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Project Work Plan

Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Project Work Plan FY 2003

A. GENERAL INFORMATION:

Project Title: Southwest Florida Coastal and Wetland Systems Monitoring
Project start date: October 1999 Project end date: On-going
Project Funding: PBS
Principal Investigator: Eduardo Patino
Email address: epatino@usgs.gov
Phone: (941) 275-8448 Fax: (941) 275-6280
Mail address: 3745 Broadway, Suite 301, Fort Myers, Florida, 33901

Other Investigator(s): Lars Soderqvist
Email address: lsoderq@usgs.gov
Phone: (941) 275-8448 Fax: (941) 275-6280
Mail address: 3745 Broadway, Suite 301, Fort Myers, Florida, 33901

Other Investigator(s): Craig Thompson
Email address: cthompso@usgs.gov
Phone: (941) 275-8448 Fax: (941) 275-6280
Mail address: 3745 Broadway, Suite 301, Fort Myers, Florida, 33901

Project Summary: Hydrologic information throughout the Everglades ecosystem is key to the development of restoration strategies and for future evaluation of restoration results. There are significant hydrologic information gaps throughout the Everglades wetlands and estuaries that need to be addressed, particularly along Florida's southwest coast. Among these gaps are flow, water level, and salinity data. This project, in conjunction with the Everglades National Park's (ENP) marine monitoring network, will provide water level, salinity, and flow information at key points within the mangrove zone along the southwest coast of ENP. This project will also include a wetland component designed to provide water level, salinity, and "sheetflow" velocity at selected points within the "sloughs" (flow paths) flowing into the estuaries. Hydrodynamic modelers of the Everglades, Florida Bay, southwest coast estuaries, and other adjacent marine systems, will use these data to calibrate and verify models describing flow patterns throughout ENP. The study area encompasses the estuarine and wetland regions from White Water Bay near Flamingo to the Ten Thousand Islands National Preserve north of Everglades City. The results of this study will provide information on freshwater flows and salinity trends, effects of weather systems, and on how Everglades Restoration projects affect the freshwater inflows and water quality of the estuarine ecosystem.

Project Objectives and Strategy: The objective of this project is to describe the salinity patterns in relation to freshwater inflows to the estuaries and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico, to provide support for the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades model (TIME) and to programs like the Everglades Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) and the SIRENIA project. Additionally, other federal and state agencies, universities, and local institutions conducting research in the area will be give access to all the information generated though this study.

This study will quantify water discharge, describe hydrodynamic characteristics of estuarine rivers of southwest Everglades National Park, and provide necessary information for the development and calibration of the TIME hydrodynamic model. The data collection network established through this project will include the following types of stations:

  • Stations located at estuarine rivers and bays will be monitored for stage, flow, salinity and temperature, based on TIME model needs and other ecological work being done or planned within the study area.
  • Locations in the open-water of the Gulf of Mexico will be monitored for tide elevation, salinity, and temperature in order to provide boundary information necessary for hydrodynamic and ecological models.
  • Wetland monitoring stations will be located within the sloughs flowing into the southwest coast estuaries to monitor stage, salinity (Sp. Conductance), temperature, and sheet-flow velocity.
  • All water surface elevations will be referenced to arbitrary local datum until NAVD-88 elevations can be established.


Methodology:
The following sections describe the methods and techniques used for collection and analysis of all field data in order to describe freshwater flow patterns along the estuaries of southwest Florida. Data collection at all flow sites includes continuous (15-minute interval) measurements of water level, water velocity, salinity, temperature, and calibration measurements of discharge (no discharge measurements at wetland sites). Data collection at sites without the flow component will include continuous (15-minute interval) measurements of water level, salinity, and temperature. Most continuous data are recorded and transmitted every 4 hours by way of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) into the database of the USGS Miami Subdistrict office. Stations at which transmission of data is not possible or required, data will be logged, retrieved, and stored into the database of the USGS Miami Subdistrict office.

Data collection

  • Flow stations:
    • Estuarine sites will be instrumented with water level, salinity, temperature, and velocity sensors. Velocity data will be collected with acoustic Doppler instruments, calibrated with the use of an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), and used in the computation of discharge. Monthly discharge measurements will be done at all new sites during the first year and bi-monthly thereafter for rating verification purposes. Salinity and temperature data will be collected at two depths in the water column.
    • Wetland sites will be instrumented with water level, salinity, temperature, and velocity sensors. Velocity data will be collected with acoustic Doppler instruments. Water quality data will be recorded at one depth in the water column. No discharge will be computed for these sites.
  • Water level and salinity stations:
    • These stations will include the collection of water level, salinity, and temperature. Salinity and temperature data will be collected at one or two depths, depending on site location.

Data Analysis

  • Flow data will be computed using established area and velocity ratings and provided to TIME model and other researchers in the best format for its use within the model and/or ecological research within the area. "Low-pass" filters will be used if necessary, to extract net flows from the tidal signature at all flow sites.
  • Wetland velocity, along with stage and QW data will be quality assured and provided to TIME model researchers for model development and verification.
  • All USGS and ENP salinity data will be analyzed to describe the effects of water management practices on the overall salinity of the southwest coast estuaries.

