Wet boot test
Soggy socks are even a better indicator

There’s basically two ways to know it’s the wet season: (1) You can look at the chart above or (2) go out and see it for yourself. Warning: The second way will probably result in getting your socks wet. Never the greatest feeling. But once you get past the hurdle of full immersion, you almost forget that they are wet at all. About the chart above: The swamp has two solid “wet season” months under its belt, and is working on a third (August). The blue bars show recent monthly rainfall. The horizontal white lines show the long-term average for each month. The “dark gray” and “light gray” bands show the normal and historic range for the month. We had a very dry “dry season,” thus despite the abundant rain, the swamp is a bit slower this year filling up. Final note: To become a true rainfall expert, we highly recommend both the approaches discussed above.

Weather Drop

Wrong way clouds?
Winds shift and unleash from the west

South Florida’s clouds are larger than life …

And unleash torrential rains.

You know it’s a strange day in the swamp when the summer afternoon clouds are moving from West to East

And most of all …

They move the wrong way.

Unlike properly-behaving clouds on up the continent that predictably move from West to East (i.e. the Westerlies), south Florida’s summer clouds migrate from East to West on the wings of the Trade Winds.

But it was a lucky day, too, judging from this lucky pond apple find!

Except today.

As for why?

All I can say for certain is that I got thoroughly wet.

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Mixed Blessings
Pros (and cons) of watershed label

Tricky True or False:

By being a watershed that receives all (or most) of its water straight from the sky, The Big Cypress has remained protected from and untouched by the drainage works and water management rules that surround it on all sides?

Answer: https://www.gohydrology.org

Hint: Unlike the Everglades to the east that depends on a complex system of water management rules and structures to deliver water downstream, people have traditionally talked about and celebrated the The Big Cypress (see above) as its own separate and rain driven watershed. But how true is it? And is that good or bad?

The answer may surprise you.

Also be sure to check my blog, called the Daily Drip.

Blog: https://www.gohydrology.org/drip

P.S. Please share with a friend!

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Talking to plants
And how plants talk to you

This cypress dome may look dry …

But it’s showing water in two ways.

Soggy peat and dry water rings, south of the Alley

First, the peat is still soggy.

The water table was about a foot below the surface. That’s high enough for the peat to wick some moisture up, especially in the lowest spots. Also factoring in was a recent rain storm that wetted the peat top down.

Second are the high-water water rings around the fluted trunks. That’s the tree telling the water cycle how high it would like to be filled up. Word is the sky could start obliging in about a week (fingers crossed).

Before I left the dome I made sure I told the trees that.

Crossing the dotted lines
How invisible lines shape our thinking

Dotted lines warp our view …

Of how a watershed naturally works

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I‘m not saying let’s do away with the lines.

All I’m saying is let’s try to find some common ground.

As seen in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve

This National Park Service placard at the trailhead to Big Cypress Bend boardwalk has always intrigued me.

It’s a state trail, part of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park which was established in the mid 1970s. So the placard predates the dotted lines that eventually went in, but to me – both then and today – it’s a reminder that our modern-day boundaries are not set in stone, nor should our thinking simply stop wherever they start and end.

A couple miles in on the old logging tram road

That’s probably why if felt so good to meet up with Fakahatchee’s long-time biologist at a culvert site on Jane’s Scenic Drive. With great enthusiasm Mike said, “Bob, we need to work more together.”

Enthusiasm across dotted lines is not only contagious

It’s our best path forward to getting the water right.

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Water calendar revolt
And how it simplifies the water cycle

As if the switch to Daylight Savings …

Wasn’t already confusing enough:

Firelight Radio presents

Here we are not even halfway into the calendar year and we’re already leaving 2021 behind?

The water year starts anew May 1st

The good news:

Doing so greatly simplifies the hydrologic math.

Life is better around the campfire

This podcast from Firelight Radio explores the topic in greater depth.

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Daylight Savings effect
Cypress get an extra hour

Ever notice how shifting the clocks forward …

Mysteriously coincides with the cypress greening out?

The green-out actually takes about a month to unfold

There’s just something about having that extra hour of sun in the evening that does wonders for the cypress.

I call it the Daylight Savings effect.

70 degree rule

People winter in Florida, as in the verb.

We call them snow birds.

Naples enjoys 3 weeks of winter to 20 weeks of summer

To them, without a doubt …

Winter the noun does not exist in south Florida.

But for us “year rounders” the thermometer couldn’t be more clear. We go by the 70 degree rule. What is the 70 degree rule? Any day that doesn’t rise above 70° F is winter and any night that doesn’t drop below 70° F is summer. That gives us on average 18 days of winter and 130 days of summer. As for the rest of the days, us “year rounders” call those spring and fall; or in the parlance of the northerners, “– that’s ridiculous, it’s all summer!”