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Project Scope of Work

Project Scope of Work 2005

South Florida Surface Water Hydrologic Network for Support of MAP Projects

Scope of work dated December 2004, updated July 2005
By Pamela Telis


The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000 authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) as a framework for modifications and operational changes to the Central and Southern Florida Project needed to restore the south Florida ecosystem. Provisions within WRDA 2000 provide for specific authorization for an adaptive assessment and monitoring program. A Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP) has been developed as the primary tool to assess the system-wide performance of the CERP by the REstoration, COordination and VERification (RECOVER) program. The MAP presents the monitoring and supporting enhancement of scientific information and technology needed to measure the responses of the South Florida ecosystem.

The MAP also presents the system-wide performance measures representative of the natural and human systems found in South Florida that will be evaluated to help determine the success of CERP. These system-wide performance measures address the responses of the South Florida ecosystem that the CERP is explicitly designed to improve, correct, or otherwise directly affect. A separate Performance Measure Documentation Report being prepared by RECOVER provides the scientific, technical, and legal basis for the performance measures.

Generally, the scope of work (SOW) described below is intended to support four broad objectives of the MAP:

  1. Establish pre-CERP reference state including variability for each of the performance measures
  2. Determine the status and trends in the performance measures
  3. Detect unexpected responses of the ecosystem to changes in stressors resulting from CERP activities
  4. Support scientific investigations designed to increase ecosystem understanding, cause-and-effect, and interpret unanticipated results

This SOW is intended to support the South Florida Hydrology Monitoring Network module of the MAP and is directly linked to the monitoring or supporting research components identified in that module. This SOW includes the objectives of the work order effort, a general description of the scope citing the methodologies to be used by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to perform the data collection, a detailed breakdown of the tasks to be performed and associated deliverables and timeframes, planning, coordination, data review, final data submittal, and project management.

The goal of the MAP is to develop a single integrated, system-wide monitoring and assessment plan that will be used and supported by all participating agencies and tribal governments to track and measure system-wide responses to the implementation of CERP. To date, there is no one network that provides real-time stage data across the greater Everglades landscape to guide large-scale field operations, to integrate hydrologic and biologic responses, and to support the MAP assessments by scientists and principal investigators (PIs) across disciplines all of which are founded on the hydrology.

To address the needs of the MAP assessments, a real-time surface-water stage data network requires adequate spatial coverage that provides data in every landscape unit in the greater Everglades including the Water Conservations Areas (WCA1, WCA2, and WCA3), eastern Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades National Park (Figure 1). The stage network described in this SOW complements the existing network of stage gages operated and funded by others including SFWMD, NPS, USFWS, USACE, and USGS. Gages installed and operated under this SOW with the complement of the existing network will provide water-level data at one or more locations in every landscape unit. The assessment portion of the MAP will require PIs to make rapid assessment of biological communities and their responses based on the hydrology in selected landscape units. The GIS tools developed in this SOW will provide the necessary linkage between the real-time hydrology, known elevations, vegetation and anticipated biological responses.

Currently, water level gages have different vertical datums and are served on multiple websites or not available real-time without special FTP transfers and pre-arrangements. Scientists and investigators in the greater Everglades have used a wide variety of methods with varying consistency and success to transfer hydrologic data from gages to their study areas. This project will provide consistent, document-able, and easily accessible real-time hydrologic data throughout the greater Everglades. Other geospatial data, such as soils and water quality data will be integrated with project hydrologic data on a web-based IMS tool for access by scientists and managers.


The objectives of this project are:

  1. to relate water-level data at real-time stage gages to ungaged areas and, using ground elevation data, compute water depths throughout the greater Everglades.
  2. to gain an understanding of microtopography as it relates to vegetation and use vegetation to define water depth differences.
  3. to develop a “clickable” web-based GIS map to access real-time water-level data for all gages by RECOVER agencies in the greater Everglades.
  4. to develop a dynamic web-based ARC-IMS tool for access to user-specified hydrologic data for study sites, such as computed water depth, hydrograph recession rates, slope, and hydroperiod; including other GIS information such as soils, water quality parameters, rainfall, and periphyton densities.

