Phy·to·ge·og·ra·phy: the branch of botany that deals with the geographical distribution of plants.
It started with a request, an idea, and over many months materialized with the guidance of Tia Barnett, Governing Board and Executive Services, and Dr. Ken Chen, Supervisor, Geospatial Mapping Services Unit, Information Technology Bureau, SFMWD.
The request: “Could we create an educational map blending pre-drainage natural features such as water flow, plants, and forests with the modern sixteen county map we use for today’s SFWMD’s “Facilities and Infrastructure”?
Dr. Chen excitedly assigned two young modern-day cartographers/geographers to the task: Ms. Lexie Hoffart and Ms. Nicole Miller.
Their research began with an overlay of the famous 1913 Phytogeographic Map of the Original Florida Everglades by John Harshberger. Then they “moved north” to research the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee using the 1882 Communications Steamboat Map by W.G. Williamson and Q.A. Gilmore of the USACE.
Modern publications were studied as well: a 2017 article by Michael A. Volk, UF, entitled “Florida Land Use and Land Cover Changes in the Past 100 Years:” also Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, 2011 by Christopher W. McVoy. All this and more was taken into account as an overlay on a modern SFWMD map of present-day facilities and infrastructure including modern estimates of populations.
Wow! What does the old adage say? “The only constant is change!” May understanding the past help us to be better stewards of the future…
The outcome, a document rich in revelation past and present. Thank you, Lexie and Nichole!
*If you’d like a copy of this map, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also go to this link: https://sfwmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=1facf32f199240b49a326432258c102f