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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: Internal Surface-water Flows
Project start date: 1996 Project end date: ongoing
Project funding: USGS Placed Based Studies Initiative and the Seminole Tribe of Florida

Principle investigator: Mitch Murray
Email address:,
Phone: 305-717-5827 Fax: 305-717-5801
Mail address: 9100 NW 36 St. Suite 107, Miami, Fl 33178

Other Investigator(s): Seminole Tribe of Florida, Craig Tepper and SFWMD, Tim Bechtel
Email address:
Phone: Tepper 954-967-3489
Email address:
Phone: Bechtel 561-686-8800

Project Summary: Proposed modified water deliveries to Indian Tribal Lands, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Water Conservation Area 3A require that flow at critical points in the interior be measured. The goal is to provide flow data to supplement the current gaging station network in the area south of Lake Okeechobee and maintain the status as an integral component of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)/Seminole Indian Tribal Agreement. The accurate determination of flow through the interior canal networks south of Lake Okeechobee and the C-139 basin remains critical for water budgets and regional model calibrations as defined by the Everglades Forever Act of 1994 and a requirement for the CERP Western Basin initiative to reroute Big Cypress Preserve flows.

Project Objectives and Strategy: The implementation of strategically located stream flow gaging points and associated data collection for nutrients has helped define future surface-water flow requirements and has provided valuable baseline flow data prior to the establishment of the recently constructed northern Storm Treatment Areas (STA’s 5 and 6). Generating continuous flow data at selected impact points for interior basins has complemented the existing eastern coastal canal discharge network, and has allowed for more accurately timed surface-water releases while providing flow and nutrient monitoring after recent STA implementation. A unique multi-agency experiment was conducted with much success with the focus on cooperation and development of new instrumentation and acoustic flow-weight auto-sampler protocols. The original data collection and processing was provided by three separate entities at each site with responsibilities originally allocated between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and SFWMD. USGS provides calibration, analysis and processing of acoustic velocity meters (AVM’s) and side-looking Doppler system results and water levels from stage shaft encoders. SFWMD provides data loggers with real-time flow-weighted algorithms, and radio frequency (RF) telemetry instrumentation. The Seminole Tribe provides auto-sampler service and funds nutrient load analysis through the USGS Ocala Lab. The Seminole Tribe of Florida provides 50% of the actual PBS funding for this effort with SFWMD providing a lesser degree of in-kind nutrient load analysis and instrumentation. One of the primary benefits of this USGS collaboration effort has been the technology transfer that has occurred through close contact with Tribe and state entities. This intimate association has allowed USGS technical staff exposure to new techniques involving acoustic flow-weighted nutrient load protocols with relatively minimal funding and manpower investment. The expenditures made by the State are much larger in scope than would be possible for the Interior Flows (PBS) program alone. The USGS, as members of the Seminole Working Group, have gained exposure to unique problems and conditions encountered upstream of Internal Flows stations at similar SFWMD gages and used this knowledge to evaluate water budgets building on the existing emerging acoustic technology required for this type of real-time slow-flow load monitoring. Updating the ability to quantify more articulately the effects of this slow-flow problem in conjunction with flow-weighted nutrient loading calculations provided by SFWMD has allowed USGS personnel the benefits of oversight and technology transfer without the associated significant labor and cost expenditures.

