(2010) Volesky, B. Online Everglades Library. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.331.
An online Everglades scientific resource library is essential as an information center for widely
scattered Everglades-related science efforts and as a resource for the community dealing with
multifaceted problems of the Florida Everglades. The independent EvergladesHUB.com website
is well positioned to develop and provide an excellent digital platform for a new information
system focused on collecting and offering scientific research literature. A working pilot example
is already currently provided on this website presenting citations of scientific journal articles
published during the last 5 years. They have been conveniently divided into 7 most relevant
Agriculture, Biology & Zoology, Hydrology, Modeling, Water-Nutrients, Water-Toxicants, and
Wetlands. The new Online Everglades Library (OEL) is offering the Science literature database
as an initial priority because of the immediate demand. The literature database domains will
gradually be expanded for other key areas such as
Law, Business, Social Sciences,
Government, Media releases, (etc.).
This facility will substantially differ from existing Everglades Digital Library (FIU), SOFIA
(USGS) and NPS information systems that contain only a very limited selection of literature
resources. Restricted by different regulations and lack of resources, these could hardly serve as
an information resource for all of Everglades-related interests and they remain on the distant
fringe of the current information flux and demand where vast amounts of information are
required to flow instantaneously, digitally, and online, accessible to all.
The expansion of the OEL pilot project into a comprehensive database to cover at least 40 years
of published scientific literature is considered. Apart from offering titles and abstracts of
published articles, EvergladesHUB.com website will also offer open access to full texts wherever
possible. As full access to subscription-based literature publications offered by commercial
databases is invariably expensive and often cumbersome, all the various Everglades stakeholders
would benefit from the availability of a carefully pre-selected relevant literature resource base at
their fingertips - online. In future, this free online facility will also offer a section with
consolidated technical and scientific reports available in the public domain that have been
broadly scattered and difficult to locate. In addition, the user-friendly OEL will feature highspeed
search capabilities and will be continuously maintained and updated.
This presentation will familiarize the audience with the concept of the proposed new OEL, its
features and operation.
||(2010) Avila-Blair-Markley-Kempinski. Relations of Seagrass and Physical Trends in Southern Biscayne Bay - Northeastern Florida Bay and Evaluations of the Role of Density in Thalassia testudinum Responses to Stressors. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.218.
||(2010) Bargar, T. A Risk Assessment of Methylmercury to Fish in South Florida.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.16.
A limited set of studies have evaluated the hazards of methylmercury (MeHg) to fish. The range
of lowest effect residues reported was 470 ng/g wet weight (ww) to 12,000 ng/g ww based on
tissue burdens, and 567 to 54,000 ng/g based on dietary burdens. The measured endpoints ranged
from molecular alterations (e.g., metallothionein and testosterone levels) to reproductive impacts
(e.g., sex ratio and spawning success). Biological effect thresholds that were generated for the
determination of risk from MeHg ranged from 323 to 529 ng/g ww based on tissue burdens, and
from 345 to 718 ng/g based on dietary burdens. Mercury (total mercury - THg) monitoring data
for fish collected from south Florida between 1999 and 2009 were retrieved from the South
Florida Water Management District’s DBHYDRO database for comparison to the effect
thresholds. Six different species comprised that data set: bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus),
largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), redear sunfish (L. microlophus), spotted sunfish (L.
punctatus), eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), and warmouth (L. gulosus).
Approximately 20 percent of the data showed THg concentrations greater than the lowest effect
threshold concentration for MeHg (323 ng/g ww). A probabilistic approach to risk analysis,
which incorporates Monte Carlo sampling of the entirety of both the effects and monitoring data
sets, indicated a relatively low likelihood (3.5%) that any individual fish is at risk from MeHg.
Segregating the monitoring dataset by species, year, and location revealed that risk varied with
each of these factors.
||(2010) Bargar, T. A Water Quality Criteria-Based Evaluation of Copper Impacts to South Florida’s Freshwater Environment
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.17.
The heavy localized use of copper (Cu) in urban areas and citrus agriculture in south Florida has
resulted in significant soil and sediment contamination, and a recent prospective ecological risk
assessment indicate Cu contamination is cause for concern as regards freshwater ecosystems. In
this evaluation, eight years of surface freshwater monitoring data for south Florida were
collected from the on-line database DBHYDRO to evaluate the likelihood for impacts due to Cu
contamination. The evaluation involved a comparison of water hardness and biotic ligand model
(BLM) based surface water quality criteria (WQC) to Cu concentrations reported in the
databases. Copper concentrations in water samples from 11.8 percent of the sampling stations
exceeded the hardness-based chronic WQC, while concentrations in samples from 1.3 percent of
the stations exceeded the BLM-based chronic WQC indicating that the hardness-based WQC is a
more conservative estimator of Cu impact. Based on data from approximately 600 water
monitoring stations in south Florida, the BLM-based chronic WQC was, on average, 1.8 times
greater than the hardness-based chronic WQC for the same location. The vast majority of the
WQC exceedances were in residential areas of Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, and St. Lucie
Counties indicating that citrus agriculture is not contributing significantly to Cu impacts in south
Florida surface freshwaters. A drawback to the practical application of the BLM to water
monitoring data in south Florida, and possibly to other municipal and state water monitoring
programs, is the paucity of available water chemistry data necessary to support the BLM.
||(2010) Bargeron,.Utilizing partnerships and information technology
to advance invasive species, forestry and agriculture education.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.218.
||(2010) Browder, J.A., Nelson, C.M., Kandrashoff, M. & Kandrashoff, F. Fish Health of the St. Lucie River Estuarine System in Relation to Canal Discharges and Water Quality. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.218.
Indicators of environmental quality are essential for assessing change in the support value of an
estuary for fish and wildlife and for evaluating the effectiveness of hydrologic and water quality
restoration efforts. We propose St. Lucie fish health, as reflected in the prevalence of fish with
gross abnormalities, as an index of environmental quality for monitoring the progress of both
local and regional restoration efforts. In an analysis of a 12+-yr dataset, we examined the
prevalence of fish with any externally visible abnormality (ANY) in relation to potential causal
factors--canal discharge (including Lake Okeechobee regulatory releases) and water quality. The
discharge and water quality data were obtained from the South Florida Water Management
District (downloaded from DBHydro) and summarized for analysis. The discharge data of three
canals, C23, C24, and C44, were combined or used separately to calculate two variables for
alternative use: the weighted mean cubic feet per second and proportion of days when flows
were greater than the 75th percentile. These were lagged for various periods (7-day, 30-day, or
90-day) in the analysis. The water quality variables we included in our analysis were secchi disk
visibility, color, chlorophyll-a, total suspended solids, volatile suspended solids, and salinity of
the previous month or the previous three months, as measured in the St. Lucie near the discharge
points of the three canals. In our multi-species database, species is a major factor determining
abnormality prevalence; therefore, we used mixed-effects models and entered species into our
models as a random effect to account for species variation. Since the water quality variables were
cross-correlated to varying extents, we examined these variables in separate equations to prevent
problems associated with multicollinearity. We created separate models for the middle estuary
(SLES) and the Inlet (SLIN). When we treated the canal flows as separate variables, only C44
flow was statistically significant. Our results suggested that hydrologic variables affected ANY
in SLES with a 90-day lag and ANY in SLIN with a 7- or 30-day lag. Those species that had the
highest prevalence of ANY were the same species that were most sensitive to change in
freshwater inflow. Where they occurred in both areas, the sensitive species were the same
species in both SLES and SLIN. All water quality variables were significantly related to ANY in
either SLES, SLIN, or both areas. In general, color, visibility, chlorophyll-a, and salinity were
negatively related to ANY (the higher the variable, the lower ANY), and total and volatile
suspended solids were positively related to ANY (the higher the variable, the higher ANY). In
general, previous-3-month variables had stronger effects. The beneficial effect of color on fish
health that is suggested by its negative relationship with ANY may be due to the sequestering of
heavy metals such as copper. Our results suggest that both discharge volumes and water quality
affect fish health in the St. Lucie system. The prevalence of fish with abnormalities can be a
powerful indicator of the cumulative effects of local and regional restoration efforts.
||(2010) Brown-Keefe-Jin-Reynolds-Strandes. The Effects of CERP upon Submerged Aquatic Communities in Lake Okeechobee.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.53.
The Lake Okeechobee (LO) littoral zone is on the western shore of Lake Okeechobee and hosts
both emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation communities . This comprises diverse
communities of native and exotic plants in an area larger than 400 km2. It serves as nesting
habitat and food resources for many important game fishes, wading birds, migratory waterfowl,
alligator, and the endangered Everglades snail kite. Littoral vegetation structure is influenced
both by hydro-period and phosphorus loading from the lake’s eutrophic pelagic region. (Havens
et al 2005) Approximately 50 % of the littoral zone is comprised of Submerged Aquatic
Vegetation (SAV). This area will be the focus of this presentation.
A wide body of published research documents the benefits of seasonally variable water levels
within the range of 12.5 ft (June-July low) and 15.5 ft (November-January high) on the plant /
animal communities of Lake Okeechobee. Falling water levels in late winter to spring benefit
wading birds by concentrating prey resources in the littoral zone where those birds forage, water
levels near 12.5 ft benefit submerged plants and bulrush by providing optimal light levels for
photosynthesis in the summer months and variation in the prescribed range results in annual
flooding and drying of upland areas of the littoral zone, which favors development of a diverse
emergent plant community.
