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projects > immage - internet-based modeling, mapping, and analysis for the greater everglades > statement of work

Project Statement of Work

Project Statement of Work 2010

IMMAGE - Internet-based Modeling, Mapping, and Analysis for the Greater Everglades

Paul Hearn, David Strong, David Donato
USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center Reston, VA

Eric Swain, Jeremy Decker
USGS Florida Water Science Center Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Peter Claggett
USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center Annapolis, MD

Leonard Pearlstine
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks South Florida Natural Resources Center Homestead, FL

Statement of Problem

Recent analyses using current IPCC projections of sea-level rise and lidar data for the eastern portions of Miami-Dade County suggest that coastal areas in south Florida will be subjected to the degradation of coastal habitats, contamination of municipal water supplies by the intrusion of saltwater into coastal aquifers, alteration of groundwater flow patterns, and increased risk of surge-related flooding and wind damage from coastal storms (Deyle and others, 2007; Renken, 2005). It is critical that water planners, as well as park managers and municipal authorities have the best tools to assess the societal risks and economic impacts that these adverse environmental changes could have on nearby communities, protected lands, and the region as a whole.

Development and water management policies being debated today in south Florida will commit public and private capital to infrastructure and facilities with design lives that reach well into the period of time when the impacts of sea-level rise are expected to be felt. Surface water control canals, municipal water distribution networks, and wastewater and stormwater collection systems have design lives on the order of 30–75 years. Sewage treatment and wastewater reclamation facilities have design lives close to 50 years. The anticipated rise in sea level during the next century may compromise the functioning of these engineered systems and may stress the ability of associated natural systems to adapt.

In evaluating and preparing for possible outcomes, alternative climate and land-use scenarios are needed to evaluate the impacts of sea-level rise and severe storms on existing and future land portfolios and social infrastructure. Analysis of the scenarios need to incorporate both physical and socioeconomic constraints to assess the natural / human tradeoffs of land use so that planning decisions about mitigation and adaptation make sense in planning for future climate changes. It is also critical that these scenarios be based upon the best available monitoring data and numerical flow models, rather than relying solely on static simulations of sea-level rise using elevation data.

An impressive body of work has been done in the last several years on numerical models to forecast the impact of sea-level rise on saltwater intrusion, inland flooding, surge from coastal storms, and the resulting impact on the suitability of habitat for key species in the Greater Everglades. These models are among our most powerful tools in forecasting future trends and evaluating alternative restoration and preservation policies. Unfortunately, the full potential of these models has not yet been realized. The output of a typical model run is usually a static data table or a derived graphic. If a user wants to evaluate how changing the input parameters affects the results, the model needs to be run again using the new parameters. Since many models take hours or even days to run, evaluating a large number of parameter sets can be a time consuming and tedious process.

Approach

The IMMAGE project will address this need by developing a framework of online GIS-based interfaces to four selected models, thereby enhancing their usability and making them available to a broader user community. The approach is relatively simple: by running models multiple times in advance using the maximum likely range of input parameters, all the necessary model output can be then stored in a server database (Fig. 1). Web applications can then be developed to allow users to select the desired input parameters, retrieve the necessary model output from the database, and display the output in a map viewer with other relevant data–all online. Without the need to run the models online, this process is relatively fast, allowing the user to run multiple scenarios in a short period of time, then generate paper or soft copy tables and/or graphics of the results.

Figure 1. Generalized schematic of Internet-based Modeling, Mapping, and Analysis for the Greater Everglades web-based model.
Figure 1. Generalized schematic of IMMAGE web-based model [larger image]

Through web services, the interface to each model will also be capable of both serving model output to other web-based models and applications, as well as consuming web services to acquire additional data not available in the framework database.

Over the proposed 3-year lifetime of this project, Web interfaces will be developed for the following four models:

  1. The BIscayne SouthEastern Coastal Transport (BISECT) model, a coupled ground and surface water model developed by Eric Swain and others at the USGS's Florida Water Science Center,
  2. Habitat distribution models, which utilize output from BISECT, developed by Leonard Pearlstine and others at the Everglades National Park,
  3. The National Land Change Community Model, developed by Peter Claggett and others at USGS's Eastern Geographic Science Center (EGSC), and
  4. the Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model developed by NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

This effort is intended to be consistent with and nested within the existing framework of spatial DS tools developed under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), as described by Pearlstine and others (2006), and Labiosa and others (2009).

