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Sediment Transport and Saline Intrusion on Cape Sable, Everglades National Park, Florida

Project Chief: Mark Zucker
Cooperator:Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) / Monitoring and Assessment Plan
Period of Project: October 2009 - Current

Problem Statement

The Cape Sable area has experienced changes due to anthropogenic effects since the early 1900's. Manmade canals combined with sea level rise, tropical storms, and hurricanes have led to the collapse of the historically freshwater marsh and caused negative impacts on native fauna. Further changes in flow, salinity concentrations, and sediment transport have occurred. The project is designed to document and quantify the observed changes by collecting continuous hydrologic and water quality data along the East Cape Extension Canal, Homestead Canal, and East Side Creek.


1. Install acoustic Doppler current meters and develop index velocity ratings to compute continuous flow to and from Lake Ingraham 
2. Use automatic samplers to collect suspended sediment samples during two synoptic water- quality studies per year (i.e. wet and dry season)
3. Collect continuous 15-minute turbidity and acoustic backscatter data (as surrogate variables) during the water-quality synoptic studies and relate suspended-sediment concentrations to the surrogate variables
4. Collect, store, and produce continuous sediment load records using surrogate variables
5. Collect, compute, and publish continuous data on the USGS SOFIA Website


Three real-time surface water monitoring stations were installed in December 2008. One station was installed in the East Cape Canal Extension (N 2508'13", W 8103'59") and another in the Homestead Canal (N 2509'21", W 8105'42") downstream from the dams that have failed. These two sites were selected to provide data for initial construction permits and to evaluate the current conditions prior to restoration of the dams. A third station was installed as a reference station in East Side Creek (N 2508'13", W 8103'53") to evaluate the effects of the Cape Sable Canals Dam Restoration Project.

Each station was instrumented to collect continuous (15-minute) water level, water velocity, salinity, temperature, and turbidity data. An acoustic Doppler velocity meter (ADVM) was mounted on the station platform near the channel bank to measure the water velocity of a portion of the canal as an index velocity. Water quality parameters were measured by a water quality sensor (sonde) mounted at a fixed location in the canal cross section. The datum of the gage was determined using Global Position Systems (GPS) technology operating in static GPS mode. Water level data are referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988.

Continuous salinity, temperature, and turbidity data were collected at a fixed location in the cross section. Water quality sondes were routinely serviced to maintain data quality and correct for biofouling and electric drift when applicable. Field data were collected, processed and published following USGS guidelines. In addition, cross sectional profiles of water temperature, salinity, and turbidity were collected at each station during the synoptic studies to determine if the in situ monitor mounted at a fixed location was representative of the entire cross section.

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