Water-based businesses struggle, no end in sight

From TCPalm: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/jul/31/water-dependent-businesses-along-st-lucie-river-la/

Water-dependent businesses along St. Lucie River, lagoon struggle

  • By Jon Shainman, WPTV NewsChannel 5
  • Posted July 31, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.
  • ERIC HASERT/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS  Dan Neumann (center), owner of Coastal Paddle Boarding in Port Salerno, launches several paddle boards and a kayak into Manatee Pocket from his dock located at 4290 S.E. Salerno Road  in Port Salerno on Friday.  'It's a shame because we got beautiful waterways  here in Martin County, ..but it's obviously a problem when we can't get out on the water because the health department is issuing statements like they do, because the Army Corps of Engineers is dumping water into the river,' Neumann said about conditions in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.  Dan Neumann, cq 
PHOTOGRAPHED: Friday JULY 19, 2013

 

PORT SALERNO — At Coastal Paddleboards, Don Neumann takes out the flag that would have signified he was open. A sign nearby declares you can’t rent boards from his dock in the Manatee Pocket.

“We have slowly seen a decline in our business and now it has reached a crescendo,” said Neumann.

He and his wife Rochelle are in their fourth summer of operation, and this one is clearly trouble.

“The simple fact that 100 percent of our business takes place on these waters, it has completely pulled the rug out from under us,” said Dan Neumann.

Click here to read the TCPalm story from July 21 on the water quality’s effect on recreational businesses.

Rochelle Neumann says before the Lake Okeechobee freshwater releases, she could see to the bottom from her dock. But not anymore. Wednesday’s warning to stay out of the water because of toxic blue-green algae in the area couldn’t have come at a worse time. Their business does best in the summer because of the warm water.

“People are not afraid to fall in the water … until now. Nobody wants to fall in the water period,” said Rochelle Neumann.

So the Neumanns have to become explorers, and find new places to put in. Wednesday, they brought a few customers to Jimmy Graham Park in Hobe Sound. While these out of town customers didn’t cancel, many others have shied away.

“We have had cancelations due to the water issues without a doubt,” said Dan Neumann.

The Neumanns are hoping they can make it through the rest of the summer.

They’ll be joining a protest planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Phipps Park in Stuart right by the St. Lucie Locks where all the freshwater is coming in from Lake Okeechobee.

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