The stage envelope was the basis for the Restoration Coordination Verification program
(RECOVER) system wide performance measure LO-3. This performance measure is a depiction
of all possible hydrologic stages on a graph. Ecologically based depths are depicted over a
calendar year. Deviations from this stage are measured in terms of foot months or weeks. This
system permits quantification (in hydrologic units) of deviation from optimal ecologic
This presentation will attempt to relate the positive effects of ecological stage management with
areal extent of SAV. SFWMD measures total acres of SAV in LO. This is measured in August of
each year and data exists back to 2000. A regression of SAV and the weekly compliance with the
ecological stage envelope was attempted. Several regressions were prepared of various
antecedent stage conditions. The best fit of the regression was based upon 6 month conditions
prior to the August measurements of Total areal extent of SAV. A regression equation of a high
R2 value was prepared.
CERP is planned and adaptively managed to improve system wide ecology. This depends upon
forecast modeling of entire system. These forecast models are updated in response to changes in
land use, structure operations, and increase in historical period. Several system-wide modeling
updates of these areas have been produced since 1999. These coupled with the hydrologic and
ecological data can provide valuable insight into the future, be employed to forecast changes, and
effectuate adaptive management decisions as CERP is implemented. This equation was used to
determine affects of various CERP scenarios to relate to hydrologic and ecological effects upon
||(2010) Brown-Ehlinger-Keefe-Lopez-Scotto. Forecasting Effects of Nutrient Loading and Availability of an Ecosystem Restoration in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries of Florida. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.54.
The magnitude, timing and distribution of freshwater inflow to the St. Lucie River Estuary (SLE)
and the Caloosahatchee River Estuary (CRE) have been disrupted by anthropogenic alterations
over the course of Southern Florida history. These include over drainage of coastal watersheds
and artificial connections to Lake Okeechobee (LO). This has affected nutrient loads as well as
the relative availability of nutrients. Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program (CERP)
projects are proposed to achieve a more ecologically suitable pattern of freshwater inflow to
these systems. This will similarly affect nutrient loads and availability.
Nitrogen: phosphorus stoichiometry in primary producers has served as integrators of ecological
processes. Restoration of sea grass communities (in estuarine components) of the Everglades is
one of the goals of CERP. The “Redfield ratio” facilitates understanding of nutrient dynamics
and further serves as an evaluation method of the relative availability of nutrients in estuarine
plant communities. This has been used as a surrogate for relative nutrient availability for sea
grasses, macro-algae and phytoplankton. An idealized succession of phytoplankton to Thalassia
spp. occurs from Redfield gradients of 16 to 30, respectively. Similarly, high Redfield’s (above
30) create similar create phosphorus limitation of sea grasses.
Regulatory releases provide significant loads to the SLE and CRE. According to the South
Florida Water Management District, 83 MT of TP and 881 MT of TN are contributed annually to
the SLE from Lake Okeechobee. Similarly, 65 MT of TP and 1584 MT of TN are contributed
annually to the CRE from Lake Okeechobee. These have Redfield ratios of 23.4 for SLE and
53.7 for CRE. These vary significantly from theoretical sea grass ratios of 30 and favor blue
green macro-algae. Since Lake Okeechobee contributes significant nutrient loads to the both the
CRE and SLE estuaries, these loads and ratios will be effected by the construction and operation
of CERP Reservoirs and Storm water Treatment Areas (STA’s). Moreover, they can be isolated
from the effect of other non-CERP programs such as BMP’s, land use changes, TMDLs, and
basin run off controls.
Conceptual ecological models require further development in order use the South Florida Water
Management Model (SFWMM) output to evaluate restoration effects. For this reason, CERP
regional evaluations, CERP updates and other forecasting techniques have not employed these
models. This poses a dilemma as the ecological effects of CERP can not be examined in regional
evaluations. To address this dilemma, an interim methodology is proposed that employs
SFWMM output and uses structure nutrient data to forecast the effects of CERP on seagrass
nutrient availability. This presentation will present this methodology.
||(2010) Burtner-Frederick. Do Wading Birds Nest near Alligators by Choice ? Testing the “Nest Protector” Hypothesis. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.58.
Wading birds often nest over water inhabited by alligators, sometimes in apparent preference.
This potential association has been noted in the field as well as in the more artificial setting of
alligator farms. Many ecologists hypothesize that the alligators benefit the nesting birds as
deterrents to mammals and snakes that may otherwise prey on wading bird nests. However, this
potential interaction has not been experimentally examined. We are using several approaches to
test selected predictions of this hypothesis using small willow-dominated colonies of little blue
herons (Egretta caerulea) and tri-colored herons (Egretta tricolor) in the central Everglades as
experimental units. First, to determine if the spatial relationship between nesting wading birds
and alligators is nonrandom, we are comparing alligator densities near suitable, but previously
unoccupied, wading bird nesting sites with densities near sites birds nested on in previous years.
Second, we are manipulating densities of alligators and wading birds using an experimental array
of 200 alligator and 400 bird decoys to determine if either species is attracted to the other via
visual sensory cues. Third, we are quantifying mesopredator presence. Fourth, we are measuring
the potential benefit alligators may derive from dropped food and chicks by using throughfall
traps under nests. The strength and vectors of this potential mutualism will be evaluated in
relation to results obtained from these ongoing studies.
||(2010) Ceilley-Thomas-Everham-Ferlita-Morris-Weitzel-Ross-Rutter. An Update on the Biological Monitoring of the Lake Trafford Restoration Project, Collier County, Florida. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.65.
Lake Trafford is a shallow, subtropical lake that was subjected to increasing anthropogenic
nutrient loading over several decades. Excessive growth of the invasive exotic aquatic plant
Hydrilla verticillata choked out native aquatic plants and negatively impacted sport fisheries.
Herbicide treatments for Hydrilla removal were successful but the eradication led to
accumulation of a deep organic muck layer throughout the Lake and since then Lake Trafford
has been a phytoplankton dominated lake with frequent algal blooms and fish kills. As a direct
result of a grass roots initiative, the Big Cypress Basin of the SFWMD implemented a restoration
project that involves hydraulic dredging of muck sediments from the lake. The removal of over 4
million cubic yards of sediments was completed in 2008. Additional de-mucking is currently
underway with an expected completion date of April 2011. Natural recruitment of native aquatic
macrophytes has been hindered by turbidity and reduced water clarity from remaining muck
being easily re-suspended in the water column from wind generated waves. As the remaining
muck is removed from Lake Trafford exposing a sand and shell/clay bottom, we expect to see
dramatic shifts in water clarity, phytoplankton/zooplankton communities, and sedimentation
A primary restoration goal is to return Lake Trafford to a mesotrophic, native macrophyte
dominated lake with a stable sport fishery. The following monitoring plan elements are proposed
to document the post-muck removal lake conditions of Lake Trafford –and- track performance
measures of restoration success: 1) seasonal diurnal zooplankton surveys; 2) biweekly
chlorophyll, phytoplantkton, and PhytoPam analysis for rapid light curves (RLC) and
photosynthetic efficiency of the three major groups (Chlorophyceae, Bacillaryophyceae and
Cyanophyceae); 3) annual SAV surveys and Lake Vegetation Index (LVI); 4) benthic and littoral
zone macroinvertebrate community assessments; 5) littoral zone fish community structure; 6)
sediment surveys and sedimentation rate monitoring; 7) weather station installation and
monitoring; 8) modified water quality monitoring plan; and most importantly 9) develop a Lake
Management Plan in cooperation with FDEP, SFWMD, FFWCC, USFWS, ACOE, and Collier
To enhance the restoration of Lake Trafford, a series of native planting projects have been
proposed for both submergent and emergent species including eelgrass (Vallisneria americana),
pondweed (Potamogeton illinoisensis) and bulrush (Scripus validus) in cooperation with the
South Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission with support from the USFWS.
||(2010) Chen-Meselhe-Waldon. Setup, Formulation and Validation of a Spatially Explicit Hydrodynamic and Surface Water Chloride Concentration Model. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.66.
This poster focuses on the development and application of linked, spatially explicit
hydrodynamic and water quality models for the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National
Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is a 58,000-ha remnant of the northern Everglades. The spatially
explicit MIKE FLOOD and ECO Lab modeling frameworks were used to simulate the
hydrodynamics and chloride transport within the Refuge. This MIKE FLOOD model
dynamically links a one-dimensional MIKE-11 channel model with the 400*400 m twodimensional
MIKE-21 overland flow model, and allows for exchange of water and constituent
between the two systems. Chloride is modeled as a conservative constituent. Through
calibration, the chloride model helps to suggest and identify spatial patterns of roughness linked
to vegetative cover, as well as requisite dispersive parameters. We conclude that chloride
modeling provides a level of spatial information supporting hydrodynamic and transport model
development that, in practice, could not be matched using direct measurements of discharge and
velocity, and/or artificial tracer studies. The graphical and statistical comparisons of stage, depth,
discharge, and concentration demonstrate that this coupled model can provide reliable
predictions of the hydrodynamics and water constituent (chloride) movement in the Refuge. This
modeling provides a better understanding of the impacts of contaminants and nutrient loading,
and quantifies benefits of management alternatives.
Developing Genetic and Molecular Tools for Assessing and Controlling the Invasive Potential of Lantana camara and Protecting Native Lantana. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.88.
