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Flow characteristics and salinity patterns of tidal rivers within the northern Ten Thousand Islands, southwest Florida, water years 2007–14

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5158

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science
By:
and
DOI:10.3133/sir20165158

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Abstract

Freshwater flow to the Ten Thousand Islands estuary has been altered by the construction of the Tamiami Trail and the Southern Golden Gate Estates. The Picayune Strand Restoration Project, which is associated with the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, has been implemented to improve freshwater delivery to the Ten Thousand Islands estuary by removing hundreds of miles of roads, emplacing hundreds of canal plugs, removing exotic vegetation, and constructing three pump stations. Quantifying the tributary flows and salinity patterns prior to, during, and after the restoration is essential to assessing the effectiveness of upstream restoration efforts.

Tributary flow and salinity patterns during preliminary restoration efforts and prior to the installation of pump stations were analyzed to provide baseline data and preliminary analysis of changes due to restoration efforts. The study assessed streamflow and salinity data for water years1 2007–2014 for the Faka Union River (canal flow included), East River, Little Wood River, Pumpkin River, and Blackwater River. Salinity data from the Palm River and Faka Union Boundary water-quality stations were also assessed.

Faka Union River was the dominant contributor of freshwater during water years 2007–14 to the Ten Thousand Islands estuary, followed by Little Wood and East Rivers. Pumpkin River and Blackwater River were the least substantial contributors of freshwater flow. The lowest annual flow volumes, the highest annual mean salinities, and the highest percentage of salinity values greater than 35 parts per thousand (ppt) occurred in water year 2011 at all sites with available data, corresponding with the lowest annual rainfall during the study. The highest annual flow volumes and the lowest percentage of salinities greater than 35 ppt occurred in water year 2013 for all sites with available data, corresponding with the highest rainfall during the study.

In water year 2014, the percentage of monitored annual flow contributed by East River increased and the percentage of flow contributed by Faka Union River decreased, compared to the earlier years. No changes in annual flow occurred at any sites west of Faka Union River. No changes in the relative flow contributions were observed during the wet season; however, the relative amounts of streamflow increased during the dry season at East River in 2014. East River had only 1 month of negative flow in 2014 compared to 6 months in 2011 and 7 months in 2008. Higher dry season flows in East River may be in response to restoration efforts. The sites to the west of Faka Union River had higher salinities on average than Faka Union River and East River. Faka Union River had the highest range in salinities, and Faka Union Boundary had the lowest range in salinities. Pumpkin River was the tributary with the lowest range in salinities.

1Water year is defined as the 12-month period from October 1, for any given year, through September 30 of the following year.

Suggested Citation

Booth, A.C., and Soderqvist, L.E., 2016, Flow characteristics and salinity patterns of tidal rivers within the northern Ten Thousand Islands, southwest Florida, water years 2007–14: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5158, 22 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165158.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Annual and Seasonal Rainfall
  • Annual and Seasonal Flow Characteristics of Tidal Rivers
  • Salinity Patterns of Tidal Rivers and Bays
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Flow characteristics and salinity patterns of tidal rivers within the northern Ten Thousand Islands, southwest Florida, water years 2007–14
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5158
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165158
Year Published:
2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
FLWSC-Ft. Lauderdale
Description:
vi, 22 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Florida
Other Geospatial:
Ten Thousand Islands
Online Only (Y/N):
Y