June Rainfall Restores Water Levels in the Swamp

Staff recorded 11 inches between June 11 and 13, 2024.

Southwest Florida’s rainy season is off and running thanks to a tropical system that brought the swamp over 11 inches of rainfall from June 11 to 13. In total, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary received 17.72 inches of rainfall in June 2024, making this the 8th rainiest June since 1960. Recent years with higher June rainfall include 2013 and 2017, where we saw a record-setting 33 inches.

Thanks to a wetter-than-average winter and early spring, water levels had barely slipped below ground at the Lettuce Lakes in late May. June rainfall has refilled the Lettuce Lakes, raising water levels to nearly three feet above ground. In Corkscrew’s North Marsh, upstream of the boardwalk, water levels rose just under four feet between June 11 and 14.

Graph showing water levels in the swamp.
Water levels for June 2024 (red line) are slightly higher than what we typically see this time of year as compared to our 1957-1999 records.

The four-foot rise in water levels from a foot-and-a-half of rain demonstrates the swamp’s important role in flood protection for our region. Corkscrew Swamp is a critical resource for our region—it receives water from our neighbors during heavy rain events and holds onto that water before it either slowly moves on to the Gulf of Mexico (being cleaned by our native plants along the way) or percolates into our aquifer (providing drinking water for residents across SWFL).

High water levels in the swamp have prompted a booming chorus of frogs and toads each afternoon and enabled fish to move across the system as they begin reproducing for the year. Mammals have moved back to high ground, with staff seeing more bear, raccoon, and deer prints on trails and in our uplands. Wading birds have dispersed across the system, no longer bound to the small pools that they relied upon this spring.

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