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Last updated: January 15, 2013
South Florida Restoration Science Forum

Historical
Settings

How do environmental histories of the Everglades help future management? (Part 2)


Do we have a clear picture of the original Everglades?
(Click on any of the images below for a larger version.)


ridge and slough mosaic
Yes! of the Everglades in the 1800s... 


Detailed detective work; 600+ sources; mapping & synthesis (See "What can we do about predrainage conditions?").

Basin topography and relation to surrounding rim.

Spatial extents of five principal landscapes (top right).

Vegetation, topography, soils, and hydrology for each landscape.

Typical pre-drainage wet & dry season water depths.

Quantitative 3-D model of directional Ridge & Slough mosaic (bottom right, and left).

map
Pre-drainage Landscapes

illustration
Ridge & Slough
 - scale model
map
Bur. Topo. Eng. Map (1848)
map
photo of falls
Falls in Miami River (1898)
photo of ridge and slough
Ridge & Slough (1917)
map
Routes of Expeditions
map
Township Map (1847)


and of the Everglades over the last few thousand years.

map
Core sampling sites
relative to pre-drainage landscapes
Plant, animal, and geochemical data from more than 30 soil cores (See "What can soils tell us about the past that helps us today?").

Cores contain history of plant and animal communities during last several millennia.

Analyses of these cores provide cross checks for reconstructions of the 1800s.

Core analyses also provide assessment of relative stability of the system over time.

photo of tree island
Gumbo Limbo Tree Island

satellite image
Satellite image of WCA 3B

Pollen analysis from a core adjacent to Gumbo Limbo island indicates that the island is more than 800 years old.
pollen analysis
Pollen vs. age
 
Original artwork, Ridge & Slough landscape:  Sally Colbert.  Historical photographs: courtesy of Museum  of the Historical Association of South Florida.


Next Next: Is the 1800s picture typical of pre-drainage times?


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
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Last updated: 15 January, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (HSH)