History of Go Hydrology

Origins of a blog
On your mark, get set, Go Hydrology!

Ecosystems evolve over time …

But it’s the initial conditions that sometimes matter most of all.

The Power Point was originally presented at a conference

Here’s the story (above video) of how Go Hydrology got its start, plus some lessons learned along the way, and as always the unexpected twists. What was the biggest lesson? Probably the Rule of the Ninja: “Never fear, never doubt and never overthink.” Another lesson learned was that appetite comes while eating, or in other words, getting started is the hardest part.

As for the twists? I go back to the beginning: I never set out to be a blogger. It just happened over time, or rather all of a sudden. Am I a good blogger? I think it’s a skill I’ve refined over time. But I can write until the cows come home. The bigger trick is organizing the information that it becomes a helpful and enriching resource, which brings me full circle to where I am today. In the early years I shunned the word blog and blogger, fancying myself a more serious writer and the website being less about the words and more about the charts. Fast forward to today, and I’ve embraced the blog for all it’s worth. A blog is a powerful way to organize and share information in ways I am only starting to learn.

Before Canals

Yes, the Big Cypress is its own watershed …

And it gets most of its water straight from the sky.

As presented at the Big Cypress Symposium

But that doesn’t mean …

It hasn’t changed over the decades.

In fact, by the time the Big Cypress was saved from development – and designated as natural refuges, parks and preserves – a vast network of canals and levees had already been put in place.

Animation of how drainage altered the watershed

The result?

For one, the watershed shrunk.

The headwater delivery system that used to reach high up into the Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee is now diverted to the coasts. Meanwhile, the water that used to flow into Big Cypress from the Everglades has been cut off, or even reversed.

Major drainage preceded conservation of The Big Cypress

We’re not saying we don’t love being a watershed.

It’s the best of all possible foundations to build on. The next step is doing hydrologic restoration projects great and small to get the water right.

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History of flood and fire
As presented at GEER 2021

Here’s the thirteen minute presentation

I gave at the recent Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) conference on Tuesday April 21, 2021.

GEER 2021 Video

Normally, a talk like this, you give it once and nobody hears it again.

And that means only a couple dozen people at most. Thus it feels good to be able to post the video here. Partly that’s possible because it was a Zoom conference and I had to tape it in advance.

Stunnning conclusion: The swamp is flood and fire adapted

But it is also in tune with my personal philosophy as a hydrologist, which goes something like this: I may not know everything, but I know enough to share.

I’m still working on my catch phrase by the way. Enjoy!

P.S. Here’s a supplemental video expands on the discussion above by touching on the topic how initial conditions powerful influence our personal understanding (and biases) of about an ecosystem. As the years and decades pass, the ecosystems change, yet so often we find our thinking moored and mired in the past in ways that both illuminate and cloud our thinking.

Initial impressions sometimes need revisiting

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