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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES and ENP CESI

Fiscal Year 2009 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Effect of Sheet Flow on Transport of Suspended Particles and Particle-Associated Nutrients in the Everglades Ridge and Slough Landscape: Phase II
Study Start Date: Phase I began FY03, 1-year Interim Funding in FY07, Phase II began FY08 Study End Date: Phase II ends September 2010; Phase III may be needed at a lower level of funding to support our key involvement through the end of the Decomp Physical Model experiment (FY09 - FY12)
Web Sites: http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/jharvey/sfstpt/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/susparticles/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/wtr_flux/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/sfrsf/entdisplays/waterlevels/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/exchange/harvey/harveyDATA.html; http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/jharvey/site/index.html
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Northern, Central, and Southern Everglades (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade)
Funding Source: GE PES
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): FY09 from NPS/Everglades National Park/CESI
Funding History: Phase II: FY08, FY09, FY10
Principal Investigator(s): Jud Harvey (USGS-NRP, Reston), Greg Noe (USGS-NRP, Reston), and Laurel Larsen (USGS-NRP, Reston)
Study Personnel: Ben O'Connor, Postdoctoral Investigator (USGS-NRP), Mike Lowit, term employee (USGS-NRP), Lauren McPhillips, USGS contract associate (ETI-Reston), Jeffrey Woods, collaborator (USGS-FISC, Ft. Lauderdale)
Supporting Organizations: USGS, NPS/Everglades National Park, SFWMD
Associated / Linked Studies: Tides and Inflows at the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME): http://time.er.usgs.gov/ (updated URL: http://sofia.usgs.gov/time); Integrated Geochemical Studies in the Everglades: http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/wetland_seds/, http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/evergl_merc/; Freshwater Flows into Florida Bay: http://sflwww.er.usgs.gov/projects/freshwtr_flow/; Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research: http://fcelter.fiu.edu/

Overview & Objective(s):

A primary directive in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is to restore Everglades hydrology toward pre-drainage conditions in a manner that will successfully restore landscape topographic heterogeneity and the associated high biodiversity while also protecting water quality. Central to CERP is the project that will restore sheet flow and hydrologic connectivity in much of the Everglades, referred to as the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization & Sheet Flow Enhancement project (DECOMP). DECOMP is the primary strategy planned to reverse the deleterious effects of past management practices that led to loss of diversity in Everglades landscape patterns (i.e., losses of ridge and slough and tree island topographic features and associated losses of diversity in flora and fauna). A growing concern is that augmenting Everglades sheet flow to benefit the ecology of certain downstream areas could have unintended consequences for other areas, such as transporting surface-water contaminants farther into the central and southern parts of the Everglades ecosystem than ever before. As a result there is unprecedented need for understanding how flow, sediment transport, and water quality will interact under a restored flow regime.

Increasing numbers of scientists and stakeholders believe that sheet flow and sediment transport processes are a key driver controlling Everglades landscape function. Beginning six years ago the Science Coordination Team (2003), the National Park Service (Crisfield and McVoy, 2004), National Research Council (National Research Council, 2003), and the Department of Interior (DOI, 2005), all wisely recommended that research be conducted to determine how changing the amount and distribution sheet flow in a "restored" Everglades will influence landscape characteristics. The Everglades scientific community responded quickly by developing research proposals to investigate flow and transport processes in the Everglades. Spurred by the "workshop" approach outlined first by the Science Coordination Team, the SFWMD, USGS, NPS and Universities (FIU, FAU, UF) are now cooperating in research at unprecedented levels. For example, in 2006 a workshop was conducted to develop candidate conceptual models of Everglades landscape dynamics with specific testable hypotheses (Harvey and Sklar, 2006). Several Ph.D. dissertations have advanced these concepts and resulting publications are now serving the restoration as candidate conceptual models for DECOMP.

One result of the new era of agency-university cooperation is the design of a multi-year experiment to test some of the key remaining scientific uncertainties for DECOMP by implementing flow restoration in a landscape scale experiment (National Research Council, 2008). Referred to as DPM (DECOMP Physical Model), the experimental release of water between WCA-3A and 3B will provide a direct test of how the ridge and slough ecosystem can be restored by flow manipulation. DPM will also provide direct measurements of canal dynamics under the changing flow regime of DECOMP. The DPM design subteam of which we are active participants is now meeting on a biweekly basis to finalize planning for the 4-year, landscape scale test of restoration concepts.

