Examining Seasonally Pulsed Detrital Transport in the Coastal Everglades Using a Sediment Tracing Technique
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration includes plans to restore freshwater delivery to Taylor Slough, a shallow drainage basin in the Southern Everglades, ultimately resulting in increased freshwater flow to the downstream Taylor River estuary. The effect of altered hydrologic regime on the transport dynamics of flocculent, estuarine detritus is not well understood. We utilized a paramagnetic sediment tracer to examine detrital transport in three Taylor River pond/creek pairs during early wet versus late wet transition season estuarine flow conditions. Flux of floc tracer was greatest in the downstream direction during all observations, and was most pronounced during the early wet season, coincident with shallower water depth and faster discharge from northern Taylor River. Floc tracer was more likely to move upriver during the late wet/dry season. We observed a floc tracer transport velocity of approximately 1.74 to 1.78 m/day across both seasonal hydrologic conditions. Tracer dynamics were also surprisingly site-dependent, which may highlight the importance of channel geomorphology in regulating hydrologic and sediment transport conditions. Our data suggest that restoration of surface water delivery to Taylor River will influence downstream loading of detritus material into riverine ponds. These detrital inputs have the potential to enhance ecosystem primary productivity and/or secondary productivity.
Koch, G., S.E. Hagerthey, D.L. Childers, E.E. Gaiser. 2013. Examining seasonally pulsed detrital transport in the coastal Everglades using a sediment tracking technique. Wetlands DOI: 10.1007/s13157-013-0388-y