The beauty of this chart is it allows us to see the full water history of Big Cypress National Preserve. The caveat is that it’s only a single gage. And this may even be a bigger one: It doesn’t tell us how water changed in the run up to the preserve being formed, and especially after the Tamiami Trail in the 1930. The trail not only paved the way for connecting the two coasts, it also became the de facto backbone for draining the swamp. Fifty years later the Preserve was established, and that’s when our hydrologic record keeping begins, too.
The biggest trend in my eye from the graph above is the longer summer wet seasons. That’s not because we’re getting more rain, but because we’re doing a better job of spreading the water out. The biggest shift for the Preserve occurred in the early 1990s after Alligator Alley and Turner River Road were replumbed to divert less water. This summer’s taken a little longer to start up, in part thanks to a deeper than usual spring drought. But the bigger trend is that it’s wetter now than when the Preserve was established (in 1974) but not as wet as before the Tamiami Trail went in.
So it’s a partial story, but pretty interesting (and revealing).
Data is good.