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Modeling Lacustrine Habitat in Response to Changes in Stage to Support Water Resources Management

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Created: May 01, 2018 at 5:41 p.m.
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AWRA GIS & Water Resources X: Spatial Analysis of Watersheds: Ecological, Hydrological and Societal Responses
April 22 – 25, 2018
Abstract Title: Modeling lacustrine habitat in response to changes in stage to support water resources management (Poster)
Presenter: Sandra Fox, SJRWMD
Co-Authors: Andrew Sutherland, Sherry Brandt-Williams, Joanne Chamberlain, SJRWMD.

Abstract: The “hydroperiod tool” (HT) was created about 15 years ago to predict the success of wetland restoration in the Kissimmee River for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The foundations of the HT are the geospatial processing power of ArcGIS combined with stage and elevation data. Output from the HT can be used to create metrics that relate to the depth, areal coverage and seasonality of wetland inundation – useful for understanding historical patterns of inundation and for comparing various management scenarios. Changes in ponded depth are of concern when monitoring the effects of water management decisions on lakes as well, on habitat for vegetation, birds, fish and the like. Known depth ranges for a variety of habitats were modeled over a range of stage values for two lakes in northeast Florida using recent (2012) LiDAR-derived Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The DEMs were acquired during very low stage conditions, providing excellent representation of terrain. Deep spots in the lakes (inundated during LiDAR acquisition) were filled in the DEM using bathymetry soundings. Habitats modeled: forage fish (1 to 2 ft depth); game fish spawning (2 to 3 ft depth); emergent marsh (to 6 ft depth); large wading birds (to 1 ft depth); small wading birds (to 0.5 ft depth); sandhill crane nesting (0.5 to 1 ft depth); and bass habitat (1 to 4 ft depth). The results from this study can be used to identify lake levels goals for management.

Presentation at 2018 AWRA Spring Specialty Conference: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Water Resources X, Orlando, Florida, April 23-25,

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Fox, S., A. Sutherland (2018). Modeling Lacustrine Habitat in Response to Changes in Stage to Support Water Resources Management, HydroShare,

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