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USGS Scientists Assist with the University of South Florida's Hydrogeology Field Camp

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USF students measure streamflow
Above: USF students measure streamflow.

Billy Lewelling describes the relation between stage and streamflow.
Above: Billy Lewelling describes the relation between stage and streamflow.

Peace River sinkhole.
Above: Peace River sinkhole.

Ben McPherson (beside white monitoring well) describes ground-water features of the Everglades.
Above: Ben McPherson (beside white monitoring well) describes ground-water features of the Everglades.

During the weeks of May 10 and May 17, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists assisted Mark Stewart and Mark Rains from the University of South Florida (USF)'s Department of Geology with the USF Hydrogeology Field Camp. Activities included the use of various types of equipment and numerous field stops throughout south Florida.

Arturo Torres (USGS, Tallahassee) opened the camp with an overview of USGS research in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). On May 13, camp participants installed and took measurements with piezometers and collected soil and vegetation data along an ecohydrologic gradient previously studied by George Kish (USGS, Tampa) and Mark Rains. On May 17, George, Billy Lewelling, and John Trommer (USGS, Tampa) accompanied the participants to Crystal Springs to provide hands-on instruction on making a discharge measurement. Billy described the relation between stage and discharge and assisted participants with measuring equipment. Later, he guided participants to several sites along the Peace River where surface water is being recharged to ground water through numerous sinkholes. Participants also visited a drillsite where Lari Knochenmus (USGS, Tampa) explained the drilling process and the significance of the cores being collected. On May 19-21, Arturo and Ben McPherson (USGS, Tampa) led participants to four sites within the south Florida Everglades ecosystem:

  1. The Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA) project is now underway within Water Conservation Area 1 (WCA 1), also known as the Arthur R. Marshall (ARM) Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in North Palm Beach. LILA is a 300-acre hydrologic-assessment facility within the ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, designed to answer key questions about Everglades' restoration. The project will define hydrologic regimes that sustain a healthy Everglades ecosystem. Eric Cline, a South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) environmental scientist from West Palm Beach, provided the tour.
  2. The Stormwater Treatment Area 1W (STA 1W) is the first experimental freshwater artificial marsh constructed in the Everglades to filter or remove phosphorus from runoff draining Everglades agricultural areas. SFWMD environmental scientist Christy Combs (West Palm Beach) briefed participants on the history and purpose of the STA 1W project, formerly known as the Everglades Nutrient Removal Project (ENRP). The STA 1W is SFWMD's first experimental site to investigate the feasibility of filtering phosphorus-laden water by using an artificial marsh.
  3. The city of West Palm Beach's water-utility Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) well is the world's largest freshwater injection well. Approximately 1,200 ft (365 m) deep, it can store as much as about 8 million gallons per day.
  4. Scientists at the SFWMD and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Recreation and Parks are monitoring vegetation along a coastal reach of the Loxahatchee River in the Jupiter area. Field-trip participants visited transect #10, located within Jonathan Dickinson State Park. USGS scientists Ben McPherson (Tampa, FL), Bill Orem (Reston, VA), and Peter Swarzenski (St. Petersburg, FL) are conducting a parallel study for assessing ground-water influx and biogeochemical characteristics of the Loxahatchee River and flood-plain ecosystem.

After the four stops, Ben provided an overview of Everglades National Park and led the group to several sites along the park's main road: (1) the Anhinga Trail over a section of Taylor Slough, (2) Rock Reef Pass (elevation, 3 ft), (3) the Pa-hay-okee Overlook over Shark River Slough, (4) Mahogany Hammock, (5) Nine Mile Pond to observe the ecotone, or transition zone, between the freshwater marsh and the mangrove area, and (6) Flamingo Beach. Chris Langevin (USGS, Miami) briefed the group on the objectives of the Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves Ecotone (TIME) hydrodynamic model, which covers the Everglades National Park area.

The group also made a quick stop on water structure S-12D along the Tamiami Trail for a brief description of two of the most important Everglades restoration projects, the Modified Waters project and the CERP Decompartmentalization Project, that will restore sheetflow in the Everglades National Park. The next stop was a drivethrough of Loop Road within Big Cypress National Preserve. There, the group had an opportunity to observe a near-dry pond in the Roberts Lake Strand that serves as a refuge for a small fish community and several starving alligators. The day ended with a stop at Everglades City.

On May 21, Eduardo Patino (USGS, Fort Myers) joined the group and provided an overview of USGS activities in southwest Florida. Stops included the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and the Southern Golden Gate Estates area, site of another major CERP undertaking in southwest Florida. The group made a brief, mosquito-infested stop along the 2,000-ft (610 m)-long boardwalk at Big Cypress Bend. The boardwalk ended at another near-dry pond that was also refuge for a handful of alligators trying to survive the dry season. The final stop was at Collier-Seminole State Park to observe one of the historic walking dredges used during the construction of the Tamiami Trail in the 1920s.

Related Web Sites
University of South Florida (USF)
Tampa, FL
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Virual Tour of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA)
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

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in this issue: Fieldwork
cover story:
Marianas Submarine Hydrothermal Systems

Phosphorus Plume Study

Sea-Otter Numbers at Record High

Research West-Central Florida Project Concludes

Outreach South Florida Congressional Staff Tour

Florida Oceans Day

USF Hydrogeology Field Camp

ASLO Keynote Address

Oceanography Camp for Girls

Water Conservation Festival

Meetings Basics of the Basin Research Symposium

Swarm Modeling Workshop

Awards USGS Recognized for ArcIMS Data

Staff & Center News Halley Interviewed for Local Television

Publications July Publications List

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