The Greater Everglades is home of many rare and endangered species. One of this species is
Lantana depressa. It has been under the threat of genetic contamination and displacement by its
invasive relative, Lantana camara. Natural cross-pollinations between the two species have
resulted in hybrid plants that resemble the native species and can be easily misidentified as
native plants. To overcome this difficulty, we have cloned and sequenced 384 DNA fragments
from the Lantana genome, identified 225 sequences containing simple sequence repeats (SSRs),
and developed 86 highly specific molecular (DNA) markers. These markers have been used to
analyze the DNA fingerprints of 56 lantana accessions. Clear differences in DNA fingerprints
have been observed between L. depressa and L. camara. Based on these fingerprints, we have
identified two accessions that appear to be L. depressa in morphology, but are mostly likely
cryptic interspecific hybrids. Pollination studies have been performed to assess the invasive
potential of 10 commercially available L. camara varieties. Broadly four groups of varieties are
recognized: (1) male- and female-fertile and able to cause genetic contamination as a pollen
donor or receiver, (2) male-fertile but female-sterile and invasive as a pollen donor, (3) malesterile
but female-fertile and invasive as a pollen receiver, and (4) male- and female-sterile and
non-invasive to L. depressa. New sterile (male and female) L. camara lines have been generated
through ploidy manipulation. In conclusion, our results indicate the necessity of caution in
selecting lantana accessions for ecological restoration or native landscape planting, and genetic
and molecular tools can play powerful roles in assessing and controlling the invasiveness of
exotic species and protecting the natives.
Making Sea Level Rise Projections Actionable For Engineering.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.95.
In 2009 the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released updated guidance on how
to incorporate sea level rise considerations into civil works projects. The guidance was given in
the form of an engineering circular, EC 1165-2-211, and it includes a methodology for
calculating sea level rise projections. The method is an update of sea level rise recommendations
from the National Research Council (NRC) in 1987. Given the age of the NRC’s original report
and that an abundance of research has taken place since, one may wonder how the USACE sea
level rise projections compare to the latest scientific literature. Additional questions may arise
regarding how the USACE projections compare with other projections in use in the region. To
address these types of concerns, and place the USACE sea level rise projections into greater
context, projections for various locations in south Florida are derived using the USACE’s
methods. The results are then evaluated with respect to: i.) the latest developments in the
scientific literature, ii.) other projection methodologies, including those already in use in the
region, iii.) greenhouse gases emissions scenarios, and related temperature change, associated
with each sea level rise scenario, iv.) related effects of climate change including ocean
acidification, storminess, and precipitation change, v.) utility and limitations of the sea level rise
projections in decision- support.
Mercury in Sentinel Fish from Coastal Regions of the Greater Everglades.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.96.
Fish were collected and analyzed for mercury and the stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen
along two gradients from coastal wetlands to the estuarine environment of eastern Florida Bay.
The collections were conducted in parallel with collections of water and sediments for total
mercury and methylmercury analysis. The purpose was to determine where methylmercury was
entering the eastern bay and where it was entering the food web. Eastern Florida Bay had
previously been identified as a “hot spot” for methylmercury bioaccumulation.
The fish collected included representatives of gamefish, intermediate sized fish, and small forage
fish. The most abundant species among gamefish were largemouth bass, peacock bass, crevalle
jack, and gray snapper, Mayan cichlids were the only abundant intermediate size fish collected.
Abundant forage fish included mosquitofish, mojarra, and silversides. Most species were either
freshwater or estuarine in their habitat preferences, but silversides, gray snapper, and crevalle
jack were found distributed between brackish water and estuarine water salinities throughout the
mangrove ecotone connecting the land and estuarine environments.
The stable carbon isotope signature (δC13) can clearly distinguish feeding in freshwater and
mangrove habitats (<-21.5‰) from feeding in bay habitats (>-17‰). Fish collected from the
mangrove habitat had δC13 values covering nearly the full range of the freshwater and bay
habitats, -30.6‰ to -12.0‰. A few marine fish such as crevalle jacks and snook found in the
mangrove habitat had acquired δC13 values indicating that they had been resident in freshwater or
mangrove habitats for much of their lives. These and some other marine fish had δC13 values that
identified them as part time residents of the mangrove habitat. No freshwater fish had δC13
values indicating any residence in the bay and only a few, such as inland silversides, had values
indicating residence in the mangrove habitat.
Across habitats, gamefish had higher average nitrogen isotope signatures (δN15) and mercury
concentrations than intermediate and forage fish. Among individuals within any species, these
parameters increased with fish size, as expected.
In complementary studies, total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in water were
observed to be highest in the mangrove habitat. There were no significant differences in mercury
concentrations within any species across habitats. Factors than total mercury and methylmercury
concentrations in water must be driving mercury bioaccumulation in fish in eastern Florida Bay.
Temporary or transient utilization of the mangrove habitat may be part of the explanation.
Differences in the bioavailability of methylmercury in water or differing food webs are other
possibilities. In one exception, mercury concentrations in silversides roughly tracked the
seasonal cycle of methylmercury concentrations in the waters of the mangrove ecotone, highest
concentrations in the late summer to early fall period of maximum temperatures and freshwater
inputs. The more rapid turnover of mercury in forage fish such as silversides than in larger,
longer-lived gamefish may allow
||(2010) Gallagher-Boucek-Rehage (GEER pg.113):
Effects of Seasonal Hydrology and the 2010 Cold Snap on the Distribution & Abundance of Snook in the Upper Shark River, Everglades National Park. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.113.
Abiotic and biotic factors shape distributional patterns, influence the strength and outcome of
species interactions and have consequences across multiple ecological scales. At small spatial
and temporal scales, abiotic conditions influence patterns of species movement and habitat use.
At larger scales, abiotic factors affect patterns of species abundance and distribution. Within
estuarine systems, spatial and temporal variation in seasonal hydrology and tidal cycle can have
large effects on estuary function and contributes substantially to the complexity of these
ecosystems. One important question in our understanding of estuarine systems is: What are the
key drivers of differential habitat use?
In the seasonally-pulsed Everglades ecosystem, rainfall (60% wet season, vs. 25% dry season)
alters salinity and freshwater regimes, producing spatial and temporal gradients. This study
examined the effects of this spatial and temporal variability on the abundance and distributional
patterns of snook, Centropomus undecimalis, one of Florida’s most sought after gamefishes. Ten
creeks within Everglades National Park (EVER) were sampled along an estuarine gradient, from
Tarpon Bay (downstream) to Rookery Branch drainage (upstream). Sampling was conducted via
electrofishing, during the wet, early-dry, and mid-dry seasons of 2004-2010, and was conducted
monthly from February 2010 through June 2010 following an anomalous cold event that resulted
in substantially fish mortality in all areas of EVER. Snook abundance (calculated from
electrofishing CPUE) differed between habitats and across seasons and years. Overall,
abundances were higher in the upstream reaches of Rookery Branch creeks, particularly during
the drier sampling periods. This pattern reflected directed movement of these transient estuarine
species into headwater creeks as marsh water levels upstream receded and salinity increased. Our
results indicate that as upstream marshes dry, pulses of freshwater taxa into tidal creeks may
increase seasonal foraging opportunities for transient oligohaline and mesohaline species.
However, expansion of suitable upstream habitats seem to be limited by dissolved oxygen
Following the January 2010 cold event, reports of fish kills were numerous throughout the
Greater Everglades Ecosystem (GEE), and the severity of these cold events likely had strong
impacts on snook populations. Our analysis of 6 years of pre-cold event data indicate snook
numbers have declined drastically after January 2010, however recovery estimates remain
challenging as we recorded snook mortality, but do not know what proportion of the population
was able to emigrate from these ephemeral cold water periods. Ongoing work will elucidate
patterns of recolonization and recovery, information vital to adaptive management of one of the
most frequently noted target species within Everglades National Park.
||(2010) Gamble. Changing How Projects are Managed while Maintaining Traditional
Protocols: An Integrated Approach to Managing and Tracking Project
Information. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.114.
Long standing administrative protocols have been in place for the management of projects at
Everglades National Park. Utilizing new methods supported by specialized commercial software
applications, these traditional, and often disjunct, protocols are now being integrated into a
comprehensive system which will serve as a single point of access for the administration of
projects thus, enhancing our ability to manage project related information. I provide an example
of this application to the management of the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative, an $80M
program that has generated roughly 300 separate research projects. Presented here is an overview
of the approach and tools being used at the South Florida Natural Resources Center to create a
more holistic utility with broader application to the everglades restoration effort.
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Monitoring in the Southern Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie Estuary, Lake Worth Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.126.
Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) provides important habitat for numerous organisms
including fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, and turtles. Accordingly, SAV and the associated
faunal communities are important indicators of estuarine condition. Our SAV monitoring project
will provide the scientific basis for quantifying improvements made to this key indicator of
restoration success brought about by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program
(CERP) and other restoration activities.
The Southern Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie Estuary, and Lake Worth Lagoon are located on
the south-central east coast of Florida. The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary are located on the
southwest coast of Florida. Historically, natural freshwater discharges into these water bodies
sustained an ecologically appropriate range of salinity conditions to facilitate the presence of
healthy floral and faunal communities, including SAV.
SAV monitoring requires the in situ collection of biological data and water quality parameters
accompanied by a statistical analysis of relationships, and an interpretation of the results with
regard to CERP priorities. Monitoring is conducted bimonthly at a spatial one square meter scale
for up to a five-year period.
A Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP) has been developed as the primary tool to assess the
system-wide performance as part of the Restoration Coordination and Verification (RECOVER)
program. The system-wide performance measures mentioned above address the responses of the
South Florida ecosystem
Potential Anthropogenic Changes in Dove Lake (Tidal Lake) In the Upper Florida Keys over the Last 100 Years.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.133.
The sediment record in Dove Lake is used to document ecological shifts in response to
anthropogenic modifications occurring over the last 100 years. A sub-aqueous sediment cores
was collected from Dove Lake, a marine tidal lake, located in Tavernier, Florida. Dates and
accumulation rates for the sediment cores were established through 210Pb dating. Lead-210 is an
ideal tracer for determining dates and accumulation rates on a 100 year time scale, which is the
most relevant time scale for examining consequences of recent change. It is during this time that
major anthropogenic modifications have taken place within the Upper Florida Keys and
surrounding areas. Tidal lake deposits are a good archive for correlating historical changes in
productivity associated with these anthropogenic modifications.
