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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: Interrelation of Everglades Hydrology and Florida Bay Dynamics (Ecology Component), also called Vegetation & Hydrology of Land-Margin Ecosystems in South Florida - Enhanced Bio Resources

Project Start Date: 1 October 2002 Project End Date: 30 September 2007

Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov

Location (Sub-regions, Counties, Park or Refuge): The Everglades, lower east coast, lower west coast, Florida Bay, and the 16 counties within the Greater Everglades

Funding Source: USGS's Greater Everglades Science Initiative (PBS)

Principal Investigator: T.J. Smith III

Project Personnel: None (but see reports for "Everglades Restoration" and "Creation of a Digital Archive of Historical Aerial Photographs for Everglades National Park & the Greater Everglades Ecosystem")

Supporting Organizations: NPS, FWS, SFWMD

Associated / Linked Projects:

Overview & Objective(s): Coastal ecosystems of the greater Everglades ecosystem are ignored by many of the models that have been used to evaluate CERP. The domains for the NSM, SFWMM and ATLSS models do not include the mangrove, marsh and back-bay systems found along the southwest coast or along the shore of Florida Bay. Recently initiated modeling efforts such as TIME do include these productive ecosystems in their model domain. Additionally, CERP has recognized the importance of these systems and several performance measures (e.g. soil accretion) are proposed in the RECOVER Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP). This project has a single objective: to provide scientific oversight and supervisory leadership for the PI's other projects. This includes the supervision of a GS-9 hydrology technician, a GS-9 student trainee ecologist, two full-time and several part-time contract employees on the project "Everglades Restoration - Smith" (CWRS-A8160). The PI also oversees a related project dealing with historical air photos of the Everglades (CWRS-A81R5), providing leadership and scientific guidance to a GS-12 geographer and two contract employees. Finally, the PI serves as the Lead Investigator for the South Florida Global Climate Change Project (CWRS-AFB12) and is responsible for overseeing the development of new proposals and research collaborations to maintain the GCC program in south Florida.

Status: This project was initiated in this FY. It pays the 15pp of the PI, T.J. Smith III, and provides operating and travel expenses to carry on previously initiated restoration research activities in south Florida.

Recent & Planned Products: The following abstracts all appeared in: Best, G.R. 2003. U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Science Program: 2002 Biennial Report. USGS Open-File Report 03-54.

  1. Anderson, G.H. & T.J. Smith III. Longterm data from the USGS/BRD mangrove hydrology sampling network in Everglades National Park. Pp 20-22.
  2. Briere, P.R., T.J. Smith III, A.M. Foster, A.W. Coffin, K. Rutchey, J.W. Jones, C. Van Arsdall, & W.B. Perry. Development of digital Aerial photography archives for the greater Everglades of south Florida. Pp. 225-226
  3. Cahoon, D.R., J.C. Lynch, T.J. Smith III, K.R.T. Whelan, G.H. Anderson & C. Walker. Do surface water and ground water fluctuations influence sediment surface elevation in coastal, Everglades, wetlands? Pp. 27-28.
  4. Coffin, A.W., H. Henkel, H. Mounts, P.R. Briere, A.M. Foster, T.J. Smith III & R.R. Wertz. Creation of a geo-database of the digital photography archives for the Greater Everglades of south Florida and the Southern and Inland Coastal System. Pp. 227-228.
  5. DeWitt, N.T., B.J. Reynolds, T.J. Smith III & G.H. Anderson. Data in the key of ZZZ: Development of a network to establish vertical reference datum for research studies in the southwest coastal Everglades. Pp. 229-230.
  6. Foster, A.M. & T.J. Smith III. Shifts in the position of the marsh / mangrove ecotone in the western Florida Everglades. Pp. 147-148.
  7. Jenter, H.L., R.W. Schaffranek & T.J. Smith III. Thermally driven vertical mixing in the Everglades. Pp. 93-95.
  8. Smith, T.J., III, L. Fahrig, P.W. Carlson, T.V. Armentano, and G.M. Peery. Mangrove dieoff in Florida Bay: A recurring natural event? Pp. 196-197.
  9. Smith, T.J., III, K.R.T. Whelan, G.H. Anderson, C.L. Walker, J.S. Dismukes & T.W. Doyle. A decade of mangrove forest change following Hurricane Andrew. Pp. 198-200.
  10. Walker, C.L., T.J. Smith III & K.R.T. Whelan. Short-term dynamics of vegetation change across a mangrove – marsh ecotone in the southwest coastal Everglades: Storms, sea-level, fire and freeze. Pp. 209-210.
  11. Whelan, K.R.T. & T.J. Smith III. Characteristics of lightning gaps in the mangrove forests of Everglades National Park. Pp. 211-212.

