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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES
Fiscal Year 2014 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Southwest Coast of Everglades National Park - Greater Everglades Baseline Information and Response to CERP
Study Start Date: October,1999 Study End Date: On-going
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Everglades National Park (ENP), Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP), and Ten Thousand Islands (TTI) National Wildlife Refuge.
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science Initiative (GEPES)
Funding History: FY-00; FY-01; FY-02; FY-03, FY-04; FY-05; FY-06; FY-07; FY-2008; FY-2009; FY-2010; FY-2011; FY-2012; FY-2013; FY-2014.
FY14 Funding:
Principal Investigator(s): Eduardo Patino
Supporting Organizations: USGS, ENP, USFWS, USACE, NOAA, SFWMD, Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), Louisiana State University (LSU), and Texas A&M University (TAMU).

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, Big Cypress, and Ten Thousand Islands 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 and Rookery Bay National Estuaries Reserch Reserve, will provide water level, salinity, and flow information at key points within the mangrove zone along the southwest coast of ENP, BCNP, and TTI. 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 the area. The study area encompasses the estuarine and wetland regions from White Water Bay near Flamingo to Goodland. In collaboration with other on-going studies, results of this study will provide information on freshwater flows and salinity trends, effects of weather systems, and on how Restoration projects (Everglades and Picayune Strand) affect the freshwater inflows and water quality of the estuarine ecosystem.

Additionally, seasonal variations in carbon and mercury (total and methyl mercury) transport within ENP and export to the Gulf of Mexico from the Everglades are not fully understood. Taking advantage of existing infrastructure and data already available along the SW coast of ENP, and a minimal investment for the implementation of continuous monitoring at existing stations using surrogate sensor data for calculating concentration and flux of carbon and mercury would greatly decrease this information gap.

The objectives of this study are (1) to describe flow and salinity of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, BCNP, and TTI in relation to freshwater inflow and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico; (2) provide support to the SIRENIA Manatee research project, and to programs like the Everglades Long Term Ecological Research (LTER); (3) establish partnership with other GEPES projects and Federal programs to increase data density of carbon and mercury concentrations and flux at selected locations within the freshwater marshes, freshwater marsh-mangrove transition zones, and tidal rivers of ENP. These data will be valuable for the calculation of carbon and mercury flux into ENP, transport within, and export to the Gulf of Mexico.

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, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

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)
  7. USGS National Assessment of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

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.

Starting on September 2012, sensors were installed downstream of S-12D structure to begin recording continuous Specific Conductance, Temperature, Turbidity, and FDOM data, collect samples for DOC, total mercury, methyl mercury, and general chemistry. These data will be used to develop relationship between sensor data to DOC, THg, and MeHg and calculate concentrations and flux into ENP.

In 2014 this study contributed funds to re-start the discharge portion at East River in the TTI area. East River is a critical component of the monitoring network and due to funding reductions, this task had been discontinued.

Also in 2014 sensors will be installed at Sweetwater Strand (BCNP) to collaborate with atmospheric carbon flux studies by providing the water components of particulate and dissolved carbon flux in attempts at calculating the carbon budget for a Tall Cypress area.

Planned products for 2014:

  1. All 2013 hydrologic records for tidal rivers along the SW coast of ENP have been published in the FLWSC Annual Data Reports, and are also available through NWISWeb pages and on SOFIA.
  2. Presentation on carbon-mercury work prepared for the FLWSC Water Quality review during the period of April 1 - 11, 2014.
  3. Abstracts for poster and/or oral presentations will be prepared as needed.

B. 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:
GEPES
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (239) 275-8448
FAX: (239) 275-6280
Task priority: HIGH
Budget and Time Frame for Task 1: FY-2014
Task Personnel: Travis Knight, Robert Clendening, Andrew Erickson, and Ryan Hollins

Task Summary and Objectives:

This task is designed to describe the flow and salinity patterns of estuaries along the southwest coast of ENP, BCNP, and TTI in relation to freshwater inflows to the estuaries and tidal exchange with the Gulf of Mexico, providing support information to researchers and resource managers from other federal and state agencies, universities, and local institutions.

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.

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

FY-2014

  1. Maintain 9 monitoring stations at rivers and bays within the estuaries of the southwest coast of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Ten Thousand Islands. These stations include North River, Shark River, Broad River, Lostman's River, Chatham River, Lopez River, Turner River, Barron River/Canal, and East River.
  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-2013.
  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.
  6. Determine possible efficiencies in the network to explore shifting funds from certain data collection tasks that may be able to be discontinued, to new research initiatives looking at the water portions of the Carbon Budget and Mercury Transport within ENP.
  7. Re-start discharge computations at East River (TTI).

Specific Task Product(s):

  1. All Water Year 2013 hydrologic records to be published in the FLWSC - 2013 Data Report; April 1, 2014.
  2. Continuation of the collection and processing of hydrologic data; September, 2014
  3. Arrange meeting with ENP personnel to determine possible efficiencies within their Marine Monitoring Network (MMN), current PES and RECOVER networks.

Title of Task 2: Organic Carbon and Mercury Loads to Everglades National Park; Tamiami Trail at Control Structure S-12D, Case Study.
Task Funding:
GEPES
Task Leaders: Eduardo Patino
Phone: (239) 275-8448
FAX: (239) 275-6280
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: HIGH
Time Frame for Task 1: FY-2014
Task Personnel: David Krabbenhoft, George Aiken, William Orem, Lars Soderqvist, Amanda C. Booth, Travis Knight.

Task Summary and Objectives:

Long-term continuous monitoring of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total mercury (THg), and methyl mercury (MeHg) across Tamiami Trail, south into Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP) has never been done and these data are critical for the development of a carbon budget for ENP, and to further the understanding of mercury processes and transport into and across ENP.

The objective of this task is collect long-term continuous water quality sensor data as proxies to estimate concentrations and flux of DOC, THg, and MeHg load across Tamiami Trail through control structure S-12D, and across Loop Road at Sweetwater Strand culverts.

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

FY-2014

  1. Purchase instrumentation for Sweetwater Strand monitoring station.
  2. Installation of sensors for the collection of Sp. Conductance, Temperature, Turbidity, and FDOM data at Sweetwater Strand station to be completed during the first quarter of FY-2014.
  3. Continue collection of water samples for particulate and dissolved organic carbon, total mercury, and methyl mercury laboratory analyses at S-12D and begin at Sweetwater Strand.
  4. Expand collaboration with researchers studying the Carbon Cycle within Everglades National Park.
  5. Begin development of estimation models using sensor data as proxies for carbon and mercury concentrations and flux at both locations.
  6. QA/QC of all field data.

Specific Task Product(s):

  1. Presentation on project status, progress, and future plans during the FLWSC Water Quality Review; April, 20, 2014.
  2. Conference and workshop presentations on progress and results as needed.

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Last updated: 18 August, 2016 @ 10:09 AM (KP)