By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - The Port St. Lucie City Council heard concerns from a neighboring city when Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, the mayor of Sewall's Point in Martin County, came to speak at the Oct. 22 meeting concerning recent storm water activity and the St. Lucie River estuary.
"When there is a large rain event, the Army Corp of Engineers dumps polluted fresh water into our St. Lucie estuary," she said. "All that silt is destroying our seagrasses."
Mayor Thurlow-Lippisch stated the seagrass in the lagoon is currently down to 48 percent.
"It's continuing to die," she said. "If it's anything that we have together, it's these waterways."
She called on the Port St. Lucie City Council to help in river preservation efforts because of the city's status as one of the top 10 most populated cities in the state.
"You carry more real power than anyone in this region when it comes to protecting our waterways," she said.
Mayor Thurlow-Lippisch then announced the beginning of the group "Speaking Up for the St. Lucie," that is working to preserve area waterways. The group currently has a website and Facebook page.
"This is more of a 'living' group, because it allows us to document all the damage being done now," she said. "We then have documentation to show the state."
Jack Kelly, one of the members on the Port St. Lucie council, wanted the group to show its support officially.
"It's about our river, and the flow from Okeechobee," he said. "Everyone on this council realizes this is the greatest natural asset we have in this city. It's a big deal to us."
Councilwoman Michelle Berger said the city has been working for years to keep the waterways in the city as clean as possible.
"It's important to talk about what our city has been doing, and the practices they have established, long before we were even here as a council," she said.
To assist, the city council directed city staff to bring forth a proclamation concerning the protection of the St. Lucie River to be presented at a later date.
The website for more information on the group can be found at http://ap3server.martin.fl.us on the Martin County website. The Facebook page is called Speak up for the St. Lucie.