Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking Pond

In the collage above, you can see the end of the pond. The pictures are a day apart and show the last water days of the pond.
I posted last week about the frogs and their tiny puddle and at the time I predicted they only had a few more days of water left. I was spot on.

Last weekend, I grabbed a shovel and entered the ooze zone.

The black organic ooze has the consistency of a good chocolate mousse so it was kinda squishy, but kind of cool and pleasant around the toes. The ooze is about a foot deep here, but beneath it is the sandy clay that holds the moisture. I spent a few minutes shoveling and slinging ooze up on the pond banks until I had made a small depression.

The next day it looked like the picture above. Seepage had filled the new hole and the little frogs were hanging out in the wet.
(The white bucket is where I sat to shoot last week's frog pics)

The next two days show some chance of rain, so I'm hoping that this little holding action may help the pond denizens hang on a little longer. I'll have to put the top up on the JEEP which greatly reduces my COOL DUDE factor, but it's worth it for some rainfall.

Spring droughts in Florida are pretty normal, but this one is setting records across the state. There is good and bad in that of course. Lake Okeechobee is down to record lows. The good thing about that is it gives the lake bottom time to dry out and a lot of the organic muck will be removed by the Game and Fish folks to speed up restoration of the lake, kind of a large scale version of my ooze slinging. The bad news is every south Florida drought makes them look to our north Florida water as a potential resource for their overdevelopment headaches.

I drove through a favorite wild place yesterday. The creeks are dried up and areas I forded in the JEEP months ago, are dusty and lifeless. The water holes that do exist are crowded with gators of all sizes and are magnets for wildlife of all kinds.
That makes them pretty interesting places to be and I was treated to some nice photo moments yesterday as I drove through Devil's Hammock on my way home after the last day of employment until August.
I'll share those with you tomorrow.

Hope you're not sick of baby alligators ...
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Wayne said...

That's a pretty graphic description of the disappearance of the pond, and nice boggy feet, too.

Maybe it's the end of the month blues, with the recognition of, once again, how much less rain there has been than what there should have been, but it's been niggling at me too. Especially in view of what's coming up - the dry season!

Between us are the south Georgia wildland fires fueled by severe drought that encompasses much of the southeast. Less mentioned are the Florida fire season fires - when I look at the NASA pages with their icons, it looks like the whole state is on fire.

I know that the watersheds in north Georgia begin the Chattahoochee River, supplying Atlanta and then eastern Alabama and points south into the central Florida panhandle. There's tristate water wars over that source.

What are the northern sources of surface waters that supply you, FC? As you say, there are probably water resource managers north of you thinking about how to divert those sources elsewhere.

It's ironic to think that we might be hoping for an active hurricane season just to throw some water our way.

pissed off patricia said...

Have you seen the pictures of Lake O? At places it is a half mile from its normal banks. Frightening since this is the lowest it's been in recorded history.

Floridacracker said...

Unlike GA, our primary source of water FL is groundwater rather than surface sources. The Floridan aquifer which runs into your illustrious state is several thousand feet of spongey limerock loaded with water. It is the source for our many karsty springs that pour forth millions of gallons daily. From the Okeefenokee south to central Florida it's all one recharge and discharge area.
We are beholding to rain, but not to some distant northern source of surface water.

Every so often the powerful south FL legislature members push the idea of pipelines to the north (us) to suck water south.
You can imagine how unpopular that idea is up here. Not just with treehuggers, but across the board.

I am so hoping for tropical systems to strike Florida this season. Only that can break the deficit we're in now. If it brings destruction along with the rain,so be it.
It's no secret that FL experiences hurricanes and no one is required to live here, so I don't apologize for wanting hurricanes to roll slowly over the peninsula.
Everyone who is afraid of hurricanes raise your hand and leave the state now ... you can find safer places to live.

Floridacracker said...

I read about it, but haven't seen the photos. It is really healthy for that lake to draw down for a while. Exposure to air oxidizes the muck and rejuvenates the lake bottom when it eventually refills.
It may provide some storage space for this seasons hurricane rainfall also.

I imagine it is a real pain for the local economy as fish camps and boat ramps are probably high and dry.
Good for the wood storks though. It concentrates their prey.
Your vacation umbrella picture was beautiful ... so where is that?

Alan said...

The bad news is every south Florida drought makes them look to our north Florida water as a potential resource for their overdevelopment headaches.

Ayep. I expect we'll be fighting another battle over it before much longer. Only thing I've ever seen draw so many people around here that wasn't a football game was that last big meeting over pumping water south.

The pond behind the house has disappeared again. It had been dry for six months until that weather system which produced the tornado that hit Lady Lake dropped 6+ inches of rain in one night. But even that has now dried up. Lots of thick green plant growth in the bottom, but no water.


robin andrea said...

Your pic tells the whole story. Sadly, I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the future. I hope you and your very cute frogs get some rain.

Sick of baby alligators? Never!

Floridacracker said...

I was there at the water meeting in Chiefland and you are right, it was overflow capacity of angry people. Loved it.

Oh good, cause I got pics of momma and her baby together. Then there was the raccoon fishing, and the lizards kinoodling...

scott said...

School's just out and already you may have too much time on your hands--and feet.

My mom lives near Dothan, Al. so I know the drought is horrific, but I for one would be interested in some photos of the bigger river bottom lands that would only be accessible at times like this. Alas, I'm in Houston where we are getting Biblical style rain storms daily.

pissed off patricia said...

That photo of the umbrella is on Sanibel Island. We stay at the same place each year and even in the same room. It's like our second home after so long.

Problem with the lake being so low is that there are tons of vegatation growing on what used to be the bottom. Now that it's dry all sorts of fields of vegatation are popping up and when it becomes lake bottom again, that's going to cause a problem.
Several wells have been shut down in south florida due to salt water intrusion.

The good news seems to be that a lot of rain is heading this way due to that low that's approaching from the south west. It's supposed to begin raining here tomorrow afternoon and rain right on through Sat. and part of Sun. Hopefully you will be able to benefit from it too.

threecollie said...

Not tired of gators yet, as long as you keep them down there. Big thunderstorm brewing up right now....wish we could send it your way.

Deb said...

My suggestion: DON'T put the top up on the JEEP! I've found that leaving my sunroof open practically guarantees it will rain overnight.

Word verification: oozqub (Definition: the sound FC's feet made in the muck)

Floridacracker said...

Getting on the rivers while they are low is in my plans. Good fossil hunting during low water.
Too much time? That's like too much money, too much fun, a girl too pretty, ...

That is neat that you go to the same place each visit. I didn't guess Sanibel, but I've been there a few times and it is nice ... in an upscale way.
I hope that rain gets here soon.

I can't legally trade you a gator for some rain, but if I could...

I think that was the sound exactly.
I just came in from putting the top up, so I may have screwed up our chances for good rain.

Doug Taron said...

I'm sending one of my staff members down your way (Gainesville) next week. He will be needing to do field work. That almost guarantees you some rain.

vicki said...

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. ee cummings said that and so it seems. I've been by the past couple days but thought I would wait and come this morning to comment BEFORE the party ended for a change- but, alas, no new post. Perhaps, now that school is out, you aren't in such a state of post haste.

Your doe is radiant! Such lovely creatures. Everything about your place leads me to miss Florida and wonder how things are growing at my place. Hopefully they haven't either dried up completely or blown away. I'll be back later to see what's new.