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Data Series 853

Prepared as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Program
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Everglades National Park

Land-Margin Ecosystem Hydrologic Data for the Coastal Everglades, Florida, Water Years 1996–2012

By Gordon H. Anderson, Thomas J. Smith III, and Karen M. Balentine


Mangrove forests and salt marshes dominate the landscape of the coastal Everglades (Odum and McIvor, 1990). However, the ecological effects from potential sea-level rise and increased water flows from planned freshwater Everglades restoration on these coastal systems are poorly understood. The National Park Service (NPS) proposed the South Florida Global Climate Change Project (SOFL-GCC) in 1990 to evaluate climate change and the effect from rising sea levels on the coastal Everglades, particularly at the marsh/mangrove interface or ecotone (Soukup and others, 1990). A primary objective of SOFL-GCC project was to monitor and synthesize the hydrodynamics of the coastal Everglades from the upstream freshwater marsh to the downstream estuary mangrove. Two related hypotheses were set forward (Nuttle and Cosby, 1993):

  1. There exists hydrologic conditions (tide, local rainfall, and upstream water deliveries), which characterize the location of the marsh/mangrove ecotone along the marine and terrestrial hydrologic gradient; and
  2. The marsh/mangrove ecotone is sensitive to fluctuations in sea level and freshwater inflow from inland areas.

Hydrologic monitoring of the SOFL-GCC network began in 1995 after startup delays from Hurricane Andrew (August 1992) and organizational transfers from the NPS to the National Biological Survey (October 1993) and the merger with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Research Division in 1996 (Smith, 2004). As the SOFL-GCC project progressed, concern by environmental scientists and land managers over how the diversion of water from Everglades National Park would affect the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem. Everglades restoration scenarios were based on hydrodynamic models, none of which included the coastal zone (Fennema and others, 1994). Modeling efforts were expanded to include the Everglades coastal zone (Schaffranek and others, 2001) with SOFL-GCC hydrologic data assisting the ecological modeling needs. In 2002, as a response for a more interdisciplinary science approach to understanding the coastal Everglades ecological system, the SOFL-GCC hydrology project was integrated into the “Dynamics of Land-Margin Ecosystems: Historical Change, Hydrology, Vegetation, Sediment, and Climate” study (Smith and others, 2002). Data from the ongoing study has been useful in providing an empirical hydrologic baseline for the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration science and management needs.

The hydrology network consisted of 13 hydrologic gaging stations installed in the southwestern coastal region of Everglades National Park along three transects: Shark River (Shark or SH) transect, Lostmans River (Lostmans or LO) transect, and Chatham River (Chatham or CH) transect (fig. 1). There were five paired surface-water/groundwater gaging stations on the Shark transect (SH1, SH2, SH3, SH4, and SH5) and one stage gaging station (BSC) in the Big Sable Creek; four paired surface-water/groundwater gaging stations on the Lostmans transect (LO1, LO2, LO3, and LO4); and three paired surface-water/groundwater gaging stations on the Chatham transect (CH1, CH2, and CH3). Both surface-water and groundwater levels, salinities, and temperatures were monitored at the paired gaging stations. Rainfall was recorded at marsh and open canopy gaging stations. This report details the study introduction, method, and description of data collected, which are accessible through the final instantaneous hydrologic dataset stored in the USGS South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) South Florida Hydrology Database website,

First posted May 30, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Florida Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1400 Colonial Blvd., Suite 70
Fort Myers, Florida 33907

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Suggested citation:

Anderson, G.H., Smith, T.J., III, and Balentine, K.M., 2014, Land-margin ecosystem hydrologic data for the coastal Everglades, Florida, water years 1996–2012: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 853, 38 p.,

ISSN 2327-638X (online)




Hydrologic Gaging Station Design

Hydrologic Gaging Station Descriptions and Data


References Cited

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