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Project Work Plan

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)

Fiscal Year 2006 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Contaminants Synthesis
Study Start Date: 10/01/04 Study End Date: 09/30/07
Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov; http://www.energy.er.usgs.gov (now http://energy.usgs.gov/)
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Total Ecosystem
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s):
Funding History: FY05
Principal Investigator(s): David P. Krabbenhoft (dpkrabbe@usgs.gov; 608.821.3843), William H. Orem (borem@usgs.gov; 703.648.6273), George R. Aiken (graiken@usgs.gov; 303.541.3036)
Study Personnel: David Krabbenhoft, William Orem, George Aiken
Supporting Organizations: SFWMD, FLDEP, ENP, USFWS, USEPA, BCNP
Associated / Linked Studies: (1) Integrated Biogeochemical Studies in the Everglades (William Orem, borem@usgs.gov, and David Krabbenhoft, dpkrabbe@usgs.gov) (1) Interactions of Mercury with Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Everglades (George Aiken, graiken@usgs.gov)

Overview & Objective(s): The objective of this project is to produce a synopsis report on contaminants in the Everglades, specifically focusing on the major contaminants of concern: nutrients, sulfur, mercury, and organics. This project links directly to the “Integrated Biogeochemical Studies of Contaminants in the Everglades”, and ”Interactions of Mercury with Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Everglades” projects of the GE PES Program, which are the science projects providing the information for this synopsis report project. The project is subdivided into three Tasks. Task 1 will produce a mercury synthesis, with David Krabbenhoft as the lead. Task 2 will concentrate on sulfur and nutrients, with William Orem as the lead. Task 3 will develop the role of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in methylmercury production, and changes in DOC associated with contaminants entering the Everglades, with George Aiken as the lead.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified: (Page numbers below refer to DOI Science Plan.)

This study supports several of the projects listed in the DOI science plan. The study supports the Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study in the Landscape Science needs of the DOI Science Plan (p. 85), by examining links between water quality and ecosystem structure and function, identifying degraded parts of the ecosystem and quantifying links to contaminants (nutrients, sulfur, organics, and mercury), and investigating the impacts of ASR on the ecosystem. It also addresses risks to wildlife from soil-borne contaminants (sulfur, mercury, organics), through studies of the effects of dry/rewet cycles (Threats Associated with Rehydration of Agricultural Lands, p. 87; Predicting bioavailability of mercury (methylation) following inundation of dry land based on soil and water chemistry, p. 89) on methylmercury formation in STA's. The study supports the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR Internal Canal Structure Project by addressing the impacts of water quality (sulfur/nutrients/mercury) and water management practices on refuge resources, p. 40. The study addresses the Combined Structural and Operational Plan (CSOP) and the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement by addressing the potential for increases in toxic contaminant loads (especially sulfur) and its ecological impact, p. 71.

Status: A preliminary draft of the mercury synopsis report (@ 7 Chapters) is currently being assembled.

Recent Products: New Project in FY05 (see Project “Integrated Biogeochemical Studies in the Everglades”, William Orem and David Krabbenhoft, and ”Interactions of Mercury with Dissolved Organic Carbon in the Everglades”, George Aiken for related recent products list)

Planned Products: (1) Mercury Synthesis Report in USGS Publication Form, with chapters specifically addressing (a) mercury geochemistry (Krabbenhoft), (b) sulfur geochemistry (Orem), (c) dissolved organic carbon (Aiken), (d) and other chapters by collaborators outside the USGS. A preliminary draft of this synthesis is currently being updated. A final version will be available in late FY05 or early FY06.

WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Contaminants Synthesis:
Task Funding: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Task Leaders: David P. Krabbenhoft (dpkrabbe@usgs.gov; 608.821.3843), William H. Orem (borem@usgs.gov; 703.648.6273), George R. Aiken (graiken@usgs.gov; 303.541.3036)
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: FY05

Task Summary and Objectives: The objective of this task is to produce a synthesis on contaminants in the Everglades, specifically focusing on nutrients, sulfur, and organics. This project links directly to the “Integrated Biogeochemical Studies in the Everglades” (Task 1) project of the GE PES Program, which is the science project providing the information for this sythesis. Data collected from 1995 to the present on nutrients, major ions, sulfur species, and organics will be organized into appropriate databases. The data in the databases, as well as results already available in published reports will be synthesized into two reports.

