Wk of June 19-25: Big Sunday rain fills up swamps

Big Cypress National Preserve is finally starting to fill up with surface water after Sunday’s big rain storm. The preserve and Water Conservation Area 3 received around 2 inches of rain last week. In comparison Naples received 3 inches and north of Lake 0 received <1 inch. However, even with Sunday's rain, the preserve has still only tallied 7 inches of rain in June to date. That still leaves us 3 inches below the 10-year June average of 10 inches. Last year we had 20 inches in June. I would say that preserve-wide sheetflow is still not up and running as of yet. The sheetflow index for the preserve (aggregate of stations A2, A13, A6, and A10) is still charting surface water at the top of the swamp forest landscape type (our lowest lying wetland type), with almost a full half foot of additional water needed to boost surface-water flooding into the wet prairies. Preserve-wide sheetflow officially takes root in the preserve when the prairies become flooded. Surface water does not rise as a homogenous mass in the preserve, however. Areas in proximity to Turner River Road and near Loop Road are already flooded at the prairie level. In comparision, areas to the north of I75 are still dry. This could change in the next week as Sunday's rain moves through the system. In the Water Conservation Areas, water levels in Loxahatchee are still at the slough level and water levels in WCA2 are still below ground. Water levels are at the bayhead landscape type in southern 3A and are at the slough level in northern 3A north of I75. As of Sunday, regulatory stage in Areas 3, 2, and 1 were 0.75, 1, and .25 ft, respectively, below the 5-year late June average for those areas. As of Sunday there continue to be no flow into ENP from along its entire northern boundary (from Carnestown to Krome Avenue). Flows along the C111 flow system were also neglible. Water stage at P33 is tracking very close to the 5-year late June average. The majority of station in ENP are reporting water levels at the slough level. Lake O stage dropped below 12 ft above sea level on Sunday. That puts it a full foot below the 5-year average for late June and 4 feet lower than it was in late June of 2005. Flows from the Kissimmee (S65E) averaged under 400 cfs last week. This year’s absence of early wet season outflows down the S79 (Caloosahatchee) and S80 (St Lucie) are in major contrast from last year when +5000 cfs discharges down the S79 occurred pretty much for the month of June and +3000 cfs dicharges down the S80 occurred for most of July.

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