This workplan by the USGS Sheetflow and Sediment Transport Processes Team outlines our program to address some of the key remaining scientific uncertainties for DECOMP. These questions must be answered if the restoration's objective of "restoring and reconnecting flows to preserve topographic heterogeneity and biotic diversity in the Everglades ridge and slough landscape while protecting water quality" is to be achieved. USGS expertise in flow and sediment transport measurement and modeling and ecosystem processes has made us an integral part of the DECOMP implementation, through workshops, Interagency Modeling Reviews for DECOMP, restoration conceptual model development, DPM design team meetings, and DPM's implementation. The overall objective of this USGS-PES project is to identify the relative importance of hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes that will determine the most effective means of preserving and restoring topographic heterogeneity and biotic diversity of the Everglades Ridge and Slough Landscape.

Relevance to Major Unanswered Restoration Questions and Other Information Needs:

Our proposed experiments and modeling are fundamental to building a reliable predictive capability of how the Everglades will respond to the restoration's higher flows. The multi-agency Science Coordination Team of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (http://www.sfrestore.org/) asserted the need for research on interactions between flow and ecological processes in the Everglades (Science Coordination Team, 2003). Furthermore, the National Research Council reports a lack of understanding of the role of flow as a factor contributing to landscape changes in the Everglades (National Research Council, 2003). The Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP) of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) (http://www.evergladesplan.org) also calls for the need of background information on sheet flow behavior for effective restoration assessment.

The need for investigations of how flow, sediment transport, and water quality interact is identified as a priority in multiple sections of the Science Plan of the Department of Interior (2005). Our research directly addresses the following CERP Interim Goals (3.2-Sheet Flow in Natural Areas, 3.3-Hydropattern, 3.5-Everglades Wetlands Total Phosphorus, and 3.7-Ridge and Slough Pattern). The proposed research supports several of the critical information needs identified by the National Academy of Science and DOI's Science Plan. For example, the National Academy of Sciences has emphasized the importance of sediment transport to understanding and restoring the Everglades (NRC, 2003), while the DOI Science Plan highlights the need to understand the influence of hydrology on nutrient and contaminant transport and cycling (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2005).

Our proposed work addresses fundamental questions about flow, sediment transport, and water quality that are relevant to management questions throughout the Everglades. At the same the proposed work also addresses key CERP projects mentioned in the DOI Science plan. These critical CERP projects include the WCA-3A Decompartmentalization (DECOMP) Project and Tamiami Trail Bridge Expansion projects, in addition to broader projects related to preservation of landscape structure (e.g. Landscape-Scale Modeling Study and Ridge and Slough Performance Standards), and changing water quality and the need for more modern water-quality performance standards in the Everglades (e.g. Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study). Finally, the information gained on suspended sediment and nutrient transport will aid critical modeling efforts that support the Loxahatchee Internal Canal Structures Project. In conclusion, our proposed work supports no less than six of the key projects identified by DOI as critical to the success of the Everglades restoration.

Publication of the PES Sheetflow and Sediment Transport Processes Team 2003 - present

Reports and Journal Papers:

Davis, S.E. III, Childers, D.L., and Noe, G.B. 2006. The contribution of leaching to the rapid release of nutrients and carbon in the early decay of oligotrophic wetland vegetation. Hydrobiologia 569: 87-97.

Gaiser, E. E., Trexler, J., Richards, J., Childers, D., Lee, D., Edwards, A.L., Scinto, L., Jayachandran, K., Noe, G., and Jones, R. 2005. Cascading ecological effects of low-level phosphorus enrichment in the Florida Everglades. Journal of Environmental Quality 34: 717-723.

Harvey, J.W., Krupa, S.L., and Krest, J.M. 2004. Ground water recharge and discharge in the central Everglades. Ground Water 42(7): 1090-1102.

Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., and Krest, J.M., Choi, J., Nemeth, E.A., and Krupa, S.L. 2005. Surface water and ground water interactions in Water Conservation Area 2A, Central Everglades. USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5069. 88p.

Harvey, J.W., and McCormick, P.V., 2009. Groundwater's significance to changing hydrology, water chemistry, and biological communities of a floodplain ecosystem, Everglades, south Florida. Hydrogeology Journal, doi: 10.1007/s10040-008-0379-x. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., and Krupa, S.L. 2006. Modeling decadal timescale interactions between surface water and ground water in the central Everglades, Florida, USA. Journal of Hydrology 320: 400-420.

