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Effects of water hardness on slough-wet prairie plant communities of the A. R. M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

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Metadata:


Identification_Information:
Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator:
Paul McCormick

William Orem

Publication_Date: Unpublished Material
Title:
Effects of water hardness on slough-wet prairie plant communities of the A. R. M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Online_Linkage: <https://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/hardness_swp/>
Description:
Abstract:
Alterations to ground-water and surface-water hydrology and water chemistry in South Florida have contributed to increased flows of mineral-rich (hard water) canal water into historically rain-fall driven (soft water) areas of the Everglades. The interior of the A. R. M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge largely has retained its historic low conductivity or soft water condition due to its relative isolation from canal flows. However, recent sampling by USGS and the Refuge has shown that canal influences on water quality extend several kilometers into the Refuge in some areas, and Refuge managers and scientists are concerned that these influences may increase depending on future changes in water management operations.

A survey across existing mineral gradients will be performed to document patterns of vegetation change and their relationship to changes in water hardness and other environmental factors. Laboratory and field experiments will test these correlative relationships to determine the relative importance of increasing water hardness as a cause of observed vegetation changes across canal gradients.

Purpose:
Intrusion of canal waters into the Refuge increases the availability of Phosphorus (P), the primary limiting plant nutrient in the Everglades, as well as concentrations of major mineral ions such as Ca 2+, Mg 2+ and SO4 2-. While the ecological effects of P enrichment on the Everglades is fairly well understood, potential impacts caused by increased mineral concentrations in this soft-water wetland are largely unknown. Understanding the types and magnitude of these impacts is particularly important given that the area of the Refuge exposed to mineral enrichment is much greater than that exposed to P enrichment.

The objective of this project is to determine the effects of increased flows of mineral-rich water on the aquatic plant community of the Refuge interior. Slough-wet prairie (SWP) habitats area a major landscape feature in the Refuge and several SWP plant species may be adapted to the soft-water conditions in the Refuge interior. Increased mineral loads to the Refuge may result in a shift towards a more species-poor and spatially homogeneous community, In addition, there is a small amount of evidence to suggest that mineral enrichment may favor the growth and expansion of sawgrass and a consequent decline in the coverage of the SWP habitats.

Time_Period_of_Content:
Time_Period_Information:
Range_of_Dates/Times:
Beginning_Date: 2006
Ending_Date: Unknown
Currentness_Reference: ground condition
Status:
Progress: In Work
Maintenance_and_Update_Frequency: As needed
Spatial_Domain:
Description_of_Geographic_Extent: A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Bounding_Coordinates:
West_Bounding_Coordinate: -80.5
East_Bounding_Coordinate: -80.25
North_Bounding_Coordinate: 26.7
South_Bounding_Coordinate: 26.3
Keywords:
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: none
Theme_Keyword: biology
Theme_Keyword: chemistry
Theme_Keyword: hydrology
Theme_Keyword: major ions
Theme_Keyword: phosphorus
Theme_Keyword: slough
Theme_Keyword: wet prairie
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: ISO 19115 Topic Category
Theme_Keyword: environment
Theme_Keyword: inlandWaters
Theme_Keyword: biota
Theme_Keyword: 002
Theme_Keyword: 007
Theme_Keyword: 012
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus:
Department of Commerce, 1995, Countries, Dependencies, Areas of Special Sovereignty, and Their Principal Administrative Divisions, Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 10-4, Washington, DC, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Place_Keyword: United States
Place_Keyword: US
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus:
U.S. Department of Commerce, 1987, Codes for the identification of the States, the District of Columbia and the outlying areas of the United States, and associated areas (Federal Information Processing Standard 5-2): Washington, DC, NIST
Place_Keyword: Florida
Place_Keyword: FL
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus:
Department of Commerce, 1990, Counties and Equivalent Entities of the United States, Its Possessions, and Associated Areas, FIPS 6-3, Washington, DC, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Place_Keyword: Palm Beach County
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus: USGS Geographic Names Information System
Place_Keyword: Arthur R. Marshall- Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus: none
Place_Keyword: Greater Lake Okeechobee
Taxonomy:
Keywords/Taxon:
Taxonomic_Keyword_Thesaurus: none
Taxonomic_Keywords: plants
Taxonomic_System:
Classification_System/Authority:
Classification_System_Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator:
U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Department of the Interior - U.S. Geological Survey Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)

