Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in the Central Everglades, Florida

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5069
Prepared in cooperation with South Florida Water Management District
By: , and 



Recharge and discharge are hydrological processes that cause Everglades surface water to be exchanged for subsurface water in the peat soil and the underlying sand and limestone aquifer. These interactions are thought to be important to water budgets, water quality, and ecology in the Everglades. Nonetheless, relatively few studies of surface water and ground water interactions have been conducted in the Everglades, especially in its vast interior areas. This report is a product of a cooperative investigation conducted by the USGS and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) aimed at developing and testing techniques that would provide reliable estimates of recharge and discharge in interior areas of WCA-2A (Water Conservation Area 2A) and several other sites in the central Everglades. The new techniques quantified flow from surface water to the subsurface (recharge) and the opposite (discharge) using (1) Darcy-flux calculations based on measured vertical gradients in hydraulic head and hydraulic conductivity of peat; (2) modeling transport through peat and decay of the naturally occurring isotopes 224Ra and 223Ra (with half-lives of 4 and 11 days, respectively); and (3) modeling transport and decay of naturally occurring and "bomb-pulse" tritium (half-life of 12.4 years) in ground water. Advantages and disadvantages of each method for quantifying recharge and discharge were compared. In addition, spatial and temporal variability of recharge and discharge were evaluated and controlling factors identified. A final goal was to develop appropriately simplified (that is, time averaged) expressions of the results that will be useful in addressing a broad range of hydrological and ecological problems in the Everglades. Results were compared with existing information about water budgets from the South Florida Water Management Model (SFWMM), a principal tool used by the South Florida Water Management District to plan many of the hydrological aspects of the Everglades restoration.

Suggested Citation

Harvey, J.W., Newlin, J.T., Krest, J.M., Choi, J., Nemeth, E.A., and Krupa, S.L., 2004, Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in the Central Everglades, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004–5069, 88 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Surface-Water and Ground-Water Interactions in the Central Everglades, Florida
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2004-5069
DOI 10.3133/sir20045069
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center
Description viii, 88 p.
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Everglades
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