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South Florida Virtual Tour

Glossary and Acronyms


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aquatic vegetation - Plants living primarily in or under water.


canal - A man-made waterway that is used for draining or irrigating land or for navigation by boat.

control structure - Man-made structures that regulate the flow of waters or the levels of waters.

culvert - A metal, concrete or plastic pipe that transports water.


dam, dike - A man-made embankment that controls or confines water.

dune - Mounds or hills of sand created by dune grasses, which trap sand grains being moved across the beach by wind.


ecosystems - The interacting populations of plants, animals, and microorganisms occupying a certain area, and their relationship to the environment.

endangered species - Plant or animal species reduced to such low numbers of individuals that they are at risk of becoming extinct.

epiphyte - An air plant that receives water and nutrients from the air and rain. It usually uses other plants for support.

estuary - A place where freshwater and salt water meet (i.e. where a river meets the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico).

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) - Land in the northern Everglades that was drained for agricultural development.


gate - Referred to in this text as a gate that holds water in or lets water out.


habitats - Parts of the physical environment where plants and animals live.

hammock - Localized, thick stands of trees that can grow on natural rises of only a few inches in the land.


invasive species - Plant, animal, or microbe species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health.


levee - A man-made embankment that controls or confines water.

lock - An enclosure (i.e. in a canal) with gates at each end, used to pass boats from location to location.


mangrove forest - A community of mangrove trees that may consist of the red mangrove, black mangrove and white mangrove.


pineland - Nearly level land composed of coarse, poorly drained soils and dominated by pine trees.

prairie - Land predominately covered in grasses.

pump, pump station - A device that transfers water from one location to the other.


scrub - Communities dominated by pinewoods with a thick understory of oaks and saw palmetto. Scrubs occupy well-drained, nutrient-poor, sandy soils.

slough - Pronounced slew. Sloughs contain areas of slightly deeper water and a slow current. They can be thought of as the "broad, shallow rivers of the Everglades".

Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) - Man-made wetlands designed to remove excess nutrients from the water.

subtropical - An area or climate that is nearly tropical.

swamp - A generally wet, wooded area where standing water occurs for at least part of the year.


threatened species - A species that is likely to become endangered if it is not protected.

tropical - An area or climate that is frost-free and has temperatures high enough to support year-round plant growth if enough moisture is present.


Water Conservation Area (WCA) - Marshland areas that were designed for use as storage to prevent flooding, to irrigate agriculture and recharge well fields and as input for agricultural and urban runoff.

wetlands - Ecosystems whose soil is saturated for long periods seasonally or continuously, including marshes, swamps, and ephemeral ponds.


C&SF Project - Central and Southern Florida Project
EAA - Everglades Agricultural Area
ENP - Everglades National Park
NWR - National Wildlife Refuge
SFWMD - South Florida Water Management District
SOFIA - South Florida Information Access
STA - Stormwater Treatment Area
USACE - United States Army Corp of Engineers
USGS - United States Geological Survey
WCA - Water Conservation Area


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/glossary.html
Comments and suggestions? Contact:
Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM(KP)