Deeper Dives

Where Go Hydrology features longer-format info

End of road?
Or just a momentary reprieve

There’s a saying that …

The darkest hour is just before the dawn.

Firelight Radio is available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Well, sometimes you don’t even have to wait that long. That’s where campfires come in. There have been a lot of major inventions over the eons. The toaster. The comb. Just as seen on TV products. The list goes on. But has there ever been as good an invention as the campfire? Maybe the wheel. But that’s splitting hairs. The truth is that the there’s really no other antidote out there for what ails the soul than spending some quality time around a campfire. At least for my money. And campfire’s are usually free. That’s the best part.

Find out more about the campfire talks at Campfire Park at

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Photo Galleries

photo gallery

October Flight
Click on a photo to start the narration

Don’t get me wrong:

I love the artwork in museums.

Photos plus an audio tour

But that doesn’t mean I know what I’m looking at. That’s why the audio tour is so essential. Remember when they used to hand you a handheld device or a headset. I’m pretty sure today you just sign up with a code on your iPhone or equivalent. What I like most about the audio tour is that it makes me feel like I’m an insider, and that I’m getting secrets and being clued into little details that I would have otherwise missed.

I‘m not saying my photos are on par with the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or even Clyde Butcher’s galleries, but every photographer has a story to tell about every photo they take that’s lost with only a simple caption or no explanation at all.

With that being said, if perchance you listen, please drop off your audio devices in the basket before exiting the website. And don’t forget to stop at the museum shop on your way out. Hint: There is no museum site, you’ll have to pretend.

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Water sh-Editorials


Hydrologic resolutions
Or is it better phrased as a responsibility?

Does anybody make new year’s resolutions anymore?

One of mine this year is to drink less water.

The alligator does not drink up the water hole he lives in

Okay, I phrased that wrong: I meant use less water. The reason: By the end of the winter dry season, South Florida usually doesn’t have much to spare. Of course that usually doesn’t happen until spring — and specifically April and May — when the cypress domes and strands go completely dry. And I know what you’re thinking: Is there really a connection between how much was I use in town and the abundance or sparsity of water in the swamp? Increasingly, with the town moving east into the hinterlands that used to be the swamp, I would say if not a one to one drop exchange, the two are more intermingled than we tend to appreciate. Or maybe my point is this: When it comes to Big Water solutions to benefit humans, we usually don’t blink an eye. Well, I’m here to tell you the gators and all the other animals need there water, too. Hundreds of miles of canals and levees later, we built it (for us) and broke it (for them), therefore we own it and owe it to our region to get the water right.

My other resolution is to play the guitar more.

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Coffee-table Reports

Ideal Lake Stage
Research paper by William J. Sobczak

When it comes to the environment …

Sometimes our children know best.


The reason? It could be that they’re a little more open minded. Or maybe it has something to do with the idealism of youth. Where our adult minds get clouded with economic drivers, political bents and the sociological inertia of the status quo, children have a much less cluttered view of the world. Obviously, nature is good and water should be clean and whatever the cost, it really all boils down to doing the right thing. That would be a youthful view of things, which begs the question: Why doesn’t the same view prevail for adults.

The above paper about Lake Okeechobee — and specifically the discussion of a new regulation schedule called LOSOM — was written by my son for a high should project his senior year. What I admire about it most is its blend of youthful idealism and adult pragmatism, and his surprise choice at the end. I’ll leave it to you to read it to find out. In the process I think you’ll get a very good history lesson of the Lake.

Great job Willy!

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Everglades Restoration at Sunset
As seen at the S-356 and S-334

Water is famously said to have …

A mind of its own.

Short narrated video at the Everglades S-356

Or in other words, it’s going to flow where it wants to flow. Except in the Everglades at spots like this where with pumps and gates we tell the water when and where it can and cannot flow and by how much. As primordial a landscape as the Everglades appears to be (with its ancient alligators and horizon-to-horizon flooded expanse, don’t mistaken that with being completely wild and free. Concrete structures and pumps guard its perimeter and dole out its water in a system that’s so complex that even a well seasoned hydrologist like me is sometimes left scratching his head. Not that I won’t eventually figure it out, and usually just in time for another mystery to unfold.

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