Apr 18, 2019

Art of the patchy burn

You know its a good burn ...

When post event you still see some green.

Can you see the standing water
just a few steps away?

That's because the water table is close to ground's surface ....

As evidenced by my footprint in the marl.

Even when you can't see it water is at work in the swamp.

Apr 17, 2019

"Month to month"

When it comes to nursing an injury,

We usually take it day by day.

Can you see the difference
between last year's dry winter stretch
and this year's rainier winter months?

When it comes to keeping the swamp hydrated,

Perhaps the best time frame is month to month.

Yes, January and February were back-to-back "rainier than normal" months, and that made for a rather wetter winter stretch.  But don't expect that wetness to carry over through the end of spring without more rain.

As usual, its a month to month.

Apr 15, 2019

Fire-damaged grasshopper?

No, this grasshopper wasn't damaged by the fire,

Lubbers turn yellow
as they mature into adults

It was just molting.

And probably looking forward to munching on the new growth.

Apr 14, 2019

Line in the fire swamp

When it comes to prescribed fire,

Roads can be a fire fighter's best friend.

As seen on Birdon Road looking south

They form a convenient barrier to control and corral the burn.

Plus some favorable winds and the right amount of ground moisture ...

Can you see the fire line?

Fire in the swamp is a positive force.

Apr 12, 2019

Tale of two domes

One dome mostly survived the wildfire,

But the one next to it did not.

Always a sad sight to see
come spring when a a cypress dome
doesn't green out

The reason?

The hole in the middle of the one (on the left) is a tell tale sign it's deeper.

That helped keep it hydric when the fire raged ...

Whereas the one on the right was left high and dry.

Apr 11, 2019

Swamp of seasonal swings

Is this a wet dry season?

I'm almost afraid to say until spring is done!

This chart shows the recent pendulum swing between wet and dry seasons in the Big Cypress.  The blue line shows the actual water table, the white line shows the long-term average, and the gray band shows the 25-year historic range

And therein lies the conundrum in the Big Cypress:

What by most metrics was a "dry year" experienced a bump in the water table that caused the winter (by normal winter standards) to be "wet."

Just the opposite can be said for the year before.

The year of Irma (Summer 2017) is our new flood of record in our history books.  Yet by the very next spring (Spring 2018) the swamp was bone dry, causing the Buzzard Wildfire to erupt.

Panorama within the footprint
of the Buzzard Wildfire,
One year later

My final verdict?

Whatever it is now, it's likely to change.

Apr 10, 2019

Second chance?

The bad news is that a wildfire eviscerated these cypress.

As for the good news?

New cypress trees to the rescue!

Yes, you guessed it:

A year later, the dome is already starting to coppice.

It won't happen tomorrow,

But eventually with a little luck, this dome will grow back.

Can you see the coppicing cypress
in the burnt out dome? 

The trick for that to happen ...

Is to ensure this dome's long-term water supply.

The health of the swamp depends on it!

Apr 8, 2019

Hold that forecast!

Yes it was a wet winter ...

But that doesn't mean the spring won't be dry.

This calendar graph shows the history
of surface water flooding in the swamp preserve,
from 1992 to present
With the green-out upon us,

The water table is falling fast.

I was just in a waterless dome earlier today.

Apr 6, 2019

Green out at work

The same green out makes the swamp look lush ...

Also hastens the water table's spring drop.

Outside dome

Inside dome
As seen in the disappearing puddle in the middle of this dome.