Interaction between ground water and surface water in the northern Everglades and relation to water budget and mercury cycling; study methods and appendixes

Open-File Report 2000-168

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The data presented in this report are products of an investigation that quantified interactions between ground water and surface water at several study sites in the northern Everglades. Goals included identifying the major geologic controls and human alterations that affect interactions between ground water and surface water, and determining how those interactions affect mercury contamination. The primary study area was the 3,815-acre Everglades Nutrient Removal (ENR), a wetland constructed in the early 1990s as a prototype Stormwater Treatment Area (STA), to determine the effectiveness in removing excess nutrients from agricultural drainage. In order to ensure that results from ENR are broadly informative, work was also conducted in Water Conservation Area-2A (WCA-2A), a 105,000-acre basin surrounded by levees. In the past 50 years, WCA-2A has experienced extensive re- engineering of water flow, alterations in the pattern of water-level fluctuations and timing of fire frequency, as well as substantial ecological changes. The most visible ecological alteration is the change in dominance over the past 30 years from a sawgrass wetland to cattail wetland in the northeastern part of WCA-2A. The drastic change in vegetation in WCA-2A resulted at least in part from inputs of excess phosphorus from agricultural drainage. Substantial data collection programs were already in progress in both ENR and WCA- 2A when the present work began. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) constructed the ENR project in 1994 to determine the effectiveness of constructed wetlands for water treatment. Measurements of surface water flow and water quality were made frequently in ENR between 1994 and 1998. Fewer ground water data were collected at ENR, and almost all of it was collected from shallow wells emplaced on perimeter levees. In contrast to the short-term nature of data collection in ENR, hydrologic and chemical data were collected over a much longer period in WCA-2A (since at least the mid- 1970s), but the number of sites and data- collection frequency is much less. Very little prior ground water data were available in WCA-2A. Given the availability of prior information, the present study emphasized the collection of ground water field data, particularly in the interior wetland areas of ENR and WCA- 2A. New wells were emplaced to permit the geologic, hydraulic, and chemical sampling that was needed to characterize interactions between surface water and ground water. In particular, lithology and hydraulic properties of the Surficial aquifer were determined, ground water flow paths and velocities were delineated, hydrologic fluxes between surface water and ground water were measured, and water budgets and surface- subsurface fluxes of mercury were determined. The purpose of this report is to compile under one cover all of the data collected in this investigation. In addition, the report contains a detailed description of the study methods and information about study sites, borehole drilling, well construction, seepage meter installation, and hydraulic and geochemical chemical sampling. Data interpretations are the subject of a companion report.

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Interaction between ground water and surface water in the northern Everglades and relation to water budget and mercury cycling; study methods and appendixes
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
xiv, 395 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.