Hydrologic self “reliance”

I was kicking around shells on the Caloosahatchee shoreline – not too far from where it splashes up on Thomas Edison’s winter retreat – when I happened upon this great aqua-archeological find, possibly a hydrologic missing link:

I call it the Caloosahatchee “Rosetta stone.”


It displays in “calendar format” five decades of flow history through the WP Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79), the river’s famed release point for sending freshwater into the downstream estuary.

Whenever I get a chance to see them, water structures have a way of captivating my attention. Usually I see them by way of a detour on my way to other things in Miami or Ft Myers, and it’s usually those detours that become the highlight.

South Florida is so big, it takes a good decade or two before you see it all … or even half of it.


Strike that! What I mean is a small sliver … and a very thin one at that.

That’s where the data comes in handy. They stand sentinel in perpetual water monitoring mode while the world sleeps, eats, and otherwise goes about its business.

To date around three-quarters of a million acre feet of water has discharged through the S79, about a third of which came from the Lake. That’s about the same as last year through 10 months.

Lake stage appears to have crested in late September. It’s now about 10 inches lower than late October of last year, a foot and a half below the 15-year late October median, and 3 feet below the post-Wilma high water mark in 2005.


The Magenta 1997-1998 line is worth a second look:

It’s not often you see Lake stage rising through the dry season. That was the last year’s El Nino of the century, or rather the second one. The first occurred in 1983 to similar effect.

What were Thomas Edison’s thoughts on the Caloosahatchee?

I’m sure in his day he had some,

But they weren’t about the S79 … it hadn’t yet been built.

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