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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet

Project: Freshwater Flows into Northeastern Florida Bay

Web Site: http://sofia.er.usgs.gov/projects/freshwtr_flow/

Location (Subregions & Counties): Greater Everglades Subregions: Central Everglades (Florida Bay);Dade/ Monroe

Funding (Source):USGS Place-Based Studies /USACE

Principal Investigator(s): Clinton Hittle, cdhittle@usgs.gov 305.717.5815

Project Personnel: Mark Zucker, mzucker@usgs.gov 305.717.5852

Supporting Organizations: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service

Associated / Linked Projects: Southern Inland Coastal Systems (SICS) Model Development, (Eric Swain, edswain@usgs.gov 305.717.5825); Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development, (Raymond Schaffranek, rws@usgs.gov )

Overview & Status: The development of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) has established the principal restoration goal to deliver the right amount of water, of the right quality, to the right places, and at the right time. In order to achieve this goal, information that specifically measures the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water within the Everglades ecosystem must be obtained. In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a project to measure freshwater discharge from the Everglades wetlands into northeastern Florida Bay. The project objectives are to determine the quantity, timing and distribution of freshwater flow into northeastern Florida Bay. Flow, water-level, salinity and water-quality data are collected at monitoring sites in estuarine creeks that connect northeastern Florida Bay with the Everglades. This project helps determine how freshwater flow affects the health of Florida Bay, a critical component of the CERP, and how changes in water-management practices upstream (Taylor Slough and C-111 basins) directly influence flow conditions in the estuary. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), USGS, Everglades National Park (ENP) and other agencies as well as universities are currently using the data from this study in research projects that will directly benefit the restoration effort.

Needs & Products: Continuous 15 minute-data are collected from the creek monitoring stations and transmitted via satellite to the USGS office in Miami, Florida. Data has been collected since late 1995 and will be used to produce the freshwater flow and salinity data summary within a standard data set, to be used in describing Florida Bay for physical, and biological model applications. As Everglades restoration proceeds, changes in the flow and salinity to northeastern Florida Bay will be monitored, and modifications can be made to models that will enhance development.

Application to Everglades Restoration: This project provides information on freshwater flow from the Everglades into northeastern Florida Bay to be used for hydrologic and biologic model development. Flow and salinity data are critical for establishing performance measures for evaluation of CERP projects, such as the C-111 N. spreader canal and the Florida Bay, Florida Keys feasibility study. Flow into Florida Bay affects salinity, nutrient and sediment transport, and chemical characteristics of the bay, which in turn, affect the health of the ecosystem. Everglades and Florida Bay researchers require measured flow data to compute nutrient, chemical, and sediment fluxes. These flux computations are then used in biological and physical studies of the Florida Bay ecosystem. Additionally, accurate measures of freshwater flow, water level, and salinity are used as input to hydrodynamic models of Florida Bay and the Everglades and for water-budget determinations. Decisions regarding restoration based on scenario testing from hydrodynamic models have a higher degree of confidence when the models are calibrated/verified with measured field data. Lastly, there is a continuing critical need to monitor any flow distribution changes that occur during restoration to help understand the effects of water-management changes to the watershed. The USGS, SFWMD, USACE, and many universities working in the Everglades ecosystem are currently using data from this study.

Study Milestones
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Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed


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Last updated: 24 April, 2014 @ 12:45 PM (KP)