Potential Impacts and Major Products: Three flow sites have been located at critical water delivery points to Tribal Lands for which information was previously lacking (program reduced to two sites in FY 2000 when the Miccosukee Tribe ended their cooperative agreement). The most significant aspect of the work is related to establishing a main channel hydro-period baseline for flow and nutrient loads for L-28 Interceptor and L-28 canal flows for inclusion in the Decompartmentalization Project Delivery Team (PDT) currently under consideration. An externally funded USGS/SFWMD ancillary Open File Report product entitled, "Feasibility of Estimating Constituent Concentrations and Loads Based on Data Recorded by Acoustic Instrumentation" was published as OFR 02-285 during the 2002 water year. USGS flow and Seminole Tribe of Florida nutrient data were both utilized from the L-28IN site for this independently funded product. Continuous records of discharge have been computed by the USGS and published in SFWMD/Seminole Indian Tribe data reports. This data has been routinely presented to the Seminole Working Group for review and evaluation and this processing detail continues on a semi-annual basis for compliance to the Everglades Forever Act. Protocols for handling event driven flow weighted nutrient data collection and analysis have been possible only due to synergies created by combining the three funding group’s resources. This effort has resulted in establishing a template for other CERP related efforts for TMDL monitoring using emerging acoustic real-time flow-weighting technologies. An ancillary product is refinement of a flow and nutrient baseline required prior to development for CERP canal rerouting of the L-28 Interceptor Canal.


Clients: The primary entities interested in monitoring and flow budgeting these surface water pathways are the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian Tribes, who have the greatest concern over water allocation and nutrient loads provided by upstream regulation as a result of the Everglades Forever Act of 1994. SFWMD is responsible for the water-regulation schedules, coordinating water budgets with similar data collection stations upstream where the primary flow-ways enter the Reservations. Big Cypress National Preserve and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are secondary concerned parties also with interests in both water budgets and nutrient loads leaving Tribal Lands. This data collection effort will comprise the foundation for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Restudy Plan (CERP) specifically now known as the Decompartmentatization Plan, which proposes breaches (among several other alternatives) in the L-28 Interceptor Canal.


Title of Task 1: Rating calibration, analysis, processing, and publication of stage and discharge data at 2 primary flow-way sites
Task Funding: USGS Place-Based Studies Initiative and the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Task Leaders: Mitch Murray
Phone: 305-717-5827
FAX: 305-717-5801
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task Priority: high
Task Personnel: Rick Solis

Task Summary and Objectives: Continue velocity rating refinement and calibration of both the travel-time Acoustic Velocity Meter system at the L-28U site and the side-looking Doppler acoustic system at the L-28IN site. The objectives of this task are to monitor tele-metered velocities and channel area so real-time auto-sampler flow-weighted nutrient load volume triggers are maintained. Provisional discharges will continue to be analyzed and processed and forwarded to the Seminole/SFWMD Working Group. Final quality assured water-level and flow to be published annually in the publication, Water Resource Data, Florida, Volume 2A.

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

FY04 and FY05:

  1. Continue calibration and refinement of both the AVM and Side-looking Doppler acoustic velocity index ratings utilizing the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). Requests to the SFWMD control room will be submitted to vary pump rpm at the S-140 pump structure and to regulate the S-190 gate structures in attempts to achieve variable velocity regimes simulating expected flow rates in both the L-28 and L-28 Interceptor Canals, respectively.
  2. Provisional analysis and computation of provisional flows will be provided to the Seminole/SFWMD Working group for inclusion in the Tenth through Thirteenth semi-annual Data Progress Reports produced periodically by SFWMD staff. Data quality assurance reviews will continue throughout each water year culminating in the publication of daily mean water levels and discharge for these sites in the USGS report entitled, Water Resource Data, Florida, Vol. 2A. Efforts to provide information to appropriate electronic outlets (e.g. SOFIA site) will continue.
  3. Participation in the Seminole/SFWMD Working Group subcommittee will continue during both water years. This committee is committed to evaluating provisional analysis, coordinating troubleshooting requirements between agencies and Tribes, and developing and documenting protocols where changes in established quality assurance doctrine is required.

Planned Outreach: Participation in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration conference.


Flow and total phosphorus budget summaries are critical to the newer non-point EPA guidelines and in turn are integral to many of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) planning objectives that rely heavily on Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) calculations. Analysis of Storm Treatment Area and Best Management Practice outcomes can only be evaluated through baseline data monitoring efforts and these data sets will assist in defining parameters for de-compartmentalization and Tribal Reservation flow re-routing initiatives currently under evaluation.

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