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Project Summary Sheet

U.S Geological Survey, South Florida Ecosystem Program: Place-Based Studies

Project: The Role of Aquatic Refuges in the Wetland Complex of Southern Florida in Relation to System Restoration

Web Sites: http://everglades.fiu.edu/; http://www.fcsc.usgs.gov (see http://cars.er.usgs.gov/)

Location: Central Everglades

Principal Investigator: William F. Loftus, 305.242.7835, bill_loftus@usgs.gov

Project Personnel: Victoria Foster, 305.242.7834, victoria_foster@usgs.gov; 2) Andrew Martin, 305-242-7340, andrew_martin@nps.gov; 3) Kevin Cunningham, 305-717-5813, kcunning@usgs.gov

Other Supporting Organizations: NPS, FFWCC

Associated Projects: 1) NPS CESI-funded project "Dispersal and colonization of hydrological refuges by aquatic animals in Everglades National Park." 2) ATLSS (USGS-BRD program)

Overview & Status: This is a companion project to the NPS dispersal study that also opens several new areas of study. The Rocky Glades habitat of the South Florida ecosystem is poorly understood in biological terms. The highly eroded landscape offers dry-season refuge to aquatic animals by permitting them to access groundwater via solution holes. This region has a high priority for restoration in the Restoration because it is the largest remnant short-hydroperiod wetland in the eastern Everglades, a habitat that has been disproportionately disturbed by drainage and land conversion. Fish and macro-invertebrate composition and ecology in surface-water as well as in near-surface subterranean aquatic habitats and the habitat/topographic characteristics that make this region unique will be defined. Project objectives are to help define the seasonal movements of fishes in the region in relation to hydrology to provide data for modeling the interactions of hydrology, geology, and aquatic organisms, and address the question of how the seasonality of hydrology affects the dynamics of animal movements in and out of, and residence times in, surface-water habitats and ground-water refuges. Collaborating with USGS hydrogeologists will be ongoing to describe the subsurface geology for locating likely places where truly hypogean fauna under DOI lands and under the Atlantic Coastal Ridge can be sampled. Life history of the Miami Cave Crayfish, one member of a unique subterranean fauna in south Florida that may be affected by management actions will be investigated in this study.

Needs & Products: Presently, data from the Rocky Glades are inadequate to provide effective model inputs. Second Trimester report and Fact Sheet are in progress.

Application to Everglades Restoration: This series of investigations is of particular relevance to the CERP program, to predict the effects of restoration activities on this region. The studies will provide basic inventory data and ecological information for use in simulation models used to plan and evaluate restoration actions during the Project, including performance measures and effects of the Lakebelt Project.

Study Milestones

(Phase 1 & Phase II)

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Familiarity

       

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Data Analysis

       

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Initial Reporting

         

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Credibility Assurance

         

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Results Published

           

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Synthesis

           

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Note: "x" indicates task completed, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed



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Last updated: 24 April, 2014 @ 12:00 PM (KP)