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Project Work Plan

Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Project Work Plan FY 2003


Project Title: Internal Surface-water Flows

Project start date: 10/1995 Project end date: ongoing
Project Funding: PBS and the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Principle investigator: Mitch Murray

Email: mmurray@usgs.gov
Phone: 305-717-5827 Fax: 305-717-5801
Mail address: 9100 NW 36 St. Suite 107, Miami, Fl 33178

Other Investigator(s): Seminole Tribe of Florida, Craig Tepper and SFWMD, Tim Bechtel
Email address:
Phone: Tepper 954-967-3489
Email address:
Phone: Bechtel 561-686-8800

Project Summary: Proposed modified water deliveries to Indian Tribal Lands, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Water Conservation Area 3A require that flow at critical points in the interior be measured. The goal is to provide flow data to supplement the current gaging station network in the area south of Lake Okeechobee maintain the status as an integral component of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)/Seminole Indian Tribal Agreement. The accurate determination of flow through the interior canal networks south of Lake Okeechobee and the C-139 basin remains critical for water budgets and regional model calibrations as defined by the Everglades Forever Act of 1994 and due to the CERP initiative to reroute Big Cypress Preserve flows.

Project Objectives and Strategy: The implementation of strategically located stream flow gaging points and associated data collection for nutrients has helped define future surface-water flow requirements and has provided valuable baseline flow data prior to the establishment of the recently constructed northern Storm Treatment Areas (STA’s 5 and 6) and the Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area. Generating continuous flow data at selected impact points for interior basins has complemented the existing eastern coastal canal discharge network, and has allowed for more accurately timed surface-water releases while providing flow and nutrient monitoring after recent STA implementation. A unique multi-agency experiment was conducted with much success with the focus on cooperation and development of new instrumentation and acoustic flow-weight auto-sampler protocols. The original data collection and processing was provided by three separate entities at each site with responsibilities originally allocated between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and SFWMD. USGS provides calibration, analysis and processing of acoustic velocity meters (AVM’s) and side-looking Doppler systems and stage shaft encoders, SFWMD provides data loggers with real-time flow-weighted algorithms, and radio frequency (RF) telemetry instrumentation. The Seminole Tribe provides auto-sampler service and funds nutrient load analysis through the USGS Ocala Lab. The Seminole Tribe of Florida provides 50% of the actual PBS funding for this effort with SFWMD providing indirect labor and instrumentation. One of the primary benefits of this USGS collaboration effort has been the technology transfer that has occurred through contact with Tribe and state entities. This intimate association has allowed USGS technical staff exposure to new techniques involving acoustic flow-weighted nutrient load protocols with relatively minimal funding and manpower investment. The expenditures made by the State are much larger in scope than would be possible for the Interior Flows (PBS) program alone. The USGS, as members of the Seminole Working Group, have gained exposure to unique problems and conditions encountered upstream of Internal Flows stations at similar SFWMD gages and used this knowledge to evaluate water budgets building on the existing emerging acoustic technology required for this type of real-time slow flow load monitoring. Updating the ability to quantify more articulately the effects of this low flow problem in conjunction with flow-weighted nutrient loading calculations provided by SFWMD has allowed USGS personnel the benefits of oversight and technology transfer without the associated significant labor and cost expenditures.

Potential Impacts and Major Products: Three flow sites have been located at critical water delivery points to Tribal Lands for which information was previously lacking (program reduced to two sites in FY 2000 when the Miccosukee Tribe ended their association). The most significant aspect of the work is related to establishing a main channel hydro-period baseline for flow and nutrient loads for L-28 Interceptor and L-28 canal flows for inclusion in the Decompartmentalization Project Delivery Team (PDT) currently under consideration. An externally funded WRI product entitled, "Feasibility of Estimating Constituent Concentrations and Loads Based on Data Recorded by Acoustic Instrumentation" was produced last year and is now in review. USGS flow and Seminole Tribe of Florida nutrient data were both utilized from the L-28IN site for this independent product. Continuous records of discharge have been computed by the USGS and published in SFWMD/Seminole Indian Tribe data reports. This data has been routinely presented to the Seminole Working Group for review and evaluation and this processing detail continues on a semi-annual basis for compliance to the Everglades Forever Act. Protocols for handling event driven flow weighted nutrient data collection and analysis have been possible only due to synergies created by combining the three funding groups resources. This effort was resulted in establishing a template for other CERP related efforts for TMDL monitoring using emerging acoustic real-time flow-weighting technologies. An ancillary product is refinement of a flow and nutrient baseline required prior to development for CERP canal rerouting of the L-28 Intercepter Canal.

Collaborators: Craig Tepper, Seminole Tribe of Florida
Tim Bechtel, South Florida Water Management District

Clients: The primary entities interested in monitoring and flow budgeting these surface water pathways are the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian Tribes, who have the greatest concern over water allocation and nutrient loads provided by upstream regulation as a result of the Everglades Forever Act of 1994. SFWMD is responsible for the water-regulation schedules coordinating water budgets with similar data collection stations upstream where the primary flow-ways enter the Reservations. Big Cypress National Preserve and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are secondary concerned parties also with interests in both water budgets and nutrient loads leaving Tribal Lands. This data collection effort will comprise the foundation for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Restudy Plan specifically now known as the Decompartmentatization Plan, which proposes breaches (among several other alternatives) in the L-28 Interceptor Canal.


Title of Task 1: Calibration and analysis of stage of Flow data at 2 sites

Task Funding: PBS and Seminole Tribe of Florida
Task Leaders: Mitch Murray

Phone: 305-717-5827

Fax: 305-717-5801

Task Status (proposed or active): active

Task priority: high

Task Personnel: Rick Solis

Task Summary and Objectives: Continue velocity rating refinement and calibration of both the travel-time Acoustic Velocity Meter system at the L-28U site and the side-looking Doppler acoustic system at the L-28IN site. The objectives of this task are to monitor tele-metered velocities and channel area so real-time auto-sampler flow-weighted nutrient load volume triggers are maintained. Provisional discharges will continue to be analyzed and processed and forwarded to the Seminole/SFWMD Working Group. Final quality assured water-level and flow to be published annually in the publication, Water Resource Data, Florida, Volume 2A.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

  1. Continue calibration and refinement of both the AVM and Side-looking Doppler acoustic velocity index ratings utilizing the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). Requests to the SFWMD control room will be submitted to vary pump rpm at the S-140 pump structure and to regulate the S-190 gate structures in attempts to achieve variable velocity regimes simulating expected flow rates in both the L-28 and L-28 Interceptor Canals respectively.
  2. Provisional analysis and computation of provisional flows will be provided to the Seminole/SFWMD Working group for inclusion in the Eighth and Ninth semi-annual Data Progress Reports produced periodically by SFWMD staff. Data quality assurance reviews will continue throughout the water year culminating in the publication of daily mean water levels and discharge for these sites in the USGS report entitled, Water Resource Data, Florida, Vol. 2A. Efforts to publish information in appropriate outlets (e.g. SOFIA site) will continue.
  3. Participation in the Seminole/SFWMD Working Group subcommittee will continue during the coming water year. This committee is committed to evaluating provisional analysis, coordinating troubleshooting requirements between agencies and Tribes, and developing and documenting protocols where changes in established quality assurance doctrine is required.

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Last updated: 09 April, 2014 @ 12:18 PM (KP)