The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a prominent role in the Federal Government's comprehensive restoration plan for the south Florida ecosystem encompassing the Everglades-the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the continental United States. USGS scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Park Service (NPS), other governmental agencies, and academia, are providing scientific information to land and resource managers for planning, executing, and evaluating restoration actions. One major thrust of the restoration effort is to restore the natural functioning of the ecosystem to predrainage conditions, an objective that requires knowledge of the hydrologic and hydraulic factors that affect the flow of water. A vast network of interlaced canals, rimmed with levees and fitted with hydraulic control structures, and highways, built on elevated embankments lined by borrow ditches and undercut by culverts, now act to control and direct the flow of water through the shallow low-gradient wetlands. As water flows south from Lake Okeechobee past the city of Miami and through Everglades National Park (ENP), it is diminished by canal diversions, augmented by seasonably variable precipitation, and depleted through evapotranspiration. Along its path, the shallow flowing water, referred to as sheet flow, interacts with surficial aquifers and is subject to the resistance effects of variably dense vegetation and forcing effects of winds. New scientific investigations are providing additional insight into the hydrologic and hydraulic processes governing the flow, and recent data-collection efforts are supplying more comprehensive data describing the flow behavior, both of which are benefiting development of improved numerical models to evaluate and restore the natural functioning of the ecosystem.
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USGS Numbered Series
The tides and inflows in the mangroves of the Everglades (TIME) interdisciplinary project of the South Florida Ecosystem Program