Publication_Date: 2000
Title: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: Database
Other_Citation_Details:
Retrieved from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database, <http://www.itis.gov>.
Online_Linkage: <http://www.itis.gov>
Taxonomic_Procedures:
plants will be identified in the field or specifically collected for the laboratory experiments
Taxonomic_Completeness: unknown
General_Taxonomic_Coverage: plants are identified to the species level
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Kingdom
Taxon_Rank_Value: Plantae
Applicable_Common_Name: plants
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Division
Taxon_Rank_Value: Magnoliophyta
Applicable_Common_Name: angiosperms
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Class
Taxon_Rank_Value: Liliopsida
Applicable_Common_Name: monocotyledons
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Sub Class
Taxon_Rank_Value: Commelinidae
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Order
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eriocaulales
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Family
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eriocaulaceae
Applicable_Common_Name: pipeworts
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Genus
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eriocaulon
Applicable_Common_Name: pipewort
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Species
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eriocaulon compressum
Applicable_Common_Name: flattened pipewort
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Order
Taxon_Rank_Value: Cyperales
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Family
Taxon_Rank_Value: Cyperaceae
Applicable_Common_Name: Sedge family
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Genus
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eleocharis
Applicable_Common_Name: spikerush
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Species
Taxon_Rank_Value: Eleocharis cellulosa
Applicable_Common_Name: Gulf Coast spikerush
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Order
Taxon_Rank_Value: Commelinales
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Family
Taxon_Rank_Value: Xyridaceae
Applicable_Common_Name: yellow-eyed grass
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Genus
Taxon_Rank_Value: Xyris
Applicable_Common_Name: xyris
Applicable_Common_Name: yelloweyed grass
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Species
Taxon_Rank_Value: Xyris smalliana
Applicable_Common_Name: Small's yelloweyed grass
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Class
Taxon_Rank_Value: Magnoliopsida
Applicable_Common_Name: dicots
Applicable_Common_Name: docotyledons
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Subclass
Taxon_Rank_Value: Asteridae
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Order
Taxon_Rank_Value: Solanales
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Family
Taxon_Rank_Value: Menyanthaceae
Applicable_Common_Name: bog beans
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Genus
Taxon_Rank_Value: Nymphoides
Applicable_Common_Name: floatingheart
Applicable_Common_Name: nymphoides
Taxonomic_Classification:
Taxon_Rank_Name: Species
Taxon_Rank_Value: Nymphoides aquatica
Applicable_Common_Name: big floatingheart
Access_Constraints: none
Use_Constraints: none
Point_of_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: Paul McCormick
Contact_Organization:
Lake Okeechobee Division, South Florida Water Management District
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: mailing and physical address
Address: 3301 Gun Club Road
City: West Palm Beach
State_or_Province: FL
Postal_Code: 33406
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 561 682-2866
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: 561 640-6815
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: pmccormi@sfwmd.gov
Data_Set_Credit:
Project personnel include Rebekah Gibble (USFWS) and Eric Crawford (USGS).

Data_Quality_Information:
Logical_Consistency_Report: not available at present
Completeness_Report: not available at present
Lineage:
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Field survey (gradient study)

The Refuge will be surveyed during fall of FY06 to determine the distribution of common SWP plant species and the extent of SWP habitat with respect to water and soil chemistry. Thirty locations will be selected that encompass a range of hydrology and water chemistry. Severely overdrained areas at the north end of the Refuge, deepwater areas at the south end, and highly enriched cattail area near canals will be excluded as vegetation in these areas is clearly driven by hydrology and/or P.