Real-time hydrologic data, such as water depth, recession rates, day since last dry period, and water-surface slope, present investigators and managers with an opportunity for decision making and adaptive management not previously possible. Sufficient characterization of surface water hydrologic conditions aids in interpreting the water quality and ecological data in the wetlands. A hydrologic network must provide the necessary information to link changes in the physical components to changes in chemical and ecological components of the system. Therefore, the first step is the adequate baseline monitoring of hydrologic data before a fully integrated multidisciplinary assessment of the ecosystem can be accomplished.

The website of real-time data will be a significant improvement over the current multiple agency websites of only selected sites and dissimilar format and data offerings. Historical and ongoing hydrologic data collected by scientists will be used to calibrate and improve water depth algorithms. In a future phase of the project (as yet unfunded), these site-specific data may be used to further define the topography finer than the existing ground elevation data.

The ARC-IMS tool provides restoration managers with a mechanism to evaluate how the Everglades respond to hydrologic change with timely feedback and perhaps, provide scenario-driven modeling in the future. Developing a reliable mechanism to facilitate comparison among metrics of hydrology, species monitoring data, and model outputs is the key to making adaptive management a reality.


a. Real-time surface-water stage gage network

An inventory of 200 to 250 existing surface water stage gages in the greater Everglades, including the Water Conservations Areas (WCA1, WCA2, and WCA3), eastern Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades National Park will be conducted. Gages with telemetry or radio equipment for real-time data transmission of water level data to NAVD88 datum will be plotted to identify gaps in spatial coverage and approximately 23 surface water stage gages will be constructed, instrumented, and operated in these data gaps. The location of the new stage gages will be optimized based on several factors including, but not limited, to the following: workshops with biology and hydrology staff to get expert guidance on location of potential sites, areas anticipated to be directly influenced by CERP activities, and other site location optimizing techniques. Because of their key location in WCA1, two existing water level gages planned to be discontinued in FY06 will be operated and maintained as part of this network starting in FY06. The final location of the approximately 23 new gages will be determined with input from the AAT Module Chairs, the AAT Greater Everglades (GE) module PIs, and a field reconnaissance during the dry season, approximately March - April. The final number of gages funded under this SOW will be dependent on site location, difficulty of construction, distance and travel time to sites, and other site-specific field conditions.

Stage data for the 23 new gages used to fill the data gaps in the existing stage network will be collected and processed using USGS-established protocols. Water-level gages are routinely visited twice a year when water level sensors are calibrated for quality assurance. These routine visits are conducted over a 3-4 day period via helicopter which allows efficient, ready access to sites regardless of water level and other site conditions. Due to the remote nature of many of these sites, this offers the most cost effective semi-annual routine site visit where time at a site is generally no more than 30-45 minutes. Emergency visits by helicopter are conducted as needed throughout the year when equipment failures occur. Costs for the use of a helicopter (SFWMD-contracted or USACE-contracted) are not included in this SOW. It is expected that a helicopter contracted and funded by others will be made available for use during routine and emergency site visits during FY06 and FY07 at no cost to this project.

Data collection consists of 15-minute interval measurements of water level at each gaging station. Data will be transmitted every 4 hours via the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) into the database of the USGS Center for Water and Restoration Studies (CWRS) office in Fort Lauderdale. The real-time data will be available through a webpage for public access. Final and fully reviewed data for each water year (October-September) will be published and available by April of the following year.