Total nitrogen, organic carbon, δ15N, δ13C and sedimentary photosynthetic pigments
(chlorophylls and carotenoids) are proxies used to better interpret past ecological conditions
within this system. Historical information associated with anthropogenic changes within the
geographical location coupled with an examination of ecological proxies within the sediment
record can be used to determine the influence of those anthropogenic changes on water quality.
The 210Pb dating model indicates mass sedimentation rates were less than 7 mg cm-2 yr-1 from
approximately1875 through the early 1950s with a noticeable increase beginning after the early
1950s. The mass sediment accumulation rate increased to greater than 20 mg cm-2 yr-1 by
approximately1980. The sediment accumulation rates continued to increase until the 1990s when
values reach a plateau of approximately 30 mg cm-2 yr-1.
Percentage of organic matter increases along with sediment accumulation suggesting the
acceleration in sediment accumulation is the result of enhanced productivity possible due to
increased nutrient loading. Anthropogenic influences on the Dove Lake system have increased
both the mass accumulation rate as well as the fraction of organic matter.
Evaluating the Impacts of Mayan cichlids in the Southern Everglades.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.134.
The Mayan cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus), which is endemic to Central America, was first recorded within the Everglades National Park in 1983. The impact of this species on native biota has not been well quantified, but recent observational data has suggested that Mayan cichlids negatively impact native fish species. We examined the effect of Mayan cichlids on native fish populations from 1991 to 2006 in the mangrove zone of southeastern Everglades National Park. Fish community data from drop traps were collected and analyzed from six sites within the Everglades (Rookery Branch, Craighead Pond, Taylor River, Joe Bay, Highway Creek and Barnes Sound respectively).These sites range in salinity from 0 – 49 ppt and were sampled eight months per year from 1991 to 2006. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM), nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) plots, and similarity (SIMPER) analyses showed that the sites differed significantly in community composition consistent with the presence or absence of Mayan cichlids (p<0.01). It was hypothesized that Mayan cichlids contributed to the community differences by impacting the densities of native fish. By analyzing temporal patterns at the two sites with periodically high density of Mayan cichlids, we found that their density was negatively affected by low water temperatures in four winters of the 16 year study. Analysis of the axes from NMDS showed that several native fish species were negatively correlated with Mayan cichlid relative abundance and GLM (general linear model) analysis indicated strong negative relationships between the densities of Mayan cichlids and native fish, including sailfin mollies, rainwater killifish and clown gobies. These results indicate a negative effect, probably through predation and competition, of Mayan cichlid presence at sites where they reach high densities on some native fish that are known to be important foods for wading birds, including Roseate Spoonbills. It is not known if Mayan cichlids are equally beneficial prey items for wading birds as the native species they are replacing.
||(2010) Howington, S.
Hybridization of Typha Species Contributes to Cattail Invasion and Landscape Vegetation Change in Wetlands.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.154.
Three species of cattails, Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail), T. angustifolia (narrowleaf cattail),
and T. domingensis (southern cattail) are recognized in North America. Both T. latifolia and T.
domingensis are native species, although T. latifolia also occurs in Europe and T. domingensis
occurs in Central and South America. T. angustifolia is considered by many to be an exotic
introduced from Europe in the 1800s (although recent studies indicate its presence in northern
New England prior to European settlement). Scientists have used both genetic and ecological
field methods to evaluate the dynamics of cattail invasions in North America. We investigated
hybridization dynamics between Typha latifolia and Typha angustifolia in cattail populations
located in Great Lakes national parks using microsatellite molecular genetic analysis. Hybrids,
referred to as Typha x glauca, occur throughout the U.S, and exhibit the most pronounced
invasive properties, having invaded many wetlands during the past 100 years. Hybridization
between the native T. domingensis and other Typha species needs to be clarified using available
molecular techniques. Invasion of wetlands by hybrid cattails homogenizes wetland vegetation
and reduces biodiversity. Thus, it will be important for managers to recognize the extent of
hybrid cattails in their parks and respective regions. They can then apply existing
||(2010) Huebner, A.L., Morton, J.M., Crossland, J.M., Lane,J.S., Zattau, W.C. & Savinon, J.M. Invasive Species Management in 8.5 sq.mile Area, South Florida. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg. 155.
The Invasive Species Management Branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers executed a
contract in May of 2009 to remove invasive plants from 8.5 Square Mile Area. The area is a
portion of the Modified Waters Deliveries authorized to rehydrate and improve flow to portions
of Everglades National Park. The contract was completed in September 2009 with a total of more
than 36000 man-hours, 1479 acres treated and 19 FLEPPC Category I and II species treated.
The poster will describe the process of planning the vegetation management contract, oversight
of the contract, coordination between divisions of the USACE, and lessons learned from working
in the area. Initially, the project did not identify an invasive species as component of the
restoration; it was believed that restored hydrology would eliminate the invasive plants. The
Operations Division and Planning Division were able to work together to identify the need for
this component in the project and plan the vegetation removal component. Herbicide treatments
were conducted from the beginning of the wet season through September. The disparity in
project condition from initial surveys in October and November of 2008 until the contract was
initiated created many challenges. These challenges included access to the area and effective
control of some of the vegetation. Additionally, the delays in funding of the contract created
separate challenges with coordination with the other agencies involved in the project, including
Everglades National Park and South Florida Water Management. Through many natural and
manmade challenges the project was successfully completed in September 2009.
(2010) Lee, Sylvia S., Gaiser, E.E., Trexler, J.C. & Minchin, P.R. Trajectory Analysis of Everglades Diatom Community Response to Natural and Anthropogenic Influences. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.183.
There are distinct gradients of phosphorus and hydrology that drive differences in communities
across the Everglades. Natural impacts, such as hurricanes, and anthropogenic influences, such
as water management, both strongly influence the spatial range and intensity of these gradients.
To explore community responses to changes in these gradients, trajectory analysis was
performed on diatom species composition data from 2005 and 2006. Trajectory analysis is a
statistical method for examining community data that tracks each point in ordination space
through time and evaluates whether communities are progressing toward or away from
restoration goals. We found trajectories of communities significantly correlated with decreasing
water depth, reflective of the drought experienced in South Florida during this time period.
Communities were significantly correlated with increasing total phosphorus, especially in
regions near canal inflows, as well as regions impacted by Hurricane Wilma. One community in
Taylor Slough, a relatively unimpacted region, showed significant correlation with decreasing
total phosphorus. We chose to represent these results as color-coded maps in efforts to develop
an effective means of communicating ecosystem-scale patterns, especially for use by ecosystem
managers. We plan to use Geographic Information System tools to further develop these maps to
represent trajectories of communities from 2005 to 2008 using color gradients, and will
ultimately indicate levels of vulnerability or sensitivity to change.
||Lewis-Bickford-Gause-He: Modeling Nutrient and Biological Sources within Hendry and Mullock Creek Basins: Identifying Areas of Concern and Recommending BMPs to Mitigate Effects. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.121.
Hendry Creek and Mullock Creek Basins are located in the Everglades West Coast Basin and
have been listed as nutrient and bacteria impaired waters (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and fecal
coliform). As a preliminary step in the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
to meet applicable water quality standards, a “Desktop Model” was developed to (i) determine
the relative importance (at an order of magnitude level) of nutrients and fecal coliform sources
within both basins; and, (ii) provide a means of identifying important data gaps. Specifically, the
goals were to inventory nutrients and biological sources in each basin, assess the relative
contributions of each source, identify the primary areas of concern with respect to loading, and
recommend further investigations to obtain additional data where important data gaps were
found to exist in terms of local, reliable data, as well as directing “ground truthing” efforts to
provide an order of magnitude calibration to the model.
The Desktop Model was developed in the form of a spreadsheet to assess the magnitude and
location of the inputs (nutrient applied to the surface of a basin) and loadings (the portion of the
input reaching surface and ground water bodies) of nutrients and fecal coliform within the two
basins. In this Desktop Model, nutrient inputs to the basin were determined using best available
data (i.e., actual data from domestic wastewater, published application rates for the various land
use categories), and the loadings to the basin were estimated through surface water discharge
characteristics (i.e., land use specific runoff coefficients and storm water event concentrations),
direct discharge (e.g., domestic wastewater and septic systems), and groundwater recharge.
When surface water loading alone is considered, the results suggest that the predominant nutrient
loading to both basins is the storm water runoff loadings associated with residential land use,
indicating best management practices for nutrient pollution abatement to the surface waters
within the two basins should focus on fertilizer and storm water management in urban
landscapes. When both surface and groundwater loadings are incorporated, septic tanks were
identified as the predominant loading source. Importantly, several data gaps and the need for
ground truthing of several model input parameters and results were both noted. Hence, further
investigations consisting of field sampling activities to confirm and/or refine the modeled inputs
are recommended. Of particular importance is the Lee County specific field measurement of
nutrient attenuation with distance from typical onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems
(OSTDS) to groundwater that subsequently contribute nutrient loading to the surface waters.
Animal waste, particularly from dogs and septic tanks were estimated as the primary fecal
coliform input sources, but these loadings were not determined as presently little is known about
their specific biological loading mechanisms. While incorporated in to the model, an important
data gap is the loading from wildlife, particularly from rookeries. Further spatial trends and
ground-truthing tracking studies using indicator fecal bacteria, including alternative fecal
indicators and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based source identification are needed to
confirm the magnitude and source of the loading mechanism of fecal coliform in the basin used
in this study.
||(2010) LoSchiavo-Kurzbach-McLean-Traxler-Harwell-Clair-Burns-Hines: CERP Adaptive Management Program Implementation.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.56.
