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Evaluating Changes in Freshwater Flows into Florida Bay and the Coastal Estuaries of Southwestern Everglades National Park in Support of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan

Mark A. Zucker1, Eric Carlson1, Eduardo Patino2, and Amanda Booth2
1U.S. Geological Survey Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Davie, FL, USA
2U.S. Geological Survey Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Ft. Myers, FL, USA

The goal of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is to restore freshwater flows to the Everglades and adjacent estuaries. Restoration requires redirecting excess freshwater runoff lost to tide into the Everglades and to the coastal waters of Everglades National Park (ENP). The challenge is to manage the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of the freshwater flow through ENP to the coast more like natural conditions to restore Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Program and the CERP Restoration Coordination and Verification Monitoring Assessment Plan operate hydrologic stations at select tidal creeks and coastal rivers to quantify freshwater flow discharging into northeastern Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. These stations measure water level, flow volume, salinity, and temperature along major flow paths in ENP (Shark Slough and Taylor Slough). These long-term data (1995 to current) are essential to evaluate environmental impacts from storms, droughts, and various water management operations. A goal of monitoring is to evaluate the effects of the construction projects and water management operations on the coastal Everglades. Flow volumes near the Everglades coastline before and after the Tamiami Trail bridge construction (completed March 2013) will be compared as well as flow volumes before and after the implementation of the Aerojet Canal features (completed January 2013) located eastward of Taylor Slough and upstream of northeastern Florida Bay.

Contact Information: Mark A. Zucker USGS 7500 SW 36 Street, Davie, FL, USA 33314. Phone 954-377-5952, Email: mzucker@usgs.gov

(This abstract is from the 2016 National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration)

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