Construction of the west end of the Cross Florida Barge Canal changed the regimen of the lower Withlacoochee River. The investigation was made to determine how salt water from the Gulf of Mexico moves in the river-canal complex, and how the factors that control salt-water movement--tides and discharge--have changed since canal construction. In the river below the bypass channel, salt water moves inland as a wedge beneath the fresh water with upstream tidal flows and back toward the Gulf with downstream tidal flows. The salt front in the river tends to move farthest upstream near times of relatively high water, or higher high water preceded by relatively high higher low water, especially during of after several days of rising mean tide level.
Salt-water movement in the lower Withlacoochee River-Cross Florida Barge Canal Complex