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP or Plan) provides a framework to
restore, protect and preserve the water resources of central and southern Florida, including the
Everglades. Congress authorized the use of an adaptive management (AM) approach for CERP
(Water Resource Development Act [WRDA], 2000) to allow the Plan to proceed in the face of
complexity and incomplete scientific data (uncertainties). A comprehensive AM program in
support of a system-wide ecosystem restoration program at the size and scale of CERP has never
been successfully implemented. This presentation details the status of the CERP AM Program
development and implementation.
Though many components of the CERP AM Program have been developed since CERP was
authorized in 2000 (e.g., creation of a monitoring and assessment plan as well as performance
measures, conceptual ecological modeling, development of interim goals and targets, etc.), the
specific documents describing the AM Program have only recently been developed. These
include the CERP AM Strategy and the CERP AM Integration Guide. The CERP AM Strategy is
a framework for seeking a better understanding of the South Florida ecosystem and using new
scientific/technical information to improve the Plan. The CERP AM Integration Guide provides
the details on how to integrate AM into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) six-step
planning process, which governs the planning and implementation of CERP projects. Other
CERP AM program accomplishments include: the development of project-level AM plans for
several CERP projects; the initiation of an active AM field test; an effort to compile new
scientific and technical knowledge gained over the past decade; and a workshop to detail the
process by which new information from monitoring and assessment will be incorporated into
CERP decision making.
Key messages relevant for Everglades restoration managers include:
• Until recently CERP projects have used AM in various ways. The AM Integration Guide
provides guidance to help project teams apply AM consistently while tailoring to the
specific scientific, technical, and/or policy aspects of the project.
• CERP is transitioning from planning to implementation and AM provides a structured
approach for gathering new information and identifying issues. A formal process for
incorporating that information into decision making is necessary, and is evolving as CERP
Valuing Ecosystem Services of a
Restored "River of Grass". GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.?.
||(2010) McCallion-Shaw-Gysan: SW-Florida Feasibility Study:
A Comprehensive Watershed Plan. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.203.
Authorized as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study (SWFFS) is a multi agency effort to develop a conceptual framework for regional ecosystem restoration similar in scope to the Central and Southern Florida Project Comprehensive Review Study. At past GEER conferences, members of the SWFFS Project Implementation Team (PDT) have presented the plan formulation and evaluation aspects of this regional environmental study. As a follow-up, the PDT would now like to take the opportunity to share the draft SWFFS Comprehensive Watershed Master Plan (CWMP) with Federal, state and local agencies and stakeholders to further draw from the body of knowledge available for incorporation into the CWMP. The SWFFS CWMP has taken a unique approach to regional ecosystem restoration. Incorporating and building upon ongoing regional efforts, the CWMP proposes over 170 projects for further study and implementation. The proposed projects have been organized into functional groups with a specific geographic location. Projects within a specific function group compliment, but are not reliant upon one another. Within each functional group, the projects have been preliminarily designated as either a potential Federal, state or local interest. This designation system is meant to serve as a guide to agencies of all levels and to encourage incremental ecosystem restoration as funding becomes available. This approach encourages a collaborative effort to achieve the regional ecosystem restoration goals and objectives of the CWMP.
||(2010) Myers-DeVore-Serbesoff/King: The Florida Invasive Species Partnership: Think Locally-Act Neighborly.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.216.
Invasive species know no boundaries and continue to degrade Florida’s declining habitats, such as the everglades ecosystem. If landowners and land managers wish to achieve long term success, it is critical for them to reach out and collaborate with all stakeholders, including private landowners. The mission of the Florida Invasive Species Partnership is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of preventing and controlling invasive non-native species through partnering to increase communication, coordination and use of shared resources in order to protect wildlife habitat, working agricultural and forest lands, natural communities and biodiversity in Florida. During 2006 and 2007, FISP developed the dynamic “Incentive Program Matrix” of existing federal, state and local funding sources, incentive programs and technical assistance for private landowners in Florida. The interactive matrix database, now available on the FloridaInvasives.org website, allows both private and public land managers to determine what current technical and financial assistance is available to best suit their specific needs and coordinate control efforts across boundaries. In 2007, FISP began promoting the concept of Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA) in Florida. The goal of this effort is to encourage development of local partnerships between federal, state, and local government agencies, tribes, individuals and various interested groups to manage noxious weeds or invasive plants in a defined area. To date, there are 15 CISMAs across Florida from the panhandle’s Northwest Florida CISMA and Apalachicola Invasive Working Group to the Florida Key’s Invasive Task Force. The Incentive Program Matrix and locally led CISMAs allow us to expand invasive species management efforts across the landscape and build community awareness. These coordinated efforts serve to protect our valuable conservation areas, public lands and private lands from the continuing colonization of invasive species across the landscape.
(2010) Pearlstine-Mazzotti: A Conceptual Ecological Model for the Everglades Agricultural Area.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.232.
The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) is a 700,000 acre agricultural area on former marsh habitat in southern Florida located south and east of Lake Okeechobee, north of Everglades remnant natural habitat and west of the large metropolitan area of Palm Beach County. Sugarcane is the primary crop and is rotated with rice. Vegetables and sod are also grown in the area. Wildlife is diverse and abundant in the agricultural fields, edges and associated habitat. The EAA has been identified as an important component of Everglades restoration with the proposed purchase of 73,000 acres for water treatment, water storage and habitat restoration. Conceptual ecological models are used as planning tools in Everglades restoration to explicitly delineate stressors, anthropogenic effects, linkages and valuable ecological components in an ecosystem. They are valuable in restoration and conservation programs and provide tools for communication and assessment between scientists and policy-makers. While the EAA is a converted agricultural landscape and contains very little of the original natural habitat, a conceptual ecological model may help to understand the system, its place within the larger south Florida landscape and potential for restoration. This landscape is heavily managed for economic benefit and provides income for local communities and residents. It is also a large acreage agroecosystem with unique attributes and wildlife communities. Economic development and ecosystem restoration are important, but not mutually exclusive drivers of the ecological future of the EAA. Stressors include present and future land use changes, water use (drainage and irrigation), and use of pesticides and fertilizers. Ecological attributes include soil accretion, carbon sequestration, water treatment and storage, wildlife habitat, and recreational uses. Socioeconomic and political transitions may change land use and habitat within the EAA and impact habitat quality in the Everglades. The goal of this presentation is to present a preliminary conceptual ecological model for the EAA and to seek input from and interaction with stakeholders and potential partners.
||(2010) Pitts-Blair-Ford-Grossenbacher-LoSchiavo-Tarr-Traxler (GEER pg.194):
Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project Adaptive Management Plan. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.232.
An adaptive management plan was developed to describe how the CERP adaptive management principles are applied to address uncertainty associated with the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project. The goal of the plan is to provide information regarding key project questions (uncertainty), based on assessement of documented ecological response relative to how the project is meeting it’s restoration goals. This information provides input to a matrix of management options for optimization (as necessary) of project response and function to ensure restoration goals are likely to be achieved. The initial plan was developed before, yet is consistent with National U.S. Army Corps of Engineers guidance issued on August 31, 2009 that requires development of adaptive management plans linked to monitoring and assessment for all ecosystem restoration projects. This plan describes how key questions linked to restoration project goals and objectives will be addressed by verifying hypotheses identified in conceptual ecological models with monitoring and assessment performance measures focused on key outcomes to determine restoration success. The plan identifies potential management options to be cost shared if U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District in consultation with trust resource agencies (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection) determine they are necessary to optimize restoration results based on actual assessment results and funds are available to implement. The plan development also proved to be beneficial in the review and refinement of the Project Monitoring Plan, as the monitoring network had to provide needed information of the appropriate spatial and temporal scales to feed into the adaptive management process.
||(2010) Richards-Gann-McGillicudy-Fu-Kalla: The public face of Everglades REMAP 2005: An interactive mapping application for retrieval of data from the 2005 Everglades Ecosystem Assessment Program. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.249.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4 Everglades Ecosystem Assessment Program,
or Everglades Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (R-EMAP), has
been monitoring ecosystem health in southern Florida since 1993. The Everglades R-EMAP goal
is to provide critical, timely scientific information that is collected throughout the ecosystem
to managers. The program uses a probability-based sampling design, samples a variety of media,
and has extensive spatial coverage (2,063 mi2 of freshwater marsh in 2005). Everglades REMAP
has had three major iterations that sampled a suite of biogeochemical parameters, while
biological parameters were added in the last two iterations. The datasets collected for REMAP
2005 include biogeochemical (surface water, pore water, floc and soil nutrients and mercury
concentrations), fish, invertebrate, periphyton, and plant data collected at 232 sites, with
sampling spread between the spring (biogeochemical and plant data) and fall (entire suite of
parameters). Photographs that provide a general overview and impression of each site are
associated with the biogeochemical and biological samples. In addition, vegetation in the square
km centered on the sampling point were mapped from aerial photographs.
In order to make this data widely available to both the scientific community and general public,
Florida International University’s Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing Center
has created a central repository that provides long-term storage of the project’s data in an
enterprise database and a website that provides easy and quick access to retrieve and visualize
that data (http://digir.fiu.edu/gmaps/EverMap.php). This data management and access system is
designed to allow easy integration of new sample data as it becomes available and thus provides
a framework for future sampling iterations. The database has a spatial data layer of point features
that provide access to the spatial component of the data for retrieval and visualization purposes.
