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Ground-Water Discharge to Biscayne Bay

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Frequently-anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Title: Ground-Water Discharge to Biscayne Bay
The purpose of this project was to quantify the rates of ground water discharge to Biscayne Bay. This was achieved through the collection of field data and the development of two- and three-dimensional numerical models to simulate variable-density ground water flow. As part of this project, the SEAWAT code, which represents variable-density ground water flow, was developed to simulate ground water discharge. Monitoring wells were installed offshore and inland along three transects perpendicular to the shore of Biscayne Bay.
  1. How should this data set be cited?

    Langevin, Christian, 2000, Ground-Water Discharge to Biscayne Bay.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?

    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -80.63
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -80.12
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 25.9
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 25.12

  3. What does it look like?

    <https://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/wri/00-4251/images/fig1x.gif> (GIF)
    Southern Florida showing location of study area, domain of regional-scale model, and location of field transects

  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?

    Beginning_Date: Jun-1996
    Ending_Date: 1998
    Currentness_Reference: ground condition

  5. What is the general form of this data set?

  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?

    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?

    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?

  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)

    • Christian Langevin

  2. Who also contributed to the data set?

    Project personnel included Raul Patterson and Melinda Wolfert.

  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?

    Christian Langevin
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Project Chief
    3110 SW 9th Avenue
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315

    954 377-5917 (voice)
    954 377-5901 (FAX)

Why was the data set created?

Several surveys during the late 19th and early 20th centuries describe the occurrence of large quantities of ground-water flow to Biscayne Bay by way of underground channels or conduits. The construction of the drainage and flood-control network in southeastern Florida began during the early 20th century for the purpose of managing the water resources of the area. This drainage canal network affected the hydrologic pattern in southeastern Florida by replacing sheetflow with canal flow, thereby significantly reducing the altitude of the water table and diminishing ground-water flow to Biscayne Bay. This led to the inland movement of the saltwater interface. In 1960, there was still ground water discharging to the bottom of Biscayne Bay, but no quantification of the amount of ground-water discharges to the bay was made at the time. In 1967, discharges to the bay in the Cutler Ridge area were estimated by assuming Darcian flow and considering the tidal cycle. It was estimated that 210 cubic feet per square foot of flow section area was discharged during a 12.5-hour tidal cycle.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) is planning to construct gated spillways and culverts to allow for the restoration of natural sheetflow conditions to Everglades National Park (ENP). These proposed changes may further affect the hydrologic conditions of ENP and other parts of the ecosystem, thus leading to the following questions:

(1) Is ground water flowing to Biscayne Bay a significant component of the water budget in south Florida?

(2) Would the quantity of ground water flowing to Biscayne Bay be greatly affected by changes in the operation of gates and control structures in canals?

(3) How much change in ground-water discharges to Biscayne Bay has occurred due to modifications to the hydrologic system?

Quantification of ground water flowing to Biscayne Bay is needed as input to two interagency projects: the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program and the Biscayne Bay Feasibility Study. The principal objective of the Biscayne Bay Feasibility Study is to investigate ongoing construction/dredging projects and propose solutions to alleviate adverse factors that affect the bay and to aid in the development of guidelines for future management of the natural resources of Biscayne Bay. The Biscayne Bay Feasibility Study includes the implementation of a surface-water circulation model which will be developed by the Waterway Experimental Station of the COE. Quantification of ground-water discharges to Biscayne Bay is needed as input to the bay water circulation model.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?

  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?

    Date: 2000 (process 1 of 1)
    A field investigation was conducted to collect data that would help quantify ground-water discharge to Biscayne Bay. The design of the field investigation was based on the general and widely accepted concept that fresh ground water flowing toward a coastal boundary will flow up and over a saltwater wedge. To better characterize this flow pattern within the study area, three transects, each located on a ground-water flow line toward Biscayne Bay, were selected for further study. The locations of these transects are referred to as Coconut Grove, Deering Estate, and Mowry Canal.

    The field investigation was initiated by installing ground-water monitoring wells at each of the three transects. In an effort to fully characterize the transition zone between fresh and saline ground water, monitoring wells were installed both inland and offshore. Inland monitoring wells were installed by the Florida Geological Survey, and the offshore monitoring wells were installed by the USGS. The offshore wells were installed from a floating barge using the methods presented in Shinn and others (1994).

    During the installation of selected monitoring wells, lithologic cores were collected and analyzed to provide a better understanding of the stratigraphy and hydrogeologic characteristics at the monitoring well locations. Permeameter analyses were performed on several rock samples extracted from the cores, but the analyses were inconclusive. For selected inland monitoring wells, geophysical logging was performed by the South Florida Water Management District prior to setting the steel surface casing.

    Water samples were collected with a centrifugal pump from selected monitoring wells for each month from March 1998 to February 1999. Measurements of depth to water were recorded prior to sampling, and if the well had been leveled, a water-table elevation was calculated. During the first 3 months, water samples were analyzed by the USGS for chloride concentration, [Cl-], using the titration method (Brown and others, 1974). Measurements of specific conductance (SC) also were performed on the ground-water samples. After 3 months of directly measuring chloride concentrations, it was determined that chloride concentrations could be adequately estimated from measurements of specific conductance, which are easier to perform. Chloride concentrations for all subsequent ground-water samples were estimated from specific conductance using the following equation: [ Cl- ] = 1 . 10-6 . SC 2 + 0.3224 . SC - 177.7,

    where [ Cl- ] is in milligrams per liter and SC is in microsiemens per centimeter. This polynomial equation was created by a fit to 120 measurements of specific conductance and chloride concentrations and represents the data with a correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.9967. (See the Introduction to OFR WRI 00-4251 for the correct format for the equation.)