Study Area

The area to be covered by this project includes the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, and Miami-Dade and Monroe counties (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Map of Southern Florida study area.
Figure 2. Study area [larger image]

Objectives

IMMAGE will develop a coupled GIS-enabled web-based decision support (DS) framework to provide interactive model-based scenarios to evaluate the potential impact of sea-level rise on water supply, inland flooding, storm surge, and habitat management in south Florida. The DS framework will be developed to allow scientists, local planners and resource managers to evaluate the impact of sea-level rise on:

  1. saltwater intrusion into coastal water well fields,
  2. the optimal use of canals to impede the inland movement of saline groundwater,
  3. urban flooding,
  4. the risk to populated areas and natural habitat from catastrophic storm surge,
  5. wetland inundation periods and depths,
  6. habitat suitability,
  7. magnitude and distribution of future population growth, and
  8. the impact of forecasted population growth on water demand and protected areas.

Methodology

BISECT model and FTLOADDS simulator

The Flow and Transport in a Linked Overland/Aquifer Density-Dependent System (FTLOADDS) simulator has been developed over a number of years to be a tool for representing the hydrologic system by accounting for all relevant factors. It began with a surface water application to the coastal area along Florida Bay using the SWIFT2D two-dimensional flow and transport simulator (Swain and others, 2004; Swain, 2005). Groundwater flow was incorporated into this simulation by coupling SWIFT2D with the SEAWAT simulator of groundwater flow and transport (Langevin and others, 2005). This coupled scheme is called FTLOADDS. The model area was expanded to encompass the whole Everglades National Park (ENP) area and referred to as the Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Everglades (TIME) model (Wang and others, 2007). This model has been used to represent hydrologic restoration scenarios for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The FTLOADDS simulator was additionally applied to the Ten Thousand Islands area (Swain and Decker, 2009) and to the Biscayne Bay coast (Wolfert-Lohmann and others, 2008, Swain and others, 2009). The Biscayne Bay model was then combined with the TIME model to produce the BIscayne SouthEastern Coastal Transport (BISECT) model. The BISECT model incorporates some of the most important natural and urban areas in south Florida and is very useful in examining the effects of hydrologic factors. Applications include future forecasts with varying levels of sea-level rise in conjunction with CERP restoration changes and hindcast simulation to represent historical and transient conditions (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Sample output from the BIscayne SouthEastern Coastal Transport model, showing predicted effect of
canal recharge on saltwater intrusion accompanying a 2 feet rise in sea level
Figure 3. Sample output from the BISECT model, showing predicted effect of canal recharge on saltwater intrusion accompanying a 2 ft. rise in sea level. [larger image]

Experiments on various sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios have been performed with the BIscayne SouthEastern Coastal Transport (BISECT) model. The BISECT, which uses the FTLOADDS simulator for flow and transport in a coupled hydrodynamic surface water/groundwater system. The existing conditions simulation runs for the seven-year period 1/1/1996 through 12/31/2002. BISECT is a combination of two model domains that were developed separately; the TIME domain west of L-31N canal (Wang and others, 2007) and the Biscayne domain from L-31N to offshore Biscayne Bay (Swain and others, 2009). This combination allows the examination of the entire coastal region from Barron River in the northwest all the way to the C-9 canal outlet in the northeast.

Habitat and Species Dispersal Models

The coastal habitats of Everglades National Park are at the end of the hydrologic restoration chain, but are the first areas to be impacted by sea-level rise. Both restoration and sea-level rise may cause substantial spatial changes in habitat availability and location. Coastal models for juvenile spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), and turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) have been developed at the South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park (SFNRC/ENP) (Fig. 4.). The models are coupled to the BISECT hydrologic model to simulate changes in Figure 3–Sample output from the BISECT model, showing predicted effect of canal recharge on saltwater intrusion accompanying a 2-foot rise in sea level habitat suitability under scenarios of restoration and sea-level rise. In 2010, workshops with local species experts are reviewing these models in a process of iterative improvement. The JAVA-based, modular structure of these models aids in making them readily web enabled and interactive with the coupled framework of models in this proposal.