All other data are stored in attribute tables related to the sample locations. The website has an
interactive map based on the Google Maps API; this map provides a selectable satellite, map or
hybrid (satellite & map) background, with indicators for each R-EMAP data site superimposed.
Users can access data and site-specific photographs by clicking on a particular site on the map.
Data forms allow the user to select multiple attributes to appear in a report, or to select a single
attribute whose values are then mapped on the interactive map. The data form also allows users
to filter the data based on one or more attributes. When individual sites are enlarged on the map
the photo-interpreted km2 is displayed around each site. Finally, while allowing ready access and
visualization of a variety of data and images for professionals, the website also displays ancillary
photographic and video material that can appeal to a wider audience.
||(2010) Ross-Ceilley-Herrero-Willett-Everham: Factors Affecting Fish Community Structure at Babcock Ranch, Charlotte and Lee Counties, FL.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.257.
Fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities were monitored across the 91,000+ acre Babcock Ranch between October 2006 and February 2010. A total of 31 sites, 24 of which are water quality sampling stations were sampled three times per year to document seasonal fluctuations in community structure. These sites include: cypress strands, cypress domes, marshes, drainage ditches, and small streams. Sampling methods were adopted from the baseline assessment of aquatic fauna for the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP 2005). Ten clear plastic fish traps (Breder 1960) were deployed for one hour at each site to sample fish communities. Supplemental fish sampling was also conducted using dip nets, seines, modified crayfish traps, and cast nets in order to build a complete species list for each site. A total of 26 fish species, representing 14 families have been collected including seven non-indigenous (exotic) fish species from four families. The most dominant species in terms of total abundance were the native eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki; Poeciliidae) and the invasive exotic jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneauxi; Cichlidae). As an invasive species, H. letourneauxi, relies on stochastic events, such as floods for migration and spawning activity and to expand its distribution. Over decades, anthropogenic activities including construction of canals and agricultural drainage systems at Babcock Ranch have altered natural hydropatterns and facilitated the expansion of invasive fishes, especially the jewelfish. While disturbance and other factors aid invasive fish species, others environmental factors limit their distribution and abundance. These environmental factors include 1) limited cold tolerance of tropical and subtropical species that ultimately limits their northern distribution in peninsular Florida and 2) seasonal dry-down in wetland habitats. To better understand patterns of invasive fish movements and distribution across the Babcock Ranch watershed we are modeling the effects of hydrologic and cold weather events and their effects on fish community structure and distribution. The model is currently being field calibrated using fish sampling data collected prior to and immediately after floods, seasonal dry-down, and extended cold weather events between 2007-2010.
||(2010) Roth-Meselhe-Waldon: A Compartmental Screening Model for Stage and Water Quality in a Large Everglades Wetland.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.258.
The Simple Refuge Screening Model (SRSM) version 4 simulates coupled hydrodynamics and water quality within the 58,000-ha Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. The SRSM is implemented using the ordinary differential equations solver Berkeley Madonna (www.berkeleymadonna.com). The compartment size and arrangement in version 4 are identical to earlier versions of this model, whereas the constituent modeling approach has become more refined. Concentrations are calculated for chloride as a conservative tracer, sulfate using a Monod relationship, and total phosphorus dynamics as described by Walker and Kadlec in their Dynamic Model for Everglades Stormwater Treatment Areas (DMSTA). Stage and constituent concentrations modeled by the SRSM are comparable with observed data from the marsh and canal areas of the Refuge. However, the generalized and spatially aggregated scheme used in the SRSM allows for only average assessments of large areas. Because of the limitations of this highly aggregated model, the SRSM has been developed as a component in a suite of models used for various applications concerned with Refuge restoration and management. We conclude that the SRSM and similar approaches is of great value in many applications, but must be applied with judgment and technical understanding of the limitations of spatially aggregated modeling. Additionally, we find that the relative flexibility and speed with which this model can be applied and modified allows it to lead and instruct development of our more complex spatially-explicit model.
||(2010) Saha-Sternberg-Ross-Miralles/Wilhelm: Water Utilization in Woody Plant Communities in the Everglades Indicates that Hardwood Hammocks are the Most Hydrologically-Sensitive. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.268.
Hardwood hammock forests in the ENP are composed of neotropical flood-intolerant tree species, and occur only on the smattering of limestone outcrops always above the water table: tree islands in the Shark River Slough and the Miami Rock Ridge. Hammock plant communities are thought to consolidate their position in a flooded landscape by formation of a litter-based unsaturated soil horizon over limestone bedrock, from which they may also access water and nutrients. Using stable isotopes of water (ä18O and äD), we examined seasonal variation in water sources of 3 woody plant community types: hammocks, pine rocklands and swamp forests. Hammocks on the rock ridge were found to rely upon a mix of rainwater (60-80%) and groundwater (20-40%) in the wet season; rainwater being trapped in the above-mentioned soil layer. They use increasing amounts of groundwater in course of the dry season, with almost 90% by late dry season. They also get water stressed over the dry season, as seen from an earlier study on leaf water potential, and in this study from the stable isotope of carbon (ä13C) in leaves. This suggests that the falling water table redirects active roots downward, or reactivates roots which were probably dormant while inundated, leading to greater fraction of groundwater uptake; at the same time the existence of limestone bedrock implies a limited set of pathways for roots to tap groundwater. Hardwood hammocks on tree islands have a similar rainwater-regional (ground and marshwater) utilization pattern in the wet season that shifts to greater regional water usage in the dry season. Unlike rock ridge hammocks, tree island hammocks do not show signs of water stress in the dry season, ostensibly due to a longer period of water availability in the slough. This is also seen in species composition with the presence of deciduous trees such as Lysiloma latisiliquum in the rock ridge. Nutrient acquisition being coupled with water uptake, we see that hardwood hammocks have higher foliar P than adjoining pine rockland and swamp forest communities on the ridge and tree islands respectively, with greater foliar P levels in tree island hammocks over rock ridge hammocks once again suggesting a longer period of water uptake in tree islands. We thus suggest that hardwood hammocks on the ridge are susceptible to drought stress caused by lower than normal water levels, indicating a similar fate for tree island hammocks upon further lowering of the water table during droughts. Reliance upon groundwater for part of the year also suggests further stresses in the event of increased salinity due to salt water intrusion/sea level rise.
||(2010) Schofield-Loftus: Why Ecophysiology Matters: Tools to Assess Invasiveness of Non-Native
Aquatic Fauna in the Everglades. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.270.
Herein we provide an overview of various techniques used to assess ecophysiological attributes of aquatic fauna and discuss their use as tools to assess potential invasiveness of non-native species. Why do we need to know an invader’s ecophysiology? When a new introduction is detected, we often know little about its biology or ecology. Ecophysiology studies provide rapid assessments of physiological tolerances that can be used to estimate the potential for spread of the organism across the landscape. Ecophysiology research addresses the question “What natural barriers limit a species dispersal?” This in turn helps predict the effects of invasive species on native ones. Even for species that have been present in the Everglades for years, knowledge of physiological tolerances is also important. The Everglades is a “Living Laboratory of Change”, and as habitats are restored, non-native species may be exposed to new conditions that may either hinder or facilitate their success. Together with literature surveys and studies of lifehistory, behaviour and ecology, research into ecophysiology lends insight into the potential invasiveness of non-native species. Why perform studies in the laboratory? Field studies provide essential information on distribution, abundance and movement of species, and form the foundation of our knowledge regarding non-native species. However, field studies provide mainly correlative information on the relationship(s) of non-native species to environmental variables such as salinity, temperature or dissolved oxygen. By bringing non-native species into the laboratory, we can measure precisely their tolerances to specific environmental factors by holding all other variables constant. What is measured? Traditional physiological studies focus primarily on cellular-level mechanisms (e.g., changes in hormone levels, haemoglobin levels, number of chloride [i.e., mitochondria-rich] cells). We tend to use whole-animal, integrated-response measures such as survival, growth and cessation of feeding. These measures integrate multiple responses (e.g., metabolism, blood chemistry, immunology) and provide results that are useful to naturalresource managers. What kinds of results are found? We will illustrate results through summaries of findings from some of our recent ecophysiological work, including: • Hypoxia (low-oxygen) tolerance of non-native cichlid species, and how it allows these species to persist in aquatic refuges during the dry season. • Salinity tolerance of non-native fishes and reptiles, and how tolerance allows them to inhabit estuarine areas and potentially use them as “salt bridges” to access new watersheds. • Low-temperature responses of non-native fishes, and why it may be their Achilles heel.
||(2010) Serra-Taylor-Fisher-McKinley-Richards-Abreu-Cordova: Promoting the Reestablishment of Cladium jamaicense and Muhlenbergia capillaris in the Hole-in-the-Donut Restoration Area of Everglades National Park. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.274.
