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Project ID: 2003FL40B

Title: Characterizing the Spatial Distribution and Connectivity of Wetlands in the Fisheating Creek Basin, FLorida

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Hydrology, Wetlands, Surface Water

Keywords: Wetlands, Geographic Information Systems, Watershed Management

Start Date: 03/01/2003

End Date: 02/28/2004

Federal Funds: $28096.00

Matching Funds: $56192.00

Congressional District: 6th

Principal Investigator: William R. Wise

Abstract: The natural hydrologic settings of the Fisheating Creek and Kissimmee River basins in Glades, Highlands, Polk, Okeechobee, and Osceola counties, Florida, were significantly altered over the last century through wetland drainage. This was done to increase the amount of arable land for cattle grazing, vegetable and fruit production, and tree farms, as well as providing flood control for a large portion of the basin. This alteration of the natural hydrologic setting has been successful in providing those benefits, but has had the undesirable side effect of causing pronounced habitat degradation. Channeling of surface water into networks of artificial ditches and canals, which feed into Fisheating Creek, has sharply increasing the peak flows after rainfall events. This results in a more flashy hydrograph, in which the lag between a rainfall event and the time peak flow occurs in Fisheating Creek is dramatically shortened. This heightened response has the effect of significantly increasing sediment and contaminant (particularly phosphorous) loads in the creek, which drains into Lake Okeechobee. The proposed project will investigate the roles spatial distribution, configuration, and connectivity of restored wetlands play in increasing available watershed storage in wetlands, and how these properties affect runoff hydrographs and consequent transport of sediment and contaminants into sensitive areas. Specifically, we seek to address the question of how these spatial characteristics may help to determine the optimal configuration of restored wetlands in a drainage basin to maximize the benefits of restoration with a minimum amount of expenditure.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday June 24, 2004 3:18 PM
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