Mar 5, 2015

Pretty wet (despite lack of rain)

Considering this dry season's little rain,

I was surprised to see water still high on the ground.

This chart shows dry season rainfall this year (so far) compared to previous dry seasons.  Usually we need a good ten inches to keep drought at bay.  This year so far we've gotten about half that amount.
By high I don't mean "high" high.

What I mean is that many of the canals are quite full (see below).

That's probably where our recent rain disproportionately fell.

"Slash pine" shoreline

Can you see the evidence
of the recent prescribed fire
and last Saturday's storm?

Mar 4, 2015

Hydrologic help is on the way!

This marsh was dry before the recent rain.

But it wasn't just rain that filled up the swamp.

Recent regrowth after a prescribed burn
gives this photo a verdant touch

Just as critical was this culvert.

It sends extra water from across the road.

Culvert in foreground and
ponded marsh out of sight in back

The source of water to the culvert was this canal.

Its stage was propped up by the earthen plugs I was standing on.

This plug is strategically co-located
with pine high ground to help hold
the water back

Further down the same marsh habitat was dry.

Predictably there wasn't a culvert, either.

The swamp needs more than just rain to stay wet

Future plans are that it will.

Hopefully by next year.

New puddle forms in swamp

This marsh had been completely dry
before Saturday's rain

As at a prescribed burned off Birdon Road

Mar 3, 2015

Why winter rains matter most

South Florida has a reputation for summer rains,

But there are periodic winter deluges, too.

The historical calendar above shows the most recent Big Rain Day (BRD) relative to the historical record from 1992 to present. BRDs are shown as dark blue drops.  Middling Rain Days (MRDs) are shown as light blue dots.  Days with no appreciable rain in south Florida are indicated by an orange dot.  As you can see they are most frequent of the three, especially during the winter.

This weekend as case in point:

Saturday registered as an official Big Rain Day (BRD). A BRD is any day in which an average of one inch of rain falls across every square inch of south Florida over a 24 hour period. Saturday's Big Rain day marked our first since August 2014.

Winter BRDs aren't as rare as you might expect.

You have to go all the way back to the Winter of 2008-2009 to find a dry season one didn't fall. What's interesting is that I don't remember that as a very dry dry season unlike the deep drought Winter/Spring of 2011 that had two.

This bar chart shows the monthly distribution of BRDs from 1992 to 2013.  June has the highest proportion of BRDs and 

Goes to show that Middling Rain Days (MRDs) also count.

Mar 2, 2015

Always know your escape route

Wildlife needs to know which way to go

When a wildland fire burns through.

Probably a crayfish
This animal chose down.

Feb 28, 2015

Wild Hog B.B.Q.

When this party started,

They era of logging and farming was just about done.

But many of the major canals and levees had not yet been dug.

The L-28 and Interceptor to the north didn't go in until the 60s and it wasn't until the late 1960s that the Miami-Dade Jetport was built which as a result led to the formation of Big Cypress National Preserve in 1974.

The 64th annual is next weekend (as shown on the sign).

Sunset through the slash pine

Can you see the pine island?

Feb 27, 2015

A real pine island

There are pine islands ...

And then there are pine islands.

This is a pine island.

Feb 26, 2015

View from Pa-hay-okee overlook

Shark River Slough in background,
Gnarly limestone outcrop below

You Are Here (Hydrologically Speaking)

As much as I love the maps on park brochures,

I find myself missing the one thing they lack.

The map and hydrograph above provide a view of Shark River Slough, the top from the Pa-hay-okee boardwalk of Flamingo Road and the bottom from the P-33 monitoring station maintained by the Park.  It's a sea of freshwater from the viewing deck, but where is the water?  The hydrograph shows that water depth in the sloughs are still over a foot deep, or about normal for this time of year.  That's an achievement considering summer water levels were lower than normal.  Can you see how the spring droughts of 2009 and 2001 were particularly low?  They were active wildfire seasons, too.

You guessed it!

Real-time eco-hydrological presentations of data displaying exactly where the water is at now and where it's been for the past seven years relative to major ecological thresholds and seasonal statistical probabilities. I know where am but where is the water? Discerning hydrologic minds would like to know.

Then again, sometimes maps and graphs be darned ...

I just like to go out and get my feet wet.

Hydrographs and boardwalks have a way of keeping you away from that.