|projects > effect of water flow on transport of solutes, suspended particles, and particle-associated nutrients in the everglades ridge and slough landscape > work plan
U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Fiscal Year 2006 Study Work Plan
Study Start Date: October 2002 Study End Date: September 2007
Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/susparticles/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/wtr_flux/ http://sofia.usgs.gov/sfrsf/entdisplays/waterlevels/; http://sofia.usgs.gov/exchange/harvey/harveyDATA.html; http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/jharvey/site/index.html
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Northern, Central, and Southern Everglades (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade)
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): None
Funding History: FY04; FY05
Principal Investigator(s): Jud Harvey (USGS, Reston), Greg Noe (USGS, Reston), and Jim Saiers (Yale Univ.)
Study Personnel: Jennifer O'Reilly (ECO), Joel Detty (ECO), Ying Qiu (ECO), Laurel Larsen (Ph.D. student)
Supporting Organizations: USGS, SFWMD, NPS/Everglades National Park
Associated / Linked Studies:
Tides and Inflows at the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME): http://time.er.usgs.gov/;
Integrated Geochemical Studies in the Everglades: http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/wetland_seds/, http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/evergl_merc/;
Freshwater Flows into Florida Bay: http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/freshwtr_flow/;
Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research: http://fcelter.fiu.edu/
A primary directive in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is to restore Everglades hydrology toward pre-drainage conditions in a manner that will successfully protect water quality and landscape structure. Water-management practices during the past century are acknowledged to have played a significant role in causing changes in the topography, water flow direction, water quality, vegetation communities, and other landscape characteristics of the Everglades (Crisfield and McVoy, 2004). Both the National Research Council and the Department of Interior have recommended research to determine how further changes in water management, in particular, changing the amount and distribution flows in a restored Everglades, will influence water quality and landscape structure. One concern is that plans for augmenting water flows to increase water levels in certain downstream areas could have the unintended effect of transporting surface-water contaminants (including higher than desirable levels of total dissolved solids, particulate and dissolved organic matter, sulfate, phosphorus, mercury, etc.) farther into the central and southern parts of the Everglades ecosystem than ever before.
Consequently, the restoration's goal of increasing surface-water flow while preserving water quality and the integrity of the Everglades landscape could more difficult than anticipated. Already there are parts of the northern and central parts of the Everglades (e.g. northern WCA-2A) where the characteristic Everglades landscape has been completely altered. Surface-water contaminants are stored at high concentration in soils, vegetation, peat pore water and ground water in those locations (Harvey and others, 2005). Recent estimates suggest that the movement of phosphorus from those storage locations back into the flowing surface waters now exceeds the inputs of new phosphorus from outside the system (Noe and Childers, in review). However, very little is known about how quickly that contamination is spreading and whether the restoration's goal of increased flows will cause the spreading of those stored contaminants at an even faster rate. Noe and others (2003) first identified the strong association between suspended particles in the water column and phosphorus cycling in Everglades wetlands. However, little was known about the transport characteristics of suspended particles in the Everglades.
Our investigation seeks a better understanding of the fundamental processes that determine transport rates of phosphorus and other contaminants to downstream locations in the Everglades. The ultimate goal is to acquire, through detailed experimentation and modeling, the parameters that will be needed to predict how restored flows will affect Everglades water quality in the coming years and decades.
Important questions to be addressed include, How far is phosphorus currently being transported before being sequestered into soil and vegetation?, Will transport distances to downstream areas increase under restored flows? What are the important processes involved in phosphorus transport and storage, in particular what is the role of fine suspended particulate matter in transporting phosphorus, and What is the role of emergent wetland vegetation in intercepting those fine particulates.
A related goal of our work is to understand whether interactions between flow and transport of sediment and phosphorus are an important contributor to changes in Everglades landscape patterns (i.e., loss of ridge and slough topography and tree islands), and to determine whether there are ways to manage flow and phosphorus loads together. The goal is to reduce further degradation of the remaining high-functioning parts of the ecosystem with hydrological and ecological characteristics most similar to the pre drainage Everglades system (http://www.evergladesplan.org, Science Coordination Team, 2003).
Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Identified Information Needs: (Page numbers below refer to DOI Science Plan.)
The Science Coordination Team of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (http://www.sfrestore.org/) asserted the need for research on interactions between flow and ecological processes in the Everglades (Science Coordination Team, 2003). Furthermore, the National Research Council reports a lack of understanding of the role of flow as a factor contributing to landscape changes in the Everglades (National Research Council, 2003). The Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP) of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) (http://www.evergladesplan.org) also calls for the need of background information on sheet flow behavior for effective restoration assessment. The need for investigations of interactions between flow and water quality is also identified as needed priority research in multiple sections of the Science Plan of the Department of Interior.
