Jul 20, 2018

Swamp on the mend

I've been driving by this weir for twenty years.

Every once in a while I stop to take a photograph.

Faka Union Weir No. 1
just north of Tamiami Trail
looking upstream

As quiet a spot as it seems ...

There is actually quite a bit of ecosystem restoration work occurring upstream.

Still a couple of years to go on the project, but its definitely on its home stretch.

Upstream delivery system

On the downstream side is the weir.

On the upstream side are (will be) three pump stations.

View of Faka Union pump station looking west
across the northern bounds of Picayune Strand

in Summer 2015.

Can you see the Miller pump station
under construction in the background?

t is those pump stations, combined with pulling out the elevated roadbeds and filling in the canals, that will help spread the water out as sheet flow downstream as shown below.

It's been an Everglades Restoration project a long-time in the making.

A big thank you to everyone involved!

Jul 19, 2018

Forensic hydrologist

Can you see the cypress forest?

Probably not, and neither could I.

Sable palm trees are growing where a cypress forest once stood.  Except for the lone cypress on the left.  It is the slanted tree that sort of looks like a flag.

But upon closer inspection:

What looked like a forest of sabal palm was actually hiding a graveyard of cypress trunks at its base. 

The reason? 

A drainage-induced drought and decades of wildfire wiped the cypress out.
Fire resistant cabbage palm (standing)
and the the cypress trees they replaced
(lying on the ground).

Not to worry:

Help is on the way.

This particular patch of over-drained swamp is part of the 55,000 acre Picayune Strand Restoration Project.

Can you see the future cypress forest?

Finally, the end of the fifty year drought is near!

Jul 18, 2018

Road tour of Picayune Strand

When Mike Duever speaks, you listen.

And when he invites you on a tour of Picayne Strand, you go along.

Power Point of Picayne Field Trip

That's what happened a few years back.

Above is a slide show of the day.

The project isn't quite done yet, but it's getting there.

Jul 17, 2018

Reverse flows

Normally it's freshwater ...

Flowing downstream over the weir.

Saltwater backflowing over the weir,
As seen on May 18th, 2011
looking to the east

Except during spring droughts when high tides send saltwater up and over the weir the opposite way.

No flow over the weir!

As seen May 8th
during the spring drought of 2011
looking to the southeast
(downstream to the right)

Jul 16, 2018

Window into a restoration

Every time I drive by Faka Union Canal ...

I glance over to see how much water is spilling over the weir.

Hydrograph of discharge across Faka Union
Weir No. 1, 2015 to present
If only my eye were that good!

Fortunately, water managers are precisely measuring the flow..

Historical calendar of discharge across Faka Union Canal Weir No. 1, 1990 to present.  The larger black dots indicate the times when discharge was at its peak.  The long-term goal is to reduce those events and spread the water out.

The long term goal, once the restoration is done, is to spread the water out across upstream Picayune Strand State Forest so that the point discharge at the weir will not be as much.  In that way, the weir is a picture window in the watershed-scale restoration underway upstream.

Jul 13, 2018

"Hydrologic" Friday the 13th

Luck is all about ...

Being in the right place at the right time.

The kerplunk of the pond apple
is a special sound

That's how I felt when I found myself alone in this cypress dome, slogging along, only to have its silence broken by the rare acoustical event of a falling pond apple kerplunking in the water up ahead.

I followed the splash through the ripples and then picked it up.

It may very well have been my luckiest day!

Jul 12, 2018

Pond apple (on the tree)

Pond apples fall straight down
as sure as water finds the quickest
path to the coast.  That's usually
slow-going in the swamp!

Jul 11, 2018

S-12s on the rise

Even with the S-12A and B gates still being closed,

Flow through the S-12s is still "above average" for early July.

Hydrograph showing discharge through the four S-12 structures from 2015 to present.  The dotted white line shows the long-term median and the blue line the recent few years.  The S-12s are closed each winter and spring per regulatory criteria.

The reason?

Answer: The record-rainy May filled up upstream Water Conservation 3A.

On the downstream side of S-333,
a companion structure to the S-12s that, instead of directly
sending water south into the Park, releases water east towards
the new bridges being built on the Tamiami Trail

As for when the S-12A and B will open, I suspect later this month.