Young Friends Update: Miami Beach 4th Graders Discover the Magic of the Everglades!

When did you fall in love with the Everglades? For more than 50 fourth-grade students from Miami Beach, that moment occurred recently at the Royal Palm area of  Everglades National Park. With cameras, ID sheets and a tool bag of resources, students and leaders embarked on the first-ever Young Friends of the Everglades-led field trip to Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails. “Why does that alligator have its mouth open?” “What makes the water so clear?” “What kind of fish is that? Is it native or invasive?” “Why does the Everglades need more water?”  Eager questions like these empowered South Pointe Elementary teachers to build on essential classroom [...]

Will this be another Lost Summer?

Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples joined VoteWater Executive Director Gil Smart and TCPalm outdoors writer/columnist Ed Killer for a panel discussion in Stuart on Lake O discharges, the politics of clean water and the prospect of another “lost summer” in 2024. With high water levels in Lake Okeechobee and a busy hurricane season projected, the risk of harmful discharges to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon are looming. But the May 1 event, hosted by the Council on Aging of Martin County at the Kane Center, focused on short-term and long-term solutions that we can all help advance. Friends of the [...]

An evening at Bay Tree Lodge

Relive a memorable evening with Friends of the Everglades at Bay Tree Lodge! Special thanks to our hosts Ann and Knight Kiplinger for creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for our conversation about the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. The fate of these cherished waters is interwoven with Friends of the Everglades' core mission to preserve, protect and restore the only Everglades in the world. [...]

2024-05-30T11:42:03-04:00April 17th, 2024|All Posts, Marjory's Circle, St. Lucie Estuary|

Everglades Illustrated: piecing together the Toxic Puzzle

Documentary reveals potential solution to toxic algae exposure Every rainy season in Florida brings the threat of toxic slime in our waterways. At its worst earlier this year, Lake Okeechobee was covered in 400+ square miles of harmful blue-green algae blooms. Thankfully, Floridians have been largely spared in 2023 from large blooms entering the waterways to the east and the west of the lake, but the threat of damaging discharges isn’t over yet. Those of us living near the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and their canals, Lake O, and other waters previously tainted with algae know all too well the environmental and economic harm these discharges can bring. Green water clumped like guacamole, with dead fish at the [...]

WATCH NOW — Why we’re concerned about Lake O’s toxic algae threat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArvKcEdIufY With Lake Okeechobee just under 16 feet, we’re concerned about what that could mean in the months ahead. We’re already getting discharges east to the St. Lucie and west to the Caloosahatchee in an effort to bring that lake level down. Though the Caloosahatchee does need some dry season flows to keep salinity in check, the nutrient pollution that comes with those discharges can be problematic. Making matters worse — there’s an intense algae bloom predicted on Lake O this spring due to heavy rainfall from Hurricane Ian that caused the lake to rise, bringing nutrient-loaded runoff from the surrounding areas with it and putting stress on the submerged aquatic vegetation. With wet season only 3 months away, we’re [...]

Everglades Illustrated: This is how quickly discharges impact water quality.

Take a look at the photo above. This aerial image, taken by Ed Lippisch of Sewall’s Point, is part of a series he captured while flying over the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon in the early afternoon on February 8 — 17 days after Lake Okeechobee discharges conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and supported by the South Florida Water Management District started in an effort to lower the lake.  The impact is striking. Dark plumes of polluted Lake O water invade the local waters traversed and lived along by residents of Martin County, drastically impacting water quality. Blue water seen here clearly illuminates the barren moonscapes of Stuart’s shallow-water sandbars, which were once lush with [...]

2023-02-13T16:50:37-05:00February 14th, 2023|Everglades Illustrated, St. Lucie Estuary|

Your moment of Everglades Zen: One morning on Stuart’s Sailfish Flats

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qs-Ih6G7cE Watch the video above. Manatees drift lazily through shallow, jewel-toned waters, not far from paddle boarders out on a clear, sunny morning typical of the Florida winters that draw so many new faces (and license plates). Stuart’s Sailfish Flats generally encompass are a beloved area where the Indian River Lagoon meets the St. Lucie River. For years, this confluence of waterways has been recognized as both a recreational playground and an angler’s paradise — its aquamarine water and sandbars as famous as the once-lush seagrass meadows that historically served as a foundational ecosystem for a spectacular and renowned fishery. The water in this video is beautiful, but even as we appreciate these moments of zen, we are reminded [...]

2023-02-06T11:57:08-05:00February 7th, 2023|Everglades Zen, St. Lucie Estuary|

Everglades Illustrated: This is what recovery looks like

Satellite image of the Sailfish Flats in Stuart, FL, courtesy of eyeonlakeo.com The compilation of images above shows satellite imagery of the Sailfish Flats in Stuart, Florida, during the summer months of 2018, 2019 and just recently in 2022. They tell a story of slow but sure recovery. Across Florida, the summer of 2018 was a nightmare for water. To the east and the west, a stew of toxic blue-green algae-laden water from Lake Okeechobee was discharged in both directions. People and pets got sick, marine animals died by the tons (literally), businesses suffered and the most destructive red tide in years persisted along the west coast with the help from the constant source of nutrients. In Stuart, [...]

2022-07-11T19:34:09-04:00July 12th, 2022|Everglades Illustrated, St. Lucie Estuary|

Toxic Discharge Update: St. Lucie Locks 11-09-20

Scenes from the St. Lucie Lock and Dam captured Monday morning, November 9. Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers predicted that heavy rain from Tropical Storm Eta could raise the level of Lake Okeechobee by as much as 10 inches, suggesting that up to a month more of lake discharges to the northern estuaries may be necessary. The St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries have already suffered immense damage from the current Lake Okeechobee discharges. These delicate ecosystems cannot withstand another month of harm.

2020-11-09T15:03:55-05:00November 9th, 2020|St. Lucie Estuary|

Toxic Discharge Update: St. Lucie Locks 10-16-20

Scenes from the St. Lucie Lock and Dam captured Friday morning, October 16. Releases from Lake Okeechobee began Wednesday, October 14 at a rate of 1,800 cfs out of S-80 east to the St. Lucie estuary. The Army Corps reports that releases east are being pulsed at S-80 in an effort to have the lowest flow days at the peak of the King Tides this week.

2020-10-16T16:53:17-04:00October 16th, 2020|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie Estuary, Toxic Algae|