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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Initiative (Place-Based Studies)

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

Project Title: Geophysical Monitoring of the Southwest Florida Coast

Project Start Date: 1 Oct 2001 Project End Date: 30 Sept 2005

Web Sites:

Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge):

Funding Source: USGS's Greater Everglades Science Initiative (PBS)

Principal Investigator(s): David V. Fitterman, Maria Deszcz-Pan

Project Personnel: David V. Fitterman, Maria Deszcz-Pan

Supporting Organizations: Funding has been from PBS. In kind support from Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and the South Florida Water Management District. This has included field assistance in the form of personnel, transportation (airboat, boat, helicopter, truck) and drilling; access to data; and collaboration on publications.

Associated / Linked Projects: Ground Water Flow and Transport for the SICS and TIME Models [Christian D. Langevin], Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development [Raymond W. Schaffranek]

Overview & Objective(s): The development of ground-water flow models for the southwest coast of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve is an essential part of resource management in the area and are highly dependent upon interaction of ground- and surface-water flows. Flow models are only as good as the data upon which they are based. Critical to their development is information on the location of geologic boundaries and salinity transitions. Due to the inaccessibility of much of this area and low density of drill holes, an alternative approach is needed to obtain this information. Geophysical data combined with information from any existing or future drill holes provides a way of filling this void and insuring the development of ground-water flow models that are of value to resource managers.

The overall objective of this project is the collection of geophysical data that can be used to develop ground-water flow models of the area capable of modeling saltwater intrusion. This objective includes mapping of subsurface electrical properties of the aquifer and correlation of lateral variation in these properties to aspects of aquifer geometry and water quality that are pertinent to hydrologic model development.

Status: Helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) data have been interpreted as layered earth models from the surface to depth as great as 70 meters showing the three-dimensional distribution of subsurface electrical resistivity. Using data from existing wells in the study area, a relationship between formation resistivity and estimated water quality expressed as specific conductance (SC) has been established. This information has been provided to the hydrologic modeling project.

Recent & Planned Products:
Fitterman, D. V., and Deszcz-Pan, M., 2002, Helicopter electromagnetic data from Everglades National Park and surround areas, Florida: collected 9-14 December 1994: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-101, on CD-ROM.

Fitterman, D.V., and Deszcz-Pan, M., 2003, Estimating water quality along the southwest Florida coast for hydrologic models using helicopter electromagnetic surveys: in Torres, A. S., compiler, U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Science Program: 2002 Biennial Report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-54, pp. 88-89.

Fitterman, D.V., and Deszcz-Pan, M., 2004, Extent of saltwater intrusion in south Florida mapped by helicopter electromagnetic surveys: U.S. Geological Survey map.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: This project has relevance to following parts of the USGS Everglades Restoration Science Plan: Goal 1 Getting the Water Right (1A: SO1, SO3, SO4, SO5; 1B: SO1, SO3, SO4, SO), Goal 3: Forster Compatibility of the Built and Natural Systems (3: SG1). It is also relevant to the DOI Science Plan (hydrology, water quality for Biscayne Bay)

Key Findings:

  • Helicopter electromagnetic data are able to provide three-dimensional maps of water quality and saltwater intrusion in Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park needed for hydrologic models.
  • The nature of the freshwater/saltwater boundary exhibits different behavior depending on the proximity of tidal rivers and streams, the amount and nature of overland water flow, and the influence of anthropogenic structures, such as canals and roadways.
  • Water quality data provides detailed information on pre-restoration, background hydrologic conditions that cannot be obtained by traditional methods. Repeat survey may be able to monitor long-term restoration effects.

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