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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES
Fiscal Year 2014 Study Work Plan

Internet-based Modeling, Mapping and Analysis of the Greater Everglades (IMMAGE)

Paul Hearn, Eric Swain, Dave Strong, and Melinda Lohmann

FY14 Work Plan: Developing an Improved Web-based Framework for the Management, Control, and Future Design of the Surface Water Control Network

map of southeast Florida's surface water control network
Figure 1 - Map of SE Florida's surface water control network [larger image]

South Florida's coastal hydrology is heavily controlled by numerous hydraulic structures which control flow through the canal network, heavily affecting the urban, agricultural, and natural areas (Figure 1). Flood control, protection against saltwater intrusion, agricultural drainage, and maintenance of natural-area water levels are all accomplished via regulation of the canal network. The key to regulating all these competing interests is to develop a clear conceptualization of the network's interactions and methods to visualize the network's operations. While the operations of primary canals are largely controlled by remote telemetry, the secondary and tertiary systems are generally controlled manually. Although extensive field surveys would be necessary to fully delineate the connectivity of the system and the hydraulic effects of the control structures, significant definition can be derived through analysis of flow and water-level data collected at various points in the network. These data can be statistically processed to quantify volumetric capacities and other useful information.


In FY2014 the IMMAGE project will continue its efforts to expand the IMMAGE Web interface to allow visualization of and interactive access to the surface-water control network. This functionality will provide a useful supplement to existing numerical model results, allowing drainage efficiency to be quantified under different precipitation scenarios. This will allow users to examine a larger variety of scenarios than supplied with the numerical model results, albeit with less parameters and spatial coverage than the numerical model provides. An additional capability will allow the user to select changes in connections between different parts of the system. This would rely on the statistics derived for the connections, rather than any kind of flow time-series simulation.

The effects of runoff drainage to the canals will be incorporated in FY2014 by defining drainage basins, runoff coefficients, and connectivity to canal system. This allows the representation of specific storm events and effects on the surface-water network capacity. This also allows IMMAGE to act as an experimental tool for newly-developed rainfall-runoff representations. Future research into drainage processes can make good use of such an interface.

Including this information in IMMAGE requires an interactive map of the canal network including primary, secondary, and most likely tertiary canals. The location of drainage basins will be clickable. For a particular hydrologic scenario chosen by the user, each canal section would have a defined capacity which would be read from a look-up table. The watersheds are then ranked by the relative capacities of the canal sections draining the watershed. There are a number of variations on this representation, depending on whether the user wants to define drainage all the way to the coast or in smaller sections.

Further advancement of this tool will involve the incorporation of more detailed drainage and surface-water connectivity information. This will require a compilation of hydrologic information from a number of state and municipal sources to define small-scale drainage, canal inflows, and relationship to the defined watersheds. With this information, IMMAGE could also serve as an information clearinghouse for complete detailed information on the surface-water system. Future numerical model development would also benefit from this database and the integration of data that currently resides in disparate locations.

The simplified representation of the surface-water network does not account for a number of dynamic factors that the numerical model represents, but does allow for more flexibility in analyzing the system and quantifying the efficiency of the network. The numerical model results are good for studies of areal effects of given scenarios on water-levels and salinity, whereas the surface-water network analysis is better for defining drainage capacities and flow bottlenecks in given scenarios. The two methods could be integrated to optimize control structure operations in the network analysis and then implement the operations in the numerical model. A series of simulations utilizing different sea-level and climatic conditions would produce a variety of spatial information to support the management, control, and future design of the surface-water control network.

Applications of these tools in the IMMAGE interface will include:

  1. Rating flood-control capabilities by location and scenario (sea-level rise, precipitation).
  2. Defining canal control-network optimization criteria and locations where flow-connectivity places the most limitations on the ability of the system to maintain flood control (chokepoints).
  3. User design of network connectivity by input of inundation criteria and control-structure capacities.

The numerical model computation will be also used to develop effective flow rating curves for the structures and canals in the control network. This information could then be used to develop a more interactive planning and design tool.

Anticipated Products

1) Version 2.0 of IMMAGE Website completed and delivered (Includes web-based framework for the management, control, and future design of southeast Florida's surface water control network).

2) Journal article on web-based framework for surface water control network

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Last updated: 18 August, 2016 @ 11:02 AM (KP)