Harvey, J.W., Saiers, J.E., and Newlin, J.T. 2005. Solute transport and storage mechanisms in wetlands of the Everglades, South Florida. Water Resources Research, 41, W05009, doi:10.129/2004WR003507.

Harvey, J.W., Schaffranek, R.W., Noe, G.B., Larsen, L.G., Nowacki, D., and O'Connor, B.L. 2009. Hydroecological factors governing surface-water flow on a low gradient floodplain, Water Resources Research. In press. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

Huang, Y.H, Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Mylon, S., 2008, Advection, Dispersion, and Filtration of Fine Particles within Emergent Vegetation of the Florida Everglades. Water Resources Research, 44, W04408, doi:10.1029/2007WR006290.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2007. A delicate balance: ecohydrological feedbacks governing landscape morphology in a lotic peatland. Ecological Monographs, 77(4): 591-614.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2009. Morphologic and transport properties of natural organic floc. Water Resources Research 45, W01410, doi:10.1029/2008WR006990.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2009. Predicting organic floc transport dynamics in shallow aquatic ecosystems: insights from the field, laboratory, and numerical modeling. Water Resources Research 45, W01411, doi:10.1029/2008WR007221. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

McCormick, P.V. and Harvey, J.W., 2007. Influence of Changing Water Sources and Mineral Chemistry on the Everglades Ecosystem. U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Report, 67 p.

Noe, G.B., Scinto, L.J., Taylor, J., Childers, D.L., and Jones, R.D. 2003. Phosphorus cycling and partitioning in an oligotrophic Everglades wetland ecosystem: a radioisotope tracing study. Freshwater Biology 48(11):19932008.

Noe, G.B., Harvey, J.W., and Saiers, J.E. 2007. Characterization of suspended particles in Everglades wetlands. Limnology & Oceanography. 52: 1166-1178.

Noe, G.B., and Childers, D.L. 2007. Phosphorus budgets in Everglades wetland ecosystems: The effects of hydrology and nutrient enrichment. Wetlands Ecology and Management 15: 189-205.

Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., and Mylon, S.E. 2003. Surface-water transport of suspended matter through wetland vegetation of the Florida Everglades. Geophysical Research Letters 30(19), 1987, doi:10.1029/2003GL018132.

Schaffranek, R.W. 2004. Sheet-flow velocities and factors affecting sheet-flow behavior of importance to restoration of the Florida Everglades, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3123, 4 p. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/pubs/fs/fs20043123

Schaffranek, R.W., and Riscassi, A.L. 2004. Flow velocity, water temperature, and conductivity at selected locations in Shark River Slough, Everglades National Park, Florida: July 1999-July 2003, U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 110. http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/ds110/

Conference Abstracts and Proceedings:

Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., Larsen, L.G., Nowacki, D., and Schaffranek, R.W. 2008. Relative Importance of Hydro-Ecological Processes Governing Self- Organization of the Everglades Ridge and Slough Landscape. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf), p 165-167.

Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., Nowacki, D., and Schaffranek, R.W. 2008. Threshold for Everglades Sediment Entrainment Determined by FlowEnhancement in a Field Flume. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 -August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf), p. 168-169.

Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., Schaffranek, R.W., Saiers, J.E., Huang, Y.H., and Larsen, L.G. 2006. Understanding linkages between sheet flow and suspended sediment transport processes in the ridge and slough landscape. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 92.

Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Larsen, L.G. 2008. Field Flume Experiments Resolve Feedback Processes Governing Historic formation, recent degradation, and restoration of the Everglades ridge and slough landscape. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 15-19 December, San Francisco, CA.

Harvey, J.W., Schaffranek, R.W., Larsen, L.G., Nowacki, D., Noe, G.B., and O'Connor, B.L. 2008. Controls on flow velocity and flow resistance in the patterned floodplain landscape of the Everglades. 2008 Ocean Sciences ing, March 2-7, 2008. Orlando, Florida (www.aslo.org/orlando2008)

Harvey, J.W., Schaffranek, R.W., Noe, G.B., Larsen, L.G., Nowacki, D., and O'Connor, B.L. 2008. Controls on Flow Velocity and Flow Resistance in the Heterogeneous Floodplain Landscape of the Everglades. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf), p 379-380.

Harvey, J.W. and Sklar, F. 2006. WORKSHOP: Development of a Conceptual Model for Ridge and Slough Landscape Dynamics. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 91.

Huang, Y.H., Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., and Noe, G.B. 2006. Particle transport through surface waters of the Florida Everglades. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 99.

