WCA3A Update
Deepest pool is shallower than normal

Hydrograph of WCA3A in the Everglades
Hydrograph showing current water depth (blue) relative to the elevation of major habitats of the ridge and slough ecosystem, the statistical record from 1993 to present and the new regulation schedule (COP)
Calendar chart of water depth in WCA3A of the Everglades
Calendar chart of water depths in WCA3A using the same color scheme as the hydrograph above

At first glance, the water table looks simple.

You can touch it with your finger and sure enough it’s wet.

The difficulty lies in understanding where it’s at relative to the suite of hydro-ecological and statistical metrics we measure it by. Case in point is Water Conservation Area 3A in the Everglades. Statistically, it’s a foot below where it normally is for late August and three feet below its high-water crest following Eta. Ecologically, water depth in the sloughs are about 1.75 feet deep but the tree islands are still dry.

That’s relatively rare for WCA3A this late in the summer.

Read more

Everglades Watershed

Everglades and its gates

There was a time when the water in the Everglades did whatever it wanted to do. No gates, no pumps, and most of all no time table. It just sat there and flowed, really wherever it wanted to go. Well, not any longer. At some point humans intervened and decided water would obey its rules – turning (or trying to) the Everglades into the Schedule Glades. Not that nature ever listens. Yes, water is a bit of a rebel force. You can domesticate it, but only so much.

Listen to the Audio Introduction

Click HERE to view easy-to-read (yet very detailed) hydrographs of the Everglades WCAs 1, 2 and 3.

Hole in the Donut (in reverse)

It’s not always possible …

To restore a wetland to exactly how it was before.

Hole-in-the-Donut now (i.e. a few years after rock-tilled
soil was scraped away, pinelands in the background)
Hole-in-the-Donut (immediately following scrape down)
Hole-in-the-Donut after fallow rock-plowed farm fields
went feral and became infested with Brazillian Pepper 
Artists interpretation of what Hole-in-
the-Donut used to look like when it
was active rock-plowed farm fields
Hole-in-the-Donut prior to rock plowing

Hole in the Donut is the case point.

Once upon a time it was pine flatwoods. That was before it was rock plowed for farming, and before those fields went fallow and filled in with Brazilian pepper, and before efforts were made to get pines to grow back.

The eventual solution was to scrape out the makeshift soil.

That turned it into a herbaceous marsh.

Taste of the Everglades

Howdy folks,

My name’s Water Drop and I’m here to talk about the water cycle.

People always ask me:

“Water Drop, what’s the water cycle?”

My answer?

It’s kind of a “wetter version” of the change in the four seasons.

The diagram below probably explains it best.

Animated water cycle for the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades
The water cycle in motion, swamp style

Not that the diagram (now above) is always right!

Take for instance our current situation in America’s Everglades.

An animated view of water rising and falling in the Everglades
The Everglades Ridge and Slough (and Tree Islands)

Usually January is the drier time of the year, or at least when the water table is trending down. Well, not this year. Thanks to an oddball November storm named Eta, the water table peaked unusually late, in November, and it’s been hanging around at the flood stage ever since.

Here’s a video that explains the storm.

Or if you’re more of a scientific ilk …

Here’s a hydrograph that shows it.

Do you see the big bump? That’s what Eta did.

Hydrograph showing current water depth in the southeast corner of Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve relative to major ecological and statistical thresholds. The blue line shows the current year

Or if you have more a historical bent:

The chart below shows the rise and fall of the water table over the decades, almost going back to the year I was born. That’s a lot of water under the bridge if you know what I mean.

This calendar chart reads like a page of a book, with 50 years of data packed all on one page in a way that patterns easily emerge. Can you see where we’re at now? (Hint: Lower left-hand corner)

What will happen with the water cycle next?

Well really, there’s no telling.

My guess is another interesting turn.

As always and forever yours truly,