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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: Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development
Project start date: October 1, 1999 Project end date: September 30, 2004
Project Funding: USGS Place-Based Studies Initiative
Principal Investigator: Raymond W. Schaffranek
Email address:
Phone: (703) 648-5891 Fax: (703) 648-5484
Mail address: U.S. Geological Survey
National Center, MS 430
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

Other Investigator(s): Ami L. Riscassi
Email address:
Phone: 703-648-5877 Fax: 703-648-5484
Mail address: U.S. Geological Survey
National Center, MS 430
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

Other Investigator(s): Dr. Guus S. Stelling
Email address:
Phone: +31 152785426
Mail address: Delft University of Technology
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Environmental Fluid Mechanics Section
P.O. Box 5048
2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

Project Summary:

The intricate connectivity of the freshwater wetlands of the Everglades with tidal affected creeks, embayments, and wetlands comprising the mangrove ecotone along the southwest coast of Florida and northern Florida Bay is particularly problematic for water-management agencies implementing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The mangrove ecotone provides ecological conditions that are critical to the survival of estuarine inhabitants, a number of which are among the 68 species identified as being endangered in South Florida. Proper management of this complex ecological environment requires that neither hydrologic processes affecting flows in the wetlands nor their interactions with the dynamic effects of tides and other external forces affecting coastal salinities be ignored. Models being used to evaluate various restoration scenarios for South Florida must therefore fully account for all processes that affect wetland flow conditions and govern coastal salinities. This project entails the translation of hydrologic findings from process studies into the development of a coupled surface-water/groundwater hydrodynamic/transport model to facilitate concurrent analysis of wetland flow conditions and tidal forcing effects along the entire saltwater-freshwater interface of the southern Everglades with the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay. Model implementation is being accomplished by use of continuous monitoring data on coastal flow and salinity conditions to fulfill dynamic boundary conditions coupled with continuous measurements of flow velocities and water levels in the wetlands for model calibration and verification.

Project Objectives and Strategy:

This project is focused on further developing, implementing, and calibrating a mathematical model to study the interaction between wetland flow conditions and dynamic forces in the transition zone between the southern Everglades and its coastal waterbodies. The model will be made available to study and evaluate the combined response of flows in the wetlands and salinities in the mangrove ecotone to inflow alterations. The project effort will include 1) monitoring hydrologic processes and dynamic forces to develop an improved understanding of these factors both individually and of their interaction, 2) translating this new insight into improved empirical expressions and mathematical equations to better represent the processes both individually and collectively, 3) transforming these expressions and any correlations found to ecosystem properties into numerical algorithms, 4) integrating these algorithms into an existing numerical model framework, 5) implementing the model to the transition zone of the Everglades that encompasses the mangrove ecotone using prototype data to define critical ecosystem properties such as land-surface elevations, vegetative characteristics, etc., 6) calibrating the model using time series of water-level and flow data collected at strategic intermediate internal points, and 7) documenting the model implementation and any findings using it that are critical to improved management of the South Florida ecosystem.

Potential Impacts and Major Products:

The major product of this project will be a physically based fine-resolution (500 m) coupled surface-water/groundwater hydrodynamic/transport model of the Everglades National Park area of the Everglades. The model will be consistent with Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) models being developed and used to study and evaluate ecosystem response to regulatory decisions. Through analysis of model results for varied inflows, cause and effect relationships to ecosystem functions and sustainability can be investigated to evaluate and guide restoration actions in conjunction with ecological analyses. Data collected in support of the model development will be made available for dissemination via the Internet for use in restoration efforts such as the Monitoring and Assessment Plan and scientific findings will be reported in traditional peer-reviewed literature as appropriate.

Collaborators: Harry L. Jenter (USGS/WRD), Eric D. Swain (USGS/WRD), Christian D. Langevin (USGS/WRD), Eduardo Patino (USGS/WRD), and Kevin Kotun (NPS/ENP)

Clients: National Park Service/Everglades National Park, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District


Title of Task 1: Development of surface-water component of TIME model
Task Leaders: Raymond W. Schaffranek
Task Funding: Place-Based Studies
Phone: (703) 648-5891
FAX: (703) 648-5484
Task Status: Active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: 12 months
Task Personnel: Raymond W. Schaffranek, Guus S. Stelling, & Ami L. Riscassi

Task Summary and Objectives:

  1. Complete TIME I surface-water model development (Schaffranek & Riscassi):

    1. Verify or correct vertical datum references for boundary conditions with survey data

    2. Update land-surface elevation grid if all NMD topographic surveys completed

    3. Complete development of 3-month upland and coastal boundary condition data set

    4. Complete development of 3-month precipitation and ET data sets

    5. Develop numerical algorithms in SWIFT2D for treatment of rainfall and ET

    6. Extend barrier treatment in SWIFT2D to handle trapezoidal weirs

    7. Test different numerical options of SWIFT2D in TIME model setup

    8. Conduct sensitivity tests of different boundary-condition specifications

  2. Report writing for TIME I surface-water model (Schaffranek & Riscassi):

    1. Write WRI user's manual for SWIFT2D with section on SEAWAT coupling

    2. Write journal article on representation of hydrologic processes in SWIFT2D

    3. Process data and write OFR for data collected in ENP in 2002-2003

    4. Process data, analyze, and write journal article on fire effects on flow behavior

    5. Write WRI report on TIME I model development

  3. TIME II surface-water model development (Stelling & Schaffranek):

    1. Work with colleague (Dr. Guus Stelling) on TIME II model:

      1. Develop unstructured 2D grid with coupled 1D network overlay for tidal creeks

      2. Generate Cartesian grid options with local grid refinement

      3. Implement new energy-loss options for vegetative flow resistance

    2. Run TIME I and II surface-water model comparisons

  4. Investigations and data needed for TIME I and II models:

    1. Flow exchanges between Taylor and Shark Sloughs through Park Road culverts

    2. Tidal creek bathymetric data in mangrove ecotone

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Work will involve computer programming the SWIFT2D model formulation and using ArcInfo to interpolate land-surface elevation data.

Planned Outreach: Conferences, Publications, and Workshops


Hydrologic modeling is identified as one of the highest priority needs of the DOI science initiative for restoration of the Everglades. Models are needed that function at temporal and spatial resolution scales consistent with quantifying ecological responses of the ecosystem to hydrologic changes stemming from restoration efforts. Models that solve the relevant hydrologic and hydrodynamic process equations coupled with solution of transport equations are needed to address water quality issues, the need for which is presently important and could heighten as wetland flows are returned to more natural conditions. Models that provide the link between the freshwater wetlands and adjacent marine environments are critically needed to protect and preserve estuarine habitat from the potentially harmful effects of flows of fresh but possibly contaminated water. Models that can predict the temporal and spatial salinity patterns in adjacent estuaries and coastal embayments as a function of managed freshwater wetland flows are vital to formulating and evaluating restoration plans. These issues and needs are the essence of the model development being conducted within the TIME project.

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