STUART, Fla. - A Fourth of July celebration on the St. Lucie River, where possible toxic blue-green algae have clouded the health of the river in Stuart.
It’s caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee, that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers does to limit the flooding risk.
The St. Lucie River center stage again to celebrate our nation’s birth. It’s a yearly tradition. People celebrating, though are tired of another seemingly annual tradition on the water.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize what’s going on here until they go to Jupiter and they go over there Intracoastal and they’re like oh my god that water’s crystal clear and blue, what’s going on? And then you find out the story here every summer,” Randy Callahan said.
Callahan rode on a boat with friends for a front row seat of the show. On their 7-mile ride here, the changing river was undeniable.
“The water looks disgusting. I mean it’s just chocolate milk. (The boat captain is) slowing down and you can see the wake coming in the back of the boat and you’re just like who would want to be in there? And nobody is in there,” Randy said.
Emily Concepcion is here with her family. She’s 11.
“(It) has a lot of algae in it... that’s preventing us from swimming,” she said.
David Frederickson is here with his family from Palm City.
“What it’s doing to the ecosystem is terrible. You want to go offshore fishing? It’s disgusting. You want to go to the beach? It’s disgusting. You want to enjoy the river? It’s disgusting,” he said.
As the booms and bright lights above to celebrate our sovereignty, a murky river chokes below.
“Even at the ocean, I mean it comes out the inlet, it’s disgusting. It’s like how do they get away with this over and over? There’s always a big stink, nothing ever gets done. It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand,” Randy said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted flows here on Saturday, they’ll resume after a nine-day break Monday next week.