In the present work plan, sheet-flow behavior (monitored by our collaborator Ray Schaffranek) and its interactions with transport of fine suspended particulates and phosphorus will be determined in an area of well-preserved ridge and slough environment. The specific goal is to identify and characterize (as parameters for water quality models) the critical factors that influence downstream water quality and landscape maintenance.
The present study supports critical science needs in the following four projects in the DOI Everglades Science Plan: (1) Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement, (2) Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR (WCA-1) Internal Canal Structures, (3) Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study, and (4) Landscape-Scale Modeling Study.
One of the most important aspects of our work is determining the role of transport of fine suspended particles in controlling storage, transport, and transformation of phosphorus (and other contaminants) in the surface water of Everglades wetlands. Preliminary transport experiments were conducted in the first year of the investigation (Saiers and others, 2003; Harvey and others, 2005). In the second year, regional differences in the size distribution of suspended fine particulate matter and associated phosphorus were determined (Noe and others, 2004). Locations for that analysis included one site in central Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee (WCA-1), three sites along the nutrient enrichment gradient in WCA-2A, and one site in Shark Slough in Everglades National Park.
In FY06 we will investigate in detail the interactions between phosphorus biogeochemistry, particle transport and filtration, and water flow velocity. The site chosen for experimentation is in Water Conservation Area 3A in an area of well preserved ridge and slough topography. We will be collaborating with Ray Schaffranek's project, which will primarily be responsible for establishing two monitoring sites (one on a ridge and one in a slough) with continuous measurement of water depth, velocity, specific conductivity, and temperature profiles in the water column. At the same sites our group will be measuring detailed topography and microtopography, and sediment characteristics at the ridge and slough sites and at transition sites between them. One sampling trip will be devoted to measuring storage of nutrients in dissolved and particulate phases in water, soil, and plants at eight sites across the ridge to slough transition. Dissolved and suspended fine particulate concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen (organic and inorganic forms) will be measured once per month at three depths of the water column in at the ridge and slough monitoring sites. Dissolved and particulate organic carbon, calcium, iron, and aluminum will also be measured at the same locations on one sampling trip. Dissolved concentrations of all elements will be determined at six depths in pore water of the Everglades peat soil on all of the monthly sampling trips.
A refined set of controlled injections of solute and particulate tracers will also be undertaken in FY06. The purpose of the tracer experiments is to investigate the interactions between phosphorus biogeochemistry, fine suspended particle transport, and variable water flow velocities. The goal is to determine in detail the fate of solutes and fine particulate matter under different flow conditions and to identify the specific physical and biological features and processes responsible for the observed levels of transport and storage. The tracer experiments will be conducted at several different velocities (manipulated by pumping) at both the ridge and slough sites over time periods ranging from hurs to tens of hurs. Results of those experiments will be modeled in detail to produce the parameters describing controlling processes, such as particle sources, size classes, and phosphorus content; transport and filtration rates of particles, water and solute storage in relatively slow moving water in zones of thick vegetation and in subsurface pore water; and chemical reactions that phosphorus undergoes in its various dissolved and particulate forms. This information is critical for improving the modeling of the cycling and transport of dissolved and particulate contaminants in the Everglades.
Modeling by our group in FY06 will be required first to interpret the results of tracer experiments, with the goal being to produce a fundamental set of transport parameters representing the role of fine suspended particles and storage of water and solute in relatively slow-moving areas of thick vegetation and subsurface pore water. Eventually we expect that our modeling concepts and parameter sets will be implemented in the more comprehensive water-quality models and landscape ecosystem models (such as DMSTA and ELM) that are being used to adaptively guide the restoration. In this way the knowledge gained from our detailed experiments will be scaled-up for application at larger spatial scales and at longer temporal scales. If successful, we envision the incorporation of our parameters into model applications throughout the Everglades. In particular, the results of these studies will be crucial in predicting the effects of WCA-3A Decompartmentalization Project (DOI Science Plan p. 66). This study will also provide key scientific data to the Loxahatchee Internal Canal Structures Project (p. 39), Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Studies (p. 84), Landscape-Scale Modeling Study (p. 81) and Ridge and Slough Performance Standards.
