Friday, February 24, 2012

New video online: multi-stream madness!

I recently produced a new video for the Urban Conservation Unit (UCU). This micro-video revisits the topic of the multi-stream spray nozzle as a more efficient alternative to the conventional spray nozzle.

Gone with the wind

conventional spray nozzle

The multi-stream nozzle is preferable to the spray nozzle because it is not as prone to wind drift and it applies water at a more efficient rate.

These are two critical points because the first rule in landscape irrigation is always hit the intended target! Further, due to the prevalence of head mixing in South Florida systems (putting slow watering rotors and quick watering sprays on the same zone)…

Rotor v. spray: everyone loses!

...adding multi-stream nozzles to spray heads in this context can help correct watering imbalances and compensate for poor zone design.

This video demonstrates simple methods for retrofitting spray nozzles on both pop-up heads and risers.

We few, we happy few

Before: array of sprays on a grass strip

Thanks in part to the UCU’s efforts and a handful of trail blazing contractors, we now encounter multi-stream nozzles more and more during our irrigation system assessments throughout Miami-Dade County.

After: array of multi-streams on a grass strip

See the video here.

Be still my heart: drip line for a shrub zone (L) and multi-stream for turf zone (R)!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SFWMD officials visit to TREC and C-111 project sites

Mrs Pamela Lehr and Dr. Wossenu Abtew from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) visited the Tropical and Research and Education Center (TREC) and monitoring sites of the C-111 project that is funded by SFWMD. The activities included a seminar by Dr. Abtew titled; “El Niño Southern Oscillation Link to South Florida Hydrology and Water Management”, lunch at a local Thai restaurant and visits to all six C-111 project groundwater and soil water monitoring stations. We enjoyed having the SFWMD officials over and below are some pictures:

Dr. Abtew giving a seminar at TREC
Dr. Migliaccio showing Mrs Lehr and Dr. Abtew the instrumentation we have at site C111AE for monitoring soil water, the groundwater level at this site is monitored by SFWMD
Mrs Dispenza explaining some of the handles experienced during weekly data downloadsDr. Migliaccio explaining the instrumentation we have at site AK6 for monitoring soil water and groundwater level.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At the Symposium: judging and presenting!

Today was poster presentation day at the 3rd Water Institute Symposium at the University of Florida.

Nicki's poster before the stampede
Step right up!

Masters student Nicki Dobbs presented a poster entitled Interactive Tool for Simulating Water Management in a Virtual Turfgrass System.

Nicki schools attendees about her work

Once the exhibition session formally commenced, Ms. Dobbs was beset by a constant influx of inquisitive onlookers and passersby, with the occasional poster judge thrown into the mix.

So nice they used it twice

Meanwhile, while on my campus travels I came upon a curious oddity: a purple spinkler cap on a spray head near a bus stop. Eager to learn what manufacturer would be so bold as to market a purple cap, I went in for a closer look only to find, in large lettering, the message: DO NOT DRINK.

I later learned, courtesy of Dr. Michael Dukes, that much of the landscape irrigation on the UF campus uses reclaimed water. Read more about that here.

But wait, there's more!

Our final day in Gainesville promises to be eventful, as I am assisting a strawberry harvesting crew in nearby Citra, and Nicki learns about the award status of her poster.

Feb-15-2012 Fieldwork at C-111

Fieldwork went on fine we downloaded all the level loggers and EnviroScans successfully. In addition Tina and I did some cleaning up around all our monitoring sites. The weeds had taken over at most of the sites. Below are some pictures.
VC1 after clean up
VC2 Before clean up
VC2 after clean up

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gainesville bound!

A portion of the Water Resource Team is in Gainesville for the next several days to attend the 3rd Water Institute Symposium at the University of Florida.

Dr. Kati Migliaccio is in attendance to moderate several discussion panels as well as assist with the judging of student poster presentations.

N. A. Dobbs: wind readings in the field plot

Masters student Nicki Dobbs is attending the symposium to present a poster of a study entitled: Interactive Tool for Simulating Water Management in a Virtual Turfgrass System.

Early poster draft

Watch this space for continuing coverage of our adventures at the UF main campus and its surrounding environs.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feb-08-2012 Fieldwork at C-111

There was heavy rain at C-111 project site in the past few days despite this being the dry season. All our monitoring stations were fine though. We observed that microtopography can exacerbate the problem of surface ponding within the planted fields. Below are some pictures.
Squash field located west of VC1
Corn field north of VC1

Squash field east of VC2

Monday, February 6, 2012

New videos online: bulletproof plants!

I recently produced two videos in collaboration with Miami-Dade Extension. These short works are about low-maintenance plants. Native to the region or not, these kinds of plants thrive in South Florida without requiring irrigation, fertilizer or pesticide.

Video 1: putting in work

In addition to assessing large and small landscape irrigation systems in all corners of Miami-Dade County, every now and again the Urban Conservation Unit (UCU) relishes the opportunity to do some actual installation work.

Late last year we were approached by an Extension agent for assistance with installing a temporary drip irrigation set-up for a low-maintenance plant demonstration plot. This plot would serve to educate Extension visitors about various Florida-friendly plant options for hedges and such.

Well, if there’s anything the UCU loves more than drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants, its drip irrigation!

Amidst the PVC cutting, glue slinging and drip-line unfurling, we also made sure to keep the camera rolling! See the video here!

Video 2: the urban core

Last month while visiting with a homeowner at one of my ET research sites in Coral Gables, I received a call from local Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) coordinator Laura Vasquez.

On her way to meet a landscape architect at a new high-rise in Allapattah to certify the landscape as Florida-friendly, she asked if I would be interested in filming a segment.
Well, if there’s anything I love more than FL-friendly landscaping, it’s filming said topic in my favorite City of Miami neighborhoods!

Because FYN-certification was a stipulation in the loan this urban infill project received to be developed, the landscape architect worked with this in mind when designing for the limited landscape space. See the video here!

Committed to aesthetics

Both of these short videos were shot in my preferred mode of working - fast and with no room for error. For the first one, I shot everything I could as the drip install was happening, moving about for the best angles - one chance/one take.

The next day, I captured UCU technician Jesus Lomeli for audio to lay over the visuals.

In the second video, I shot the architect only moments after meeting him for the first time. He required little prompting to discuss points of interest in very detailed and concise sound bites - all I had to do was keep up!

Following the interview, I walked the property capturing visuals that seemed interesting or that matched what was discussed. There is an added element of spontaneity when shooting in a loud and lively urban setting. I absolutely loved this! Of the recent videos I have produced, these are two of my favorites.

Hi Group grad meeting today at 2:00 PM

Remember we have a meeting today.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

PhD candidate in full: Congratulations, Isaya!

On a fateful afternoon earlier this week, Water Resource Team member, and graduate student extraordinaire, Isaya Kisekka, braved an onslaught of probing inquiries from his committee and succeeded in passing his oral examination!

In field mode

In addition to demonstrating mastery over his research project’s whys and wherefores, Mr. Kisekka also earned the right to continue forward on the path to PhD status.

Moments before the exam

Keep up the good work, Isaya! Onward toward more research!

In lab mode