Single source swamp?

Are springs the source of the swamp?

Answer: No.

Sheetflow swings high and low,
whereas springs gush steady all year long.

The swamp gets all its water direct from the sky. As shown on the hydrograph above, that means a feast and famine diet. Or in other words, lots of water all at once in the summer and then slowly receding and disappearing water through the winter and spring.

As for the springs, they aren’t fountains from nowhere … although they seem that way when you see them. Almost like a water fountain left in the “on” position, springs flow non-stop and quite constant all year long.

The Floridan Aquifer is their source.

From left to right: sheetflow, spring flow and Lake O flow (at Moore Haven S-77)

Was Lake Okeechobee ever the source of the swamp?

Answer: Yes, or partly, or at least to some degree … from the Ft. Thompson Falls pooled Caloosahatchee which fed seeps that that drained south into cypress strands and marshy sloughs. Today, the S-77 controls water leaving the Lake in that direction — which hasn’t been open all summer — and the Ft. Thompson Falls are gone.

That’s why each night when the clouds aren’t there the swamp thanks its lucky stars that you can’t close the control gates to the sky.

Spring detour

So close yet so far …

Forget about the maps:
All Ponce De Leon needed was
some well marked signs.

I made it as far as the Silver Springs sign,

But that was as far as I got.

Between parking and admission,

It was over $40 to get in.

These movies are ageless

“It’s well worth the money,” I was assured and to which I didn’t for a second doubt:

After all, Johnny Weissmuller starred in 6 Tarzan movies there.

Not having more than an hour or so to spare (I was in transit from Gainesville to Naples), I opted for nearby Silver River State Park instead, to which I had a free pass, and from which I figured I would find an alternative route to the spring:

I didn’t. (What was I thinking?)

This boardwalk looked promising!

Instead I found my way to the banks of the river, upstream from which – perhaps just a twist or three around the bend – lay its source:

Silver Springs, one of Florida’s
biggest ground water gushers …

Bubbling up at 516,000,000 gallons per day.

That’s 798 cubic feet per second if I did my math right.

And judging from what I saw I think I did.

Unfortunately for Juan Ponce De Leon,
he did not have this map.

Silver Spring was among Johnny Weissmuller’s favorites. 

As to what I didn’t see:

Besides the spring I also missed the monkeys.

Stragglers or ancestors of stragglers left behind from the Johnny Weismuller days, monkeys are regularly seen climbing in the cypress trees across the river from where I stood.

“We saw them up there yesterday,” a couple assured me.

Monkey’s from the Tarzan era are still there:
Presumably beneficiaries of the ageless spring water.

Judging from my luck
I could only figure they were back at the spring.

I’m assuming they get in for free!

Tarzan of the springs

So close yet so far …


I made it as far as the Silver Springs sign,

But that was as far as I got.

Between parking and admission,

It was over $40 to get in.


“It’s well worth the money,” I was assured and to which I didn’t for a second doubt:

After all, Johnny Weissmuller starred in 6 Tarzan movies there.

Not having more than an hour or so to spare (I was in transit from Gainesville to Naples), I opted for nearby Silver River State Park instead, to which I had a free pass, and from which I figured I would find an alternative route to the spring:

I didn’t. (What was I thinking?)


Instead I found my way to the banks of the river, upstream from which – perhaps just a twist or three around the bend – lay its source:

Silver Springs, one of Florida’s
biggest ground water gushers …

Bubbling up at 516,000,000 gallons per day.

That’s 798 cubic feet per second if I did my math right.

And judging from what I saw I think I did.

As to what I didn’t see:

Besides the spring I also missed the monkeys.

Stragglers or ancestors of stragglers left behind from the Johnny Weismuller days, monkeys are regularly seen climbing in the cypress trees across the river from where I stood.

“We saw them up there yesterday,” a couple assured me.


Judging from my luck
I could only figure they were back at the spring.

I’m assuming they get in for free!