Within Everglades National Park is the Hole-in-the-Donut (HID), an agricultural area invaded by Schinus terebinthifolius that is undergoing wetland restoration. The removal of Schinus and nutrient-rich soil to limestone bedrock promotes colonization by native wetland vegetation. HID is a mitigation bank and successful restoration is defined via permit as a short-hydroperiod marl prairie community dominated by sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) and muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris). In 2009, an adaptive management study was conducted to determine if sawgrass and muhly could be reestablished by seeding a newly scraped restoration area. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine the best time period to collect potentially viable Cladium fruit for seeding restored areas of HID and 2) evaluate the feasibility of seeding newly restored areas of HID with Cladium and Muhlenbergia. Sawgrass seeds were collected at four, 2-week intervals beginning July 14. Seeds from each collection were debracted and inspected for intact endosperm, or potentially viable seed. Muhly seeds were collected in October, as based on the highest phenological germination rate from a previous experiment. In November, seeds were scattered by weight into sawgrass or muhly plots, while control plots were not seeded in a site restored in May 2009. All plots were observed for sawgrass and/or muhly seedlings every two weeks for the first three months and monthly up to one year. During the development of this seeding project, it was suggested that Cladium jamaicense does not produce viable seed uniformly throughout the reproduction season. Our study supported this hypothesis and it was determined that Cladium seeds collected on July 28, 2009 had the highest percentage of intact endosperm at 40% and intact endosperm was indicative of potentially viable seed. Given this data, late July is an optimum time for seed collection and harvesting fruits during this time will increase the likelihood of successfully seeding a newly restored site. The second hypothesis was that scattering seeds collected during the time of highest potential seed viability would guide a successful Cladium and Muhlenbergia seeding program. We cannot yet test this, given that no sawgrass/muhly germination was observed in any of the test or control plots as of March 2010. It is most likely a heavy rain event that occurred immediately after the seeds were scattered in the field redistributed the seeds outside the plots or even drowned them. Seeding and planting of Cladium and Muhlenbergia in newly restored and older, established restored areas will help determine the best method for increasing sawgrass/muhly abundance in the Hole-in-the-Donut.
||(2010) Sokol-Trexler-Hoch: Inter-Annual Variation in Hydroperiod Affects Periphyton Standing Crop and the Associated Macroinvertebrate Community in the Everglades. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.288.
Aquatic macroinvertebrate community composition and periphyton standing crop are measures that indicate how the basal portion of the foodweb in the Everglades ecosystem responds to interannual variation in hydroperiod. We monitored periphyton standing crop and macroinvertebrate community composition during the 2004 – 2008 water years at short-hydroperiod sites in the eastern Everglades (EEG), which are influenced by the recently constructed S332 impoundments, and long-hydroperiod sites in Shark River Slough (SRS). We found the response of periphyton and macroinvertebrates to inter-annual differences in the duration of inundation was different at short-hydroperiod sites than at long-hydroperiod sites. Periphyton standing crop and the associated macroinvertebrate community was sampled with a coring device, and the macroinvertebrate community was more comprehensively sampled with a D-frame net. Sampling events took place once at each site in the wet season and dry season during each water year. A time series of water depths was interpolated from the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) for all sampling sites, corrected with field measurements, and used to estimate the proportion of each water year during which the sites had surface water. For all water years, SRS sites were inundated for a longer proportion (0.65, ±0.02 s.e.) of the year than EEG sites (0.26, ±0.02 s.e.). However, 2005 was significantly wetter than any other year of the study, and a post-hoc (Tukey’s HSD) test showed hydroperiod estimates for EEG sites during 2005 (0.48, ±0.03 s.e.) were more similar to estimates for SRS sites in the drier study years (0.60, ±0.02 s.e.) than EEG sites in drier years (0.20, ±0.02 s.e.). The increased period of inundation during the 2005 water year corresponded with a marked decrease in periphyton standing crop and change in macroinvertebrate community composition at EEG sites, but not SRS sites. Generally, periphyton standing crop was negatively correlated with hydroperiod, and > 400 g AFDM m-2 at EEG sites and < 400 g AFDM m-2 at SRS sites, but there was no difference (EEG and SRS sites had ~ 300 g AFDM m-2) in 2005. The first axis of a principal coordinate analysis of the composition of the macroinvertebrate community shows a trend similar to that of periphyton standing crop. Zooplankton, amphipods, and aquatic Diptera were present in greater relative abundances in the periphyton mat at SRS sites than EEG sites all years except 2005, when SRS and EEG sites had similar community composition. The ecological patterns emerging from this empirical assessment show inter-annual variability in hydrology affects short hydroperiod (EEG) sites differently than long hydroperiod (SRS) sites. This monitoring study provides a general prediction of how ongoing and proposed restoration projects, meant to alter local hydrologic regimes, will affect periphyton mats and macroinvertebrates, which make up an important basal component of the food web in the Everglades ecosystem.
||(2010) Subedi-Ross: Determination of Nutrient Limitation on Trees Growing in LILA Tree Islands.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.303.
Tree islands are important centers of biodiversity in the Florida Everglades and considered key
indicators of the health of the Everglades ecosystem, but their number and area have been
declined in some portions of the Everglades. With the loss of large numbers of tree islands the
local redistribution of nutrients in the Everglades also changes which may effect on nutrient
availability for the tree island trees. Variation in availability of nutrients at various sites affects
the growth and productivity of tree species. As N and P are the most frequent limiting factors for
plant growth in wetlands, less nitrogen and more phosphorus are taken up when supplemental
quantities of both nutrients are made available to plants growing under background conditions of
relatively low P supply and high N supply. Under conditions of low nutrient supply, most species
have lower concentrations of nutrients in their tissues. Fertilization experiments have proved
successful in determining the growth-limiting nutrient in various ecosystems including wetlands.
Plant species generally react to the increased supply of the limiting nutrient, but not the nonlimiting
one, with higher biomass production. The goals of this study are to determine the
general patterns of response by tree species when conditions limiting optimal growth for the
plant species are improved by fertilization and the nature of nutrient limitation in a tree species
growing on contrasting substrate i.e., limestone and peat.
Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA) features artificially created islands in
a controlled hydrologic framework, M2 and M3 macrocosms provided the setting for my
experiment which included two islands in the cell. One island per cell had a peat substrate and
the other one had a limestone substrate. Eighteen trees of each species, Annona glabra (AG) and
Chrysobalanus icaco (CI), were selected randomly along the elevation gradient for a total of 36
trees per island, 72 trees per microcosm, and 144 trees overall. One of three nutrient treatments
was applied to each tree: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), or control(C). Two techniques, foliar
N:P ratio and plant growth rate (height, base diameter and crown area) were used to determine
the response of two species. Results showed that P-treated trees on limestone islands had a
higher growth rate than N and C-treated trees. Moreover, foliar N:P ratios were found to be
relatively high at the base of the islands and low at the highest elevation of the islands. Thus, it
can be concluded that the availability of P for trees increases distance from the water table and
that trees on limestone islands may become limited by P.
(2010) Sukop, M.C. & Cunningham, K.J. A New Approach in Geostatistical Modeling to Capture Stratification of Macroporosity in the Biscayne Aquifer using Borehole Imagery for Improved Groundwater Flow Prediction. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.304.
Accurate characterization of porosity and pore space geometry are important in developing
models that predict the response of the Biscayne aquifer to Everglades restoration projects.
Optical borehole images (OBI) and variogram-based geostatistical methods have been applied to
develop 3D models of the rock and its pore space for use in computation of groundwater flows
and estimation of hydraulic conductivity of the Biscayne aquifer. The variogram-based approach
successfully captured the gross macroporosity of the rock and its spatial distribution. However, it
failed to reproduce the vertical cyclic changes in 0.4 x 0.4 m square by 17 m tall simulations of
the carbonate rock mass surrounding a borehole.
Variogram analysis of the data suggested a
nearly isotropic macroporosity network at OBI variogram sample separation distances
(geostatistical “lags”) less than the nominal borehole diameter of 0.2 m. Biases in the structure of
the data set led to a situation in which the horizontal correlation was strongest at lags greater than
the nominal borehole diameter. This is due to the continuity of macroporous bedding-plane vugs,
which are visible in the OBI data and detected by the caliper log, across the borehole.
Variogram analysis of caliper-corrected OBI data provides a two-point statistic that is limited in
its ability to capture the geometric shapes of pore spaces and their spatial distributions. Multiplepoint
statistics, an emerging geostatistical approach, uses observation-based “training images”,
which are datasets that provide the statistical information needed to characterize the pore space
more fully. Multiple-point statistics techniques simulate matches to multiple observations
simultaneously and thereby reproduce more realistic patterns. These methods require that the
observation data to be used as a training image be gridded in 3-D space however, and this poses
computational challenges for utilization of the caliper-corrected OBI data. Multiple-point
statistical simulations will use digital OBI and caliper data obtained from Biscayne aquifer
boreholes at the L-31N (L-30) Seepage Management Pilot Project in Miami-Dade County and
could lead to more realistic simulation models for the macropore network and subsequently for
groundwater flow present at this critical Everglades restoration project. Success should help
stakeholders to better predict changes in groundwater flow at seepage management sites and
elsewhere in the Greater Everglades hydrologic system..
||(2010) Taylor-Serra-Li-Liu: Land-Clearing Treatments Indicate Differences in Total Phosphorus in Soils Following Soil Removal in the Hole-in-the-Donut; Implications for Improving the Restoration Process through Adaptive Management. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.273.