Figure 4. Sample model output showing forecasted distribution of turtle grass for current sea level and sea-level rises of 1, 2, and 3 feet
Figure 4. Sample model output showing forecasted distribution of turtle grass for current sea level and sea-level rises of 1, 2, and 3 feet (from Pearlstine and others, 2008). [larger image]

The ability of species to migrate among core habitat areas is impacted by changes in south Florida habitat connectivity resulting from urban growth, sea-level rise and restoration-stimulated habitat succession. USGS, in cooperation with the SFNRC/ENP (Labiosa and others, 2009) is developing and testing metrics for ranking the potential for wildlife species dispersal under alternative changes to the natural landscape and urban growth. The Circuitscape model (McRae and others, 2008) provides the mechanism for evaluation of species dispersal. Circuitscape algorithms adapt electronic circuit theory to predict patterns of movement, gene flow, and genetic differentiation among plant and animal populations in heterogeneous landscapes.

The effort described in this work plan will provide additional support to the SFNRC/ENP habitat suitability assessment project by adapting the desktop user interface for deployment on the web.

The National Land Change Community Model

To better inform resource conservation, restoration, and planning decisions in the United States, the USGS-EGSC is developing an urban growth forecasting capability as one component of a future National Land Change Community Model (NLCCM). Building upon experience with the Figure 4–Sample model output showing forecasted distribution of Turtle grass for current sea level and sea-level rises of 1, 2, and 3 feet (from Pearlstine and others, 2008). SLEUTH model (slope, land use, exclusion, urban extent, transportation, hillshade), the NLCCM is being designed by Peter Claggett and David Donato as a coupled land demand and allocation model with similarity to both the CLUE-S and FORE-SCE models (Fig 5). The NLCCM will use nationally available datasets and be capable of simulating both deterministic and stochastic forecasts of land change. The deterministic forecasts are better for visualizing alternative future landscapes while the stochastic forecasts are better suited for analysis of land change impacts and uncertainty. All model components will be built as open source software and publicly available for coupling with other environmental models to address a broad range of resource management questions.

Figure 5. Map of output from slope, land use, exclusion, urban extent, transportation, hillshade model showing probability of urban growth by the year 2040 in area surrounding Wilmington, North Carolina.
Figure 5. Map of output from SLEUTH model showing probability of urban growth by the year 2040 in area surrounding Wilmington, NC. [larger image]

The urban growth forecasting capability will involve downscaling national or regional scenarios of employment and population growth to the county-level. To translate county-level growth forecasts into estimates of land demand, multidate land cover datasets will be analyzed to derive statistics on urban growth (number and extent of transitions, urban growth patch size distributions and spatial characteristics). Local zoning and public/protected lands data will be used to characterize the eligibility of land for urban development. Nationally available hydrography, soils, slope, wetlands, and land cover data will be analyzed with the land change trend information to characterize the suitability of lands for urban development. Estimates of urban land demand will be allocated using an iterative stochastic routine that places and grows seeds of new urban growth on lands that are both eligible and suitable for development. Potential drivers of change will be identified through statistical comparisons of socioeconomic and demographic data with land change statistics. The drivers of change during the recent past will be documented as assumptions underlying all future “trend” forecasts. Future deviations from past trends will be enabled through alterations to land demand, land change patch characteristics, and land eligibility and suitability.

Urban growth forecasts will be generated for the study area with an output resolution of 250–500 meters. These data will consequently be used to derive projected public water demand and stress on protected areas.

SLOSH Model

SLOSH (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) is a numerical model run by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to estimate storm surge heights and winds resulting from historical, hypothetical, or predicted hurricanes (FEMA, 2003). SLOSH uses the hydrodynamic flow equations and requires input of bathymetry, coastal topography, surface characteristics, and tidal levels (Jelesnianski and others, 1992). The coastline is represented as a physical boundary. Sub-grid scale water features (cuts, chokes, sills and channels), and vertical obstructions (levees, roads, spoil banks, etc.) are parameterized. The SLOSH model does not include rainfall amounts, river flow, or wind-driven waves. These are combined with the model results in the final analysis Figure 5–Map of output from SLEUTH model showing probability of urban growth by the year 2040 in areas surrounding Wilmington, North Carolina, of at-risk areas. SLOSH has been applied to the entire U.S. east coast and Gulf of Mexico coastlines. In addition coverage extends to Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The point of a hurricane's landfall is crucial to determining which areas will be inundated by the storm surge. Where the hurricane forecast track is inaccurate, SLOSH model results will be inaccurate. The SLOSH model, therefore, is best used for defining the potential maximum surge for a location.

The SLOSH model will be run using current sea levels for NOAA's Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay modeling basins (Fig. 6).