The approximately 23 new gages will be surveyed to NAVD88 datum using a 48- to 72-hour differential GPS method by the USGS during the summer of 2005. Many of the existing gages in the greater Everglades not currently surveyed to NAVD88 will be surveyed during 2005 through contracts funded by the USACE and SFWMD for ongoing CERP modeling efforts.

b. Computation of water depth and other hydrologic characteristics

Using the network of 200 to 250 existing and 23 new water-level stations in the greater Everglades, water-levels will be extrapolated to ungaged areas based on hydraulics, statistical analysis, and water surface modeling. The network of high accuracy ground surface elevation data collected by the USGS over nearly the entire greater Everglades provides elevations at approximately 50,000 points on a 400-square-meter grid spacing (Desmond, 2003). Subtraction of ground elevation from the real-time water level elevation provides computation of water depth throughout the greater Everglades.

Vegetation impacts ground elevation in response to varying flow conditions, differential sediment deposition and biologically-influenced processes. The 400-square-meter grid cells will be overlain by a mosaic of vegetation where vegetation is lumped into four major categories, 1.) slough or open water, 2.) ridge or sawgrass, 3.) tree islands, and 4.) other which includes all vegetation types that do not fit into the first three types. Differences in ground elevation, or microtopography, will produce varying vegetation-influenced water depths, flow paths, and flow resistence.

In addition to percent vegetation type per cell, hydrologic attributes will be computed and associated by vegetation type per cell such as hydroperiods, volume of water and time since last dry period. Regional surface water slope and flow direction can be determined across cells. The South Florida Water Management District will provide an estimate of rainfall by grid cell using NEXRAD data also.

Field-recorded water depths at known research location collected by approximately 20 PIs over the last 5 years throughout the Everglades will be consolidated and used to further refine and verify the water depth algorithms developed by vegetation type. These observed data serve to improve our understanding of microtopography at the cell level.

c. Web-based GIS data access tools

Three web-based GIS data access sites will be developed and linked to provide users with access to real-time water level gage data, computed water depth and other hydrologic data, and existing GIS coverages that allow users to integrate biological response and seasonal changes to hydrology. The websites are described below and details of the website functions will be finalized based on input from GE module PIs:

  1. Website with “click-able” access to real-time water level data from 200 to 250 existing and 23 new stage gages with telemetry or radio transmission capacity and NAVD88 datum corrections. The site will display daily hydrographs and ground elevation data by vegetation community.
  2. Website to access all relevant GIS data coverages from the greater Everglades from any published source including EPA's REMAP water quality data, SFWMD coverage of landscape units boundaries and soils data, and USGS vegetation data, to name a few. Additionally, a list of relevant publications documenting these data coverages will be retrievable by searchable attributes.
  3. Website for access to temporal and spatial water depth maps with user-specified capability to select areas, time periods, and associated GIS coverages. The interface will include algorithms and methods for calculation of additional hydrologic characteristics, such as recession rates, days since last dry period, number of dry events over time, and water level deviations.


a. Introduction

This introduction describes how the results of all MAP projects will be used to develop various MAP reports in the future. This is presented here to show readers that MAP and other activities will be integrated and assessed together. This scope of work does not fund efforts described for MAP report development beyond the project reports and deliverables described in the Task Description section below.

The results of the work performed under this statement of work will be used to develop the cumulative finds of the Adaptive Assessment Team (AAT) System Status Annual Reports. These annual reports will be used by the AAT to develop a RECOVER Technical Report at five-year intervals, as pursuant to the regulations [Section 385.31 (b)(4)]. This Technical Report presents an assessment of whether the goals and purposes of the CERP are being achieved. The Report will also include an assessment of whether the Interim Goals and Interim Targets are being achieved or likely to be achieved and evaluating whether corrective actions should be considered based on scientific findings of system-wide or regional ecological needs. The Principal Investigator(s) (PI) will be required to work with the AAT Modules Chair to assist in the development of the AAT System Status Annual Report and asked to include their participation as a task in this work breakdown structure. Additionally, the following reporting guidance is offered by AAT to the principal investigator(s):

  1. Evaluate Ability to Detect Change - PI Level
    a) Describe the results of the power analysis for the sampling design.
    b) Determine the minimum detectable difference of the power analysis, and its associated confidence and uncertainty.
    c) Describe changes in the MAP sampling design and its implications for the power analysis and the minimum detectable difference.

