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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet

Project: Salinity Pattern in Florida Bay: A Synthesis

Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/; http://Everglades.fiu.edu/BRD (see http://everglades.fiu.edu/index.htm); http://www.fcsc.USGS.gov (see http://cars.er.usgs.gov/); http://flaecohist.er.usgs.gov;

Location(Subregions & Counties): Central Everglades including Florida Bay, Monroe County

Funding (Source): USGS Place-Based Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Michael B. Robblee, mike_robblee@usgs.gov, 305-242-7832;

Project Personnel: Robert Halley, rhalley@wayback.er.usgs.gov,(727) 893-3100 x 3020; DeWitt Smith, dewitt_smith@nps.gov, (305) 242-7818

Supporting Organizations: NPS/Everglades National Park; Florida International University

Associated / Linked Projects: None

Overview & Status: An understanding of salinity conditions in Florida Bay and an understanding of the relationship of salinity in the Bay to upstream water management activities are critical needs for ongoing research and modeling activities associated with restoration of Florida Bay. Salinity patterns influence biological activities greatly. Direct freshwater flow into Florida Bay occurs through Taylor Slough or the C-111 Canal into northeastern Florida Bay. Shark River Slough, the principal freshwater flow way of Everglades National Park, empties into Whitewater Bay and the mangrove estuaries of the Park's southwest coast and hence into Florida Bay from the west. Salinity conditions in Florida Bay vary with rainfall in south Florida both seasonally and inter-annually. During extremely wet periods in south Florida estuarine conditions may extend over most of Florida Bay. Thus, among years, Florida Bay ranges between a positive and negative estuary, during very wet and very dry years, respectively. Storing and diverting water for water supply and flood control have modified the quantity, timing and distribution of fresh water flows entering Florida Bay. This thought to have contributed to a general marinification of the bay over the last century and to have increased the frequency and intensity of hypersaline events. Upstream channelization has increased the speed with which floodwaters enter the bay and the rapidity with which subsequent salinity changes occur, especially in northeastern Florida Bay. The purpose of this project is to 1) compile the existing salinity record for Florida Bay into an online searchable database and 2) to synthesize salinity conditions in the Bay over the last century. At this time the database is complete and being populated with data. Year three efforts to complete the database and synthesis have been delayed because of contracting problems.

Needs & Products: Our most important need at this time to complete this project in the project three-year time frame is adequate database development expertise. Florida International University is providing that expertise. A lack of funding, resulting from contracting delays, has held up year three activities. This effort is now underway. Despite delays database development, analysis and synthesis has proceeded.

Nuttle, W.K., J.W. Fourqurean, B.J. Cosby, J.C. Zieman and M.B. Robblee. 2000. The influence of net freshwater supply on salinity in Florida Bay. Water Resources Research. 36(7):1805-1822.

Robblee, M., G. Clement, D. Smith and R. Halley. 2000. Design and development of the Florida Bay salinity database. In: Proceedings Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (G.E.E.R.) Science Conference, Naples Florida, December 11-15, 2000, p 389 —391.

Robblee, M.B., G. Clement, D. Smith and R. Halley. 2001 Salinity Pattern in Florida Bay: A synthesis (1900-2000). In: Proceedings 2001 Florida Bay Science Conference, Key Largo, Florida, April 23-26, 2001, p 34-36.

Application to Everglades Restoration: The salinity data and synthesis being developed here will be useful for the interpretation of cores taken to reconstruct salinity conditions in Florida Bay prior to water management and the availability salinity measurements. This synthesis will also be useful to the development, calibration, verification and use of physical models of Florida Bay as well as upstream hydrological models. Some examples include: the RMA10 hydrodynamic model of the Bay under development by the US Army Corps of Engineers, FATHOM a mass-balance model being developed within the Department of Interior Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative, and SWIFT2D being developed by USGS/WRD. Specifically, the salinity data set and searchable database will be used in the development of baseline data sets for use comparing model performance and evaluating alternative water management scenarios. This database will also be critical to developing performance measures relating salinity to the response of critical biological components (e.g. spotted seatrout, pink shrimp, turtle grass, crocodile, spoonbill, etc.) for use evaluating upstream water management.

Study Milestones
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Familiarity           xxxx          
Design           xxxx xxxx        
Field Work                      
Data Analysis           xxxx xxoo ooxx oooo oo  
Initial Reporting             xxoo ooxx oooo oo  
Quality Assurance             xxxx xxxx oooo oooo  
Results Published             xxxx xxxx oooo oooo oooo
Synthesis               xxxx oooo oooo oooo
Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, and partially completed

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