Canal plug at work
Go plug! Go!

Ask any canal …

It’s goes is plain and simple is to drain the swamp.

Can you see the plug and culvert?

What the canals didn’t bargain for …

Was the strategic addition of earthen plugs.

We added those plugs primary built in the higher-ground pinelands.

That allows water to pool up behind the plug.

And discharge under the road through the culvert just upstream.

Pines stay dry (for now)

We’re in the heart of the summer,

But in some ways the sheet flow season has just begun.

The colors on this historical
calendar tell you where the wetting
front was from 1991 to present

It isn’t until the chart above turns “purple” or “black,”

That the swamp’s shallow sheet of water rises into the pine islands.

Last year (2019) that happened for a week or so, the year before that (2018) not at all; and the ear before that (2017) almost 7 months!

Yes, that was a record deep (and long) summer inundation.

And more proof that no two water years are the same the swamp.

Ugliest canal you ever saw

There’s something about this canal …

I’ve never liked.

Who says gators like canals?
This one got thwacked on the head
by a high-speed boat

Maybe it has something to do …

With it cutting off California Slough.

Maybe it has something to do with it …

Stealing water from the adjacent swamp from below.

It’s a tough life
being a cypress dome
right by a canal

The only good news:

Latest word is that this canal may get filled in, at least partially.

That’s better than the status quo.

“Canal-induced” rain?

There once was a theory on the Great Plains …

About the “rain following the plow?”

On the banks
of the L28 Interceptor,
looking south

Then came the Dust Bowl.

The truth is that canals do not induce rain.

Rather, they drain water out of the swamp whenever it rains.

Troublesome canal

The slug of wind-blown saltwater …

Didn’t need canals (it was that strong).

From top to bottom, Top: Panorama of the confluence of Turner River Canal (left) and Tamiami Canal (middle) looking east at HPWilliams Park, Middle: the first of five culverts that feed water from the Turner River Canal (middle) to the Turner River, looking north, and Bottom: Halfway Creek looking north at the Tamiami Trail.  Can you see the boulders?  That was an old plug that washed out over time. 

But coastal-connected Halfway Creek Canal helped amplify the event.

Why gators love (and hate) canals

The same canals that whisk water out of the gator’s swamp home,

Also serve as the creature’s “life support” during dry springs.

Tourists love seeing gators,
Sadly too often it’s in canals.
As seen at HP Williams Wayside

Thus raising the question:

Are canals good or bad?

Answer: Filling in and plugging canals helps keep water where it belongs, in the swamp, thus ensuring that gators can not just survive, but thrive, across the entire landscape (not just near roads) and in the process, wallowing out deep water refugia where fish abound and birds can roost.

Right water, wrong place

Despite appearances …

This is not a photo of a canal.

Domes are stoic,
but trust me: it’s crying
on the inside

Rather it’s a photo of  a cypress dome.

The only problem is the water is in the wrong place.

The dome is completely dry and the canal is full!

The canal speaks

What looks like a photo of water …

Is actually a “picture window” into an increasingly dry swamp.

As seen along the Tamiami Trail
near Oasis looking North

How can I tell?

Answer: That white band of limestone.

That’s a sure sign the water table has dropped into the aquifer below!