Expected Results and Significance:
The DOI Science Plan highlights the need to understand the influence of hydrology on nutrient and contaminant transport and cycling. The National Academy of Sciences has also emphasized the importance of sediment transport to understanding and restoring the Everglades. Our proposed experiments and modeling are fundamental to building a reliable predictive capability of how the Everglades will respond to the restoration's higher flows. Our proposed combination of empirical and modeling research will support several of the critical information needs identified by the National Academy of Science and DOI Everglades Science Plan. First, this work has direct bearing on projects such as the WCA-3A Decompartmentalization Project, and Tamiami Trail Bridge Expansion projects, but it is also highly relevant to all projects related to preservation of landscape structure (e.g. Landscape-Scale Modeling Study and Ridge and Slough Performance Standards), as well as all projects concerned with changing water quality and the need for more modern water-quality performance standards in the Everglades (e.g. Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Feasibility Study). Our study will identify the critical hydrologic, chemical, and biologic linkages that have shaped both the pre-drainage Everglades and the current landscape. This information is necessary for understanding the critical factors that sustain the ridge and slough landscape and ecosystem function, and is also necessary for predicting some of the unintended side-effects of restoration activities that may accompany increases in flow and hydrologic connectivity (a focus identified as important by both DOI and the National Academy of Science). Finally, the information gained on particle and solute transport will aid critical modeling efforts that support the Loxahatchee Internal Canal Structures Project. In conclusion, our proposed work will support key science needs for no less than six of the projects identified by DOI as critical to the success of the Everglades restoration.
Crisfield, E., and McVoy, C., 2004, Role of flow-related processes in maintaining the ridge and slough landscape, Joint Conference on the Science and Restoration of the Greater Everglades and Florida Bay Ecosystem, Palm Harbor, FL.
Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., Krest, J.M., Choi, J., Nemeth, E.A., and Krupa, S.L., 2005, Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in Water Conservation Area 2A, Central Everglades, USGS SIR 2004-5069 (approved).
Harvey, J.W., Saiers, J.E., and Newlin, J.T., 2005, Solute transport and storage mechanisms in wetlands of the Everglades, south Florida, Water Resources Research, 41, W05009, doi:10.129/2004WR003507.
National Research Council, 2003, Does water flow influence Everglades landscape patterns, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press, http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10758.html, 41 p.
Noe, G.B., Harvey, J., Saiers, J., 2004, Particulate phosphorous transport in the Everglades wetland landscape, First National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, Orlando, FL.
Noe, G.B., Scinto, L.J., Taylor, J., Childers, D.L., and Jones, R.D. 2003, Phosphorus cycling and partitioning in an oligotrophic Everglades wetland ecosystem: a radioisotope tracing study. Freshwater Biology 48(11):1993-2008.
Noe, G.B. and Childers, D.L. The effects of enrichment on Everglades wetland ecosystem phosphorus budgets. Ecosystems, (submitted, publication expected September 2006).
Saiers, J.E., Harvey, J.W., and Mylon, S.E., 2003, Surface-water transport of suspended matter through wetland vegetation of the Florida Everglades. Geophysical Research Letters 30(19), 1987, doi:10.1029/2003GL018132.
Schaffranek, R.W., and Riscassi, A.L., 2004, Flow velocity, water temperature, and conductivity at selected locations in Shark River Slough, Everglades National Park, Florida: July 1999-July 2003, U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 110. http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/2004/110/.
Science Coordination Team, 2003, The role of flow in the Everglades ridge and slough landscape, South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Working Group, http://www.sfrestore.org/sct/docs/SCT Flow Paper - Final.pdf, 62 p.
B. WORK PLAN
Title of Task 1: Effect of Water Flow on Transport of Solutes, Suspended Particles, and Particle-Associated Nutrients in the Everglades
Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:
Specific Task Product(s): [List and include expected delivery date(s).]
Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., Krupa, S.L., Modeling decadel timescale interactions between surface water and shallow ground water in the central Everglades, Florida, USA, Journal of Hydrology, (in press, publication expected November 2005).
Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., Krest, J.M., Choi, J., Nemeth, E.A., and Krupa, S.L., 2005, Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in Water Conservation Area 2A, Central Everglades, USGS SIR 2004-5069, (approved and in preparation for printing at GPO, publication expected December 2005).
Harvey, J.W. and others. Simulation of transport of solute and fine suspended particulates in the ridge and slough landscape of the Everglades (to be submitted to journal by December 2006).
Noe, G.B. and Childers, D.L. The effects of enrichment on Everglades wetland ecosystem phosphorus budgets. Ecosystems, (submitted, publication expected September 2006).
Noe, G.B., Saiers, J.E., and Harvey, J.W. Characterization of suspended particles in Everglades wetlands. (to be submitted to journal by September 2006).
Saiers, J.E., and other, Wetland processes affecting transport and interception of micron-sized suspended particulates in the ridge and slough landscape of the Everglades (to be submitted to journal by October 2006).
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated: 15 January, 2013 @ 12:43 PM(TJE)