  2. Establish Reference Condition - PI Level
    a) Describe the non-MAP data sources, if any, used in the assessment. If non-MAP data were used, did the data meet the guidance criteria? If the non-MAP data were used and did not meet the guidance criteria, provide a rationale to justify the inclusion of the data.
    b) Describe how representative the data are in space and time.
    c) Describe the approaches used to address measuring variability.
    d) Provide data for entry into the CERPZone and update Module Group

  3. Measure Change from Reference Condition - PI Level
    a) Describe the methods used to estimate the direction and magnitude of change in performance measures from the reference state both annually and back-cast for multiple years.
    b) Compare current status of the PM with its desired trend or target.
    c) Evaluate consistency of monitoring results with MAP hypotheses.
    d) Determine if there are indications of unanticipated events and describe how they are affecting the desired outcome.

  4. Annual Integration of Performance Measures (PM) To Evaluate Module Hypotheses -Module Group Level
    a) Annually integrate multiple PMs to provide an assessment of module level hypotheses.
    b) Describe the direction and magnitude of change in the integrated performance measures, and determine if the changes are consistent with expected responses described in the CERP hypotheses.
    c) If the trends do not correspond to expected responses provide scientific explanation.
    d) Evaluate progress toward achieving module-level Interim Goals and Interim Targets.

  5. System-Wide Performance Evaluation - AAT Level
    a) Synthesize findings across-modules and across years to provide a holistic description of the status of the system.
    b) Evaluate the results in relationship to; supporting system level hypotheses and achieving system-wide Interim Goals and Interim Targets.
    c) Summarize those system-wide changes that are consistent with goals and hypotheses and those that are not.
    d) Provide a scientific discussion of why the goals and hypotheses are not being achieved.
b. Task Descriptions

Task 1 - Kick-off meeting

A kick-off meeting among USGS, USACE, SFWMD and the GE module chair will be held within 45 days following the NTP to discuss the initial proposed gaging locations, field methods, data collection, and data management for this scope of work. At this meeting, details of the deliverable schedule, format for report, and coordination with other MAP activities will be discussed. Specific needs for contractor-provided helicopter services will be provided.

(1) Deliverables - Draft work plan and working map of initial proposed gage locations
(2) Timeframe - Within 45 days after NTP

Task 2 - Construction and instrumentation of approximately 23 real-time water-level gages

Following a dry season reconnaissance in March-April, the final site location of gages (23 gaging stations) will be determined. Nine gaging stations will be constructed and instrumented for real-time surface-water stage in FY05 with the remaining 14 stations constructed in FY06.

(1) Deliverables - Real-time water-level gages
(2) Timeframe - Nine stations by 9/30/05, 14 stations by 3/1/06

Task 3 - Operation and maintenance of the 25 real-time water-level gages

This task includes: a.) operation and maintenance of field instrumentation for the collection of water level data; b.) processing of stage records; c.) quality assurance and quality control of all field and computed data; d.) data release and publication.

(1) Deliverable - A progress report of all station locations, status of station and parameters, and full station descriptions.
(2) Timeframe -4/30/06
(3) Deliverable - An annual status summary report describing station data conditions throughout the year, generally no more than 3-5 pages
(4) Timeframe - 9/30/06 and 9/30/07

Task 4 - Establish NAVD88 datum control elevation at 23 water-level gages

Using differential GPS NAVD88 methods, set the datum control elevation at each water-level gage and run levels to all associated instrumentation at the gage site such that all stage data is convertible to NAVD88 datum

(1) Deliverables - NAVD88 datum at 23 stage gages
(2) Timeframe - 4/30/06

Task 5 - Computation of water depth and other hydrologic characteristics by cell

Develop algorithms to estimate water depth by vegetation type in 400-square-meter grid cells, hydroperiod, recession rates, volume of water, time since last dry period, regional slope and flow direction.

