National Park Service

South Florida/Caribbean I&M Network (SFCN)

Surface Water Hydrology Monitoring

Weather station for Biscayne National Park.
Weather station for Biscayne National Park.

Monitoring Reports

Hydrology Data by Parks and Partners

Protocol

The SFCN weather station monitoring protocol is currently under development.

For more information contact:

Kevin Whelan, Ph D.

Importance/Issues

Water is a critical resource. Changing the quantity, distribution, timing, duration and flow rate of water can have substantial impacts upon the natural system. Understanding the water cycle, both in the short-term (weekly) and over longer periods, is a prerequisite to understanding the rest of the natural system and correctly interpreting changes that are occurring. Restoration of hydrology is the lynchpin to overall Everglades restoration. Water diversions and manipulations have altered the hydrology of the Everglades and disrupted freshwater inflows to Florida and Biscayne Bays with severe consequences to the freshwater and marine foodwebs. Rainfall is a critical part of this story for the greater Everglades ecosystem, and for the otherwise dry islands of South Florida / Caribbean Network parks, rainfall is a limiting resource that drives the terrestrial ecosystem.

Monitoring Objectives

  • What is the general hydrology (quantity, timing, duration, flow) of the freshwater part of the ecosystem?
  • What are the spatial and temporal patterns (quantity, timing, duration, flow) of freshwater input (surface water, and to a point groundwater) into estuaries/bays?
  • What is the general annual weather pattern, especially in regards to rainfall?
  • What changes are occurring through time and in response to management actions?

Status and Trends

Approach

Link to existing monitoring and reporting

A large amount of existing monitoring is being conducted by Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, the South Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Geological Survey and is made available through the DataForEVER database maintained by Everglades National Park and in DBHydro maintained by the South Florida Water Management District. Weekly regional hydrological summaries are being generated by Bob Sobczak of Big Cypress National Preserve for many regions of south Florida. The Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) designed by the U.S. Geological Survey provides a way to estimate depths and hydropatterns across the Everglades (freshwater areas only) extrapolating water depth data from known points to unknown points. The CERP RECOVER program is already using this data to generate summaries in their System Status Reports. Sea Level Rise is already tracked by NOAA at Key West, Florida and completes the picture as sea level rise affects how freshwater inflows (surface and groundwater) affect bays & estuaries. Thus SFCN’s strategy is to link to these existing monitoring programs, data streams, and summaries reports where possible.

Establish new weather stations at a few select sites and a crest gage station at Salt River Bay

SFCN has installed weather stations at Salt River Bay, Buck Island and Biscayne National Park plus 2 additional rain gage stations at Buck Island. SFCN has also established a single crest gage station on Salt River near the park boundary at the input culvert to the park. These stations are downloaded and maintained by park staff. No other rainfall data was readily accessible within these park boundaries.

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Last Updated: March 27, 2017 Contact Webmaster