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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES and ENP CESI

Fiscal Year 2007 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
Proposed: FY08, FY09
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Thomas W. Doyle, Dr. Ken W. Krauss
Study Personnel: Dr. Ehab Meselhe, Dr. Rebecca J. Howard, Eduardo Patino, Terry J. Doyle, Dr. Emab Habib
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, and modeling/determining hydrologic coupling with vegetative assemblage.

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.

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 (science alliance) 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: Received funding for FY 2006 (GE PES; CESI). Transferred back to Florida Integrated Science Center to support task of Eduardo Patino (quantifying western Tamiami Trail flows relevant to TTINWR). We have begun implanting the study design by installing 10 water-level recorders at TTINWR and purchasing equipment for a weather station (incl. design and installing a fence to protect it). See project Summary Report for FY 2006.

Recent Products (FY 2006 presentations):

Doyle, T.W. & K.W. Krauss. 2006. Predicting marsh-mangrove response and ecotone migration under altered hydrologic flow and changing sea-level across Ten Thousand Islands NWR. Page 58 in 2006 Ecosystem Restoration Conference: Planning, Policy and Science, June 5-9, Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Doyle, T.W., K.W. Krauss, M. Melder, J.K. Sullivan & A. From. 2005. SELVA-MANGRO: an integrated landscape and stand simulation model for predicting mangrove forest growth and distribution across the Everglades coastal margin under changing climate. Climate Science in Support of Decision Making, U.S. Climate Change Science Program, November 14-16, Arlington, VA.

Krauss, K.W., T.W. Doyle, R.R. Twilley, V.H. Rivera-Monroy & J.K. Sullivan. 2005. Subsidy-stress in estuarine floodplains: evaluating hydroperiod as a growth constraint in mangroves. Estuarine Interactions, 18th Biennial Conference of the Estuarine Research Federation, October 16-21, Norfolk, VA.

Planned Products: Funds for FY 2006 were delayed, hence, we will continue to install the network of water-level 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. Even so, we anticipate that the installation of only the salinity loggers will be delayed beyond October 2006; we have been diligent and resourceful with installation to date. We will begin preliminary modeling exercises with water level data that we have collected from June 2006 through September 2007. We will begin surveying water level recorders to a vertical datum and verify digital elevation models for TTINWR to provide a base of our modeling of water flows. We will also develop study designs and install 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 (undetermined venue) and a USGS Fact Sheet describing eco-hydrologic research at NWRC with principal emphasis on this project and wetland water use in the south Florida coastal margin. An annual progress summary report will be submitted to highlight field activities, preliminary data, and significant findings of FY 2007. Upon project completion, we will produce a USGS Open File Report, USGS Scientific Investigations Report, or USGS Professional Paper for wide dissemination and at least two scientific journal articles addressing the hydrologic/salinity modeling results, vegetative growth and water use characteristics/modeling 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.

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): active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: FY 2007
Task Personnel: E. Patino, T.J. Doyle, Various USGS & FWS technicians

Task Summary and Objectives: A stratified network of gaging stations is being 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. To date, we have installed 10 of a total of 14 proposed water level recorders.

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

Fourteen continuous stage recorders are being installed in a 3 x 4 matrix, with two off-grid, 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. Paired rain gages (purchased in FY 2006) will be installed at the northern and southern ends of the network to account for rainfall input on stage and salinity; a meterological station (purchased in FY 2006) to predict ET rates will also be co-located (planned installation in October 2006). Two Doppler velocity meters have been placed under bridges on the Tamiami Trail where freshwater exchange occurs north to south under the highway into the study basin (task of E. Patino). 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. Data will be downloaded monthly-to-quarterly depending on logger type.

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 (E. Patino)
(4) Meteorological observations (hourly temp, precip, humidity, wind velocity, etc)
(5) Abstract and presentation at a scientific meeting (yet undefined venue for FY 2007)

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): active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 2: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: E. Patino, Various USGS & FWS 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 (Task 7) 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 2007, we will establish an archiving protocol compatible with software to develop the hydrodynamic and salinity models 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): active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 3: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2008
Task Personnel: Various USGS & FWS 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, began to some degree in FY06, and will 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) or USGS St. Pete staff (Mark Hansen), 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
(2) Preliminary overlay of a digital elevation model on GIS shape file of TTINWR

Title of Task 4: Vegetation Surveys and Water Use Analysis
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
Phone: 337-266-8882 / 337-266-8639
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Medium
Time Frame for Task 4: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: Various USGS & FWS technicians

Task Summary and Objectives: Quantify vegetation assemblages and water use strategies 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 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. We will access and analyze existing vegetation data collected by TTINWR refuge personnel to identify additional studies, including vegetation tagging and tracking. We will also develop a study plan to include eco-physiological studies that link water use efficiency (using an infrared gas analyzer) and vegetation type. These studies will be useful for including vegetation algorithms in ecosystem water use models to interpret how different vegetation types serve to convey or affect water flows in TTINWR.