The first synopsis report expected in late FY05 or early FY06 will detail the sulfur geochemistry of the greater Everglades Ecosystem, and will be included as a chapter in a larger mercury synopsis being coordinated by David Krabbenhoft. The overall mercury synopsis will include at least 5 or six total chapters detailing various aspects related to the mercury contaminant issue in the Everglades. The sulfur synopsis chapter will include information on the forms and distribution of sulfur in the ecosystem, the sources of sulfur to the ecosystem, sulfur cycling within the Everglades, sulfur sinks within the ecosystem, and other aspects of sulfur biogeochemistry. Matrices covered in the report will include surface water, soils and sediments, and sediment porewater. Areas considered include Lake Okeechobee and northern rivers feeding the lake, canals, the Water Conservation Areas, Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Everglades National Park including Florida Bay, and Big Cypress National Preserve. Special emphasis will be given to the central role sulfur plays in the methylation of mercury. The sulfur-mercury connection will be discussed in terms of both field observations, as well as in the context of mesocosm and microcosm experiments conducted during the study.

A second synopsis report will bring together nutrient and major ion data collected in the greater Everglades from 1995 to the present. This report is expected in FY06. The report will include information on concentrations of nutrients and major ions in surface water, porewater, soils, and sediments.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
The major work during FY06 will be the completion of a sulfur synthesis report, sulfur database, and additional reports on research on sulfur, nutrients, and mercury in the greater Everglades. Work will involve synthesizing results into text and figures useful to land and water managers, other scientists, legislators, and the public. A database will be developed in support of the synthesis document, so that interested parties wishing to check our conclusions and recommendations will be able to directly examine the data the conclusions were drawn from. Research on the sulfur contaminant issue will continue under the “Integrated Biogeochemical Studies of Contaminants in the Everglades” project (Orem and Krabbenhoft).

This synthesis report, and other planned publications support several of the projects listed in the DOI science plan. It provides a synthesis of information supporting the Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study in the Landscape Science needs of the DOI Science Plan (p. 85), by examining links between water quality and ecosystem structure and function, identifying degraded parts of the ecosystem and quantifying links to contaminants (sulfur and mercury), and investigating the impacts of ASR on the ecosystem. It also addresses risks to wildlife from soil-borne contaminants (sulfur, mercury), through studies of the effects of dry/rewet cycles (Threats Associated with Rehydration of Agricultural Lands, p. 87; Predicting bioavailability of mercury (methylation) following inundation of dry land based on soil and water chemistry, p. 89) on methylmercury formation in STA's. The synthesis supports the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR Internal Canal Structure Project by addressing the impacts of water quality (sulfur/mercury) and water management practices on refuge resources, p. 40. The study addresses the Combined Structural and Operational Plan (CSOP) and the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement by addressing the potential for increases in toxic contaminant loads (especially sulfur) and its ecological impact, p. 71.

Specific Task Product(s): (1) Sulfur Geochemistry of the Greater Everglades and Relation to Methylmercury Production (draft completed, final report expected late FY05 or early FY06), (2) Sulfur Geochemistry Database (1/06), (3) Nutrient and Major Ion Geochemistry of the Greater Everglades (FY06), (4) Nutrient and major Ion Database (FY06); (5) Phosphorus on Everglades' Tree Islands Paper, USGS Open-File Report. (6) Joint papers (with Krabbenhoft and Gilmour) on (a) Mercury Mesocosm Studies, and (Environ. Sci. and Tch)., (b) Dry/Rewet Studies of Sulfur Remobilization and Methylmercury Production, (7) Biscayne Bay Nutrient History paper. (8) Big Cypress water quality paper. (9) Sulfur geochemistry of the Everglades paper.



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