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Determining Target Salinity Values for Restoration of the Estuaries of the Greater Everglades

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Project Investigator: G. Lynn Wingard

Project Personnel: Christopher Bernhardt, Frank Marshall, Bethany Stackhouse, Anna Wachnicka

Project Start Date: 2006 End Date: 2015

Recent Funding: (FY14) USGS GE PES, (FY13) USGS GE PES, (FY12) USGS GE PES, (FY11) USGS GE PES, (FY10) USGS GE PES


Summary

The primary objective of this project is to provide information to CERP managers (specifically the Southern Coastal Systems (SCS) Sub-team of the Regional Evaluation Team of RECOVER) that can be used to establish target salinity values and performance measures for the estuaries and coastal ecosystems, and to estimate the freshwater stage and flow in the wetlands required to produce the historical salinity patterns.

The primary objective of this project is to provide information to CERP managers (specifically the Southern Coastal Systems (SCS) Sub-team of the Regional Evaluation Team of RECOVER) that can be used to establish target salinity values and performance measures for the estuaries and coastal ecosystems, and to estimate the freshwater stage and flow in the wetlands required to produce the historical salinity patterns. This work builds upon previous work in Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay, and information derived from the Ecosystem History Synthesis Project (completed 2007).

There are three areas of focus for this task.

  1. Refine our existing modern analog data set by completing analyses of modern samples collected between 1996 and 2012, obtaining additional modern samples where necessary, and applying these improved analog data to core data compiled in the Ecosystem History Synthesis Project.
  2. Collect new cores (if necessary) or examine existing archived cores within the southern estuaries to fill in information gaps identified by the land management agencies (Everglades National Park (ENP) and Biscayne National Park (BNP)), and by the Southern Coastal Systems Sub-team.
  3. Work with our collaborator/contractor, Dr. Frank Marshall, to couple paleosalinity estimates based on the core analyses with linear regression models that can hindcast stage, flow and hydropatterns in the terrestrial Everglades, and salinity in the estuaries, based on equations developed from observed water monitoring station data.

These efforts, when combined with our 'Sea Level Rise and Climate: Impacts on the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and Restoration' Project, will ultimately lead to the ability to forecast future changes and develop salinity targets for estuaries for the CERP 2030/2050 Plans that incorporate natural hydrologic relationships and sea level rise, and take into account future altered conditions under various IPCC scenarios. These data can be used to help select minimum flows and levels for the wetlands. The estuaries of South Florida are not only a 'living laboratory of change' but they provide the record of past changes that allow us to forecast the direction of future change.

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Script last updated: 08 September 2015 @ 12:47 PM by THF. Record creator: BJM. Record last updated by: KP.