Jan 15, 2015

Water retreats deep into cypress

Here's another paradox of the swamp:

Pinelands are the driest place in the swamp, but it isn't until they become shallowly flooded that the we know the wet season has peaked.  Similarly during the spring, it isn't until the usually lowest-lying and deepest-watered centers of the domes turn dry that they driest part of the drought has arrived.

Pond apple roots are still submerged (for now),
but in recent years they've been more visible
compared to a wetter period in the 1990s

How far are we from that condition?

Away from canals, water depths among the pond apple trees (often found in the center hole of the cypress domes) is still a good foot deep.  But it's not a matter of if, but when and how long.  Everyone once in while (i.e. most recently in 2010), we have a year where the pond apple hold water all year round, but usually we can count on them to go dry at some point in the spring. The importance of water in the pond apple is that it serves as an indicator that the swamps natural fire breaks (i.e. sloughs, strands, and marsh) are still holding water.

How long do the pond apple hold water?

The annual average since 1992 has been about 10.5 months.

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