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Compilation, Integration, and Synthesis of Water Quality and Flow Data for Assessing Nutrient Flux to South Florida Coastal Ecosystems

photo of Everglades pond
Project Investigators: Benjamin F. McPherson, Arturo Torres

Project Personnel: Ronald Miller, Mark Zucker, Paul Conrads

Project Start Date: 2005 End Date: 2006

Recent Funding: (FY06) USGS GE PES


This study provides a review and analysis of historical water-quality data of coastal waters of south Florida.

This project is Phase 2 of Analysis of Historic Water Quality Data.

The study provides a review and analysis of historical water-quality data in BCNP, ENP, and LNWR (Phase 1) and nearby coastal waters of south Florida (Phase 2). This information will help establish water-quality standards and baseline conditions in the parks, and will help evaluate the potential effects of CERP on water quality.

Documentation of coastal nutrient loads prior to CERP implementation is important to evaluate the impact of increasing freshwater flows to Florida Bay and the southwest coast. Although nutrient data is currently being collected by the USGS and by the Florida International University (FIU) Long-Term Ecosystem (LTER) program from several tidal creeks along the costal region of the Everglades National Park, this network has yet to produce nutrient loads into Florida Bay and the southwest coast. At present the USGS operates 30 flow stations of which only three stations currently collect continuous nutrient data (auto-samplers). The water-quality network operated by FIU in this same coastal region of the Everglades (along Taylor Creek and Shark River) consists of about 16 nutrient auto-samplers. However, none of the FIU stations collect flow data from which coastal nutrient loads could be computed. The USGS is currently contemplating expanding and improving the existing coastal nutrient network (1) by combining the water-quality data being collected by FIU with flow data being collected in nearby flow stations operated by the USGS and (2) by adding water-quality sampling sites at existing coastal discharge monitoring stations which will allow computation of nutrient loading from freshwater wetlands to the mangrove coastline.

The scope and objectives of this phase of the study are to: (1) Compile and summarize data that have been collected by different agencies and universities on water flow and water quality in tidal creeks and rivers that flow into coastal waters of ENP. (2) Evaluate and use flow and nutrient data from two river index systems (Trout Creek and Shark River) to estimate annual and monthly nutrient flux for a 9-year period (1995-2003). (3) Develop a plan based on results from the two index stations to expand nutrient load estimates for other major stream and river systems of ENP and nearby coastal waters.

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Script last updated: 23 October 2018 @ 12:03 PM by THF. Record creator: BJM. Record last updated by: BJM.