The Everglades, including the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), developed as a rainfall-driven system with surface waters low in nutrients and inorganic ions such as chloride, sodium, and calcium, and, therefore, low in conductivity. Areas of pristine marsh throughout the Everglades have been impacted to various degrees by intrusion of water with high nutrients and other constituents. Information from the Refuge and other wetlands indicates that changes in phosphorus and major ions cause undesirable ecological changes in flora and fauna. A large amount of research conducted by state, federal, and private entities has demonstrated the impacts of small increases in concentration of total phosphorus. Changes in Everglades flora and fauna begin to occur at total phosphorus concentrations slightly higher than 10 ppb. In addition to elevated phosphorus concentrations, canal water has high conductivity compared to the naturally low conductivity marsh interior. Conductivity is a simple field measurement that provides a surrogate for concentration of major ions. Therefore, there are concerns that increases in canal water intrusion into the Refuge interior may cause negative ecological consequences because canal water is higher in nutrients.
A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and
The data collected from these projects helped us evaluate management actions to lessen the intrusion of phosphorus/nutrients into the Refuge so as to protect/preserve Refuge resources.
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