Note: Since vegetation components of this study will be initiated concomitant to funding level, we omited installation of dendrometer studies. These studies require dedicated waterlevel recorders to that effort (i.e., off-grid) and frequent visits; reduction in funding precluding having a person employed on site makes this task difficult. This was the most expendable project element.

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

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Analysis of past vegetation transect data from TTINWR refuge personnel
(2) Vegetation quadrant observations at gaging stations
(3) Establish study design and procedure for determining water use efficiency of vegetation at gaging stations

Title of Task 5: Vegetation Ordination Analysis
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: R.J. Howard
Phone: 337-266-8639
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Medium
Time Frame for Task 5: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: K.W. Krauss, D.J. Johnson (NWRC Statistician)

Task Summary and Objectives: Develop statistical ordination protocols for linking vegetation assemblages to hydroperiod.

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

Ordination analyses will be used to explore vegetation data collected by TTINWR refuge personnel from establish transects and for analysis additional data collected as part of Task 4.

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

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Development of a statistical protocol for ordination analysis
(2) Define exact study design (site visit for R.J. Howard) and products

Title of Task 6: Hydrologic Data Analysis
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, E. Meselhe
Phone: 337-266-8647 / 337-266-8882 / 337-482-0613
FAX: 337-266-8592
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Medium
Time Frame for Task 6: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: E. Habib, Various graduate students

Task Summary and Objectives: Begin analyzing hydrologic, meteorological, and salinity data for parsing into hydrological modeling software.

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

This task will involve adaptive protocols for identifying how NWRC project scientists will serve data to UL-Lafayette for development of the numerical models. After data transfer to UL-Lafayette, management of data and implementation within modeling exercises will be the responsibility of UL-Lafayette. This task will initiate that effort.

This task best addresses Tasks 2 and 3, above, from the DOI Plan: monitoring of water flows and water quality in receiving waters south of the project area and monitoring of ecological responses to hydrologic change, respectively.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Initial data parsed according to the requirements of hydrologic modeling software
(2) Development of a data transfer protocol
(3) Familiarize numerical modelers and graduate students with data being collected

Title of Task 7: Hydrodynamic Model Development
Task Funding:
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Task Leaders: E. Meselhe, E. Habib
Phone: 337-482-0613 / 337-482-6513
FAX: 337-482-0698
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 7: FY 2007; task continues through FY 2009
Task Personnel: Various graduate students

Task Summary and Objectives: Task will begin to set-up a hydrodynamic and salinity transport numerical model to analyze the flow and salinity circulation patterns across the monitoring network. The primary objective of the modeling work will be to predict water level and salinity within the study basin for the existing conditions and with selected freshwater flow scenarios.

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

Model development will involve an evaluation of empirical stage and salinity observations to determine the autocorrelation of hydrographic behavior between neighboring gage stations and the entire network. Appropriate numerical models will be identified based on accuracy, robustness, and computational efficiency for further calibration and validation. The best-fit modeling paradigm will be calibrated to simulate volumetric flow, stage, and associated changes in salinity patterns. Model validation and tuning will be conducted with each new time series of retrieved field data expected every 3-5 months. Hydrographs of field and simulated data will be generated in narrative and graphic form for all network stations to demonstrate model fit.

This task best addresses Task 1, above, from the DOI Plan: modeling to predict changes in hydrology and ecology in the Ten Thousand Islands NWR.

Specific Task Product(s):

(1) Initial development of a hydrologic model for TTINWR
(2) Development of a protocol for the initial development of a salinity model in FY 2008

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 & Water Use Ana.   X X X
5 Vegetation Ordination Analysis   X X X
6 Hydrologic Data Analysis   X X X
7 Hydrodynamic Model Development   X X X
8 Hydro Model Testing & Application     X X



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