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projects > modeling hydrologic flow and vegetation response across the tamiami trail and coastal watershed of ten thousand islands nwr > work plan

Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES and ENP CESI

Fiscal Year 2006 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Modeling Hydrologic Flow and Vegetation Response across the Tamiami Trail and Coastal Watershed of Ten Thousand Islands NWR
Study Start Date: January 1, 2006   Study End Date: September 30, 2010
Web Sites: N/A
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Collier County, Florida, USA
Total System Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): N/A
Funding History: FY06, FY07, FY08, FY09
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Thomas W. Doyle, Dr. Ken W. Krauss
Study Personnel: Dr. Ehab Meselhe, Dr. Rebecca J. Howard, Mr. Eduardo Patino
Supporting Organizations: U.S. Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA
Associated / Linked Studies: "Western Tamiami Trail Flows - Baseline Information and Response to CERP" by Eduardo Patino, U.S. Geological Survey, FISC-WRS, Ft. Myers, FL

Overview & Objective(s): Major restoration projects have been proposed to restore freshwater flow across the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) into coastal marshes and estuaries of the northern Everglades including Big Cypress National Preserve and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) with little or no understanding of the hydrologic coupling and potential impact to vegetation communities. Monitoring activities and models are needed to assess the hydrologic exchange across the Tamiami Trail and at the estuarine interface within the coastal watersheds of TTINWR. Under the proposed Picayune Strand Restoration Project, plugs and culverts will be installed to shunt more freshwater across the Tamiami Trail north-to-south akin to historic flows which will alter the stage, discharge, timing, and distribution of flow across the marsh/mangrove coastal margin. There is a critical need for current hydrologic and vegetation data to understand current processes and relations controlling hydroperiod, salinity, and plant succession under pre-project conditions and climate in order to build models and to predict how increasing freshwater flow and sea-level rise will impact future habitat quality and distribution. This study will establish a stratified network of gaging stations to monitor continuous water levels and salinity conditions associated with vegetation type and growth response and to produce a hydrodynamic model to predict changes in hydroperiod and salinity under different rates of freshwater inflow, pre- and post-project. Gaging stations will be surveyed to vertical datum to create a digital elevation model of both land and water surface that can be used to calibrate hydroperiod and salinity relations that control vegetation growth and succession. Model applications will be extended to predict vegetation migration and succession under changing freshwater delivery regimes and changing sea-level under projected climate change. Refuge personnel will benefit from the repository of observational data and interactive models for adaptive management purposes.

The proposed study capitalizes on field expertise and existing decision support tools to assess the benefits and/or consequences of CERP hydrologic goals and projects on mangrove/marsh habitat for park and refuge lands of the Greater Everglades system. The primary goal of this study is to monitor and model surface water, groundwater, and evapotranspiration fluxes across a major hydrological barrier in south Florida (U.S. Hwy. 41, Tamiami Trail), and across the oligohaline-estuarine gradient of TTINWR. Hence, this research will record the rate and stage of water flow under varying climatic conditions (e.g., wet and dry season) across the coastal margin of TTINWR prior to and following implementation of hydrologic restoration outlined for the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (and Southern Golden Gate Estates Hydrologic Restoration). Overall project tasks and objectives include: gaging hydrologic conditions, surveying ground and water elevations, correlating hydroperiod and plant associations, monitoring intra-annual growth response to climate and hydrology, and modeling hydrologic coupling and vegetative succession.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The DOI Science Plan in Support of Ecosystem Restoration, Preservation, and Protection in South Florida (DOI Plan) defines three primary study elements needed as part of Southern Golden Gate Estates Hydrologic Restoration that we address in this monitoring, research, and modeling project. TTINWR is located on the hydrologic receiving end of the restoration project, which is designed to reduce overdrainage to adjacent public lands and trust resources. The three 'needed' elements (listed on pages 59-60, DOI Plan) include: (1) modeling to predict changes in hydrology and ecology in the Ten Thousand Islands NWR, (2) monitoring of water flows and water quality in receiving waters south of the project area, and (3) monitoring of ecological responses to hydrologic change. Infrastructure being established in FY 2006 will focus principally on (1) and (2).

