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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES

Fiscal Year 2008 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Southwest Florida Coastal and Wetland Systems Monitoring
Study Start Date: October, 1999   Study End Date: On-going
Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/fl/nwis/current/?type=flow&group_key=basin_cd, http://time.er.usgs.gov
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve
Funding Source: USGS's Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science Initiative (PES)
Annual Costs: FY-00; FY-01; FY-02; FY-03; FY-04; FY-05; FY-06; FY-07; FY-2008; FY-2009
Principal Investigator(s): Eduardo Patino
Study Personnel: Lars Soderqvist, Craig Thompson, Andrew Erickson, Noel Wingers.
Supporting Organizations: USGS, ENP, USACE, NOAA, SFWMD, Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), Louisiana State University (LSU), and Texas A&M University (TAMU).
Associated / Linked Projects: Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development, Southern Inland and Coastal Systems (SICS), Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP); Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP); Southwest Florida Feasibility Study; Florida Bay Florida Keys Feasibility Study; FIU Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), SFWMD Everglades/Mercury Research.

Overview & Objective(s):
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 study, in conjunction with the ENP's 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. 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, and on how Everglades Restoration projects affect the freshwater inflows and water quality of the estuarine ecosystem.

The objectives of this study are (1) to describe flow and salinity of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP in relation to freshwater inflow and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico; (2) provide support to the USGS Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development, to the SIRENIA Manatee research project, and to 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.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Indentified:
This project is directly tied to the Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP), performance measures (salinity distributions), hydrodynamic model development and verification (TIME/SICS), 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. Picayune Strand Hydrologic Restoration
  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.

Status:
This project continues to supply critical hydrologic information related to CERP and other Everglades Research efforts. Discharge is available for all major rivers draining the Shark River Slough basin of ENP. Starting in September 2003, the effort to measure flows along the southwest coast was significantly expanded with the contribution of the CERP/MAP funded Coastal Gradients of Flow, Salinity, and Nutrients project. This CERP effort is dependent on existing PES projects like the Southwest Florida Coastal and Wetland Systems Monitoring to continue. Continuing data collection efforts as well as expanding the research perspective will provide baseline information and link upstream and downstream processes along estuaries of the southwest coast.

Recent & Planned Products:

  1. Fact-Sheet "Hydrologic Characteristics of Estuarine River Systems within Everglades National Park" (FS 2004-3129, 4p.), Hittle, C.D., Patino, E., Zucker, M., 2004.
  2. Abstract, oral, and poster presentations at the First National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (Orlando, Florida, Dec. 6 - 10 2004), prepared and presented in conjunction with the Freshwater Flows into Northeast Florida Bay (PES) and Coastal Gradients of Flow, Salinity, and Nutrients (CERP/MAP) projects.
  3. Hydrologic records for years 2001 thru 2005 published in FISC-WRS Data Report, and are now available on SOFIA.
  4. Hydrologic records for 2006 to be published in FISC-WRS Data Report, and made available on SOFIA by October 31, 2007.
  5. Residual flows at estuarine rivers discharging freshwater to the Gulf of Mexico along the southwest coast of ENP will be calculated by the use of "lowpass" filters, and data (2001 - 2005) made available in SOFIA by September, 2007.

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:
PES
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (239) 275-8448
FAX: (239) 275-6280
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: HIGH
Task Personnel: Lars Soderqvist, Craig Thompson, Andrew Erickson, Noel Wingers.

Task Summary and Objectives:
This task is designed to describe the flow and 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 Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) model development 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 flow and 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 Mangrove Ecotone (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-08

  1. Maintain 10 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, Wilderness Waterway near Onion Key Bay, Chatham River, New River, Lopez River, Turner River, Barron River/Canal. The two open-water stations in the Gulf of Mexico, ENP boundary markers near Shark Point and the mouth of Chatham River, were destroyed by hurricane Wilma and will not be re-constructed.
  2. Continue with ADCP discharge measurements for the verification of velocity calibration ratings used in the computation of discharge at instrumented coastal rivers.
  3. Continue QA/QC of all field data.
  4. Compute, process, and publish all hydrologic data for WY-2007.
  5. Continue analysis of all available data for the description of flow and salinity patterns of rivers and estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, including the use of available data filters for the calculation of "residual" discharges at all flow sites within the study area.

Specific Task Product(s):

  1. Hydrologic records for WY-2006 to be made available at the USGS-SOFIA web address; October 31, 2007.
  2. All Water Year 2006 hydrologic records to be published in the FISC-WRS 2005 Data Report; April 30, 2007.
  3. Continue network analysis and assessment of products and deliverables
  4. Continuation of the collection and processing of hydrologic data; September, 2008.



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