Importance of Water Flow to Landscape Structure/Sediment Transport
Water flow in the Everglades is considered to be one of the physical drivers that form the characteristic sawgrass-dominated ridge and slough landscape. The small and delicate particulate sediment carried in the water, also known as floc, is believed to also have a distinctive role that is reflective of the oligotrophic ecosystem. This project found that floc is produced where sawgrass is growing in a low nutrient, slow flowing environment along with a mix of utricularia, eleocharis, and periphyton. This is in contrast to larger sediment particles produced where sawgrass is in nutrient-enriched water; these areas also tend to have a different sawgrass plant community. This project tested the theory that the presence of floc over more visible suspended sediment is an indicator of the presence of the complex interactions between water flow, water quality, and the structure and composition of the vegetative community that form the ridge and slough landscape. This project addressed the restoration goal to "get the water right" by highlighting one defining characteristic of the system, the sediment transport of floc, when the water is "just right."
Documenting the Importance of Water Flow to Everglades Landscape Structure and Sediment Transport in Everglades National Park