From the desk of the chief hydrologist

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From the desk of the chief hydrologist

Material Information

From the desk of the chief hydrologist
Parker, Garald G. (Garald Gordon), 1905-2000
Physical Location:
Box 2


Subjects / Keywords:
Aquifers -- Hydrogeology -- Everglades (Fla.) ( lcsh )
Hydrology -- Florida -- Biscayne Aquifer (Fla.) ( lcsh )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
032968560 ( ALEPH )
891343127 ( OCLC )
G16-00691 ( USFLDC DOI )
g16.691 ( USFLDC Handle )

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I FROM THE DESK OF THE CHIEF HYDROLOGIST f I No problem can b~ considered as an isolated entity with no effects outside its own sphere of influence. This is especially true in the field of hydro logy where so many factors are inter-related. In the past we have dis cussed many of the problems that exist in the District. This month it seems appropriate to look to the southern part of the state and examine the situation in the Everglades, where, just as within our fifteen counties, there is a constant struggle between man and nature, and as of right now the water-supply situation there has become critical and alarming. The truth is that the Everglades cannot be saved with man's continued exploitation and "development" of the region. I say this based on more than 10 years of personal, intensive pioneering research regarding the origin and history of the Everglades and the structural and stratigraphic geology that forms the rock basin in which the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee occur. This study and experience formed the basis for the more than 40 professional reports and scientific papers I wrote about the region in the years 1940-1958. For those interested in pursuing this matter more deeply, you are referred to U. S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1255: "Water Resources of Southeastern Florida, with Special Reference to the Geology and Ground Water of the Miami Area". "We can't eat our cake and keep it too" is an old aphorism that is appropriate for this discussion. Putting it into context of the Everglades, we can as correctly say: ''We can't farm or otherwise exploit the Everglades • and kee:p it too". _ This statement is ba~ic to any further discussio n of the topic we might make. It follows from the very nature of the organic soils that comprise the glades and their mode of development in the shallow, trou g h-like depression that is the Everglades basin. This basin is about 40 miles wide and 100 miles long --nearly 4,000 square miles -and was, until about 5,000 years ago, a shallow marine embayment with a nearly bare-rock limestone floor thinly covered in places with white sand. It was bordered on the west by the slightly higher limestone and sand area that is now the Big Cypress Swamp, to the east by the slightly higher oolitic limestone deposits of the coastal ridge with a sand cover thin to the south as fa r as Biscayne Bay and thick ening to the north into sand dunes and high sand beach ridges, with low intervening swales. In Palm Beach County and northward these sand deposits become more than 50 feet high in places. To the north of the glades lay the higher sand lands, beyond Lake Okeechobee, bordering on east and west the wide, shallow trough that is the Kissimmee River Basin (I wrote my Master's dissertation about this region). The floor of the Everglades began to become a fresh-water environment and to accumulate a peat deposit about 5,000 to 5,500 years ago . One sample of peat taken at a point 10 miles south of Lake Okeechobee at a depth of 5 to 5.5 feet below land surface was dated, by the cl4 me thod, at 5,050 200 years before pr es ent, or about the time of the so-ca 11 ed "Climactic Optimum11 • The accumulation of peat was built up by the annual grm "lt h and dying of aquatic and se mi-aquatic plants in this vast fresh-wat~r _ environme~t. Fresh-water deep enough to cover the mas s of each years accu mu lation of dead vegetation was a basic requirement to the developm e nt of the Ever glades peats. Much of it•perhaps most of it -is fibrous peat derived from sawgrass, but there is also much other mat erial derived from other, less coarse and less fibrous fresh-water plants that grew and died in their watery, marshy regi on. -------------


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