Figure 6. Maps showing extent of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes model basins for Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay
Figure 6. Maps showing extent of NOAA SLOSH model basins for Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay (eke Florida Bay v3 and mia Biscayne Bay v1). [larger image]

Timeline

The project is designed to last for 3 years. Web interface development for the four models will proceed sequentially as shown below, each involving a requirements-analysis phase, a development phase, and a testing and implementation phase.

Web-Based Decision Support Tools for the Greater Everglades
FY10 FY11 FY12
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Requirements Analysis
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
         
                         
Web Interface Development for BISECT Model
x
x
x
x
               
                         
Web Interface Development for Habitat Suitability Model    
x
x
x
x
           
                         
Development of Population Growth and Water Demand Model      
x
x
x
x
         
                         
Web Interface Development for SLOSH Model          
x
x
x
x
     
                         
Testing and Inplementation        
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x

Products - FY10

  1. Prototype web interface for BISECT model
  2. USGS Open File Report describing BISECT web interface
  3. Presentation introducing project and reporting on progress at 2010 GEER meeting

References

Deyle, R., Bailey, K., and Matheny, 2007. Adaptive Response Planning to Sea Level Rise Planning in Florida and Implications for Comprehensive and Public Facilities Planning. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University, 49 pp.

Jelesnianski, C. P., J. Chen, and W. A. Shaffer, 1992: SLOSH: Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes. NOAA Technical Report NWS 48, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce, 71 pp.

Labiosa, W.B., Bernknopf, R., Hearn, P., Hogan, D., Strong, D., Pearlstine, L., Mathie, A.M., Wein, A.M., Gillen, K., and Wachter, S., 2009, The South Florida ecosystem portfolio model—A map-based multicriteria ecological, economic, and community land-use planning tool: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5181, 41 pp.

Langevin, C.D., Swain, E.D., and Wolfert, M.A., 2005. Simulation of integrated surface-water/ ground-water flow and salinity for a coastal wetland and adjacent estuary: Journal of Hydrology 314, 212-234.

McRae, B.H., B.G. Dickson, T.H. Keitt, and V.B. Shah. 2008. Using circuit theory to model connectivity in ecology and conservation. Ecology 10: 2712-2724.

Pearlstine, L.; Hallac, D.; Perry, W.; Schmidt, T.; Kearns, E.; Bahm, K.; and Swain, E.; 2008. Florida Bay Estuarine Habitat Suitability Assessments of Restoration and Sea-level Rise Interactions, Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference, Program and Abstracts, p. 362.

Pearlstine, L., DeAngelis, D., Mazotti, F., Barnes, T., Duever, M., and Starnes, J., 2006. Spatial Decision Support Systems for Landscape Ecological Evaluations in Southwest Florida Feasibiity Study. CIR 1479, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 6 pp. (Please note that this is a (228 KB) PDF file and requires the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

Swain, E.D., Wolfert, M.A., Bales, J.D., and Goodwin, C.R., 2004. Two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulation of surface-water flow and transport to Florida Bay through the Southern Inland and Coastal Systems (SICS): USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4287, 56 pp. plus 6 plates.

Swain, E.D., 2005. A model for simulation of Surface-Water Integrated Flow and Transport in Two dimensions: SWIFT2D user's guide for application to coastal wetlands: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1033, 88 pp.

Swain, E.D., and Decker, J.D., 2009. Development, Testing, and Application of a Coupled Hydrodynamic Surface-Water/Ground-Water Model (FTLOADDS) with Heat and Salinity Transport in the Ten-Thousand Islands/Picayune Strand Restoration Project Area, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5146.

Swain, Eric D., Lohmann, Melinda, and Decker, Jeremy, 2009. Hydrological simulations of water-management scenarios in support of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: In The Role of Hydrology in Water Resources Management (Proceedings of a symposium held on the island of Capri, Italy, October 2008). IAHS Publ. 327. pp. 296-305.

Wang, J. D., Swain, E. D., Wolfert, M. A., Langevin, C. D., James, D. E. & Telis, P. A., 2007. Applications of Flow and Transport in a Linked Overland/Aquifer Density Dependent System (FTLOADDS) to simulate flow, salinity, and surface-water stage in the Southern Everglades, Florida. US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5010.

Wolfert-Lohmann, M.A., Langevin, C.D., Jones, S.A., Reich, C.S., Wingard, G.L., Kuffner, I.B., and Cunningham, K.J., 2008. U.S. Geological Survey Science Support Strategy for Biscayne National Park and Surrounding Areas in Southeastern Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1288, 47 pp.