Everglades

There was a time when the water in the Everglades did whatever it wanted to do. No gates, no pumps, and most of all no time table. It just sat there and flowed, really wherever it wanted to go. Well, not any longer. At some point humans intervened and decided water would obey its rules. | Greater Everglades | Kissimmee | Okeechobee | Caloosahatchee | River of Grass | Big Cypress Swamp | Rainfall

Intro - Schedule Glades

By Robert V. Sobczak

There was a time when the water in the Everglades did whatever it wanted to do. No gates, no pumps, and most of all no time table. It just sat there and flowed, really wherever it wanted to go. Well, not any longer. At some point humans intervened and decided water would obey its rules. That's where the regulation schedules come in. Not that nature always listens. Yes, water is a bit of a rebel force. You can domesticate it, but only so much.

Listen to the Audio Introduction

View hydrographs for the Water Conservation Areas (WCA)

Recent Blog Posts

Water manager’s delight
How much is "too much?"

For years I’ve struggled …

To make the perfect hydrograph.

Everglades Water Depth Cheat Sheet

My conclusion: It isn’t possible. Every time I finish one, I’m making another. And then when I go back to the one that I thought was a masterpiece, I see room for improvement in how it’s presented. And of course, the data stream has updated. That’s the thing about the water cycle — new data is constantly coming in. It’s just downright hard to keep up. Then there’s always the battle of how much data is “too much?” In my view, the better it’s organized, the more you can back in. The Everglades Water Depth Cheat Sheet may just be the case in point.

About the cheat sheet: It’s my new masterpiece. It took me half a day (up to lunch to create). If that seems like a long time, consider that updating will take just seconds (or rather minutes). So the good news is that it was time well spent.

The deeper truth behind the hydrograph above is that it was 15 years in the making and was fueled by my desire to better understand the Everglades. The key step was charting water depth consistently at each index well using the “slough floor” as the zero reference and using the simple ecological cross section at the top right of the page. As for the historical stats, I calculated them from 1993 to present.

More about the cheat sheet: It’s power is that it allows you to compare apples-to-apples (or oranges-to-oranges as we say in Florida) across the major index wells of the River of Grass; and also go back in time a decade at each site.

I always say I am trying to bring Go Hydrology back to some semblance of its former glory. Looking at this chart, at least on this night, my thought is that I might just get there yet.

The Everglades Handbook
And why it's the Everglades best book

There’s other books out there …

But for me Tom Lodge’s book is the best.

Buy The Everglades Handbook, by Thomas E Lodge

Why? For one, it passes my number one test: It’s highly rereadable. By rereadable, I mean that I read it over and over again. Partly because the material is so good, and rather technical in nature — thus it takes multiple reads to fully digest, but Tom also knows how to turn a sentence. More than just a scholarly accomplishment — and that it very much is, this book is a literary masterpiece. The sentences and the words he uses are just fun, and thought-provoking, to read. The introductory section to the Big Cypress alone is chock full of little anecdotes and diatribes on how the region got its name. Another reason I love it is that he chronicles how the book evolved with each new edition, including his sessions with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas. This book brings the Everglades to life, both the ecosystem and the scope of what it takes for a person to understand the place. Spoiler alert: I am a bit partial because I have a signed copy. But the truth is I actually have two copies of his book: One at work and one at home. Whenever I get a spare fifteen minutes, I love picking it up and digging in. I find something new each time. This books a rereadable and a “must have” for any book shelf. Notice in the video how I prominently feature it on the middle shelf.

Wildfire Cheatsheet
The balance between flood and drought

One goes up …

And the other goes down.

Cheatsheets explore the balance between “just enough” and “too much”

But neither goes away completely. This cheatsheet displays the interrelation and recent history of flood and fire in the Big Cypress and Everglades ecosystems. Or more correctly stated, it compares the dividing line(s) between flood and drought. Drought doesn’t happen all at once, or everywhere at the same time. Of note, the Big Cypress experiences deeper and longer incursions of drought.