ridgeandslough.org      Copyright 2017 © Christopher McVoy and Jim Brock.

Then and Now 

     Before 1880 (left), water flowed continuously over the sloped Everglades, from 21 feet above sea level at Lake Okeechobee to 0 ft at Florida Bay. Water depths rose and fell with the alternating wet and dry seasons, but at any given time, depths in sloughs were similar throughout the Ridge and Slough landscape, so the water slope remained parallel to the ground slope (left).
     At present (right), Tamiami Trail acts as a dam, impounding Water Conservation Area 3A (WCA 3A) and limiting flow into Everglades National Park (ENP). Only the S-12 and S-333 structures allow outflow. When closed, gravity tends to level the water surface in WCA 3A and water depths downstream in ENP become very shallow (right).

Imagery courtesy of Google Earth

---------Predrainage Everglades---------

Tamiami
Trail
(a dam)

  Water Levels prior to Drainage (<1880)

Photo B: Degraded R&S

Everglades Restoration

What hydrological processes and conditions are necessary to protect and restore healthy Ridge and Slough habitat in the Everglades?  This is a critical question as large portions of this habitat have degraded from healthy (Photo A, below) to unhealthy (Photo B). When it degrades, open water slough feeding areas are lost and replaced with continuous, unbroken sawgrass.
Some Everglades researchers have hypothesized that water borne movement of "floc," that is, of organic particles in the water column, played an important role in maintaining the distinct elevations that originally separated sloughs, sawgrass ridges and tree islands. The Floccometer will measure floc movement and the potential driving forces of floc movement.

Photo A: Healthy R&S

Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA

Moving blue line = water surface

Static brown line = ground surface

---------WCA 3A---------

------ENP------

Present Day Water Levels (impounded)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​All rights reserved.

The Floccometer

A Long Term Research Site in the Ridge and Slough Everglades

Moving blue line = water surface

Static brown line = ground surface

(Captions below)