Larsen, L.G., G. R. Aiken, J. W. Harvey, G. B. Noe, and J. P. Crimaldi, 2007. Resolution of small-scale changes in organic matter source and redox state in the Florida Everglades with fluorescence spectroscopy. Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science: Interactions of Hydrology, Biology, and Geochemistry, 8-13 July, New London, NH.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W. and Crimaldi. J.P. 2007. Wetland vegetation, surface water stage, and pulsed discharge as controls on bed shear stress and sediment transport in the context of Everglades Restoration. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 10-14 December, San Francisco, CA.

Larsen, L.G., Aiken, G.R., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B. and Crimaldi, J.P. 2007. Inferences about small-scale microbial dynamics, transport processes, and hydrologic mixing from dissolved organic matter quality in the Florida Everglades. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 4-9 February, Santa Fe, NM.

Larsen, L.G.,Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Crimaldi, J.P. 2008. Entrainment, settling, and aggregation of organic wetland floc and implications for landscape development. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, 8-13 June, Saint Johns, Newfoundland.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W. and Crimaldi, J.P. 2008. Hydroecological feedbacks promote flow-parallel patterning in the Everglades and low-gradient floodplains. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 15-19 December, San Francisco, CA.

Larsen, L.G., Aumen, N., Bernhardt, C., Engel, V., Givnish, T. Hagerthy, S., Harvey, J. Leonard, L., McVoy, C., Noe, G., Nungesser, M., Rutchey, K., Sklar, F., Troxler, T., Volin, J., and Willard, D. 2008. The Role of Flow and Transport Processes in Ridge/Slough/Tree Island Pattern Dynamics. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf), p 243-244.

Larsen, L.G., and Harvey, J.W. 2006. Feedbacks between differential peat accretion and anabranching river mechanics in the ridge and slough landscape. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 128.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., and Noe, G.B. 2008. A Process-Based Cellular Automata Model of Ridge and Slough Landscape Evolution. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf),p 241-242.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Nowacki, D.J. 2008. Transport Dynamics of Floc in Ridge and Slough Vegetation Communities: A Laboratory Flume Experiment and Numerical Study. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf),p. 245-246.

McCormick, P.V., Harvey, J.W., Orem, W.H., Newman, S., Hagerthy, S., and Trexler, J. 2008. The Contrasting Mineral Chemistry of the Predrainage and Managed Everglades: Hydrologic Basis and Biogeochemical Significance. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf),p 280-281.

Noe, G.B., Harvey, J.W., Schaffranek, R.W., Saiers, J.E., and Larsen, L.G. 2006. Spatiotemporal variation in the characteristics of suspended particles in the Everglades: implications for the ridge and slough landscape. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 58.

Noe, G.B., J. Harvey, and J. Saiers. 2006. Suspended particles in Everglades wetlands: characterization and importance to phosphorus transport. Association of Southeastern Biologists, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Noe, G.B., J. Harvey, R. Schaffranek, and L. Larsen. 2007. Characteristics of suspended sediment in the Everglades and implications for the origin and maintenance of the ridge and slough landscape. Society of Wetland Scientists, Sacramento, California.

Noe, G.B., Harvey, J.W., and Larsen, L.G. 2008. Biogeochemical Transformations and Transport Related to Flow in the Ridge and Slough Landscape. GEER 2008: Planning, Policy and Science Meeting, July 28 - August 1, 2008, Naples, FL, USA (http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/GEER2008/pdf/Abstract_BOOK.pdf),p 317-318.

Noe, G.B. 2008. Effects of extreme climate on nutrient and sediment retention in natural wetlands. Soil Science Society of America, Houston, Texas.

Noe, G.B., J. Harvey, and L. Larsen. 2008. Organic sediment influences on phosphorus fractionation and transport in a peatland. American Society for Limnology & Oceanography, St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Schaffranek, R.W., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., Riscassi, A.L., Nowacki, D.J., and Larsen, L.G. 2006. Sheet flow in the ridge and slough landscape of Everglades Water Conservation Area 3A, Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 197.

Schaffranek, R.W., Riscassi, A.L., and Nowacki, D.J. 2006. Flow simulation in Everglades National Park, Third Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conf., April 2-6, 2006, Reno, NV, 8 p.

WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Effect of Water Flow on Transport of Solutes, Suspended Particles, and Particle-Associated Nutrients in the Everglades: Phase II
Task Funding: USGS Priority Ecosystems Science
Task Leaders: Jud Harvey (USGS-NRP, Reston), Greg Noe (USGS-NRP, Reston), Laurel Larsen (USGS-NRP, Reston)
Phone: (703) 648-5876
FAX: (703) 648-5484
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: October 2007- September 2010
Task Personnel: Ben O'Connor, Postdoctoral Investigator (USGS-NRP), Mike Lowit, term employee (USGS-NRP), Lauren McPhillips, USGS contract associate (ETI-Reston), Jeffrey Woods, collaborator (USGS-FISC, Ft. Lauderdale)

Task Objective and Relevance to Everglades Restoration:

The ridge and slough landscape has been substantially degraded in the past century. The Science Coordination Team (2003) and National Research Council (2003) strongly recommended that research be undertaken to better understand the processes controlling the origin and maintenance of the ridge and slough landscape in order to better understand how the remaining high biodiversity and landscape pattern complexity can be preserved as well as how to restore those functions in degraded areas.

Degradation is thought to have been brought about through a complex set of processes during the past century as a result of water management practices that emphasized flood control and water storage rather than protection of ecosystem characteristics and function. Three of the important drivers that are hypothesized to be at the root of landscape change were the slowing of sheetflow velocities, altered water levels, and excessive levels of nutrients in canals (Science Coordination team, 2003; NRC, 2003).

Our research group has already made significant progress quantifying the physics of floc transport, including the recent quantification of thresholds of velocity and shear stress for entrainment of floc in sloughs and redistribution to ridges. However, there is still not enough known about how sediment transport processes interact with biogeochemical processing of organic carbon and nutrients to understand how or whether raising flow velocities can counteract degradation. Our objective is therefore to answer "How will the sources, nutrient loads, transport characteristics, and redistribution of suspended organic particles change under DECOMPARTMENTALIZED flows?". This research is necessary to understand how to preserve and restore the critical hydrological and biological factors that sustain the topographic heterogeneity of ridge and sloughs, and to effectively plan and manage the changes brought about by DECOMP. As is becoming more obvious to all involved, raising flow velocities has certain associated risks that may accompany the positive effects of restoration. In particular is the risk that higher flows will mobilize dissolved and sediment-associated contaminants and transport them farther into the system than ever before. For that reason we have developed a workplan to address the key uncertainties with the goal to achieve the Science Coordination team's challenge (SCT, 2003) of providing the needed scientific knowledge to DECOMP that will protect both Everglades landscape conditions and water quality though adaptive scientific management.

The results of our research in FY09 will provide crucial information to guide restoration projects such as the WCA-3A Decompartmentalization Project and Tamiami Trail bridge expansion. This research is fundamental to levee-gap and canal backfilling designs that will allow DECOMP to move forward and be adaptively managed. Results will also be highly relevant to answering key questions associated with changing landscape characteristics in the Everglades (e.g. Landscape-Scale Modeling Study, Ridge and Slough Performance Standards), as well as all projects concerned with changing water quality and the need for more modern water-quality performance standards in the Everglades (e.g. Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study). The information gained on particle and solute transport will also aid critical modeling efforts that support the Loxahatchee Internal Canal Structures Project.

Questions Being Investigated:

In FY09 we will continue to address the following key questions, the outcome of which will potentially affect the success of scientifically-based restoration in the Everglades:

  • What flow velocities are necessary to entrain and redistribute sediment in the ridge and slough landscape? How do ridge and slough topographic variation and vegetation patterns influence the sources, transport rates, rates of interception, and storage residence times of suspended particulates and nutrients? We have largely answered these questions in the past several years.
  • What are relative roles of transport of fine suspended particulate matter (< 10 µm) and coarser flocculent benthic organic matter (floc) in suspended sediment and phosphorus transport budgets in the Everglades? This question arose as a surprising finding during our recent field experiments. Given that transport of fine suspended sediment less than 10 µm often dominates the phosphorus and organic matter flux, answering this question is a priority.
  • How do rates of physical transport, redistribution, and decomposition of particulate organic matter interact to determine the long-term topographic structure of the landscape? This question may represent the greatest uncertainty in understanding landscape degradation processes and is therefore also a very high priority. The question needs to be answered across a gradient in flow velocity (spanning the 5 to 10x range between pre-drainage velocities and present velocities). The question also needs to be answered across a gradient in landscape condition from well-preserved ridge and slough landscape to highly degraded.
  • To what extent will sources, concentrations, and transport distances of suspended sediments and nutrients in Everglades wetlands be altered by DECOMP? How far downstream will suspended sediments and associated nutrients will be transported as a result of reconnected hydrology and higher sheetflow velocities? Best answered in the context of a landscape-scale field experiment, i.e. the DECOMP Physical Model. Of particular importance is to determine whether increased flow velocities will mobilize undesirable amounts of sediment or dissolved constituents from abandoned canals, and whether partial or complete canal backfilling is necessary alleviate the problem.