Potential Impacts and Major Products: Information from this study will provide necessary information on freshwater flow from Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress Preserve (BCP), to the estuaries of southwest Florida. Much of this information has not been previously available to natural resource managers. Such information is critical for quantitatively determining the freshwater flows throughout the southwestern part of ENP and BCP. The water level, water velocity, flow, salinity, and temperature data can be used in conjunction with data from many other ongoing efforts to help determine the effects of changes in water deliveries to ENP and BCP, and into the estuaries of southwest Florida. Flow is closely related to sediment transport, salinity, and chemical characteristics of these estuaries, which in turn, have great influence on the biology of the area. Additionally, this information is and will continue to be used as input to hydrodynamic models of ENP and coastal areas, and for water-budget determinations for south Florida. Such models and computations will be substantially more dependable and reliable because of the availability of water level, flow, and salinity data from this project. In turn, decisions regarding restoration activities based on scenario testing from such models and computations are also more reliable. As the restoration process proceeds, it will be critical to continue monitoring flow patterns in order to understand the effects of changing water supply quantity and source into the wetlands of ENP and BCP.

Collaborators:

Clients:

B. WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Hydrologic monitoring of estuaries within the southwest coast of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and the Cape Romano-Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve.
Task Funding: PBS
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (941) 275-8448
Fax: (941) 275-6280
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: HIGH
Task Personnel: Eduardo Patino, Lars Soderqvist, Craig Thompson, and one student

Task Summary and Objectives: This task is designed to describe the salinity patterns in relation to freshwater inflows to the estuaries and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico, to provide support for the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades model (TIME) and to programs like the Everglades Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) and the SIRENIA project. Additionally, other federal and state agencies, universities, and local institutions conducting research in the area will be given access to all the information generated though this task.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

  1. Maintain 11 to 13 monitoring stations at rivers and bays within the estuaries of the southwest coast of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and the Cape Romano-Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve. These stations include North River, Shark River, Broad River, Lostman's River, Chatham River, New River, Lopez River, Turner River, Barron River/Canal, two open-water stations in the Gulf of Mexico, ENP boundary markers near Shark Point and the mouth of Chatham River, and possibly two rivers within the Cape Romano-Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve.
  2. Continue with ADCP discharge measurements for the development of velocity calibration ratings for the computation of discharge at instrumented coastal rivers.
  3. Continue QA/QC of all field data.
  4. Begin uploading data on the SOFIA web page and make it available to all researchers.
  5. Arrange for data transfer from Tampa for data collected during 1996-2000.
  6. If funding becomes available, construct and instrument monitoring stations within the Ten Thousand Islands Preserve.

Planned Outreach: Poster presentation at the next GEER conference

Title of Task 2: Hydrologic monitoring of wetlands within Everglades National Park.
Task Funding: PBS
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (941) 275-8448
Fax: (941) 275-6280
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: HIGH
Task Personnel: Eduardo Patino, Lars Soderqvist, and Craig Thompson

Task Summary and Objectives: This task is designed to complement on-going sheet-flow velocity research by other USGS projects by providing continuous water level, sheet-flow velocity, salinity, and temperature at two locations within the wetlands of northeast Shark River Slough and one location within the wetlands of southwest Shark River Slough (Rookery Branch area). The objective of this task is to provide support for the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades model (TIME) and to programs like the Everglades Long Term Ecological Research (LTER). Additionally, other federal and state agencies, universities, and local institutions conducting research in the area will be given access to all the information generated though this task.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Planned Outreach:

  1. Maintain 3 monitoring stations within the wetlands of Everglades National Park. These stations include the following monitoring sites: NESRS #2, NESRS #5, and Bottle Creek (Rookery Branch).
  2. Begin ADCP discharge measurements for the development of velocity calibration ratings for the computation of discharge at Bottle Creek and adjacent creeks.
  3. Continue QA/QC of all field data.
  4. Begin uploading data on the SOFIA web page and make it available to all researchers.

Title of Task 3: Local elevation surveys at all monitoring stations (coastal and wetland).
Task Funding: PBS
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (941) 275-8448
Fax: (941) 275-6280
Task Status (proposed or active): Proposed
Task priority: HIGH
Task Personnel: Eduardo Patino, Lars Soderqvist, and Craig Thompson

Task Summary and Objectives: This task is designed to establish elevation ties between 22 monitoring gage-house measuring points and reference marks (RM's) installed for obtaining NAVD-88 datum with GPS instrumentation. The objective of this task is to enable elevation datum transfer from stable reference marks to each gage-house in order to have all monitoring stations reading water levels in reference to NAVD-88. Stations surveyed will include 9 USGS and 13 NPS/ENP monitoring stations.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Planned Outreach:

  1. Install stable reference marks nearby all monitoring stations.
  2. Run elevation surveys from the RM's into the gage-houses.
  3. Apply (or provide to ENP) necessary correction for the transfer of NAVD-88 datum elevations to gage-houses, whenever NAVD-88 datum is established on the RM's and made available.

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Last updated: 09 April, 2014 @ 12:20 PM (KP)