A coupled hydrodynamic surface-water/groundwater model with salinity transport is used to examine the aquifer salinity interface in the coastal wetlands of Everglades National Park in Florida, USA. The hydrology differs from many other coastal areas in that inland water levels are often higher than land surface, the flow gradients are small, and, along parts of the coastline, the wetland is separated from the offshore waters by a natural embankment. Examining the model-simulated aquifer salinities along a transect that cuts the coastal embankment, a small zone of fresh groundwater is seen beneath the embankment, which varies seasonally in size and salinity. The simulated surface-water and groundwater levels suggest that this zone exists because of ponding of surface water at the coastal embankment, creating freshwater underflow to the offshore waters. The seasonal variability in the freshwater zone indicates that it is sensitive to the wetland flows and water levels. The small size of the zone in the simulation indicates that a model with a higher spatial resolution could probably depict the zone more accurately. The coastal ecology is strongly affected by the salinity of the shallow groundwater and the coastal freshwater zone is sensitive to wetland flows and levels. In this environment, predicting the aquifer salinity interface in coastal wetlands is important in examining the effects of changing water deliveries associated with ecosystem restoration efforts.
Additional publication details
Numerical modelling to determine freshwater/saltwater interface configuration in a low-gradient coastal wetland aquifer
Larger Work Title:
International Symposium: A New Focus on Groundwater - Seawater Interactions - 24th General Assembly of the In