Everglades restoration activities may cause changes to temperature and salinity stratification at the Port of the Islands (POI) marina, which could affect its suitability as a cold weather refuge for manatees. To better understand how the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) may alter this important resource in Collier County in southwestern Florida, the USGS has developed a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model for the marina and canal system at POI. Empirical data suggest that manatees aggregate at the site during winter because of thermal inversions that provide warmer water near the bottom that appears to only occur in the presence of salinity stratification. To study these phenomena, the environmental fluid dynamics code simulator was used to represent temperature and salinity transport within POI. Boundary inputs were generated using a larger two-dimensional model constructed with the flow and transport in a linked overland-aquifer density-dependent system simulator. Model results for a representative winter period match observed trends in salinity and temperature fluctuations and produce temperature inversions similar to observed values. Modified boundary conditions, representing proposed PSRP alterations, were also tested to examine the possible effect on the salinity stratification and temperature inversion within POI. Results show that during some periods, salinity stratification is reduced resulting in a subsequent reduction in temperature inversion compared with the existing conditions simulation. This may have an effect on POI’s suitability as a passive thermal refuge for manatees and other temperature-sensitive species. Additional testing was completed to determine the important physical relationships affecting POI’s suitability as a refuge.
Additional Publication Details
Assessing factors affecting the thermal properties of a passive thermal refuge using three-dimensional hydrodynamic flow and transport modeling
Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, Ocean Engineering