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projects > southern inland and coastal systems (SICS) model development > 1999 proposal

Southern Inland and Coastal Systems (SICS) Model Development

Project Proposal for 1999

Project number: 61700
USGS Geologic Division
Continuing Project Work Plan - FY 1999

Project title: Southern Inland and Coastal Systems (SICS) Model Development
Geographic area: South Florida/Everglades Ecosystem

Project start date: October 1996
Project end date: September 2000

Project chief: Eric Swain
Region/Division/Team/Section: Miami Subdistrict office
Phone: (305) 526-2895
Fax: (305) 526-2881
Mail address: 9100 NW 36th St. #107, Miami, FL 33178

Program: Integrated Natural Resources Science (INATURES) Program element 2/task 2.5:

Project summary: In order to determine the effects of freshwater inflows and dynamic forcing mechanisms on flow patterns and salinity conditions in the subtidal embayments of northeast Florida Bay, a mathematical/numerical hydrodynamic/transport model is to be developed, implemented, calibrated, and verified with field data. The model can also be used to study the significance of terrain relief, such as the Buttonwood embankment, and dynamic effects, such as wind and weather fronts, on flow patterns and salinity conditions, and to provide boundary-condition information in the form of fluxes and gradients for the Corps of Engineersí Florida Bay model development. The project extension involves adding western areas to the model domain, from the current boundary at Snake Bight Canal to the Whitewater Bay area. This will add invaluable information to this relatively unknown area.

Project objectives and strategy: Based on process study information from other INATURES projects, the USGS Surface-Water Integrated Flow and Transport two-dimensional hydrodynamic/transport model (SWIFT2D) has been applied to the mixed sheet flow, canal, and tidal regime at the eastern Everglades/Florida Bay interface. This model is available to investigate flows and flow distributions under current conditions and to test and evaluate hypotheses pertaining to recommended restoration scenarios. All relevant forcing functions having a potential impact on restoration decisions will thus be concurrently and conjunctively treated in a consistent and rigorous mathematical/numerical model framework. The findings of all restoration initiatives and process studies will thereby be synthesized for ease of management evaluation of restoration plans resulting in improved decision making. Less information is available in the Whitewater Bay area, and field studies are underway to determine flows through some major creeks near the Whitewater Bay area. Expanding the SICS model grid westward into this area will provide valuable insight into the interaction between the flows to the Shark River Slough Basin and the Whitewater Bay area. This expansion will coordinate the field data being collected on the west coast with all the information
collected in the SICS program. This project will be continued further to the in the study area to better define the total flow in the southern coastal area.  The model will be implemented in this new study area using land-surface elevations, topographic features, vegetation characteristics, soil conditions, bottom-material classifications, and bathymetric data collected within ongoing and proposed mapping efforts. Less available data exists for this western area, so additional data collection is needed. Once fully developed and implemented to characterize the study area, the model will be calibrated and verified using concurrent sets of measured data defining mass fluxes and salinity concentrations at strategic transect locations within the wetlands. Sensitivity experiments will be conducted with critical model parameters both to establish error bands for simulation results and to identify critical factors controlling flow dynamics and transport properties throughout the SICS study area. Boundary-condition influences will be evaluated, demonstrated, and documented by numerical experiments. Design and setup of numerical simulations representing past and current flow and transport properties will be developed using available data, or hypothesized values as necessary, to establish baseline conditions for evaluating and contrasting the effects of future changes to the ecosystem using the calibrated model. Final reports for the initial model domain and for the extended model domain will cover the model development and calibration from the initial studies to the final model predictions of the hydrologic regime.

Potential impacts and major products: The most visible product of this project that the Water Resources Investigations Reports (WRIR). The importance of the model area to restoration, the selection of the model boundaries, and the field velocity measurements will be discussed in the initial sections of each report. The flow model development, followed by the determination of salinity transport will then be described. The final report sections will be on approximating flow at the Florida Bay coast based on water levels. By extending the model westward, a complete representation of coastal flows can finally be constructed. The information on computed flows and flow distributions at the coast to be used as boundaries in ACOE models is a major product. The numerical model input data is also a product that can be used by any agency interested in computing a flow scenario for the area. The raw data itself, including the velocity, elevation, vegetative types, and evapotranspiration information will be available to all interested.

Collaborators, Clients: The model results in the western area will allow better computations of total water budgets by the South Florida Water Management District and Everglades National Park. The Army Corps of Engineers is developing flow models in the area which will also make use of this projects results. Future studies by the Biological Research Division of the USGS will rely on flow data produced by this model.

Time line (FY 1999 to project end)
1. Initiate data collection in western project area December 1998
2. Preliminary model (uncalibrated) of western project area May 1999
3. Report on eastern model area published October 1999
4. Integration of all new field data into model July 1999
5. Final calibrated model results October 1999
6. Results released and final report drafted January 2000
7. Final report approved October 2000

FY 1999 activities: Reconnaissance of the Whitewater Bay and Shark River Slough will begin early in FY 1999. Locations for flow measurements, starting in January 1999, will be chosen and compilation of existing flow data will begin at major river outflows to the west. The report on the eastern model area will be published in October 1999. By May 1999, A preliminary model, using rainfall, ET, and boundary data derived from existing process studies and new measurements will be developed. Refinement of this model will be accomplished through October by comparison with field data and incorporation of smaller scale topographic features.

FY 1999 deliverables/products: The model results will be freely accessed by all cooperating agencies. The report from the first SICS study area will be available in 1999.

FY 1999 outreach: Presentation of model results, in the appropriate Ecosystem symposium forums and at cooperating agencies, will continue throughout FY 1999.

FY 1998 accomplishments and outcomes, including outreach: Flow patterns and affecting processes were determined for the eastern model area. Results were presented at the Florida Bay Science Conference, the American Geophysical Unionís Spring Meeting, and several other meetings of cooperators and interested parties. Model results are used by the Army Corps of Engineers in Florida Bay and inland modeling.

FY 1998 deliverables, products completed: The compiled and interpolated land elevations for the model have been provided to the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as coastal flow values.

Names and expertise of key project staff
Eric Swain (Project Chief)

Other required expertise for which no individual has been identified:
 Project Assistant

Major equipment/facility needs: No new equipment

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