Detailed FY09 Plan:

Answering the above questions requires measurements both at sites with relatively well preserved ridge and slough topography and also at sites with degraded topography and vegetative distribution located in areas where early responses are expected due to their priority in DECOMP. We are already engaged at two sites meeting these criteria, first the WCA-3A5 site where we collected three years of velocity measurements in ridge and slough and conducted our field-flume experiments, and also in the L67 "pocket" and WCA-3B where the DPM will be constructed.

Relative importance of fine versus coarse particulate organic matter to total suspended material transport and redistribution under different flow conditions. We learned recently that the fine particles are free floating bacteria and fine-diameter compound particles entrained from periphyton and epiphyton in contrast to the coarse suspended particles that are floc and other coarser compound particles entrained from bed. The distinction raises important questions affecting restoration because we also learned that phosphorus is concentrated in fine particles (Noe et al., 2007, Noe et al., submitted). However, floc stores a much larger overall mass of sediment and phosphorus compared with the suspended fine particles (Noe and Childers, 2007), and therefore potentially plays a larger role in downstream and organic matter redistribution between sloughs and ridges … if it moves. Very little was known about the transport characteristics of floc until our recently completed laboratory and field-flume experiments (Larsen et al., 2009a and b), which indicated that the larger size of floc particles results in higher critical flow velocities for entrainment and transport compared to fine particles (manuscript in preparation). In addition, the sheetflow velocities that are achievable in the field, their controls, and the duration of "above-threshold" transport conditions are not well understood (Harvey et al., in press). Given recent progress on the physical transport aspects of the problem, the most uncertain aspect is now the biogeochemical fate of floc. Briefly these measurements will be made in FY09 using spectral analysis to determine floc sources, and floc decomposition measurements to determine relative decomposition rate. The work will be conducted at research site WCA-3A5.

Of particular importance is determining the threshold conditions of sheetflow velocity and bed shear stress that cause entrainment of floc, and determining whether and under what flow conditions those particles will experience a net redistribution from slough to ridge. We will also test the ability of spectral analysis of suspended material and other ecosystem components (floc, peat, different forms of periphyton, macrophytes) to identify the source(s) of suspended material under the different experimental flow velocities in ridge and slough. Visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy has been used to differentiate plant communities in the Everglades for remote sensing (John Jones, USGS, personal communication) and to assess wetland soil characteristics in general (Cohen and others, 2005). We will conduct preliminary sampling to evaluate the ability of this method to distinguish the potential sources of particles and develop spectral source mixing models for suspended particles, and then possibly apply the method in the flow experiments. Finally, in addition to measuring changes in suspended sediment concentrations, flux, and sources across the experimental flow velocities, we will also quantify the forms of phosphorus associated with fine suspended particles and floc through sequential chemical extractions. Understanding the quality of entrained sediment is necessary to predict its fate at downstream locations of retention.

Active Participation in DPM design and implementation. There are many in the Everglades scientific community, including the National Research Council (2008), who believe that one of the best ways to answer the key remaining questions about DECOMP is through execution of a large-scale flow experiment on the landscape. The DECOMP Physical Model (DPM) is a 4-year landscape-scale experiment that will test the interactions between increased sheetflow, sediment and nutrient transport, and response of downstream biogeochemistry and plant and fish communities. Over the past year and a half our USGS team has actively contributed to SFWMD's and USACE's DPM design. We are now a significant contributor in the biweekly Subteam conference calls to discuss the structural requirements, scientific hypotheses to be tested and workplans, and the budgetary components of the experiment. The DPM subteam will meet face to face in February 2009 to finalize these decisions.

The USGS role in DPM will be to conduct the experimental and modeling work to assess how increased sheetflow across various levels of pulsed flow and canal backfill designs will perform in terms of transport of sediments and associated nutrients to downstream areas. A 4-year test period is planned that includes pre- and post release measurements. The results will reveal the first response characteristics expected for all levee removal and canal backfills associated with DECOMP. Results will also set the stage for a longer term evaluation of the topographic, vegetative, and broader and ecosystem-level changes that can be expected over a large proportion of the central Everglades after DECOMP is fully implemented.

