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The hydrologic system of the south Florida peninsula—Development and application of the Biscayne and Southern Everglades Coastal Transport (BISECT) model

September 26, 2019

The Biscayne and Southern Everglades Coastal Transport (BISECT) model was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey under the Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Studies Initiative to evaluate, both separately and in conjunction, the likely effects on surface-water stages and flows, hydroperiod, and groundwater levels and salinity in south Florida of (1) a vertical Biscayne aquifer barrier to maintain higher wetland levels, (2) possible future changes to current water-management practices, and (3) sea-level rise. The BISECT model is a combination of the Tides and Inflows to the Mangrove Everglades (TIME) and Biscayne models of the western and eastern parts of south Florida including Everglades National Park, the southern Miami-Dade urban area, and the Biscayne Bay coast and simulates hydrodynamic surface-water flow and three-dimensional groundwater conditions dynamically for the period 1996–2004 by using the Flow and Transport in a Linked Overland/Aquifer Density-Dependent System (FTLOADDS) simulator. BISECT includes a number of parameter and algorithmic refinements that improve simulation results relative to the TIME and Biscayne models and represents the hydrologic system more explicitly, including (1) improved topographic representations, (2) refined Manning’s friction coefficients, (3) improved evapotranspiration computation through spatially variable albedo, (4) increased vertical aquifer discretization, and (5) extension of the western boundary farther offshore.

Sensitivity analyses demonstrate that simulated flows into Long Sound have a different pattern of response to tidal amplitude, wind, and frictional resistance changes than do other coastal streams in the model; flows at Broad River and Lostmans River are most sensitive to tidal amplitude, wind, and frictional resistance changes; and flow to the Everglades coastal streams is substantially affected by surface-water/groundwater interactions in the eastern urban areas. Insight into the hydrologic system came from scenario simulations that represent proposed management actions, such as grouting of the aquifer to prevent seepage from the wetlands and changes to water deliveries proposed by the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and projected sea-level rise. These scenario management changes are considered separately to isolate their specific effects and also in conjunction with sea-level rise. Scenario simulations show that (1) attempts to prevent seepage from the wetlands by grouting the aquifer along the L 31N levee produce minimal effects on surface-water levels; (2) the increased water deliveries proposed in the CERP redistribute flow to the northwestern coastal part of the study area with a minimal reduction to the southeast and a more substantial reduction in flows in the intervening coastal zones, mitigating some sea-level rise effects; (3) sea-level rise has a larger effect on the hydrology (water levels, flow, and salinity) than does CERP restoration; and (4) support for ecological models and hydrologic studies can be provided by applying BISECT to scenarios influenced by climatic and anthropogenic changes or by meteorological variability, such as extreme wet or dry periods.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title The hydrologic system of the south Florida peninsula—Development and application of the Biscayne and Southern Everglades Coastal Transport (BISECT) model
DOI 10.3133/sir20195045
Authors Eric D. Swain, Melinda A. Lohmann, Carl R. Goodwin
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2019-5045
Index ID sir20195045
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center