bookshelf

The Everglades Handbook
And why it's the Everglades best book

There’s other books out there …

But for me Tom Lodge’s book is the best.

Buy The Everglades Handbook, by Thomas E Lodge

Why? For one, it passes my number one test: It’s highly rereadable. By rereadable, I mean that I read it over and over again. Partly because the material is so good, and rather technical in nature — thus it takes multiple reads to fully digest, but Tom also knows how to turn a sentence. More than just a scholarly accomplishment — and that it very much is, this book is a literary masterpiece. The sentences and the words he uses are just fun, and thought-provoking, to read. The introductory section to the Big Cypress alone is chock full of little anecdotes and diatribes on how the region got its name. Another reason I love it is that he chronicles how the book evolved with each new edition, including his sessions with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas. This book brings the Everglades to life, both the ecosystem and the scope of what it takes for a person to understand the place. Spoiler alert: I am a bit partial because I have a signed copy. But the truth is I actually have two copies of his book: One at work and one at home. Whenever I get a spare fifteen minutes, I love picking it up and digging in. I find something new each time. This books a rereadable and a “must have” for any book shelf. Notice in the video how I prominently feature it on the middle shelf.

About WERP
The art (and need) of unofficial reports

Where can you find a good report …

On the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)?

WERP-2020-Report

The maps are particularly useful

Answer: You can’t. Or you could, if you enjoy reading through through what they call “The Yellow Book.” And don’t get me wrong: The Yellow Book contains a wealth of information, nor has it lost its relevancy over time. Even today, people continue to reference it as the bible of what is and is not included in CERP at the same time the original 68 projects and 4 feasibility reports it describes have morphed and evolved over time. But still: Back to the original question — where can you find a book on Everglades Restoration, or at least at thin tome that explains what it is and how it evolved in words that a layperson can understand.

With that in mind, I put together a summary report of a subcomponent of CERP called the Western Everglades Restoration Plan (WERP). It’s not meant to be official or even comprehensive, but rather organize thoughts about the project, its history and current state (as of 2020) feathered together with some useful photographs and maps.

Florida Weather
The Book

I know what you’re thinking …

That’s kind of a bland title for a book.

Video review of the book

Only, there’s nothing bland about Florida Weather …

Neither the subject nor this book. The book is truly a gift. It opened my eyes to a place I thought – as many do when arriving from Up North – to be a seasonless land. Winsberg puts that fallacy immediately to rest by his organization of the book around the four seasons themselves: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. The simplicity of structure provides the foundation for a truly unique and impressively quantitative exploration of the four seasons, Florida style. If that sounds dry, it’s not. The book is chock full of historical anecdotes, summary maps and other interesting tidbits.

For me the book is like an old friend, as all good rereadables are. Time and time again I find myself pulling this relatively thin tome off my shelf to brush up on the season or just simply to relax. The book helped me bond with Florida.

It also made me an instant expert on the weather.

Thank you to Morton D. Winsberg and his collaborators for this wonderful book!

Swamp before canals
And strands reigned supreme

Canals are easy to ignore …

They are hair-line thin compared to the greater watershed.

PredrainageDraft

This report challenges the old view

But a closer look reveals that canals and levees have played an oversized and often ignored (or at least under-appreciated) role in how water moves in the Big Cypress Swamp. For much of its history, the Preserve has been long imagined to be carved in the shape of a rain driven watershed, thus making it relatively immune to outside hydrologic alterations to the North, West and East.  In recent years, a paradigm shift has re-cast the Preserve in the new light that it is only “rain driven” because everything else (i.e. the North West and East) has been boxed out or drained away.  The imperative of this new paradigm is clear: Hydrologic restoration is vital to the ecological health of the preserve. 

Watershed reader

Understanding the hydrology of a watershed is no simple matter.

Unraveling its mystery requires reading many books.

Timeline of major hydrology,
water management, water quality
and geology reports for the preserve 

Oftentimes re-reading them too!