Water Resources Research

Flow and mixing dynamics in a patterned wetland: Kilometer-scale tracer releases in the Everglades

Authors

  • Evan A. Variano,

    1. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
    2. Now at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.
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  • David T. Ho,

    1. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
    2. Now at Department of Oceanography, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
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  • Victor C. Engel,

    1. South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida, USA
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  • Paul J. Schmieder,

    1. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
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  • Matthew C. Reid

    1. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
    2. Now at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
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Abstract

[1] Surface water flow dynamics in the Florida Everglades were investigated using sulfur hexafluoride tracer releases, from which advection and dispersion were determined. Several sites were studied, each characterized by different vegetation patterns and proximity to hydrologic control structures. The measured flow directions suggest that basin-scale forcing from water management structures and operations can override the effects of local landscape features in guiding the flow. Management effects were particularly evident in two regions where the historic, natural landscape patterning has degraded. The large spatial scale over which tracer data were collected allows the dispersion rate to be determined at unprecedented spatial scales. These measurements showed much larger dispersion coefficients than reported by previous experiments at smaller scales. This finding and a measurement of the drag due to vegetation over large scales are of interest to Everglades water resource managers concerned with the transport of sediment and biologically active solutes such as phosphorous.

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