Discharge and nutrient fluxes for five tidally affected streams were monitored and evaluated as a part of the U.S. Geological Survey Place-Based Studies Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative. Locations on Lostmans Creek, and Broad, Harney, Shark, and North Rivers were selected using the criterion that a large amount of the water that flows through Shark River Slough must pass these sites. Discharge and nutrient-concentration data collection started at the Broad, Harney, and Shark River stations in January 1997 and ended in early 2001. Discharge and nutrient-concentration data collection started at the Lostmans Creek and North River stations in April 1999 and ended in early 2001. Each station was equipped with a vertically oriented acoustic-velocity sensor, water-level pressure transducer, bottom water-temperature thermistor, and specific conductance four-electrode sensor. Data collected using a vessel-mounted acoustic discharge measurement system were used to calibrate regression models of the mean river velocities and the in-situ index velocities. Information from these stations, in conjunction with data from other ongoing studies, will help to determine environmental effects on the southwest coast estuaries as changes in water management of the Everglades National Park continue.
Discharges from the Lostmans Creek, and Broad, Harney, Shark, and North River stations are influenced by semidiurnal tides, meteorological events, and surface- and ground-water inflow. Each of the five rivers is usually well mixed, having no greater than 500 microSiemens per centimeter at 25? Celsius difference in specific conductance from top to bottom during flood and ebb tides. Instantaneous flood discharges (water moving upstream) are typically of greater magnitude and shorter duration than instantaneous ebb discharges (water moving downstream).
Instantaneous discharge data were filtered using a low-pass filter to remove predominant tidal frequencies, and the filtered data were used to compute daily mean and monthly mean residual discharges. Lostmans Creek, and Broad, Harney and Shark Rivers each contributed from 20 to 27 percent of the total measured discharge to the Gulf of Mexico, whereas North River contributed approximately 4 percent. The main discharge region of the Shark River Slough extends from as far north as Lostmans Creek to as far south as North River. North River discharge has similar response characteristics to the other four rivers measured, but with a lesser magnitude of discharge. Comparisons of monthly mean discharges from the Tamiami Canal flow control structures S-12-A, B, C, and D located on U.S. Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) to the five station total monthly mean discharges indicate that the discharges from the five rivers are approximately 2 to 3 times the S-12-A, B, C, D discharges, and that the measured southwest coast discharge peaks lead the S-12-A, B, C, D discharge peaks by approximately 1 month.
Residual total nitrogen and total phosphorus fluxes were estimated using linear regression models of discharge and flux. Monthly mean total nitrogen residual fluxes for the five southwest coast rivers ranged from approximately 0 to 390 short tons, whereas monthly mean total phosphorus residual fluxes ranged from approximately 0 to 6 short tons. Total nitrogen and total phosphorus residual fluxes at Lostmans Creek, and Broad, Harney, and Shark Rivers were similar in magnitude, each accounting for between 20 to 29 percent of the total measured residual flux. North River contributed between 3 to 4 percent of the total nitrogen and total phosphorus residual flux from the five rivers.