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Project Work Plan

Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Project Work Plan FY 2003

A. GENERAL INFORMATION:

Project Title: Interrelation of Everglades Hydrology and Florida Bay Dynamics ...(Ecology Component)
Project start date: Oct 98 Project end date: Sep 04
Principal Investigator: Thomas J. Smith III
Email address: Tom_J_Smith@usgs.gov
Phone: 727-803-8747 x 3130 Fax: 727-803-2030
Mail address: Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies, 600 Fourth Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Other Investigator(s): Ray Schaffranek
Email address: rws@usgs.gov
Phone: 703-648-5891 Fax: 703-648-5484
Mail address: USGS, National Center, MS 430, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192

Project Summary: This interdisciplinary synthesis project is designed to identify and document the interrelation of Everglades' hydrology and tidal dynamics of Florida Bay on ecosystem response to past environmental changes, both natural and human imposed. The project focuses on integrating historical, hydrological, and ecological findings of scientific investigations within the Southern Inland and Coastal System (SICS), which encompasses the transition zone between the wetlands of Taylor Slough and C-111 canal and nearshore embayments of Florida Bay. In the historical component, floral and faunal records from sediment cores were collected for analyses and correlation with the hydrologic record for the last 70 years as determined by isotopic analysis. At some "inland" sites, these records indicate changes from fresh-water marsh to mangrove stands within the last 50 years, apparently correlated with hydrological changes rather than sea-level rise. In the hydrological component, past regional daily hydroperiods for 1995 to 2000 have been reconstructed from water-level records and numerical simulations to investigate correlations to natural and imposed changes and anthropogenic influences. In the ecological component, hindcast simulations of historical flow events are being developed for ecological analyses. The Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) ecological modeling team is collaborating with the SICS hydrologic modeling team to develop the necessary hydrologic inputs for refined indicator species models. A two-year SICS hydrologic simulation has been developed and prepared for input to the development of an ATLSS crocodile model. USGS Fact Sheet 049-01 was published in June 2001. A draft report documenting the development of 1995-200 regional hydroperiods for the SICS domain has been prepared to complete the hydrology component of the project. An Open-File Report, "Conversion of Historical Topographic Sheets (T-sheets) to Digital Form: Florida Everglades and Vicinity," was published in 2002. Additional OFRs with digital versions of various sets of historical aerial photographs are being produced (with joint support from a BRD Global Climate Change grant to TJS).

Project Objectives and Strategy: The interconnected freshwater wetland and coastal marine ecosystems of south Florida have undergone numerous human disturbances, including the introduction of exotic species and the alteration of wetland hydroperiods, landscape characteristics, and drainage patterns through implementation of the extensive canal and road system and the expansion of agricultural activity. In this project, collaborative efforts are focused on documenting the impact of past hydrological and ecological changes along the southern Everglades interface with Florida Bay by reconstructing past hydroperiods and investigating the correlation of human-imposed and natural impacts on hydrological changes with shifts in biotic species. The primary objectives are to identify the historical effects of past management practices, to integrate refined hydrological and ecological modeling efforts at indicator species levels to identify cause-and-effect relationships, and to produce a report that documents findings that link hydrological and ecological changes to management practices, wherever evident.

Potential Impacts and Major Products: To verify hydrodynamic models being used to assess the impact of various CERP projects on salinity in Florida and Biscayne Bays and the Shark River Slough Estuary, accurate records of the relationship of past flow regimes and salinity are required. Monitoring records for the region are limited in both temporal and spatial extent. Incorporation of paleoecological data can provide the salinity record (and a proxy for flow) for the past 150 years, prior to significant alteration of flow patterns. Integration of historical, hydrological, and ecological records facilitates the development of long-term records of salinity, hydroperiod, and ecological parameters from all three regions thereby providing the missing link to document the relative impacts of natural variability versus management intervention.

Collaborators: Bill Perry, National Park Service, Everglades National Park

Clients:

  • National Park Service; Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park
  • Fish & Wildlife Service; Loxahatchee, Florida Panther, 10,000 Island & Florida Keys NWRs
  • NOAA; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
  • USDA; Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • State; South Florida Water Management District

B. WORK PLAN

Title of Task: Ecology component
Task Leaders: Thomas J. Smith III
Phone: 727-803-8747 x 3130
Fax: 727-803-2030
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Ann Foster, Peter Briere, Carson Van Arsdall

Task Summary and Objectives: The objectives are to summarize the shorter term historical records for ecological parameters from the study area. In particular we are interested analyzing longterm records of mangrove forest growth in relation to salinity and freshwater inflow, and in reconstructing vegetation community changes since the 1920s based on available historical aerial photographs. As part of the latter objective, a geospatial database of the digital images will be established for access by client agencies.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Produce an analysis of short term growth dynamics of mangroves in Florida Bay and the southwest coast in relation to sediment porewater salinity and hydroperiod. Continue development of a digital archive of historical aerial photographs. We will concentrate on the SICS study area at first (essentially the C-111 basin) and then proceed to include all of the TIME domain and finally areas outside of Everglades NP (WCAs, Big Cypress). (Note, this work is being conducted in conjunction with the GCC project and hopefully will benefit from funding from ENP in FY03). Briefly the photos are scanned at 800dpi, mosaiced and then georeferenced. Referencing is done using a Digital Ortho-photo Quadrangle as a base and ERDAS-Imagine software. Once referenced, selected regions can be visually inspected, interpreted and further digitization of features of interest (like ecotones) conducted. Vegetation change maps of the SICS study area will be produced. The historical aerial photographs will be archived in SURF (Spatially United Raster Sets), the USGS Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies' production geodatabase. The SURF geodatabase will provide an open interface between users and the historical aerial photographs using two methods: a direct access approach and via an Internet Map Server application.

Planned Outreach: Regular meetings with the resource management staff at Everglades NP will be held. Copies of the OFRs will be distributed to all Federal, State and Tribal land managers within the boundaries of the Greater Everglades ecosystem as they become available.


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Last updated: 09 April, 2014 @ 12:18 PM (KP)