Decades of dredging and filling of Florida's low-lying coastal wetlands have produced thousands of miles of residential tidal canals and adjacent waterfront property. Typically, these canals are poorly flushed, and over time, accumulated organic-rich bottom materials, contribute to an increasingly severe degraded water quality. One-dimensional hydrodynamic and constituent-transport models were applied to two dead-end canal systems to determine the effects of canal system interconnection using tide gates on water circulation and constituent flushing. The model simulates existing and possible future circulation and flushing conditions in about 29 miles of the approximately 130 miles of tidally influenced canals in Cape Coral, located on the central west coast of peninsular Florida.
Model results indicate that tidal water-level differences between the two canal systems can be converted to kinetic energy, in the form of increased water circulation, but the use of one-way tide gate interconnections. Computations show that construction of from one to four tide gates will cause replacement of a volume of water equivalent to the total volume of canals in both systems in 15 to 9 days, respectively. Because some canals flush faster than others, 47 and 21 percent of the original canal water will remain in both systems 50 days after start of operation of one and four tide gates, respectively. Some of the effects that such increased flushing are expected to have include reduced density stratification and associated dissolved-oxygen depletion in canal bottom waters, increased localized reaeration, and more efficient discharge of stormwater runoff entering the canals.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of the effects of proposed tide gates on circulation, flushing, and water quality in residential canals, Cape Coral Florida
U.S. Geological Survey ;
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