it all resolved soon. They can’t allow the lake to fill. The dike won’t hold and there are people and livelihoods that surround the lake on all sides. They also can’t keep continuing to kill the marine life, pollute the waters, and ruin the coastal livelihoods. I don’t know what the answers are, only that it is a big mess.
*edit-If I’d actually been caught up on Facebook, I would have seen this article posted by one of my friends in Okeechobee explaining some comments from the Lake.
Let your light shine!
*The two beach pictures were taken at Jensen Beach “Sea Turtle Beach” and the others were taken at from the River Palm Cottages dock on the Indian River Lagoon in Jensen Beach between June 19-June22, 2016.