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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Initiative (Place-Based Studies)

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

Project Title: Freshwater Flows into Northeastern Florida Bay

Project Start Date: 10/1994 Project End Date: Ongoing

Web Sites: http://sofia.er.usgs.gov/projects/freshwtr_flow/

Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Central Everglades (Florida Bay);Dade/ Monroe Counties.

Funding Source: USGS's Greater Everglades Science Initiative (PBS). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Principal Investigator(s): Clinton Hittle/Mark Zucker

Project Personnel: Clinton Hittle, Mark Zucker, Marc Stewart.

Supporting Organizations: Everglades National Park (ENP), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), Texas A&M, University of Virginia, Louisiana State University.

Associated / Linked Projects: Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades (TIME), Southern Inland and Coastal Systems (SICS), Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP); Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP); Florida Bay Florida Keys Feasibility Study, FIU Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), SFWMD Everglades/Mercury Research.

Overview & Objective(s): In 1994, the USGS began a project to measure freshwater discharge from the Everglades wetlands into northeastern Florida Bay. Flow, water-level, salinity and temperature data are collected at monitoring sites in all of the major estuarine creeks that connect northeastern Florida Bay with the Everglades. The project objectives are: 1) to determine the quantity, timing and distribution of freshwater flow through estuarine creeks into northeastern Florida Bay, 2) to provide real-time physical data to Everglades modelers and researchers, and 3) to advance accurate methods for gaging estuarine creeks. The CERP needs to develop restoration targets to deliver the right amount of water, of the right quality, to the right places, and at the right time, which requires data collection efforts that specifically measures the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water within the Everglades ecosystem must be continued.

Status: The Freshwater Flows into Northeastern Florida Bay project continues to supply critical hydrologic information related to CERP and other Everglades Research efforts. Discharge is available at all major creeks entering Northeastern Florida Bay between 1995 and 2002. Starting in July 2003, the effort to measure freshwater inflows into northeastern Florida Bay will be significantly expanded with the contribution of the CERP/MAP funded Coastal Gradients of Flow, Salinity, and Nutrients project. This CERP effort is dependent on existing PBS projects like Freshwater Flows into Northeastern Florida Bay to continue. Continuing data collection efforts as well as expanding the research perspective will provide baseline information and link upstream and downstream processes along the coastal gradients of Barnes Sound, Florida Bay and the Southwest Coastal estuaries.

Recent & Planned Products: Recent publications include two abstracts published in the USGS Open File Report 03-54 by Hittle and Zucker, and a USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4164 by Hittle, Zucker, and Patino describing methods and summarizing data between 1995 and 1999. The primary products are the continuous 15 minute-data of flow, water-level and salinity collected from the creek monitoring stations and transmitted via satellite to the USGS office in Miami, Florida. Data has been collected since late 1995 and planned documentation will be provided in a USGS Open-File Report for the 1996 - 2000 data set, and the 2001 - 2002 data set.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: Continuous flow, water-level, and salinity data along the Everglades/Florida Bay interface are critical for Everglades restoration coordination and verification (RECOVER), and to help define performance measures for evaluation of CERP projects, such as the C-111 Spreader Canal project and the Florida Bay, Florida Keys feasibility study. The continuation of baseline monitoring of freshwater flows will complement the MAP project "Coastal Gradients of Flow, Salinity and Nutrients", while the SICS model verification and TIME model development processes are dependent upon accurate field measurements of physical data supplied by the Freshwater Flows into Northeastern Florida Bay project.

Key Findings:

  • Roughly 50% of freshwater flow into northeastern Florida Bay discharges through Trout Creek via Joe Bay.
  • Over 70% of the freshwater flow into northeastern Florida Bay enters eastward of Taylor Slough.
  • Water level differences between Taylor Slough and the C-111 basin drive flow direction in the southeastern Everglades, which is a critical issue for contaminant transport, flood management and saltwater intrusion concerns.
  • Hydrologic correlation between creeks to estimate discharge is a feasible tool.

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:08 PM(TJE)