Our work in FY09 is to extend the methods we developed to conduct tracer experiments in relatively small (8 x 1m) field flumes to the much larger and less constrained environment of pulsed releases in DPM. Previous work with our Yale University colleagues (Saiers and others, 2003; Huang and others, 2007) using introduced tracers (TiO2 and synthetic latex particles) will no longer work, nor will measurements of "natural mobilization" of ambient particles be completely sufficient to characterize the extent to which both the bed and vegetation stems and leaves serve as sources and sinks of suspended particles. In FY09 we will need to develop a means to label natural particles in preparation for upcoming DPM pulsed flow releases. Use of natural particles in these experiments is essential to reliably characterize "entrainment" of suspended particulates under the naturally complex conditions of mixed particles of varying size, porosity, and degree of aggregation that arise from several different sources of organic matter (e.g., fine suspended vs. coarse floc). In addition we will continue to improve our use of an underwater camera and Sequoia Scientific's LISST-100X and LISST-Streamside laser diffraction particle size analyzers to detect movement of natural suspended particulates rather than the fluorescent or mineral "model" particles that we introduced in previous experiments.

All of our investigations are planned in a way that will maximize support of the critical science needs for the following four projects in the DOI Everglades Science Plan: (1) Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement, (2) Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR (WCA-1) Internal Canal Structures, (3) Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study, and (4) Landscape-Scale Modeling Study. A noteworthy new development in 2006 was the South Florida Water Management District's and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recognition that a physical model is needed to help adaptively guide DECOMP.

FY09 Specific Task Product(s): [List and include expected delivery date(s).]

Publications:

Harvey, J.W., and McCormick, P.V., 2009. Groundwater's significance to changing hydrology, water chemistry, and biological communities of a floodplain ecosystem, Everglades, south Florida. Hydrogeology Journal, doi: 10.1007/s10040-008-0379-x. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

Harvey, J.W., and others. 2009. Hydro-ecological factors governing surface-water flow on a low gradient floodplain, Water Resources Research, in press, January 2009.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2009a. Morphologic and transport properties of natural organic floc. Water Resources Research 40, W01410, doi:10.1029/2008WR006990.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2009b. Predicting organic floc transport dynamics in shallow aquatic ecosystems: insights from the field, laboratory, and numerical modeling. Water Resources Research 40, W01411, doi:10.1029/2008WR007221. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)

Larsen, L.G.and others. 2009. Recent and historic drivers of landscape change in the Everglades ridge, slough, and tree island mosaic. Invited contribution prepared for a special issue of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology.

Larsen, L.G.and others. 2009. A model for shear partitioning in complex vegetated flow. In final preparation for submission to Geophysical Research Letters.

McCormick, P., and Harvey, J., 2009. Influence of changing waters sources and mineral chemistry on the Everglades ecosystem. Invited contribution prepared for a special issue of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology

Noe, G.B., and others. 2009. Hydrologic, meteorological, and plant community controls on suspended particle characteristics and transport in a subtropical wetland. Submitted December 2009 to Wetlands.

Planned FY09 Contributions to Everglades Restoration Community:

- Leadership in organizing multi-agency and university authored manuscript (Larsen et al., 2009) summarizing progress addressing root causes of Everglades landscape degradation.

- Active participation in DECOMP Physical Model (DPM) Subteam biweekly meetings, October 2008 - present.

- Finalize scientific plan for DECOMP Physical Model (DPM) at 2-day meeting with DPM subteam at Army Corps headquarters in Jacksonville, February 2009.

- Field visits with DPM subteam for DPM experimental layout and pre-experimental measurements, July - November 2009.

