Hydrologic Characterization of 56 Geographically Isolated Wetlands in West-Central Florida Using a Probabilistic Method
analytical techniques, frequency analysis, hydrologic characterization, wetlands
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Wetlands are important hydrological elements of watersheds that influence water storage, surface water runoff, groundwater recharge/discharge processes, and evapotranspiration. Understanding the cumulative effect wetlands have on a watershed requires a good understanding of representative water-level fluctuations and storage characteristics associated with multiple wetlands across a region. We introduce a probabilistic approach based on frequency analysis of water levels in numerous geographically isolated wetlands across the mantled karst terrain of west-central Florida, in the Tampa Bay region. This approach estimates the probabilities, or percentage of time, that water levels in a wetland or upland groundwater wells are at or below a specific elevation. We applied this hydrologic characterization to 56 wetlands in west-central Florida, and documented that standing water was present in the wetlands 61 % of the time and that these wetlands were groundwater recharge zones at least 50 % of the time over the 7 year study. Additionally, we demonstrated that various wetland types, classified according to vegetation community composition and structure, exhibit similar means, extremes and ranges in water-level behavior. We believe that this is the first paper to robustly quantify inundation frequency and recharge status in seasonally flooded wetlands at a regional scale. The analytical tool introduced in this manuscript could be used to detect, through changes in water-level frequency distribution, wetland hydrological response to different climatological or anthropogenic stressors. This tool is timely as changes in frequency distribution shape may provide early warnings of ecosystem regime change.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Wetlands Ecology and Management, v. 21, issue 1, p. 1-14
Scholar Commons Citation
Nilsson, Kenneth A.; Rains, Mark; Lewis, David B.; and Trout, Kenneth E., "Hydrologic Characterization of 56 Geographically Isolated Wetlands in West-Central Florida Using a Probabilistic Method" (2013). Integrative Biology Faculty and Staff Publications. 333.