Nature is all around us …
And in our dreams.
Bobby Angel’s song about restoring nature
In this original song, singer/songwriter Bobby Angel explores the cross roads between the idealism of youth and the harsh realities of life, and in particular our relationship with nature. About those dreams: Sometimes those dreams inspire, other times they haunt. And each sunset is a promise to make it right the next day.
Stay on after the song to hear an interview with the artist.
How much water do I use per month?
My water bill read around 5,000 gallons.
By “use” I don’t mean drinking it all. There’s the sprinklers, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, an occasional fill up of the pool, plus two bathrooms and showers.
Talk about a leaky faucet!
Bobby Angel brings down the house …
With his sprawling masterpiece on the destruction of the Everglades and the power of dreams to both haunt us and inspire a new way.
Keep listening after the song to hear an interview with the artist
If you’re a history buff …
You’ll rejoice in the many references to the pre-drained Everglades, how it changed over time, and the quest with hydrologic restoration to get it right. As an alternative to listening to the song, you may also be interested in River of Interest (2012) by Matthew C. Godfrey and Theodore Catton, or David McCally’s The Everglades an Environmental History (1999) or Michael Grunwald’s The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise (2006). However, if you are in a pinch for time, I recommend this song which was only written after extensive study of the books listed above. All of Bobby Angel’s song are similarly deeply researched as you’ll discover in the post-song interview.
Bobby Angel may not have all the answers …
But boy can he sing a Nature Folk ballad!
The river is still there …
You just have to look to find it.
As for the canal:
It’s easy to find.
It’s deeper, wider, longer and straight as an arrow …
And parallels modern-day Immokalee Road.
Being a hydrologists …
Is an adventurous job.
The view from the top of a structure is always worth the effort.
Water was pooling 3 feet on the upstream side and the flow rate was around 500 cubic feet per second I think.
One of the biggest myths of the swamp …
Is that it’s a watershed untouched by time.
So the story goes:
Unlike the highly-engineered Everglades management system that depends on a complex operation of gates, pumps, water treatment areas and regulation schedules …
The Big Cypress escaped from drainage unscathed.
The true(r) story:
Yes, the swamp gets most of its water straight from the sky, but it relies on upstream flows too. And here’s the big catch: The size of its upstream drainage (or watershed) has shrunk over time.
Or in other words, the swamp is (primarily) rain-driven because all the other “pre-drainage” sources of water got drained away or boxed out.
The good news:
There are a lot worse fates that could befall an ecosystem than to become a watershed. And why cry over spilt milk of drainage past when there is a lot of work big and small that can be done to help achieve the goal of making the swamp the very best rain-driven work it can be.
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
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.
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.