The Hole-in-the-Donut (HID) is an area of previously farmed land within Everglades National Park that is currently being restored to wetland. By 1975 all agriculture ceased, leading to the invasion and dominance of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) on 6,600 acres of fallow fields. In order to effectively restore the HID to native vegetation, heavy equipment is used to remove Schinus and completely scrape the nutrient-rich soil to limestone bedrock. This process consists of a bulk scrape, where both Schinus and soil are pushed into windrows and the material is hauled to a soil disposal mound. This is followed by a more thorough final scrape to remove as much soil as possible. Upon final scrape, shallow pockets of soil and limestone rock remain and native plant colonization occurs. In 2007, land-clearing efforts were cut short with the onset of the rainy season. Though the 100 acre site was cleared and the bulk scrape was completed, the final scrape did not occur. It was known that heavy rates of phosphorus were applied to the historically oligotrophic marl prairie soils and that failing to remove all soil to limestone could result in the reinvasion of Brazilian pepper. Two years post-scrape vegetation data indicated a higher percentage of less desirable species like Typha and Baccharis when compared to other restored areas. We hypothesized that the vegetation that colonizes a bulk-scraped site is mining phosphorus from the soil and a delayed final scrape would lower soil total phosphorus levels. If so, would laboratory results for phosphorus change the HID restoration process for final scrape? In 2009, a delayed final scrape was completed for the area of interest, along with a same-year final scrape for an adjacent, newly cleared site. Ten soil samples were taken from each landclearing treatment, such that soils were collected from the actual vegetation plot locations. Soils data indicated that total phosphorus (TP) in the delayed final scrape was significantly lower at 1081 mg/kg when compared to 1679 mg/kg in the same-year final scrape. These soils were higher than the experimental control value of 173 mg/kg and background levels for TP in Everglades marl prairie wetlands. It has been shown that less desirable plant species contain higher TP contents than dominant marl prairie species. Since this was a pilot study, further evaluation of these preliminary observations is necessary. Additional, more detailed data will be used to investigate whether a delayed final scrape will lower phosphorus levels in soils. Future work warrants a larger sample size and replicate plots distributed within a block design across the landscape for same-year and delayed final scrape analyses. Testing of soils in the lab will be important in determining the availability of phosphorus for plant uptake, and may support postrestoration vegetation cover data. The implications of this research are potentially significant for the HID restoration process. Adaptively managing the Hole-in-the-Donut via delayed final scrape could reduce soil phosphorus, improve species composition, and save money over time.
||(2010) Tipple-Mitchell-Repp-Burns: RECOVER and the Role of Science in Everglades Restoration. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.57.
REstoration COordination and VERification (RECOVER) is the system-wide component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP or Plan) responsible for linking science and the tools of science to a set of system-wide planning, evaluation and assessment tasks. Everglades restoration is science-based; the role of RECOVER is to ensure that the best available science continues to guide the Plan’s implementation and that a system-wide perspective is maintained throughout the restoration process. This includes using applied science to optimize the design, sequencing and operations of CERP projects. RECOVER also supports the application of adaptive management (AM) to CERP, advocating the use of a scientific process that promotes and applies learning, reduces uncertainty and increases the chances of CERP success. RECOVER executes its activities through three general mission areas: (1) Planning; (2) Evaluation; and (3) Assessment. RECOVER is guided by the RECOVER Leadership Group, which includes membership from 12 agencies including six federal agencies, four state agencies, and two Native American Tribes. RECOVER members are scientists, modelers, planners and resource specialists who organize and apply scientific and technical information in ways that are most effective in supporting the objectives of CERP. RECOVER uses multi-governmental and interdisciplinary collaboration to foster inclusiveness, cooperation, transparency, and universal access to tools and data. RECOVER works with the CERP projects to relate system-wide goals and objectives to project design and performance and to help integrate both system-wide science and AM into the project planning process. Recent RECOVER products include: the 2009 Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP); the 2009 System Status Report, which uses monitoring data to assess the status of the Everglades and South Florida ecosystem; the 2015 Band 1 Report, which predicts and evaluates the performance of 10 initial CERP projects by simulating projects and associated operations; regional evaluations that evaluate and account for system-wide changes attributed to implementation of project alternatives and project contributions to achieving overall restoration; development of system performance measures that guide the evaluation of project designs and reporting of CERP performance; and development of the CERP AM Integration Guide, which details an AM program for both project-level implementation and system-wide application of AM principles.
Cattail Hybridization: A Cryptic Form of Invasion in North American Wetlands. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.?.
Water Quality and Biological Resources in Everglades Canals . GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.?.
(2010) Wachnicka, A., Gaiser, E., Tobias, F., Jones, D. & Travieso, R. Interactions Between Periphyton Mats and Macrophytes in the Southern Everglades Wet Prairies. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.334.
Periphyton and plant communities coexist in Everglades marshes, yet not much is known about
the form of interactions among them. Both communities are influenced by hydrology, yet plantand
periphyton-based hydrologic inference models, used to guide Everglades restoration, have
not considered the potential mediating effect of their interaction. This is particularly true in the
marl prairie, where hydrology is the primary driver of plant and periphyton community change.
In order to characterize the interactions between periphyton biomass and plants in different
hydrologic settings, we carried out a removal experiment at three sites with contrasting
hyderoiperiods in the southern Everglades wet prairies. Four permanent 50 m long transacts were
at each of the sites in May 2003. Twelve 0.25 m2 large pairs of sparsely vegetated plots were
chosen for the periphyton-removal plots with matched control and treatment plots, and the other
twelve pairs of densely vegetated plots were designated as plant-removal plots, with matched
control and treatment plots. After initial assessment of environmental conditions, periphyton
biomass, and plant biomass and structure at each site, plots have been harvested on bi-monthly
basis between May 2004 and April 2006.
Muhlenbergia filipes was affected negatively by periphyton removal, while Rhynchospora tracyi biomass increased at the deepest site and declined at medium-depth site during dry periods.
Additionally, Panicum tenerum and Solidago stricta biomass benefitted from periphyton
removal at shallower sites during dry periods, while biomass of Schizachyrium scoparium var.
rhizomatum and Sisyrinchium angustifolium significantly declined, especially during wet period
in 2005. Removal of macrophytes benefited periphyton biomass. We hypothesize that the
enhanced growth of periphyton was most likely due to the opening of new areas for algal
colonization after plant removal and higher availability of sedimentary nutrients, which are
normally sequestered faster by macrophytes. Additionally, we hypothesize that because
periphyton mats are a source of nutrients and moist to plant roots, their removal had a negative
effect on biomass of plants that heavily rely on moisture for seed germination and are sensitive to
nutrient fluctuations, but the removal was beneficial to the young shoots of plants that have
delicate structure in the early stages of their growth and are prone to smothering by thick
periphyton mats. Conclusions for modeling ?
||(2010) Waldon-Meselhe- Roth-Chen: Designing and Testing Modeled Hydrological Performance Measures.
GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.336.
A performance measure (PM) may be alternatively termed a figure-of-merit, or objective
function. Modeled PMs may be applied as design constraints or as objectives to be maximized or
minimized, and are often applied in support of selecting a preferred alternative. Performance
Measures quantitatively clarify project objectives, benefits, and impacts.
Here, alternative PMs for adequacy of meeting ecologically beneficial high stage conditions in
the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are examined. We analyzed two
alternative PMs using three modeling approaches: The first PM, designated PM 1a, is based on
the number of days during each annual high-water period that stage exceeds 5.18 m (17 feet)
NGVD 29. A second measure, designated PM 1b, annually aggregates a daily index that varies in
a piecewise linear fashion from zero at and below 5.00 m (16.4 feet), to one at and above 5.30 m
(17.4 feet). These PMs were tested using the Simple Refuge Screening Model (SRSM), a model
applying the commercial MIKE-FLOOD model, and the South Florida Water Management
Model (SFWMM). The three models performed similarly in predicting historical values of the
PMs, and it is concluded that the simpler model, the SRSM, is likely the most efficient model
choice for many modeling studies utilizing these PMs. We conclude that:
• Traditional model calibration statistics do not necessarily correspond to the model’s
capability to simulate historical PMs.
• Reliability of a model in projecting PMs is reduced for PMs that are dependent on very rare
events over the simulation period.
• Reliability of a model in projecting PMs is reduced for PMs that are based on a single
trigger level or discontinuity.
• Criteria for acceptability of model calibration in applications projecting PMs for
alternatives may necessarily be less stringent than traditional model calibration evaluation.
||(2010) (Watson)-Gentry-Baisden-(Watson): Decompartmentalizationof Water Conservation Area 3
. GEER 2010 Conference, July 12-16, Naples, FL . Book of Abstracts, pg.341.
Often referred to as the “heart of Everglades restoration”, the Water Conservation Area (WCA) 3
Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement Project (Decomp) aims to restore more
natural flow patterns through the removal of levees and canals within the project area. The
restoration of these flow patterns is expected to help restore the historic ridge and slough
landscape within WCA 3 and in turn, the native flora and fauna. With successful completion of
the Decomp project, 70 miles of continuous flow paths will be restored, from the southern border
of the Everglades Agricultural Area to Whitewater Bay; more than two thirds of their original
The Decomp project will be implemented in 3 phases, each with their own Project
Implementation Report (PIR). Decomp is currently in the planning phase of PIR 1. The scope of
PIR 1 includes some degree of backfill and levee degradation of the Miami Canal between
structures S-8 and S-151. Recent guidance has broadened the scope of Decomp PIR 1 to include
a hydration feature along the northern border of WCA 3A with the intent to rehydrate that area.
Decomp PIRs 2 and 3 encompass further canal backfill and levee degradation within the project
area. A field test (the Decomp Physical Model) has been designed to answer several uncertainties
associated with these future PIRs, with field sampling scheduled to begin October 2010.
The Decomp project faces several challenges in planning and implementation. Due to the
complex hydrologic interactions between WCA 3 and its surrounding areas, the uncertainty of
future CERP and non-CERP projects forces the planning team to consider both near-future
(2015) and far-future (2050) project benefits. These uncertainties contribute to project scope
changes and potential project delays. Water quality is an overarching Everglades restoration
concern that directly affects the water entering WCA 3. Several stakeholders follow the Decomp
project closely, each with their unique desired outcomes for the project area (recreational
fishermen and environmentalists, for example).
The Decomp project is a prime example of the unique challenges faced in planning and
implementing Everglades restoration projects. This poster seeks to highlight the project purpose,
status, challenges faced, and path forward.