Additional publications / products / presentations:

  1. Anderson, G.H. & T.J. Smith III. 2002. Hydraulic conductivity of riparian mangrove forest peat adjacent to the Harney River, Everglades National Park: A comparative field study of field saturated and saturated hydraulic conductivity methods. Eos Transactions, AGU, 83(19) Spring Mtg. Suppl., Abstract H31A-02.
  2. Anderson, G.H. & T.J. Smith III. Data from the Mangrove Hydrology Sampling Network for the lower Shark River, Everglades National Park: Water Years 1996-2002. USGS, Open-File Report 02-457 (In final preparation).
  3. Bolster, C.H. & J.E. Saiers. 2002. Development and evaluation of a mathematical model for surface water flow within Shark River Slough of the Florida Everglades. Journal of Hydrology, 259: 221-235.
  4. Bolster, C.H., D.P. Genereaux & J.E. Saiers. 2001. Determination of specific yield for the Biscayne Aquifer with a canal-drawdown test. Ground Water, 39: 768-777.
  5. Fry, B. & T.J. Smith III. 2002. Stable isotope studies of red mangroves and filter feeders from the Shark River estuary, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science, 70: 871-890.
  6. Saiers, J.E., D.P. Genereaux & C.H. Bolster. In Press. Influence of calibration methodology on ground-water flow predictions. Ground Water.
  7. Smith, T.J., III & D.R. Cahoon. 2002. Sediment surface elevation changes in relation to groundwater hydrologic variation in the coastal Florida Everglades. Eos Transactions, AGU, 83(19) Spring Mtg. Suppl., Abstract H31A-04.
  8. Smith, T.J. III, A.M. Foster, P.R. Briere, J.W. Jones & C. Van Arsdall. 2002. Conversion of historical topographic sheets (T-sheets) to digital form: Florida Everglades and vicinity. USGS, Open-File Report 02-204. CD-ROM
  9. Smith, T.J., III, A.M. Foster, P.R. Briere, A.W. Coffin, J.W. Jones & C. Van Arsdall. 2003. Historical aerial photography for the Greater Everglades of south Florida: The 1940, 1:40,000 photoset. U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 02-327. DVD.
  10. Smith, T.J., III & D.R. Cahoon. 2003. Wetland sediment elevation in the Florida Everglades: Response to surface water stage variation. Coastal Sediments 2003: The 5th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering & Science of Coastal Sediment Processes. CD-ROM.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: Long-term sampling of hydrology, vegetation and soils in the coastal wetlands of the Everglades has been recognized as a priority by CERP and in the DOI and USGS science plans. This project addresses all of those needs by maintaining an integrated network of sampling stations located on key rivers of the lower Everglades. Mangrove and marsh vegetation is sampled regularly in permanent plots located adjacent to surface- and ground-water sampling wells and sediment surface elevation tables. The data are available for use in all CERP modeling efforts, development of performance measures and tracking impacts of restoration as it occurs. The GIS data layers developed from the historical aerial photos will be beneficial to numerous CERP implementation teams.

Key Findings:

  • The large coastal islands of the Everglades (e.g. between the Shark and Harney Rivers or between the Broad and Lostmans Rivers) may be hydrologically "disconnected" from the upstream Everglades.
  • Tidal "pumping" of groundwater in the surficial aquifer may be an important process in the coastal Everglades.
  • Mangrove forest recovery from large-scale disturbance is highly variable over very short spatial and time scales.
  • Catastrophic disturbances in coastal wetlands can trigger sediment elevation declines that can continue for 50 or more years after the event.
  • Downstream, saline wetlands (mangroves) and upstream, freshwater wetlands (sawgrass and spikerush) respond to surface water elevation change in the opposite manner. As surface water stage declines in freshwater marshes, sediment elevation increases. The opposite occurs in mangroves.

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