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Project Summary Sheet
Fiscal Year 2006 Project Summary Report
Study Title: Effects of hydrological restoration on manatees: Integrating data and models for the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades
Overview & Objective: A significant population of the endangered West Indian manatee occurs in southwest Florida, throughout extensive estuarine and coastal areas within the Ten Thousand Islands (TTI; managed primarily by FWS) and Everglades National Park (ENP; managed by NPS). Planned restoration activities for the Everglades and Picayune Strand (an Acceler-8 project which discharges into TTI) may impact manatees by changing availability of freshwater for drinking, the quality and availability of seagrass forage, and the quality and availability of passive thermal basins used for refuge from lethal winter cold fronts. We expect changes in freshwater availability and forage to result in a shift in manatee distribution, which could necessitate new management actions to reduce human-manatee interactions. Restoration also could negatively impact important passive thermal refugia by increasing cold sheet flow during winter or disrupting haloclines that maintain warm bottom layers of salty water. Recent telemetry and aerial survey studies of manatees in TTI have revealed much about their use of this area: this project will extend the study into ENP, where manatees have not been intensively studied. To ascertain how restoration may affect the distribution and abundance of manatees in the region, an individual-based model has been under development, but completion of that model requires a hydrologic model for the rivers and estuaries affected by the accelerated Picayune Strand restoration. Both salinity and heat transport capabilities are needed in the hydrologic model. The coupled surface-water/ground-water code developed for the TIME model is ideal for this application. This study will provide integrated regional hydrologic models covering nearly the entire southwest coast below Naples, including portions of Picayune Strand and Big Cypress, providing much needed hydrologic modeling capabilities for evaluating restoration effects on coastal, estuarine, and freshwater ecosystems. This effort will enable us to model manatee response to restoration, and more adequately address science and management needs. Three Tasks will be undertaken to develop the necessary components for this regional model: (TASK 1) Link the TIME hydrology model and the ATLSS manatee model to assess restoration effects in the Everglades and Picayune Strand, (TASK 2) Model changes to manatee thermal refugia due to hydrological restoration, (TASK 3) Design and implement a regional manatee monitoring program using aerial surveys and use robust statistical analysis techniques to estimate manatee distribution and abundance before restoration.
Newly funded in FY06. Task 1 and 2 were initiated in FY06. In FY07 work on these tasks will continue and Task 3 will be initiated.
Recent & Planned Products
Swain, E., and B.M. Stith. 2006. Numerical modeling of heat and salinity transport for West Indian manatee habitats in southwest Florida. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference, 5-9 June 2006, Orlando Florida. [Presentation]
Stith, B.M., C.A. Langtimm, E. Swain, J. Reid. 2006. Linking a manatee individual-based model with the TIME hydrology model to assess restoration effects in the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference, 5-9 June 2006, Orlando Florida. [Presentation]
Langtimm, C.A., J. P. Reid, D. H. Slone, B. M. Stith, E. D. Swain, T. Doyle, R. Snow. 2006. Effects of hydrological restoration on manatees: A research program to integrate data, models and long-term monitoring across the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference, 5-9 June 2006, Orlando Florida. [Poster]
PES-CESI 2006 work plan. Effects of hydrological restoration on manatees: Integrating data and models for the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades. http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/workplans06/integrating_manatee.html
SOFIA Project Page. Effects of hydrological restoration on manatees: Integrating data and models for the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades. http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/integrating_manatee/
Langtimm, C. A., et al. CESI 2006 annual progress report to ENP. 30 December 2006. Effects of hydrological restoration on manatees: Integrating data and models for the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades
Stith, B. M., E. Swain, J. P. Reid, and C. A. Langtimm. January 2007. Presentation of progress and preliminary findings in FY2006. Meeting with USFWS.
Swain, E., J. Decker, et al. Incorporation of heat transport in a linked surface-groundwater model. Professional journal publication.
Stith, B. M., C. A. Langtimm. Estimation of manatee movement probabilities among habitat types for implementation into a spatially-explicit, individual-based model. Professional journal publication.
Stith, B. M. Individual-based, spatially-explicit manatee model: application to the Everglades restoration. Professional journal publication.
Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs:
This study will provide integrated regional hydrologic models covering nearly the entire southwest coast below Naples, including portions of Picayune Strand and Big Cypress, providing much needed hydrologic modeling capabilities for evaluating restoration effects on coastal, estuarine, and freshwater ecosystems. This study also will address two of the three overarching restoration questions in the DOI Science Plan. First, what actions will recover South Florida threatened and endangered species? The models produced will allow the effects of hydrologic modifications to the system to be evaluated in terms of the factors which affect manatees and other estuarine species sensitive to these factors. Second, what actions will improve the quantity, timing, and distribution of clean fresh water needed to restore the South Florida ecosystem? To determine the quantity, timing, and distribution needed in manatee habitats, a comparison of CERP restoration scenarios is needed. Additionally, the Tasks in this study will address three questions identified as priorities under Science Integration and Synthesis Questions for the FY06 and FY07 funding initiative:
Potential impacts: The endangered Florida manatee is a high priority species for management and recovery by USFWS and Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In addition to concerns about the impact of restoration on manatees, the TTI/ENP region is the last major manatee habitat with minimal information on manatee population status. The results of this work will provide invaluable information to managers. The hydrology model provides data for the individual-based and landscape-based manatee models; defining the flow, salinity, and temperature information needed to model manatee movement and distribution. Comparisons of CERP restoration alternatives and associated alterations to the flow system in the hydrology model will show how habitat conditions change spatially and temporally. These hydrologic variables in turn will drive the individual-based model, which will project changes in manatee distribution and abundance across the region. In addition, the development of techniques and formulations for the heat-transport modeling is applicable to other ecological analyses that depend on temperature. Robust aerial surveys and analysis will provide the means to monitor impact as the restoration proceeds and provide independent data for validation of the model.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(TJE)