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Project Work Plan

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

Fiscal Year 2004 Project Work Plan


Project Title: Analysis of Historical Water-Quality Data
Project Start Date: 2001 Project End Date: 2005
Project Funding: USGS Place-Based Studies Initiative: CESI in 2001.

Principal Investigator: Benjamin McPherson
Email address:
Phone: 813-975-8620. ext 126 Fax: 813-975-0839
Mail address: 10500 University Center Dr, Suite 215, Tampa, Fl 33612

Other Investigator(s): Ronald Miler
Email address:
Phone: 813-975-8620 Fax: 813-975-0839
Mail address: 10500 University Dr. Suite 215, Tampa Fl 33612

Project Summary: The project calls for a comprehensive review and analysis of historic water-quality data in Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP), Everglades National Park (ENP) and other Department of the Interior (DOI) lands in South Florida. The project will provide a basis for an evaluation of how water quality may be affected by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program (CERP).

Project Objectives and Strategy: The project will provide a review and analysis of historical water quality data in BCNP and ENP and other DOI lands in South Florida. This information will help establish water-quality standards and baseline conditions in the parks, and will help evaluate the potential effects of CERP on water quality . Objectives include: (1) assemble water quality data; (2) review and edit the data and provide a working data base; (3) analyze and evaluate the data and prepare interpretative reports on baseline water-quality conditions and trends in BCNP and ENP in 2003, Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (LNWR) in 2004, and Biscayne Bay National Park (BBNP) in 2005.

Potential Impacts and Major Products: For Everglades restoration it is essential to know historic baseline water-quality conditions, how water quality may have changed, and what are the current conditions. The project provides information to assess these aspects of water quality, including seasonal and long-term trends, and potential sources of water quality problems in the parks.

Major products include (1) a reviewed and edited data base of water-quality constituents in BCNP, ENP, and LNWR. Completed and made available to NPS and FWS on the SOFIA web site; (2) an interpretative report on water quality for the period of record for BCNP and ENP. A draft report completed, reviewed, and submitted for publication as a USGS Water Resources Report and as a Fact Sheet. Results from the report were presented at the April 2003 GEER conference as a poster and abstract ; (3) a second interpretative report is planned in 2004 that summarizes baseline water-quality conditions in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge; (4) a third report is planned for water quality in BBNP in 2005.

Collaborators: National Park Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Clients: Governmental and private agencies involved in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program (CERP).


Title of Task 1: Complete and publish "Water Quality in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve" USGS Water Resources Investigations (WRI) report, a 4 page fact sheet, and a poster that highlights this work.
Task Leaders: Benjamin McPherson and Ronald Miller
Phone: 813-975-8620
FAX: 813-975-0839
Task Status (proposed or active): Active. Draft WRI report and fact sheet have been completed and reviewed and are being prepared for approval and publication. Poster presented at April 2003 GEER conference.
Task priority: high
Time Frame for Task 1: (1 ) Publication of Water Resources Investigation (WRI) report and a four page fact sheet planned for FY 2004. A poster and abstract have been completed, presented at GEER conference in April 2003, and made available on the SOFIA web site.
Task Personnel: Benjamin McPherson and Ronald Miller

Task Summary and Objectives: The report summarizes the status and trends of water-quality conditions in BCNP and ENP. Trends for selected constituents are evaluated for the period 1959-2001,and baseline water quality is compared between sites in the two parks for the period 1991-2000.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Publication and distribution of WRI report.

Planned Outreach: Fact Sheet.

Title of Task 2: Baseline water quality in Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Biscayne Bay National Park.
Task Leaders: Benjamin McPherson and Ronald Miller
Phone: 813-975-0839
FAX: 813-975-0839
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task priority: high
Task Personnel: Benjamin McPherson and Ronald Miller

Task Summary and Objectives: Evaluate baseline water-quality conditions at selected index sites in LNWR and BBNP. Summarize water-quality conditions for LNWR and BBNP with a discussion of how CERP might potentially affect water quality in these lands.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: FY 2004. (1) Evaluate baseline water quality in LNWR. (2) Summarize water-quality conditions in LNWR in an interpretative report and include a discussion of how CERP potentially could impact the water quality. This evaluation will be carried out using water-quality data for the period of record and other sources that evaluate water quality. Based on the analysis, prepare a draft report. (3) Based on consultation with scientists at BBNP, select water-quality index sites in the Park and begin to compile a data base of historical water quality at these sites. (completion of BBNP data base and report planned for FY 2005).

Planned Outreach: Press release; fact sheet.


The project will help establish water-quality standards, baseline conditions, and trends on DOI lands, and will help evaluate the potential water-quality effects of CERP projects on these lands. Specifically the project will address and support the DOI Science Plan for " Specific Water Projects — What is Needed" as follows:

A. Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands. What is needed:

  • Analysis of historic conditions.

D. Additional Water for the Everglades National Park and Biscayne Bay Reconnaissance Study

  • Update the NSM to reflect new information about the historical conditions.
  • Analysis of historic conditions.
  • Environmental risk assessments of water-quality contaminants

H. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR Internal Canal Structures. What Is Needed

  • Integrated hydrodynamic and water quality model.
  • Data to support an integrated hydrodynamic and water quality model including additional information on the spatial patterns of conductivity within the refuge...
  • Monitoring and assessment responses: Establish pre- and post-project monitoring....

The project also will support the USGS Science Plan under "1B Get the Water Quality Right" by addressing the following Science Objectives (SO) and questions:

SO1. Understand ecosystem structure and processes (physical, chemical and biological).

  • What are the water-quality characteristics of a "healthy" Everglades?
  • How does water quality relate to the major biogeochemical processes, and current land use and management activities?
  • How do freshwater inflows affect water quality in the coastal ecosystem?

SO3. Establish ecosystem baselines and variations for restoration targets.

  • How can we protect those areas with good water quality currently, and can we restore or improve conditions where significant impacts have been observed?

SO4. Monitor ecosystem response to change.

  • Do we have the adequate monitoring systems in place to detect changes to water quality in response to restoration activities; and, if not, what systems are necessary?

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