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Project Work Plan

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

Fiscal Year 2004 Project Work Plan

A. GENERAL INFORMATION:

Project Title: Southwest Florida Coastal and Wetland Systems Monitoring
Project Start Date: October, 1999 Project End Date: On-going
Project Funding: USGS Place-Based Studies Initiative
Principal Investigator: Eduardo Patino
Email address: epatino@usgs.gov
Phone: (239) 275-8448 Fax: (239) 275-6820
Mail address: 3745 Broadway, Suite 301, Fort Myers, Florida, 33901

Other Investigator(s): Lars Soderqvist, Craig Thompson
Email address: lsoderq@usgs.gov, cthompso@usgs.gov
Phone: (239) 275-8448 Fax: (239) 275-6820
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. 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 and Big Cypress National Preserve (south of Tamiami Trail). The study area encompasses the estuarine and wetland regions from White Water Bay near Flamingo to Everglades City. The results of this study will provide information on freshwater flows and salinity trends, effects of weather systems of flow patterns, and on how Everglades Restoration projects affect the freshwater inflows and water quality of the estuarine ecosystem.

Project Objectives and Strategy:

The objectives of this project are, (1) to describe the salinity patterns of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, in relation to freshwater inflows to the estuaries and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico; and (2) to provide support for the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades (TIME) model, the SIRENIA Manatee research project, and 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 give access to all the information generated though this study.

This study will quantify surface 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:

  • 5 stations (North River, Shark River, Broad River, Lostman's River, & Chatham River) 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.
  • 4 stations (New River, Lopez River, Turner River, & Barron River) located at estuarine rivers and bays will be monitored for stage, salinity and temperature, based on TIME model needs and other ecological work being done or planned within the study area.
  • 2 stations located in the open-water of the Gulf of Mexico (ENP boundary marker near Shark Point & ENP boundary marker near Chatham River mouth) will be monitored for tide elevation, salinity, and temperature in order to provide boundary information necessary for hydrodynamic and ecological models.
  • Water surface elevation will be referenced to NAVD-88 datum for the stations located at North River, Shark River, Broad River, Lostmans River, and the two open-water boundary sites. All other 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. 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 office. For stations at which transmission of data is not possible or required, data will be logged, retrieved, and stored in the database of the USGS Miami 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.
    Water level and salinity stations (including open-water boundary sites):
    • 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 modelers and other researchers in the best format for use in the model and/or ecological research. "Low-pass" filters will be used if necessary, to extract net flows from the tidal signature at all flow sites.
  • 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 subsequently 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 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 accurate 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, both quantity and source, on the coastal wetlands and estuaries of ENP and BCP.

Collaborators:

Ray Schaffranek, USGS-WRD
Chris Langevin, USGS-WRD
Eric Swain, USGS-WRD
David Krabbenhoft, USGS-WRD
Tom Smith, USGS-BRD
Brad Stith, USGS-BRD
James Reid, USGS-BRD

Clients:

  • U.S. Geological Survey - Contacts: Ray Schaffranek, Harry Jenter, Eric Swain, Chris Langevin, Tom Smith, Carole McIvor, and Lynn W. Lefebvre.
    • TIME model calibration and verification using water level, discharge, and salinity data generated by this project.
    • Vegetation and hydrology of land-margin ecosystems in South Florida.
    • SIRENIA project.

  • Everglades National Park - Contacts: Dewitt Smith and Kevin Kotun
    • Monitoring network enhancement. Addition of water level, flow, salinity, and temperature data collection along the southwest coast estuaries, complementing existing ENP Marine Monitoring Network.

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency / University of Miami-RSMAS - Contacts: Tom Lee, Elizabeth Johns, and Joan Browder.
    • Florida Bay Circulation and Exchange Study.
    • Fisheries.

  • Florida International University - Contacts: Dan Childers and Joe Boyer
    • Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) study of the Everglades.
    • Water Quality Monitoring Network.

  • Florida Gulf Coast University - Contact: Michael Savarese, potential collaborator within the Ten Thousand Islands area.
    • The potential influence of coastal watershed alteration on oyster health, oyster-reef habitat, and associated secondary production.

B. WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Hydrologic monitoring of estuaries within the southwest coast of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Task Funding: PBS
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (239) 275-8448
FAX: (239) 275-6280
Task Status: 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 of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, 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.

The objectives of this task are, (1) to describe the salinity patterns of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, in relation to freshwater inflows to the estuaries and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico; and (2) to provide support for the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades (TIME) model, the SIRENIA Manatee research project, and 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 give access to all the information generated though this study.

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

FY-04/05

  1. Maintain 11 monitoring stations at rivers and bays within the estuaries of the southwest coast of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. These stations include North River, Shark River, Broad River, Lostman's River, Chatham River, New River, Lopez River, Turner River, Barron River/Canal, and two open-water stations in the Gulf of Mexico, ENP boundary markers near Shark Point and the mouth of Chatham River.
  2. Continue with ADCP discharge measurements for the development and verification of velocity calibration ratings for the computation of discharge at instrumented coastal rivers.
  3. Continue QA/QC of all field data.
  4. Upload data on the SOFIA web page to make it available to all researchers.

Planned Outreach: Poster presentation at the next GEER/Florida Bay conference

Title of Task 2: Local elevation surveys at all monitoring stations.
Task Funding: PBS
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (239) 275-8448
FAX: (239) 275-6280
Task Status: Active
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. Elevation transfers were completed in FY-03 at four USGS monitoring stations.

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

FY-04

  1. Install stable reference marks near all 18 remaining USGS and ENP 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.

C. BRIEF DESCRIPTION ON HOW PROJECT TASKS SUPPORT THE DOI AND USGS EVERGLADES RESTORATION SCIENCE PLANS

This project is directly tied to the Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP), performance measures (salinity distributions), hydrodynamic model development and verification (TIME), and will provide baseline information on flows and salinity throughout the estuaries along the southwest coast of Everglades National Park.

Additionally, this effort is linked to projects listed on the DOI Science Document and to issues listed in the USGS Science Plan in Support of Everglades Restoration (Restoration goals)

Related projects listed on DOI Science Document:

  1. Additional Water for the Everglades National Park and Biscayne Bay Reconnaissance Study
  2. Florida Bay and Florida Keys Feasibility Study
  3. Southwest Florida Feasibility Study
  4. Southern Golden Gate Estates Restoration Project
  5. Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study
  6. Ecological Community Recovery (Manatees)

USGS Restoration Goals:

  1. Restoration goal 1A, "Get the Hydrology Right", by quantifying the current quantity, timing, and distribution of flows into the coastal environments along the southwest coast of ENP, and monitoring the ecosystem response to change.
  2. Restoration goal 1B, "Get the Water Quality Right", by describing current salinity patterns of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, and monitoring the ecosystem response to change.
  3. Restoration goal 2A, "Habitats, Landscapes, and Ecological Processes", by providing pre and post restoration information on flow and water quality. These information is necessary to link ecological response to hydrologic changes.
  4. Restoration goal 2A, "Ecological Indicators", by providing pre and post restoration information on salinity along the southwest coast estuaries. Information that can be used to understand the current ecosystem structure, to establish baselines and restoration targets, to monitor ecosystem response to hydrologic changes, and as input to ecological models.



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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(KP)