SWFWMD

Winter home of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, who needs a Super Bowl winning football team when you can root all year round for the Peace, Myakka, Little Manatee and Weeki Wachee watersheds. | Florida’s water districts | Panhandle | Suwannee | St Johns | Southwest | South Florida | Estuaries and coast | Water bodies | Aquifers

Best Water Management Logo in Florida?
And the winner is (drum roll please) ...

You don’t know how difficult logos can be …

Until you try to make one yourself.

Florida’s five districts, plus the agency that unites them all

And now imagine having to make one that measures up to four other like organizations, and also resonates with the greater public interest it serves. Such is the challenge for Florida’s five water management districts. Water management logos are a lot like state flags. They contain subtleties and historical nuances that only an student of the genre or a long time local could fully understand. And I would imagine that each logo has evolved over the years. For all I know, as I type, one of the districts may be tweaking (or completely reinventing) its design. If I had to guess, I would say that the Suwannee’s is the most recently modified, in part because it’s such a departure from the rest — it doesn’t have a state map and in general is more minimalistic than the rest.

Things I like about each one: (1) for Northwest Florida it’s the grove of cypress and stand of long-leaf pine, (2) the Suwannee is its simplicity (and clarity) of color and words, (3) the St Johns River has a decidedly nautical feel, which probably makes sense given how far inland (161 miles from its mouth), (4) for Southwest Florida it has to be the background waves of the gulf, and how it reaffirms that the entire basin feeds the downstream estuaries, and (5) for south Florida is has to be the sun rays reaching out into an expansive yet cloudless sky (I can only assume the river is the Kissimmee).

Last but not least is the sixth: the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It has general oversight over all five districts. As for which logo is the best, I think they are all interesting in their own ways. Which one I like best might depend on the day, or what district I live.

Aren’t our watersheds a little bit like sports teams? They bring us together as a community to root for the same cause and rally around the same logo. What’s your favorite logo, and why?

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Chronology: The South Florida Water Management District is the oldest of the five, forming in 1949, with the others following in 1977 as a result of the Water Resources Act signed into law by the Florida legislature in 1972.

Second life of Kissengen Spring?
Search for the headwater source

The Peace River isn’t what it used to be.

For starters, its headwater source – Kissengen Spring – is gone.

Peace River’s then (1940-1955) and now (1995-2010)

The culprit?

Groundwater pumping associated with phosphate mining substantially lowered the water table in the 1950s which in turn reversed the direction of flow. No, the river didn’t start flowing north! By “reversed” I mean that the river isn’t recharged “up” from the groundwater any longer, but rather ends up leaking “down,” and quite prodigiously at times, into the aquifer instead.

Kissengen Spring flowed at 30 cubic feet per second (20 million gallons per day). That may not sound like much, but it was incredibly steady in the sense that it flowed all year round. That was particularly important during the seasonal spring drought when without it the Peace would run dry. It was its sole source of flow.

Peace River near Arcadia

The hydrograph above shows how in recent times the river routinely drops below 100 cfs, yet rarely did so when the spring was still intact. Work is underway to repair the river with an upstream reservoir called Hancock Lake and by strategically adding berms in the river bed to keep flow in the river from sinking down into the karst aquifer instead. (view article) The goal is to keep a minimum of 20-30 cfs in the river channel at all times.

Or in other words, replicate the flows of Kissengen Spring!

Silver Spring Cheatsheet
The story of the falling baseline

A visiting tourist would be amazed …

At the discharge pumping up from Silver Spring.

Silver Spring Cheatsheet

Meanwhile, an old timer standing right next time him would be underwhelmed compared to what he saw (and remembered) from his youth. The reason? The area around the spring has been protected. But that area isn’t big enough to prevent depletion of headwater flows in the surrounding springshed through municipal groundwater pumping. I’ll leave it to the experts on this one (a combination of new and old timers), but to my knowledge groundwater pumping in and around the Ocala is the cause of the spring’s pre and post 2000 inflection point.

Early cold front

Usually it isn’t until mid October … 

That south Florida gets its first dose of coolish air.
 

The flag is our
cold front indicator

Not that we’re complaining!