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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: Analysis of Historical Water-Quality Data in Everglades National Park (ENP) and Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP)

Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/: summary, metadata, publications

Location (Subregions & Counties): ENP, BCNP, and nearby lands

Funding (Source): ENP-Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI); USGS Place-Based Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Benjamin McPherson, bmcphers@usgs.gov, 813-975-8620, ext. 126

Project Personnel: Ronald Miller, rmiller@usgs.gov, 813-975-8620, ext. 124

Supporting Organizations: National Park Service (NPS), ENP, and BCNP

Associated / Linked Projects: USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NWQA) of South Florida

Overview & Status: The objective of this project is to analyze, summarize, and report on water-quality data collected in freshwaters in or near ENP and BCNP over the period of record. The analysis includes an evaluation of seasonal and long-term trends, spatial patterns, and possible effects of hydrologic, climatic, and human-induced perturbations. Specific objectives include: (1) determination of baseline water-quality conditions relative to the designations as Outstanding Florida Waters (OFW) and Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW); (2) an analysis of water-quality conditions across the landscape, and at internal marsh sites relative to conditions in upstream canals; and (3) an analysis of long-term trends for selected parameters, such as chloride, sulfate, and total phosphorus. The database used for the report will be made available at the South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) web site http://sofia.usgs.gov/.

Needs & Products: Major physical alteration of the landscape and associated water management practices - including canal and levee building, agriculture and residential development, and operation of pumps and flood gates in the 1900s have highly altered both the volume, timing, distribution, and quality of surface water in south Florida. ENP and BCNP were both established by Congress to preserve and protect large areas of the south Florida ecosystem that had not been directly affected by physical alteration, yet their placement at the down-gradient end of the altered system has made them subject to effects of upstream water management practices. There is a need for the parks to establish baseline water-quality conditions that can be used to guide management and protect park resources from future upstream alterations.

Application to Everglades Restoration: The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is anticipated to improve surface-water flows and water quality within ENP and BCNP. CERP’s success depends on the ability of resource managers to provide meaningful feedback and direction to restoration. This project will provide BCNP and EVER with a baseline of existing conditions and trends that can be applied within CERP and place the NPS in a leadership role regarding assessments of water-quality changes in response to restoration.

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Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed

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Last updated: 24 April, 2014 @ 12:45 PM (KP)