Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016FL326B

Transport and loss of nitrogen within the Upper Floridan Aquifer in the Silver Springs Springshed

Institute: Florida
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $32,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $64,000

Principal Investigators: James Jawitz

Abstract: Spring systems are among the most significant of ecologic resources in the State of Florida. Declines in the ecological character of some of the key spring systems in the state have increased the interest and support for restoration efforts. Simplified (lumped parameter) models may be an efficient way to describe the dynamic behavior of the Silver Springs aquifer in terms of hydraulic and nitrate transport responses. These models are based on analyses of time series of aquifer input (i.e., recharge and nitrate loading) and output (i.e., spring discharge and nitrate concentration or discharge) over extended periods of time. Thus, the most fundamental aquifer dynamics may be captured and used for future predictions under different input scenarios related to particular aquifer management strategies. Geologic information on confining layers, sink holes, fault zones, predominant fracture orientation and submersed cave systems may provide additional insight for differentiating different input zones throughout the springshed with individual dynamic response characteristics. However, more relevant information may be obtained from direct hydrodynamic measurements of flow, transport and nitrate reactions. The goal of this project is to determine groundwater flow characteristics and natural attenuation rates of N loads in the upper Floridan Aquifer System. Groundwater velocities, ages, nitrate fluxes, and denitrification rates will be measured at a network of wells using a suite of monitoring techniques. The data from this project will be used directly in springshed models.