Expected Results and Significance:

DOI's Science Plan (2005) highlights the need to understand the influence of hydrology on nutrient and contaminant transport and cycling. The National Academy of Sciences has also emphasized the importance of sediment transport to understanding and restoring the Everglades. Our proposed experiments and modeling are fundamental to building a reliable predictive capability of how the Everglades will respond to the restoration's higher flows. Our proposed combination of empirical and modeling research will support several of the critical information needs identified by the National Academy of Science and DOI Everglades Science Plan. First, this work has direct bearing on projects such as the WCA-3A Decompartmentalization Project, and Tamiami Trail Bridge Expansion projects, but it is also highly relevant to all projects related to preservation of landscape structure (e.g. Landscape-Scale Modeling Study and Ridge and Slough Performance Standards), as well as all projects concerned with changing water quality and the need for more modern water-quality performance standards in the Everglades (e.g. Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study). Our study will identify the critical hydrologic, chemical, and biologic linkages that have shaped both the pre-drainage Everglades and the current landscape. This information is necessary for understanding the critical factors that sustain the ridge and slough landscape and ecosystem function, and is also necessary for predicting some of the unintended side-effects of restoration activities that may accompany increases in flow and hydrologic connectivity (a focus identified as important by both DOI and the National Academy of Science). Finally, the information gained on particle and solute transport will aid critical modeling efforts that support the Loxahatchee Internal Canal Structures Project. In conclusion, our proposed work will support key science needs for no less than six of the projects identified by DOI as critical to the success of the Everglades restoration.

References Cited:

Cohen, M.J., Prenger, J.P., and DeBusk, W.F. 2005. Visible-near infrared reflectance spectroscopy for rapid, nondestructive assessment of wetland soil quality. Journal of Environmental Quality 34: 1422-1434.

Crisfield, E., and McVoy, C. 2004. Role of flow-related processes in maintaining the ridge and slough landscape, Joint Conference on the Science and Restoration of the Greater Everglades and Florida Bay Ecosystem, Palm Harbor, FL.

Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., Krest, J.M., Choi, J., Nemeth, E.A., and Krupa, S.L. 2005. Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in Water Conservation Area 2A, Central Everglades, USGS SIR 2004-5069.

Harvey, J.W., Saiers, J.E., and Newlin, J.T. 2005. Solute transport and storage mechanisms in wetlands of the Everglades, south Florida. Water Resources Research, 41, W05009, doi:10.129/2004WR003507.

Harvey, J.W. and Sklar, F. 2006. WORKSHOP: Development of a Conceptual Model for Ridge and Slough Landscape Dynamics. Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference (GEER), June 5-9, 2006, Lake Buena Vista, FL, p. 91.

Huang, Y.H, Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., Noe, G.B., and Mylon, S., 2007, Advection, Dispersion, and Filtration of Fine Particles within Emergent Vegetation of the Florida Everglades, Submitted to Water Resources Research, July 2007.

Larsen, L.G., Harvey, J.W., and Crimaldi, J.P., 2007. A delicate balance: ecohydrological feedbacks governing landscape morphology in a lotic peatland. Ecological Monographs 77(4): 591-614.

McCormick, P.V. and Harvey, J.W., 2007. Influence of Changing Water Sources and Mineral Chemistry on the Everglades Ecosystem. U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Report, 67 p.

National Research Council. 2003. Does water flow influence Everglades landscape patterns, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press, 41 p. http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10758.html.

Noe, G.B., Scinto, L.J., Taylor, J., Childers, D.L., and Jones, R.D. 2003. Phosphorus cycling and partitioning in an oligotrophic Everglades wetland ecosystem: a radioisotope tracing study. Freshwater Biology 48(11):1993-2008.

Noe, G.B. and Childers, D.L. 2007. Phosphorus budgets in Everglades wetland ecosystems: The effects of hydrology and nutrient enrichment. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 15: 189-205.

Noe, G.B., Harvey, J.W., and Saiers, J.E. 2007. Characterization of suspended particles in Everglades wetlands. Limnology & Oceanography. 52: 1166-1178.

Noe, G.B., and others. In review. Hydrologic, meteorological, and plant community controls on suspended particle characteristics and transport in a subtropical wetland. Submitted December 2009 to Wetlands.

Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., and Mylon, S.E. 2003. Surface-water transport of suspended matter through wetland vegetation of the Florida Everglades. Geophysical Research Letters 30(19), 1987, doi:10.1029/2003GL018132.

Science Coordination Team. 2003. The role of flow in the Everglades ridge and slough landscape, South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Working Group, 62 p. http://www.sfrestore.org/sct/docs/.

Schaffranek, R.W. 2004. Sheet-flow velocities and factors affecting sheet-flow behavior of importance to restoration of the Florida Everglades, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3123, 4 p. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/pubs/fs/fs20043123

U.S. Department of the Interior, 2005. Science Plan in Support of Ecosystem Restoration, Preservation, and Protection in South Florida. http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/reports/doi-science-plan/2005-DOI-Science-Planfinal.pdf. (Please note that this is a PDF file and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader® to be read)



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