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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Water Quality Trends at Inflows to Everglades National Park, 1977–2005


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 5, p. 1724-1733
    Received: Dec 9, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): xiaohfan@ufl.edu
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  1. E. A. Hanlona,
  2. X. H. Fan *b,
  3. B. Guc,
  4. K. W. Migliacciob,
  5. Y. C. Lib and
  6. T. W. Dreschelc
  1. a South West Florida Research & Education Center, Soil and Water Science Dep., IFAS, Univ. of Florida, 2686 SR 29 North, Immokalee, FL 34142
    b X.H. Fan, K.W. Migliaccio, and Y.C. Li, Tropical Research & Education Center, Soil and Water Science Dep., IFAS, Univ. of Florida, 18905 SW 280th St., Homestead, FL 33031
    c B. Gu and T.W. Dreschel, Everglades Division, South Florida Water Management District, 3301 Gun Club Rd, West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Assigned to Associate Editor Ying Ouyang


Restoration of the Florida Everglades is important for the health of the natural system, including both the “River of Grass” and its downstream estuaries. Water quality improvement is one indicator of successful restoration in this complex ecosystem. Using the period of record of 1977 through 2005, we evaluated data from seven inflow sites to the Everglades National Park (ENP) for temporal trends of various forms of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) and analyzed them using principal component analysis and factor analysis without flow adjustments. Locally estimated scatter plot smoothing (LOESS) trend lines identified two inflection points (three time periods) of changing trend in total P (TP) concentration at the seven sites. Results indicated that overall water quality in ENP inflow improved from 1977 to 2005, with significant downward trends in TP concentration. The overall trend of TP is probably mediated by hydrology, which is evident by a negative relationship between flow and annual average TP concentration at the majority of stations within the available data, although additional changes in vegetation due to hydroperiod may have some effects. Total N (TN), total Kjeldahl N, and total organic N concentrations also generally decreased at inflow sites. Water quality standards for TP, TN, and NH4 +–N were exceeded at selected sites during the study period. Principle component analysis and factor analysis detected a grouping of sampling sites related to the water delivery system that could be used as indicators to better manage monitoring resources. Study results suggest that water quality data analyses could provide additional insight into the success of a restoration management plan and on how monitoring may be modified for more efficient use of resources.

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