    The numerical model used in this study requires concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS) rather than chloride concentrations. Chloride concentrations were linearly converted to TDS by assuming that seawater has a chloride concentration of 19,800 mg/L (milligrams per liter) and a TDS value of 35,000 mg/L (Parker, and others, 1955). Fish (1988) estimates that water-rock interactions in the surficial aquifer of southeastern Florida can affect the TDS value by 350 to 550 mg/L; therefore, the TDS values in this study, which were estimated from chloride concentrations, may contain a 1 to 2 percent error relative to the observed range of TDS values. This suggests that a linear relation between chloride and TDS is reasonable, even for ground-water samples.

    During the initial part of the field investigation, much time was spent trying to obtain reliable results from seepage meters. A seepage meter is a cylindrical tube that is pressed into the bottom sediments of a surface-water body; seepage rates are determined by measuring liquid volumes in a bag attached to the tube. After many unsuccessful attempts, it was determined that seepage meters could not be used within the tidal environment of Biscayne Bay because flow rates measured at seepage meters were not in agreement with tidal phase, or were not proportional to vertical head differences at nested offshore monitoring wells. There is evidence that seepage meters may not work in tidal environments or under certain conditions because they may be artificially pumped from tides, waves, and fluctuations in barometric pressure (C. Reich, U.S. Geological Survey, oral commun., 2000). This artificial pumping can result in seepage measurements that are not representative of the actual seepage rate.

    To better delineate the position of the saltwater interface, time-domain electromagnetic (TDEM) soundings were made at the Mowry Canal transect. The TDEM method has been successfully used in southern Florida to locate the saltwater interface (Sonenshein, 1997; Fitterman and others, 1999; and Hittle, 1999) and lithologic boundaries (Shoemaker, 1998). The TEMIX software (Interpex Limited, 1996) was used to invert the geophysical data. The approach described by Fitterman and others (1999) was used to interpret the inverted TDEM data and determine approximate depths of the saltwater interface.

    Person who carried out this activity:

    Christian Langevin
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Project Chief
    3110 SW 9th Avenue
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315

    954 377-5917 (voice)
    954 377-5901 (FAX)

  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

    Sonenshein, Roy S., 1997, Delineation and Extent of Saltwater Intrusion in the Bisacayne Aquifer, Eastern Dade County, Florida, 1995.: USGS Water Resources Investigation Report 96-4285, U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.

    Online Links:

    This report was prepared in cooperation with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department and the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management
    Fish, J. E., 1988, Hydrogeology, Aquifer Characteristics, and Ground-Water Flow of the Surficial Aquifer System, Broward County, Florida: USGS Water Resources Investigations Report 87-4034, U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.

    Online Links:

    prepared in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District
    Parker, G. G. Ferguson, G. E.; Love, S. K, 1955, Water resources of southeastern Florida, with special reference to the geology and ground water of the Miami area: USGS Water Supply Paper 1255, U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DC.

    Online Links:

    Hittle, Clinton D. , 1999, Delineation of saltwater intrusion in the surficial aquifer system in eastern Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties, Florida, 1997-98: USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4214, U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.

    Online Links:

    Fitterman, David V. Deszcz-Pan, Maria; Stoddard, 1999, Results of Time-Domain Electromagnetic Soundings in Everglades National Park, Florida: USGS Open-File Report 99-426, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

    Guo, Weixing Langevin, Christian D., 2002, SEAWAT: A Computer Program for Simulation of Three-Dimensional Variable-Density Ground-Water Flow: U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.

    Online Links:

    There are two versions of the program: SEAWAT Version 2 (old version) and SEAWAT 2000
    Langevin, Christian Shoemaker, W. Barclay; Guo, Wei, 2003, MODFLOW-2000, The U.S. Geolgical Survey Modular Ground-Water Model - Documentation of the SWAWAT-2000 Version with the Variable-Density Flow Process (VDF) and the Integrated MT3DMS Transport Process (IMT): USGS Open-File Report 03-426, U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.

    Online Links:

    Brown, Eugene Skougstad, M. W.; Fishman, M. J, 1970, Methods for collection and analysis of water samples for dissolved minerals and gases: USGS Techniques of Water-Resource Investigation 05-A1, U.S. Geological Survey, unknown.

    Online Links:

    Shinn, E. A. Reese, R. S.; Reich, C. D., 1994, Fate and pathways of injection-well effluent in the Florida Keys: USGS Open-File Report 94-276, U. S. Geological Survey, Florida.

    Online Links:

    Shoemaker, W. B., 1998, Geophysical delineation of hydrostratigraphy within the Big Cypress National Preserve: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?

  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?

  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?

  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?

    not available

  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

    not applicable

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?

Access_Constraints: None.
Use_Constraints: None.

  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)

    Heather S.Henkel
    U.S. Geological Survey
    600 Fourth St. South
    St. Petersburg, FL 33701

    727 803-8747 ext 3028 (voice)
    727 803-2030 (FAX)

  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?


  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?

    The data have no implied or explicit guarantees.

  4. How can I download or order the data?

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 12-Feb-2007
Metadata author:
Heather Henkel
U.S. Geological Survey
600 Fourth Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

727 803-8747 ext 3028 (voice)
727 803-2030 (FAX)

Metadata standard:
FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
Comments and suggestions? Contact: Heather Henkel - Webmaster
Generated by mp version 2.8.18 on Tue Feb 13 10:13:27 2007