Measured and Calculated Nitrate and Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentrations and Loads at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam, S-79, South Florida, 2014–17

Open-File Report 2020-1094
USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Program
By:

Links

Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey monitored dissolved nitrate plus nitrite as nitrogen (N) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and calculated loads of these constituents at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) from April 2014 to December 2017. Flows from Lake Okeechobee controlled by S-77, S-78 and S-79 affect water quality in the downstream Caloosahatchee River Estuary, where increased nutrients and dissolved organic matter are of concern. Numerous algal blooms have occurred in the Caloosahatchee River and downstream estuaries in recent years (2005–18) and are often attributed to eutrophication. Dissolved nitrate plus nitrite as N (hereafter, referred to as nitrate) data were collected at 15-minute intervals using a submersible ultraviolet optical nitrate sensor. The instrument data were corrected for interferences, as determined by the relation between instrument measurements and 20 concurrent laboratory values. A surrogate model, based on 36 concurrent measurements of DOC, fluorescence of chromophoric dissolved organic matter, and specific conductance, was developed to calculate DOC at 15-minute intervals.

Mean and median calculated nitrate concentrations for the study period (2014–17) were both 0.21 milligram per liter (mg/L). Monthly mean nitrate concentrations ranged from 0.04 mg/L in April 2017 to 0.48 mg/L in November 2015. Monthly mean nitrate concentrations and the proportion of water that was attributed to Lake Okeechobee discharge, released through S-79, were weakly correlated and indicate that the nitrate concentrations typically decreased as the percentage of water released from the lake increased. Annual nitrate loads were 278 metric tons in 2015, 782 metric tons in 2016, and 525 metric tons in 2017. Monthly mean nitrate loads ranged from 1.2 metric tons in April 2017 to 171.3 metric tons in February 2016. Nitrate loads increased linearly with an increase in flow and typically increased during the wet season, May to October. Monthly loads of nitrate were strongly correlated with flow at S-77 and S-79.

Mean and median calculated DOC concentrations for the study period were 18.3 mg/L and 18.9 mg/L, respectively. Monthly mean DOC concentrations ranged from 12.6 mg/L in May 2017 to 21.5 mg/L in September 2015. Generally, DOC concentrations were lower during the dry season months (November to April) and higher during the wet season months. Monthly mean DOC concentrations were moderately correlated with monthly mean flow volumes at S-79. There was a strong correlation between monthly mean DOC concentrations and the proportion of water released at S-79 that can be attributed directly to Lake Okeechobee, indicating that contributions between Moore Haven Lock and Dam (S-77) and S-79 have a higher DOC concentration than water released from Lake Okeechobee. Monthly mean nitrate concentrations and monthly mean DOC concentrations were strongly correlated. Annual loads of DOC were 23,960 metric tons in 2015 and 65,610 metric tons in 2016 (2014 and 2017 data were incomplete). Monthly loads of DOC ranged from 284 metric tons in May 2017 to 15,122 metric tons in September 2017, the latter corresponding to the effects from Hurricane Irma. Monthly loads of DOC were strongly correlated with flow at S-77 and S-79.

Suggested Citation

Booth, A., 2020, Measured and calculated nitrate and dissolved organic carbon concentrations and loads at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam, S-79, south Florida, 2014-17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1094, 37 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201094.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction and Background
  • Methods
  • Dissolved Organic Carbon Model
  • Nitrate Concentrations and Loads
  • Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentrations and Loads
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Model Archive Summary for Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentrations at Station 02292900: Caloosahatchee River at S-79, Nr. Olga, Florida

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Measured and calculated nitrate and dissolved organic carbon concentrations and loads at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam, S-79, south Florida, 2014-17
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1094
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201094
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 37 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table