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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) Initiative and ENP's CESI

Fiscal Year 2006 Study Summary Report

Study Title: Baseline hydrologic data collection along the I-75/State Road 29 corridor in the Big Cypress National Preserve
Study Start Date: October, 2005   Study End Date: September 2009
Principal Investigator(s): Elizabeth Hittle
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and NPS's Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Web Sites: "End-of-Month Conditions in South Florida "Manual Water-Level Measurements in South Florida
Location: I-75 corridor from the L-28 Interceptor Canal to SR 29 and SR 29 from I-75 south to USGS site 02291000 BARRON RIVER NR EVERGLADES, FLA.
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): None
Funding History: None
Study Personnel: Ricardo Solis
Supporting Organizations: National Park Service
Associated / Linked Studies:

Overview & Objective: The objectives of this study for the 2006 water year are to develop a program of surface water flow monitoring across I-75 and SR 29 in the areas described above. Quarterly discharge measurements will be accomplished along both reaches to begin to assess hydrologic flow patterns and evaluate the feasibility of creating a stage-discharge/index-velocity relationship for this area.

Status: Project proposal submitted and accepted October 2005. As of September 1, 2006 three synoptic discharge measurements have been accomplished in the above areas with a fourth scheduled for the end of September. Three index-velocity gages have been installed inside culverts running underneath I-75. These gages are currently collecting stage and velocity data every 15 minutes. Additional measurements have been made at these culverts for discharge verification.

Recent & Planned Products The results of the discharge measurements will be published on the USGS SOFIA website. Since the velocity meters have been installed an index-velocity relationship to discharge is being established. Data is downloaded from the loggers approximately once every month. When this data is put into ADAPS, the data will be available via the NWISWeb and discharge will be computed. The discharge computed by one culvert will be related to the overall discharge in a delineated section of I-75. A fourth index-velocity meter will be installed in the 2007 WY for greater definition in the eastern portion of I-75.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs [See Plan on SOFIA's Web site:]:

This study supports several of the projects listed in the DOI science plan (specifically: The Southwest Florida Feasibility Study and the CERP Decompartmentalization) by (a) documenting existing hydrologic conditions during four hydroperiods across the I-75 corridor in Big Cypress National Preserve: (b) developing a monitoring plan to document the hydrologic conditions via stage or some other index relationship to discharge; and (c) providing additional data that can be used in the SFWMD Regional Simulation Model (RSM).

The primary application of this project is toward the multiagency goal of conducting "Studies to improve the hydrologic monitoring in the Big Cypress National Preserve" (Announcement Area A7).

In the course of achieving this goal the study data will help researchers address the unanswered question in the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement project (DECOMP; p. 66) - "What were the physical and ecological conditions in the Greater Everglades prior to drainage and modification, including current and historic hydrologic ... conditions" (p. 68). It does this by providing the baseline information about a major current barrier to sheetflow, I-75. The data collected are thereby expected to support the research on the existing linkages among the geologic, hydrologic, chemical, climatological, and biological processes that currently shape the Everglades, and will provide insight into the predrainage Everglades. This baseline flow will also contribute to the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study (p. 52) which "address(es) the health of upland and aquatic ecosystems in this 4,300 square mile area and consider(s) a variety of parameters, including water flow..."

In addition, flow data collected from the bridges and culverts along I-75 will directly support the ongoing goal of "quantification of flows across and parallel to I-75 (Alligator Alley), addressing the issue of deviations in the natural movement of water within and downstream of Big Cypress National Preserve" (Announcement Area A8). Flow monitoring across State Road 29 into the Florida Panther Refuge will directly support the data requirements for "assessment and design options for restoration to improve flows between the Okaloacoochee Slough in Big Cypress National Preserve and the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge, across State Road 29 canal" (Announcement Area C7).

By improving the amount and extent of data available in the northeast portion of the preserve, the study data is expected to support the work involved in modeling of surface water dynamics to evaluate the impacts of hydrologic restoration projects such as CERP, on water patterns, water quality, and ecology in NE Big Cypress National Preserve, particularly with regards to the Seminole Water Conservation Plan and L-28 Interceptor Modification Project.

Key Finding:

Results of the discharge measurements will be available on the SOFIA website. There is not enough data as of this report to comment on the index-velocity to discharge relationship that will be developed. An unexpected finding of the discharge measurements was the amount of flow that is going through the culverts compared to going underneath the bridges. A majority of the flow travels underneath I-75 via the under-road culverts instead of the bridges.

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(KP)