Furthermore, this research falls into the auspices of "research to understand the impacts of restoration projects on hydrology, habitats, and wildlife on the Florida Panther and Ten Thousand Islands NWRs with focus on the following: improvements to hydrological modeling and synthesis of existing information" which are defined as program-level (GE PES-CESI) science tasks. This research partnership will also assist with two major TTINWR management plan tasks: (1) complete a water elevation and water quality monitoring program on the refuge (Task 1.2.3), and (2) monitor the impacts of sea level rise on refuge habitats (Task 1.2.6) (USFWS 2002, Comprehensive Conservation Plan for TTINWR).

Status: Awaiting transfer of funds

Recent Products: N/A

Planned Products: In FY 2006, we will install a network of waterlevel recorders, salinity loggers, flow meters, and a weather station in order to collect essential environmental data for constructing a water budget model of the watershed. Actual modeling is proposed to begin in FY 2007, along with further installation of additional studies designed to link vegetation response (mangrove and marsh) to observed, or modeled, hydrologic patterns in TTINWR. We anticipate at least one scientific presentation and a USGS Fact Sheet in FY 2006 describing the project design and preliminary data to a scientific audience. Semi-annual and annual progress reports will be submitted to highlight field activities, preliminary data, and significant findings. Upon project completion, we will produce a USGS Open File Report for wide dissemination and at least two scientific journal articles addressing the hydrologic/salinity modeling results and vegetative growth results in response to hydrologic regime. We will also have calibrated a model for determining TTINWR water budgets that will be available to refuge and CERP planners for current and future assessments.

FY2006 WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Gage and Datalogger Installations
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: K. W. Krauss, T. W. Doyle
Phone: 337-266-8882 / 337-266-8647
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: task continues into FY 2007
Task Personnel: E. Patino, T.J. Doyle
Task Summary and Objectives: A stratified network of gaging stations will be distributed across the oligohaline-estuarine gradient within the Wood River basin bounded by the Faka-Union canal to the southeast and the Little Wood River drainage to the northwest.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
A dozen continuous stage recorders will be installed in a 3 × 4 matrix overlaying the upper and lower reaches of the Wood River basin from the southern side of the Tamiami Trail to the coastal inland bay boundary. Select stations along the latitudinal gradient from north to south will also be instrumented with salinity gages to record hourly changes in salinity affected by tidal coupling and freshwater discharge circulated from the adjoining Faka-Union Canal at high flow. A rain gage will be installed at the northern end of the network to account for rainfall input on stage and salinity; a meterological station to predict ET rates will also be co-located. Two Doppler velocity meters will be placed under bridges on the Tamiami Trail where freshwater exchange occurs north to south under the highway into the study basin. Groundwater well data and surface water records for the Faka-Union Canal at the intersection with the Tamiami Trail will be obtained from the South Florida Water Managament District for completing hydrologic analyses.

This task best addresses Task 2, above, from the DOI Plan: monitoring of water flows and water quality in receiving waters south of the project area.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Stage records (hourly) across the Wood River basin network, TTINWR
(2) Salinity records (hourly) along the oligohaline-estuarine gradient.
(3) Flow velocities (hourly) across the Tamiami Trail.
(4) Meteorological observations (hourly temp, precip, humidity, wind velocity, etc)
(5) Abstract and presentation at the Society of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting (July 2006)
(6) Semi-annual and annual progress reports of study activities and findings.

Title of Task 2: Gage Downloads and Data Management
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: K. W. Krauss, T.J. Doyle
Phone: 337-266-8882 / 239-353-8442 ext. 228
FAX: 337-266-8592 / 239-353-8640
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 2: task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: E. Meselhe, Various technicians
Task Summary and Objectives: Routine visits will be required to download and maintain dataloggers including data retrieval, processing and archiving responsibilities.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Hydrologic, salinity, and meteorological stations indicated in Task 1 correspond to key inputs for the development of a mass flux hydrologic model to include marsh, mangrove, and open channel flows through TTINWR. Monthly to bi-monthly collections of flow, stage, rainfall, relative humidity, temperature, irradiance, and wind speed will be needed from Doppler, water level, salinity, and weather stations established in TTINWR. Along with downloading trips throughout FY 2006, we will establish an archiving protocol compatible with software to develop the hydrodynamic and salinity models in FY 2007, once a significant amount of a data have been collected.

