Part I: installing access tubes
The first part of the installation focused on laying down the infastructure for probe insertion. To this end, the Water Resource Engineering team, with invaluable assistance from special guests Bruce and Manny, drilled holes adjacent to the monitoring wells at six sites.
Once a hole is ready, the probe access tube is inserted and cemented in place – ideally with a thin coat of cement lining the tube and the hole’s interior.
One research site was so water-logged, the team decided to delay equipment installation until late fall, south Florida's dry season.
Probe head-unit stands were also installed and painted bright orange to protect equipment from errant heavy machinery.
Part II: inserting and launching probes
Despite unwavering companionship from feisty mosquitoes, the Water Resource Engineering team set about inserting and launching the soil water content probes.
This task involved mounting the probe head-unit (power source) to the stand and then running its wire into the access tube and connecting it to the probe.
Once powered, the probe is connected to the laptop. The current date/time is updated, and the probe data collecting launch time is set.
In all, ten probes were installed – two for each of five sites characterized by the dominant soil types in the C-111 area: Biscayne (gravelly marl), Krome (very gravelly loam), and Chekika (very gravelly loam). Every 15 minutes, probes will take soil water content readings at depths of 10, 20, 30 & 40cm.
Next stop: tensiometers!