A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring and
Modeling
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Introduction

In FY 04, Congress appropriated funds specifically to the Refuge for development of an enhanced water quality monitoring network and hydrodynamic and water quality modeling tools. The appropriation was intended, in part, to improve the scientific understanding of water quality issues in the Refuge and provide information that can be incorporated into water management decisions to better protect Refuge resources (Public Law 108-108; see House Report No. 108-195, p. 39-41 (2004)). The Refuge’s existing water quality monitoring network used for Federal Consent Decree compliance characterized the central region of the interior marsh, leaving a relatively large region uncharacterized, predominantly in the outer, impacted fringe of the wetland. The additional monthly sampling as part of the enhanced water quality monitoring program, thus, focuses on these uncharacterized areas. Further, as phosphorus, and other water quality parameters, are affected by water depth and other environmental factors, more information, such as data from this program, is needed to make valid comparisons with existing information to best characterize the entire marsh.

A work plan was developed by Refuge staff outlining studies in several areas: (1) increased numbers of monthly water quality sampling sites; (2) monitoring of canal water intrusion using surface water conductivity transects into the interior marsh; and, (3) development of hydrodynamic and water quality modeling. These areas are consistent with long-term goals identified in the Refuge’s 15-year Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Additional funding provided by the Department of Interior in 2004 allowed for extending the duration of the program and for adding one additional component to the program: characterization of sediment and water quality in the perimeter canals of the Refuge. Each of these components is discussed further below.

The data collected from these projects will help us evaluate management actions to lessen the intrusion of phosphorus/nutrients into the Refuge so as to protect/preserve Refuge resources. Additionally these studies complement recommendations made by the Consent Decree’s Technical Oversight Committee for addressing exceedances observed in interim phosphorus levels within the Refuge.



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Page last updated: 15 January, 2013 @ 12:42 PM
Comments about website: Heather Henkel (hhenkel@usgs.gov)