This task best addresses Tasks 1 and 2, above, from the DOI Plan: modeling to predict changes in hydrology and ecology in the Ten Thousand Islands NWR, and monitoring of water flows and water quality in receiving waters south of the project area, respectively.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Database of acquired environmental data from Task 1 (continuous through FY 2009)
(2) Exchange data products with hydrological modelers at University of Louisiana at Lafayette and USGS FISC-WRS office in Ft. Myers, FL .

Title of Task 3: Datum Surveys
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: T.W. Doyle, K. W. Krauss
Phone: 337-266-8647 / 337-266-8882
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Medium (for FY 2006)
Time Frame for Task 3: task continues through FY 2008
Task Personnel: E. Patino, Various technicians
Task Summary and Objectives: Elevation surveys will be conducted with differential leveling or kinematic GPS methods to rectify water and soil datums at each gaging station in the network and along the basin slope of freshwater and saltwater habitats.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Elevation surveys will be initiated to develop a digital elevation model of gaging stations and habitat quadrats across the Wood River basin watershed. This task is fairly involved and will begin in FY06 but continue in outyears concomitant with full funding level and labor force. Closed circuits will be achieved to account for leveling order and accuracy based on established benchmark monuments in the study area. Elevation profiles of the TTINWR marsh-mangrove complex will be determined from transect surveys and from LIDAR data, if available. Bathymetric survey of the Faka-Union Canal and coastal inland bay complex will be conducted with acoustic soundings, perhaps in collaboration with USGS-WRD personnel (E. Patino), unless otherwise available from other state or Federal agency. Hydroperiod calculations and inundation maps of grid point locations will be generated from the rectified elevations of surrounding soil surfaces relative to water levels at each gage site.

This task best addresses Tasks 1 and 2, above, from the DOI Plan: modeling to predict changes in hydrology and ecology in the Ten Thousand Islands NWR, and monitoring of water flows and water quality in receiving waters south of the project area, respectively.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Elevation datums of gaging stations.

Title of Task 4: Vegetation Surveys
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: K. W. Krauss, R.J. Howard, T.W. Doyle
Phone: 337-266-8647 / 337-266-8882
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Low (for FY 2006)
Time Frame for Task 4: time frame ranges from FY06-FY08
Task Personnel: Various technicians
Task Summary and Objectives: Quantify the vegetation types and mangrove growth along the oligohaline-estuarine gradient to correspond with observed hydroperiod and salinity.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Vegetation components of this study will be initiated in part concomitant to funding level.

Vegetation composition and cover data will be gathered at each grid station and along elevation transects between gage stations in relation to water level above surface to generate species and community ordinations by location and environmental characteristics. Mangrove stands and tree islands will be measured for tree size, density, and stature to relate stand development to hydroperiod and site quality. Tree and species growth rates will be monitored for select stands near network gaging stations utilizing dendrometer band techniques. Dendrometer bands will be installed on 10-20 trees per species from each selected site depending on size class distribution. Each tree will be marked with a numbered aluminum tag and measured for stem diameter and height. Bands will be remeasured quarterly for at least 2-3 years to allow for sufficient long-term climate contrasts of intra- and inter-seasonal variation in tree and species response. Porewater salinity and soil samples will be collected from each site and analyzed for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus to determine if dendrometer growth is related more to hydroperiod or to soil physico-chemical state.

This task best addresses Task 3, above, from the DOI Plan: monitoring of ecological responses to hydrologic change.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Dendroband growth data on mangrove trees.
(2) Vegetation quadrant observations at gaging stations.

Additional Project Tasks 5-10 are scheduled to begin in FY07-FY09:
Project Tasks and Timeline

  YR1 YR2 YR3 YR4
FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09
1 Gage and Datalogger Installations X X    
2 Gage Downloads and Data Mgmt. X X X X
3 Datum Surveys X X X  
4 Vegetation Surveys X X X  
5 Vegetation Ordination Analysis   X X X
6 Dendroband Remeasurements   X X X
7 Growth-Hydroperiod Analysis   X X X
8 Hydrologic Data Analysis   X X X
9 Hydrodynamic Model Development   X X X
10 Hydro Model Testing & Application     X X



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