Always lots of wildlife to see, although not on this photo
South on left and north to right
Looking south at the water gush through culvert
You're looking straight at it, at its tailwaters where it meets Loop Road at Crooked Culvert
Part culvert and part canal, today it is obscured from view. But your looking straight at it.
You know its wet when this stretch of Loop Road floods. It's just to the east where the limestone stretch of the road ends.
Loop Road went under way for a 3-4 mile stretch throughout and to the east of Pinecrest
The Gumbo Limbo trees seem to turn redder in the rain
This two track was originally supposed to be part of the Tamiami Trail. That was a hundred years ago.
Throughout Pinecrest, many stretches of road overtopped
Where Jim Dill Canal starts.
It looked especially scenic on this day
Located 5 miles east of 40 Mile Bend
This prairie is perhaps the wettest and wettest longest part of the Preserve
Water gushing under the LOOP1 bridge
Panoramic view of LOOP1 looking east. Can you see the flooding under the road?
No need for culverts, Eta just sent the water up and over the road. Not always great for road integrity in the long run.
The crown of the road was dry, but just barely
Many of the puddles overtopped the crown
It didn't flood continuously. This was one of the longer stretches.
All the low spots in the road were flooded for a 3-4 mile stretch
The puddles multiply and merge as the water waxes and then wanes. Suffice it to say low spots go under first.
Can you see the egret? I'd never seen so many wading birds along Loop Road. The large does of rain interrupted their normal foraging routines. The culverts are a good place to forage for fish during high water events.
Looking north from Loop Road
On this day there was no holding the swamp back.
Can you see - the gates are open all the way. That's unusual for this time of year.
It was too wet get out of the vehicle. Eta had passed, but lingering showers were heavy at times.
This is the low spot in the road, or more correctly state, the spot where the Trail is most prone to overtop. It's just a low spot in the road.
This where Collier and Dade County meet, along with the Monroe County line from the south. It's also the low spot in the road as can be seen in the proximity of the water line in the canal to the toe of the road. It overtopped the Trail at this spot in 1995 and 2017.
This gator is pointed in the direction of flow, waiting for tiny fish to be transported his way.
Waiting for food
This gator found a good spot
Whether it's wading birds, ants or alligators, the wildlife responds to the high water event.
An ant colony got displaced by the high water. It's solution: it formed its own floating barge.
Can you see where the ant colony was displaced?
Usually I steer clear of red ants, but this was interesting, and easier to photograph without getting bit.
But fortunately not all 11 miles, just the first few hundred yards
Roads block water in the swamp, but water has other options besides culverts when big storms strike.
Once water rose up and over the road, it formed its own spillway on the west road bank.
You know it's high water in the swamp when you can hear the water.
Watching water flow in a new channel is a sight to see
Water backed up on the east side of 11 Mile Road
View of water flowing over 11 Mile Road, looking north
There is a culvert, but it wasn't big enough to handle all of Eta's flow.
Usually when roads overtop in the swamp, it's at a low spot or at their southernmost reach where the water piles up. In this case, it was the latter.
The road overtopping is not one culvert's fault, it's usually the result of not enough culvert capacity along the length of the road. Of course, all bets are off during big rain events. During normal years, roads do not overtop.
a series of 5 culverts provides headwater flows to Turner River
New culverts are helping water that used to stack up behind the road spread south. Here's a view of the one of the new culverts in action.
As seen looking north along a new plug on Upper Wagon Wheel Canal
Dirt from the new culverts was used to build better plugs in the canal. Plugs help decrease the drainage capacity of the canals and retain more water (longer) in the swamp.
Canals aren't as simple to plug as they look. Canals find a way during high water to sneak around plugs.
Looking north. Can you see the channel that formed on the far end of the canal?
Eta had passed, but skies were still cloudy (and scenic) the next day.
One of 7 culverts on Birdon Road. This one feeds a strand that to my knowledge doesn't have a name. Not that it needs one.
Culverts help spread the water out.
This culvert used to drain water from the swamp to the canal. By taking out the tam to the south (where the sign is) and filling in a short section of Birdon Canal, we helped reverse its flow. The only caveat on this culvert is it really only flows during very high flow events.
The majority of the 11 culvert sites on Lower Wagon Wheel Road are located where the road bisects Deep Lake Strand
I've seen them gush more, but it was the most they were flowing all year.
We also saw a moccasin, but decided to stay clear.
During Irma, the canal overtopped the road. Eta brought the canal to the underside of the bridge.
All the stop gates were in, but overflowing. Usually the gates go in at the start of the dry season to help conserve the water and prevent the canal from overdraining the swamp. But big rain events like Eta easily overtop the gates.
Looking north near Janes Scenic Drive. Over time, these overtopping events have degraded the structural integrity of the weirs and caused rutting and erosional channels to form in the adjacent swamp. That has diminished the operational effectiveness of the gates over time.
Hard to believe that just a few months ago this gate was acting as a saltwater intrusion barrier. This gate is the southernmost of 9 similar structures on the State Road 29 Canal between the Tamiami Trail and Alligator Alley.
You can see in this photo where the gates slide into the concrete end members on either bank. During the summer, usually from June/July to October, the gates are pulled out.
Looking north and east into Big Cypress National Preserve
Instead of flowing through the swamp, the canal gives the water a quick escape route to the coast. Come dry season, that's water the swamp would have liked to have kept.