The frequency of occurrence of common SWP species will be determined in 24 1-m2 quadrats placed at roughly 2-m intervals along a transect across the center of this habitat. An additional 5 minutes will be spent surveying the site to detect species present in lower abundance. Voucher specimens will be collected and repeat visits will be made later in the year to assure accurate taxonomic identifications. Aerial photography of the Refuge obtained by Palm Beach County in 2004 will be used to determine the percent coverage of SWP (as opposed to sawgrass, tree island, and brush) habitat at each site. Water depths and soil and water chemistry (pH, surface-water conductivity, soil Ca and total and extractable P and N concentrations) also will be measured at each site. Additional water chemistry data will be obtained from monthly water-quality monitoring trips conducted at each site by the Refuge and SFWMD.

Data will be analyzed using simple correlations, multiple regressions, and multivariate analysis to identify patterns of species distributions and habitat cover with respect to chemical variables and depth. These analyses will generate testable hypotheses concerning the importance of water hardness vs. other environmental factors in determining the size and vegetation composition of SWP habitats.

Process_Date: 200610
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Effects of mineral and P enrichment on sawgrass and SWP communities and cover

Sets of 4 walled enclosures (2.5 m x 1.25 m) will be established at 3 locations (for a total of 12 enclosures) near an interior monitoring station (LOX8) in the Refuge. Enclosures will be located in the transition zone between sawgrass and SWP habitats such that approximately half of each enclosure is within each habitat. Vegetation composition and tissue chemistry will be measured in each enclosure during February 2007. Once this baseline assessment is completed, enclosures will be enriched with one of the following substances: 1) no enrichment (control); 2) crushed limerock (mineral, pH treatment); 3) slow release P fertilizer (nutrient enrichment); 4) both limerock and P enrichment. Each treatment will be applied to 1 enclosure in each set for a total of 3 replicates per enrichment treatment. Surface soils will be collected from each enclosure 1 month after the first dose is applied and processed to determine pH, mineral content, and available P. Additional doses will be applied quarterly or more frequently as required to maintain elevated levels of these chemical parameters in applicable treatments. Vegetation responses will be measured after 6 months and every 6 months thereafter. Dosing will continue through FY08.

Process_Date: Not complete
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Laboratory experiment to determine the effects of increased mineral and P loading on sawgrass growth in sloughs

Sawgrass seeds from a common seed source will be germinated in the laboratory. While still small (~2-3 cm high), seedlings will be transplanted to small pots containing 500 g of soil from an interior slough in the Refuge. Initially, soils will be amended with a mineral solution containing major ions in the same proportions as found in canal water and with P in different combinations. Plants will be grown for 3 months under a temperature and photoperiod indicative of spring-time conditions in south Florida and watered 1-2 times each week with the same solutions used for soil amendment. The growth rate (increase in height) of replicate plants in each treatment will be measured over a 3-month period and final biomass will be determined. Initial and final soil pH and nutrient and mineral chemistry will be measured.

Process_Date: Not complete
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Response of a submerged aquatic plant, Eriocaulon compressum, to mineral enrichment

Twenty-four E. compressum plants of similar size will be collected from a peat pop-up at an interior location in the Refuge. Plants will be shipped overnight to the laboratory and weighed to obtain initial wet weights. Twelve plants will be potted in interior slough soil (low mineral content) in deep plastic containers and the remaining 12 will be planted in soils from a canal-influenced slough (higher mineral content). Plants of each soil treatment will be subjected to the following hydrologic treatments (4 replicate plants each): 1) watering to maintain saturated conditions; 2) watering to maintain flooding approximately 1/2 way up the above-ground portion of the plant; 3) flooding to submerge the plant under several cm of water. Plants grown in low mineral soils will be watered weekly with mineral-poor water from the same collection site. Plants grown in higher mineral soils will receive the same water that has been amended with a mineral solution to approximate 50% of the ionic strength of canal water, a mineral content that periodically occurs in sloughs near the Refuge perimeter in response to canal-water intrusion. Plants in flooded treatments will be acclimated gradually by raising water levels a few cm each week. Thus, for example, it will take about 5 weeks to completely flood plants in the submerged treatment.

