History of water

There was a time when the water just flowed …

Unfettered, free and without a thought.

A parable of a water manager with regrets

And then we built the original gate.

And one more after that, and then another and another until there were too many to count.

Nothing is more complicated than water management.

But let’s also face the facts: We brought it on ourselves.

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.

big weather

Rain mechanic (at work)
Parts on order

The good news is …

We finally figured out the problem.

As seen at John Stretch Park

The only catch is …

It could take a week or two for the part to come in. In a nutshell, there’s a high pressure system forming over the southeast United States. That will pump dry air into Florida into next week.

Zen and the art of rain machine maintenance

After that, around Memorial Day, expect the rain machine to start cranking up.

Lock and dam

The structures on the Caloosahatchee …

Serve the dual mission of navigation and water management.

The S-78 Ortona lock …
And dam

Additional note: The Ortona lock and dam (a bit unwittingly) fills in as the modern-day proxy for the ghost of Ft. Thompson Falls as well. While the lock itself is located about 7 miles upstream of the old limestone run of rapids, it functionally holds water back the same way, if also at a lower level. Unlike the S-79 in Olga or the S-77 in Moore Haven, boats have to be raised and lowered a solid 5-10 feet in the lock.

Double duty

Previously just one, now there are two structures sending water east out of Water Conservation Area 3A towards the three new bridges that span Northeast Shark River Slough.