(1) Deliverables - Algorithms that define correlations between gaged and ungaged areas of selected areas of greater Everglades for water depth and other hydrologic characteristics
(2) Timeframe - 9/30/05 for selected areas, 4/30/06 for study area

Task 6 - Develop website with “clickable” map access to real-time water level gage data

(1) Deliverables - Website of “clickable” maps
(2) Timeframe - 9/30/05 for test area, 4/1/06 for study area

Task 7 - Develop website for access and transfer of relevant GIS data coverages and documenting publications

(1) Deliverables - Website for data access and transfer
(2) Timeframe - 9/30/05 for website design, 4/30/06 for operational website

Task 8 - Develop web-based ARC-IMS site for access to water depth data, other hydrologic calculations with user-specified capabilities

(1) Deliverables - Web-based ARC-IMS site for access to data with user-specified capabilities
(2) Timeframe - 9/30/05 for website design, 4/1/06 for test area, 9/30/06 for study area

5. Project Management.

a. SOW Change Control. Changes in the SOW must be requested of the project manager in writing, with supporting justification. Any requested changes in the SOW will require, on part of USGS, submission of an updated project work plan with supporting detail, updated scheduling and budget information. No changes in the SOW will occur without permission from the project manager. Any delays or changes in the work order (WO) scheduling and budget will require consultation with the Adaptive Assessment Team (AAT) of RECOVER. If the original SOW requires any approved changes, USGS must include documentation of these scope changes in the “lessons learned” section of the final project report.

In addition, for multi-year work orders in which the results of each year's work can or will modify what happens in the subsequent years of the work order, the annual report can or will provide a summary of work completed to date and proposed revisions to the future schedule of tasks/deliverables.

b. Data Management. Submission of all data is required for work order closeout. Data formatting, analysis, and delivery will be required to meet all CERP data management standards that can be obtained from the CERP Data Management Program Managers. Any data derived from the SOW will be provided to the AAT at predetermined intervals. All data and results derived from this SOW must be made publicly available or available to the AAT at the end of the work order.

c. Quality Control and Assurance. The work plan will include a quality assurance plan in order to determine which quality control and quality assurance procedures are appropriate for each project (e.g., QASR, FDEP standards). Methods used for each project should be selected based upon the following criteria (if appropriate): cost-benefit analysis, flowchart diagram of the system process, and determination of the best statistical experimental design. The burden of proof of compliance with standardized quality control and assurance procedures is the responsibility of the contractor. In the case where there are not standardized methods for quality control and assurance, the contractor must prove that the suggested methodologies are rigorous. Citation of peer-reviewed and published methods may be used to support this documentation.

d. Status Reporting. Regular progress reports will be made to the project manager as deemed by the task list. Reports will be written (verbal reports are not acceptable). Informal reports regarding status of permits needed for the work order or timely progress of field work or those that describe the completion of specific task elements may be transmitted via email or fax. Reports that include any type of data analysis, datasets, and formal quarterly or interim reports will also be sent via electronic mail; however, signed hard copies with data attached in appropriate format must be mailed to the project manager.

e. Lessons Learned. The causes of variances in the SOW, project scheduling and budgeting, the reasoning behind any corrective action, as well as any other lessons learned will be clearly documented in the final project report. These lessons learned will become part of the historical database for this project and other RECOVER projects.

6. References

Desmond, Greg, 2003. Measuring and Mapping the Topography of the Florida Everglades for Ecosystem Restoration: USGS Fact sheet 021-03.


Project start
Network design
Construct/Instrument 9 gages
Construct/Instrument 14 gages
O&M of gages
Establish NAVD88 at gages
Develop water depth algorithms
Develop real-time gage data website
Develop website for GIS data
Develop dynamic IMS website
Progress/annual reports

map of the boundary of Greater Everglades wetlands within the influence of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
Figure 1 - Boundary of Greater Everglades Wetlands within the Influence of CERP (taken from CERP MAP Part 1) with landscape unit delineations [larger image]

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