Everything has its origin story, and some things evolve over time. And yes, there is a lot of trial and error involved, and every once in a while doing a reboot.
Can you guess how Go Hydrology got its start?
a. as part of a multi-agency watershed team
b. a database hosted at Florida Gulf Coast University
c. a blog called The South Florida Watershed Journal
d. a desire to illuminate and celebrate the water cycle as it unfolds
e. all of the above
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Answer: Click “Read More” to find out
The correct answer is (e) all of the above.
A ten year retrospective of Go Hydrology, from a few years back
More about the answer: Go Hydrology started as part of a multi-agency watershed team called the Big Cypress Regional Coordination Team that I co-chaired for several years in the 2000s. The big caveat is that it didn’t start as Go Hydrology, or even a name at all, but rather with me sending out an array of hydrographs on a weekly basis to a growing list of interested folks. Eventually Cal from the District hit me with an idea: “Bob, I love your emails — but your filling up my in box.” (i.e. this was the era before web-hosted email). The solution was to upload the hydrographs to an html-coded website at Florida Gulf Coast University. That significantly reduced the size of my emails, and also inspired me to send out a narrative update along with the link that members on the team encouraged me to save.
New at the time, the best way to save the short narratives ended up being a new technology called Blogger (i.e. a weblog, or blog for short). It didn’t take me long to see that more than text, the blog was a great place to weave photographs, diagrams, and short videos into the mix of hydrographs. It also presented a problem: the title of my blog was The South Florida Watershed Journal (i.e. named after the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper I greatly admired for its graphs) and more specifically the URL — https://sfwj.blogspot.com. People kept asking me, why is it a .com and not a .gov. And thus was born the idea of buying a custom URL called https://gohydrology.org. The .org sounded more governmental, and seemed the have the right ring.
More about Go Hydrology: It’s been a way to keep my hydrologic saw sharp, it allows me to share things that would otherwise collect digital dust on my computer (and other wise be lost to time – what a shame!), it’s been a great outreach tool for connecting with other aquatic professionals across agency lines and water enthusiasts of all types, and a great advertisement for the hydrology profession. Most of all, it’s been fun. Somebody once told me when they saw me in my uniform and I told them what I did — “You have the greatest job in the world!” I couldn’t agree more. It’s a privilege to be able to do what I do. At the end of the day, I’m just happy to be able to a little bit lead and a little bit share and get everybody (or anybody who will listen) back in tune with the water cycle around us.
“More Water Cycle!” to quote a famous Saturday Night Live skit. Or was that “More Cowbell?” In my opinion, and I think Bruce Dickinson would agree, too: “You really can’t have enough water cycle.”