Tag Archives: Transverse Glades

Historic Phytogeography of South Florida with Present Day Features

 Phy·to·ge·og·ra·phythe branch of botany that deals with the geographical distribution of plants.

Historic Phytogeography of South Florida with Present Day SFWMD Features, 2019, by Lexie Hoffart & Nichole Miller, Geographers, SFMWD.

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 high-resolution copy or hard copy of this map, please email me at jthurlowlippisch@sfwmd.gov.
You can also go to this link. It is the last map: https://sfwmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=1facf32f199240b49a326432258c102f

 

Historic Phytogeography of South Florida with Present Day SFWMD Features Map, Lexie Hoffart & Nicole Miller, SFWMD 2019
Lexie Hoffart, JTL, and Nicole Miller at SFWMD where they were recognized yesterday for their work!

Understanding Lake O’s Historic Flow; What were Transverse Glades?

 

South Florida’s southern Everglades, 1850 vs. 2003 similar to 2019. Image courtesy of SFWMD, based on the book Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Today I share a familiar set of images. Although we have seen many times, they remain mind-blowing. Don’t they?

~Yellow lines outlining Florida’s original Everglades’ River of Grass contrasted to today’s highly human impacted, managed system.

What one may not notice, are the “Transverse Glades” labeled on the lower right area of the Pre-Drainage image? There are two types: “Peat Transverse Glades” and “Marl Transverse Glades.”

So what are they? Or better said, what were they? And what do they mean?

“A Transverse Glade is a surface-shallow groundwater drainage pathway moving water out of the main Everglades Basin and controls the Everglades water table.” (Ogurcak, https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/Presentation_PDFs/Additions/THURSDAY/Meeder-Thursday-Transverse%20Glades%20Karst.pdf)

These transverse glades would have been moist in the dry season and could be totally inundated during the wet season as they allowed the waters of the Everglades Basin to slowly seep/flow out.

Following Nature’s hand, the first canals built to Lake Okeechobee from the coast were started or ended in these areas. The early settlers used the canals not just for drainage, but also for transportation to and from the Lake and surrounding areas.

The first canals constructed were the North New River Canal  (1906-1912) connecting to today’s  Ft Lauderdale in the area where the peat transverse glades were located; and the Maimi Canal (1910-1913), in the area where the marl transverse glades were located. Both the New River and Maimi River were neighbors of the transverse glades. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Early Post-drainage 1910, Harshberger image, 1913.

Today?

One would never even guess the transverse glades ever existed thinking all the water flowed out of Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough. Not the case when we look back far enough; we can see Mother Nature’s design. Interesting isn’t it?

Facility & Infrastructure Map, SFWMD 2019
Plate 5, Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.
Figure 11.12 Landscapes of the pre-drainage Everglades and bordering areas, ca. 1850. Courtesy: Landscapes and Hydrology of the Predrainage Everglades, McVoy, Said, Obeysekera, VanArman, Dreschel, 2011.

Google Earth 2019

See for explanation of peat and marl soils: https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/evergeology.htm

See Chapter 10, peat and marl transverse glades: https://www.academia.edu/13200912/Landscapes_and_Hydrology_of_the_Predrainage_Everglades-Overview