1998 Progress Report: Monitoring Regional-Scale Hydrologic Processes in the South Florida Ecosystem

EPA Grant Number: R825156
Title: Monitoring Regional-Scale Hydrologic Processes in the South Florida Ecosystem
Investigators: Kasischke, Eric S. , Bourgeau-Chavez, Laura L. , Richardson, Curtis J. , Romanowicz, Edwin , Smith, Kevin B.
Institution: Environmental Research Institute of Michigan , Duke University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1996 through September 30, 1999
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 1997 through September 30, 1998
Project Amount: $896,086
RFA: Ecological Assessment (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems


The objective of this project is to advance techniques for monitoring and predicting changes in hydrologic condition of regional scale wetland ecosystems in the south Florida region. Currently our research is focused on further developing applications of SAR imagery by merging ERS SAR data with data from other satellite remote sensors (RADARSAT, JERS-1, and Landsat TM), GIS-based information, and field data in hydrologic models to perform hybrid analyses. These hybrid approaches will be tested to determine their usefulness in monitoring ecological processes (vegetation changes, level of inundation), impacts of hydrological management regimes, and changes in land-use/land cover. Specifically, SAR data will be used to routinely map patterns of inundation and hydroperiod throughout the Everglades region. The ultimate goal of this study is to integrate continuous ground monitoring data, bi-monthly ERS SAR imagery, Landsat TM, and ancillary data into hydropattern monitoring models to map longitudinal changes in wetland condition over the three-year study period.

Progress Summary:

During the first two years of this project, our efforts were focused on collection of satellite data and field data, development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) database in Big Cypress/Everglades region of southern Florida, and preliminary analyses and model development. Our efforts included:

1. Planning and implementing a ground sampling design;

2. Meeting with park officials and obtaining research permits to work in Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park;

3. Conducting preliminary analysis of field data, ERS SAR data and Landsat TM data;

4. Field measurements and downloading dataloggers, site characterization (topography, biomass levels, soil characteristics, surface roughness, etc.);

5. Began theoretical SAR modeling of our test sites using the MIMICS model (Ulaby et al. 1990);

6. Development of hydrologic flow models.

Future Activities:

  • Field data will continue to be collected throughout the wet and dry seasons of 1999. As new ERS SAR images are received, they will be entered into the multi-date ERS SAR database.
  • Time series SAR data will be merged with ground monitoring data to determine relationships between backscatter and water levels in several different wetland types (Marl Prairie, Cypress Prairie, Sawgrass Marsh, Cattail Marsh, and sparsely forested Cypress and Mixed Swamp Hardwood wetlands).
  • SAR data will also be used in detecting changes in environmental condition (water depth, soil moisture, and biomass).
  • Once an entire year of SAR data has been processed, hydroperiod and mapping of inundation patterns will be determined for the entire Everglades region.
  • The hydrologic models will be implemented and sensitivity analyses will be conducted using ground data and ERS imagery.
  • Landsat MSS and TM data will be used to assess land use change patterns in southeastern Florida.
  • Several manuscripts will be written on the results of this project for submission to journals for publication. We have planned 2 papers on the hydrologic modeling, 3 papers on the SAR analysis and radar modeling, 1 paper on the Landsat TM analysis, and 1 paper on the hybrid remote sensing / modeling technique.
  • We plan to pursue a number of outreach activities to work with various local agencies and researchers on the application of the new methodologies developed under this grant including:
1. A proposal has been put in to the Army Corps of Engineers jointly by Big Cypress National Preserve, South Florida Water Management District, ERIM International, Inc. and Duke University for monitoring and analyses of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41) Restoration Project. This project involves working with managers from a variety of agencies including the National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 10 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

hydropattern, hydrologic regime, hydrologic modeling, wetland ecosystems, overland flow, SAR, multispectral data, RFA, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, State, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Indicators, aquatic, ecological condition, monitoring, remote sensing, wetlands, Florida Everglades, biodiversity, ecosystem assessment, estuaries, Southeastern Estuaries, aquatic biota , satellite images, regional hydrologic vulnerability, conservation, ecosystem condition, ecological assessment, estuarine ecosystems, regional scale, aquatic ecosystems, restoration, water conservation, Florida, South Florida ecosystem

Relevant Websites:

Our Web Site, which contains 25 hydropattern maps should be available for viewing after January 31, 2000.
The site is Florida Wetland Monitoring Exit EPA icon.

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1997
  • Final Report