Plants will be grown for 3 months under a temperature and photoperiod indicative of spring-time conditions in south Florida. Water pH and conductivity will be monitored weekly in each flooded container and concentrations of major cations and anions (mineral content) will be measured every 2-3 weeks. Care will be taken to avoid excessively high mineral concentrations by adding unamended interior slough water or distilled water as needed to account for evaporation. Plant height and diameter will be monitored for 3 months. The extent of browning of each plant also will be measured as an indicator of stress. At the end of the experiment, plants will be harvested to measure final biomass and tissue chemistry. Final water and soil mineral concentrations and pH will be measured.

Process_Date: Not complete
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Response of the floating aquatic plant, Nymphoides aquaticum, to mineral enrichment

Several plants of N. aquaticum will be collected from an interior slough in the Refuge during February 2007. Collection of this species at this time of the year is facilitated by the abundance of small, free-floating specimens produced asexually by fragmentation. Plants will be shipped overnight to the laboratory, weighed to obtain initial wet weights, and measured for leaf number and size. Soils from an interior (low mineral content) and perimeter (high mineral content) slough will be combined in the following wet-weight ratios and used to fill the bottom of replicate containers: 1) 100%L:0%H; 2) 75%L:25%H; 3) 50%L:50%H; 4) 25%L:75%H; 5) 0%L:100%H. Soils in these respective treatments will be flooded with water from an interior location that has been amended with minerals to achieve 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100% of the increased ionic strength of canal water over interior surface water. Additional treatments will combine selected mineral treatments with P enrichment. A seedling will be placed in each container and allowed to grow and root for 3 months under a temperature and photoperiod indicative of spring-time conditions in south Florida. Water specific conductance and pH will be monitored weekly and water mineral and P chemistry will be measured every 2-3 weeks. Leaf number and size will be measured monthly. At the end of the experiment, plants will be harvested to determine final biomass and tissue chemistry. Final soil and water chemistry will be measured.

Process_Date: Not complete
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Competition Experiment

This experiment is currently being designed, but anticipated methods are as follows. Large (e.g., 20 L) pots will be filled with soils from either an interior (low minerals and nutrients) or perimeter (high minerals and nutrients) SWP. Pots of each soil type will be planted with dominant interior (Xyris, Eriocaulon, Nymphoides) and perimeter (Eleocharis cellulosa) SWP taxa either separately or in combination. Replicate pots of each soil-plant treatment will be maintained under either slightly flooded (e.g., 10 cm) conditions that are representative of interior SWPs or under deeper and fluctuating water depths (e.g., 10-30+ cm) that are more representative of perimeter SWPs. The experiment will be maintained in large water troughs at Refuge headquarters for a minimum of 12 months, and plant growth and survival will be measured quarterly. Initial and final soil and plant-tissue chemistry will be measured.

Process_Date: Not complete
Process_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: Paul McCormick
Contact_Organization:
Lake Okeechobee Division, South Florida Water Management District
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: mailing and physical address
Address: 3301 Gun Club Road
City: West Palm Beach
State_or_Province: FL
Postal_Code: 33406
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 561 682-2866
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: 561 640-6815
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: pmccormi@sfwmd.gov

Metadata_Reference_Information:
Metadata_Date: 20080114
Metadata_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: Heather Henkel
Contact_Organization: U.S. Geological Survey
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: mailing and physical address
Address: 600 Fourth Street South
City: St. Petersburg
State_or_Province: FL
Postal_Code: 33701
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 727 803-8747 ext 3028
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: 727 803-2030
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: sofia-metadata@usgs.gov
Metadata_Standard_Name:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata Part 1: Biological Data Profile
Metadata_Standard_Version: FGDC-STD-001.1-1999

This page is <https://sofia.usgs.gov/metadata/sflwww/hardness_swp_lnwr.html>

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Comments and suggestions? Contact: Heather Henkel - Webmaster
Generated by mp version 2.8.18 on Mon Jan 14 11:16:52 2008