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U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
OFR 2006-1271

Descriptions and Preliminary Report on Sediment Cores from the Southwest Coastal Area,
Part II: Collected July 2005, Everglades National Park, Florida

G. Lynn Wingard, Carlos A. Budet, Ruth E. Ortiz,
Joel Hudley, and James B. Murray

August 24, 2006


> Abstract
Core Descriptions

Twelve cores were collected from six sites in the southwest coastal area of Everglades National Park, Florida, in July 2005. These six sites create transects up three river systems that are part of the complex network of channels and bays that form the mangrove and coastal glades – Lostmans River system, Harney River system, and Shark River system. The three transects are linked to two cores collected in 2004 from Big Lostmans Bay and Tarpon Bay. A preliminary model of changes in flow through the southwest coastal zone is proposed based on an examination of the sediments and an initial assessment of key indicator species of mollusks within the cores. Throughout the time period recorded by deposition of these cores, flow to the southwest coastal area has been predominantly through the Shark River channels, diminishing to the north toward the Lostmans River system. The Lostmans system was less influenced by freshwater flow and more emergent than the two systems to the south. Freshwater flow has periodically reached the mouths of the Harney and Shark River systems, but these areas have persistently been zones of mixed estuarine environments, typical of transition zones. Evidence for a substantial change in the flow regime is found in the mid-system cores from the Harney and Shark Rivers. The lower portions of both cores were deposited in freshwater environments, with no indication of estuarine influence; however, a shift towards more estuarine conditions occurs in the upper portions of the cores and a loss of the larger freshwater fauna. These results are preliminary. The next step will be to develop age models and to conduct quantitative analyses of the fauna, flora, and sediment geochemistry at these sites. Results of the quantitative analyses will provide information on the natural and anthropogenic changes that have occurred in the southwest coastal system that will allow resource managers to set targets for restoration.

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