A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and
Modeling
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Quarterly Update on Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Program for the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

To: Representatives of the Technical Oversight Committee
Nick Aumen, Everglades National Park
Mike Waldon, A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Paul DuBowy, Jacksonville District, Army Corps of Engineers
Garth Redfield, South Florida Water Management District

From: Matt Harwell and Laura Brandt, A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Date: 29 November 2004

Re: Quarterly Update on Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Program for the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

This update is a summary of activities from the previous three months (September - November 2004) on the implementation of the Refuge's Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Program. A project overview of this effort is provided in Attachment 1.

The Principals (17 December 2003) requested implementation of the eight recommendations of the TOC (24 July 2003). The Refuge's Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Program addresses four of these recommendations. Specifically:

map of Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge showing location of the existing Federal Consent Decree compliance monitoring network and the new, enhanced water quality monitoring program stations
Figure 1: Map of A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge showing location of the existing Federal Consent Decree compliance monitoring network (EVPA stations; star) and the new, enhanced water quality monitoring program stations (+). [larger image]
B. Enhancing Monitoring of the Refuge
Design and implement an enhanced monitoring program to improve spatial and temporal understanding of factors related to phosphorus dynamics.

An expanded water quality monitoring network (a combination of transects and individual sites) has been designed and established (Fig. 1). With the rise in water levels, complete sampling of the network occurred in September, October, and November (Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4). This provides us a full quarter of data to begin preliminary analysis and interpretation. The results of these analyses will be presented at future TOC meetings. Final data for monthly samples continue to be publicly posted on DBHYDRO by the SFWMD.

The monitoring transects are also being equipped with water conductivity data loggers to collect conductivity and temperature data. This information can then be used to understand and refine operations, when possible, to minimize canal water intrusion into the interior marsh. Four of these transects have been instrumented and, in cooperation with the USGS, we plan to deploy additional instruments within the next few months. Conductivity sonde deployment information for 2004 is presented in Table 1.

In September, three hurricanes passed through the region: Hurricane Frances (September 4), remnants of Hurricane Ivan (September 20-21), and Hurricane Jeanne (September 25). The Refuge's Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring sampling occurred 14-16 September and 4-7 October. We hope to utilize information from our water quality monitoring network to gain insights from these storms.

November 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge November 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Figure 2: (left) September 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled (water drop symbol) in the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. [larger image] Figure 3: (right) October 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled (water drop symbol) in the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. [larger image]

November 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Figure 4: November 2004 map of enhanced water quality monitoring program stations sampled (water drop symbol) in the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. [larger image]
C. Modeling of the Refuge
1. Develop a water quality / hydraulic model for the Refuge with a phosphorus cycling component.
3. Develop and track a simple phosphorus mass-balance for the Refuge.

A contract has been established with Dr. Ehab Meselhe (University of Louisiana - Lafayette) for the development of these modeling tools for the Refuge. The first phase of this effort involves a model selection process.
Current Status:

Separately, a contract has been established with Dr. Vince Neary (Tennessee Technological University) to establish an external technical panel to provide review of the model selection process and the development of the modeling tool(s) over time.
Current Status:

C. Modeling of the Refuge
2. Evaluate issues associated with phosphorus loads and transports within the L-40 and L-7 canals.

A canal monitoring contract has been established with Dr. Samira Daroub (UF - IFAS) to conduct canal hydrographic surveys and synoptic water quality surveys.
Current Status:

Finally, below is a brief list of some of the next steps that are critical for the implementation of this project:


Attachment 1:
Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling Program for the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Project Overview


In FY 04, a Congressional appropriation was specifically targeted to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) for development of an enhanced water quality monitoring network and to develop hydrodynamic and water quality modeling tools. The appropriation is intended, in part, to improve the scientific understanding of water quality issues in the Refuge and provide information that can be incorporated into water management decisions to better protect of Refuge resources.

A work plan was developed by Refuge staff outlining studies in four areas: (1) increased monthly water quality sampling sites; (2) monitoring of canal water intrusion using surface water conductivity transects into the interior marsh; (3) characterization of sediment and water quality in the perimeter canals of the Refuge; and, (4) development of hydrodynamic and water quality modeling. These four areas are consistent with longterm goals identified in the Refuge's 15 year Comprehensive Conservation Plan and recommendations made by the Technical Oversight Committee for addressing exceedances observed in interim phosphorus levels within the Refuge (http://www.sfwmd.gov/org/ema/toc/archives_mtgs.html#2004). The plan was provided to State, other Federal, and Tribal partners for review and comment in February 2004, and was subsequently improved based on constructive comments received. The plan is available at: http://www.sfwmd.gov/org/ema/toc/archives/docs/refuge_final_work_plan_2004-2006.pdf.

The Refuge's existing water quality monitoring network (used for Federal Consent Decree compliance [EVPA]; Fig. 1) is estimated to cover approximately 60% of the Refuge, leaving 40% of the marsh uncharacterized, predominantly in the outer, impacted regions of the marsh. The additional monthly sampling as part of the enhanced water quality monitoring program focuses on these uncharacterized areas (Fig. 1). This information can then be used to refine operations, when possible, to minimize canal water intrusion into the interior marsh. Sampling for the enhanced water quality monitoring program is designed to be as similar as possible as the compliance monitoring program (e.g., same collection protocols, collection staff, laboratory analyses by SFWMD, data QA/QC, data availability, etc.).

The goal of the modeling exercise is to provide support for Refuge management decisions and planning related to water control operations, water supply, and water quality and provide a foundation for future ecological studies. The model will be maintained to support future management decisions, model development, and monitoring planning. Preliminary modeling is anticipated to be available in FY 06, with completed model(s) available for management decision support in early FY 07.

Table 1: Conductivity sonde deployment information for 2004 (as of November 2004).
    Month
Site Description March April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
LOXA104 NW Transect 0 (canal)       X X X X X D  
LOXA105 NW Transect 0.5                    
LOXA106 NW Transect 1                    
LOXA107 NW Transect 2                    
LOXA108 NW Transect 4 X                  
LOXA111                      
LOXA112                      
LOXA113                      
LOXA114                      
LOXA115 SW Transect 0 (canal) X X X X       X D  
LOXA116 SW Transect 0.5 X X X X X X X X D  
LOXA117 SW Transect 1 X X X X X X X X D  
LOXA118 SW Transect 2 X X X X X X X X D  
LOXA119 SW Transect 4 X X X X X X X X D  
LOXA120 SW Transect- X5                    
LOXA126                      
LOXA127                      
LOXA128                      
LOXA129 NE Transect S 0 (canal)       X X X X X D  
LOXA130 NE Transect S                    
LOXA131 NE Transect S                    
LOXA132 NE Transect N 0 (canal)       X X X X X D  
LOXA133 NE Transect N       X X X X X D  
LOXA134 NE Transect N                    
LOXA135 NE Transect STA1E 0 (canal) X X   X X X X X D  
LOXA136 NE Transect STA1E 0.5 X X   X X X   X D  
LOXA137 NE Transect STA1E 1 X X   X X X X X D  
LOXA138 NE Transect STA1E 2 X X   X X X X X D  
LOXA139 NE Transect STA1E 4 X X   X X     X D  
LOX4 EVPA site/refuge gauge       X X       D  
X = Sonde was deployed and data was recorded successfully for all or part of this month
D = Sonde is currently deployed

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