Restoration of Florida's Everglades requires scientifically supportable hydrologic targets. This study establishes a restoration baseline by developing a method to simulate hydrologic and salinity conditions prior to anthropogenic changes. The method couples paleoecologic data on long-term historic ecosystem conditions with statistical models derived from observed meteorologic and hydrologic data that provide seasonal and annual variation. Results indicate that pre-drainage freshwater levels and hydroperiods in major sloughs of the Everglades were about 0.15 m higher and two to four times greater, respectively, on average compared to today's values. Pre-drainage freshwater delivered to the wetlands and estuaries is estimated to be 2.5 to four times greater than the modern-day flow, and the largest deficit is during the dry season. In Florida Bay, salinity has increased between 5.3 and 20.1 with the largest differences in the areas near freshwater outflow points. These results suggest that additional freshwater flows to the Everglades are needed for restoration of the freshwater marshes of the Everglades and estuarine environment of Florida Bay, particularly near the end of the dry season. ?? 2008 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.
Additional publication details
A simulation of historic hydrology and salinity in Everglades National Park: Coupling paleoecologic assemblage data with regression models