Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 191–209 | Cite as

Assessment of Upper Taylor Slough water quality and implications for ecosystem management in Everglades National Park

  • Paul JulianIIEmail author
Original Paper


This study addresses water quality conditions across several distinct hydrologic regimes in the Upper Taylor Slough (UTS) region of Everglades National Park and briefly considers implications for long-term water quality management. Due to upstream changes in water delivery and construction of a detention area, Taylor Slough has experienced a significant change in hydrology over a 27-year period, progressing from direct discharge at varying amounts to sheet flow via groundwater conditions. Cumulative flow and rainfall relationships at the inflow and outflow of UTS demonstrate distinct break points. These changes in water delivery and subsequent upstream water management have resulted in a change in water quality conditions within the UTS region. Since 1986, total phosphorus (TP) flow-weighted mean concentrations exiting UTS have significantly decreased from 10 µg/L in the late 1980s to 4 µg/L or less since 2010. Based on analysis of surface water ion ratios, saltwater intrusion is unlikely and rather hyporheic exchange could be occurring between the inflow and outflow of the UTS region. Based on the analysis of existing water quality data, the UTS region is a resilient oligotrophic wetland system retaining strong assimilation capacity in the face of major management changes. While TP concentrations remain extremely low, restoration is not complete for Taylor Slough and adjacent coastal basins will inevitably bring additional nutrient loading. Management of the Slough should recognize this and consider what water quality condition is best for long-term sustainability of Taylor Slough’s ecology.


Oligotrophic Phosphorus Assimilative capacity Hyporheic 



I would like to thank the South Florida Water Management District Everglades Assessment Unit and Water Quality Bureau for initial discussions which resulted in this manuscript. I would like to acknowledge Drs Garth Redfield and Todd Osborne for their review and critical comments on earlier versions of this manuscript and the anonymous peer reviewer(s) and editor(s) for their efforts and constructive review of this manuscript. Finally, I would to thank all of the current and past South Florida Water Management District and Everglades National Park staff involved in the collection and laboratory analysis of the data used in this manuscript. Without their dedication this work would not have been possible. Support to write this manuscript was provided by the State of Florida.


Support to write this manuscript was provided by the State of Florida.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


  1. Armentano TV, Jones DT, Gamble B (1997) Recent patterns in the vegetation of Taylor Slough. Everglades National Park, HomesteadGoogle Scholar
  2. Bearzotti R (1999) The Everglades Stormwater Program. In: Redfield G, Brooks G, Heitzmann M et al (eds) Everglades interim report, 1999th edn. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm BeachGoogle Scholar
  3. Beaver JR, Miller-Lemke AM, Acton JK (1998) Midsummer zooplankton assemblages in four types of wetlands in the Upper Midwest, USA. Hydrobiologia 380:209–220. doi: 10.1023/A:1003452118351 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brunke M, Gonser T (1997) The ecological significance of exchange processes between rivers and groundwater. Freshw Biol 37:1–33. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.1997.00143.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bustamante MAO, Mier MV, Estrada JAE, Domíguez CD (2011) Nitrogen and potassium variation on contaminant removal for a vertical subsurface flow lab scale constructed wetland. Bioresour Technol 102:7745–7754. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.06.005 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen H, Mendelssohn IA, Lorenzen B et al (2005) Growth and nutrient responses of Eloecharis cellulosa (Cyperaceae) to phosphate level and redox intensity. Am J Bot 92:1457–1466. doi: 10.3732/ajb.92.9.1457 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen H, Ivanoff D, Pietro K (2015) Long-term phosphorus removal in the everglades stormwater treatment areas of South Florida in the United States. Ecol Eng 79:158–168. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.12.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chimney MJ, Goforth G (2001) Environmental impacts to the Everglades ecosystem: a historical perspective and restoration strategies. Water Sci Technol 44:93–100PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chimney M (2015) Performance of the Everglades Stormwater Treatment Areas. In: 2015 South Florida Environmental Report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  10. Clesceri LS, Greenberg AE, Eaton AD (eds) (1998) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  11. Diaz OA, Reddy KR, Moore PA Jr (1994) Solubility of inorganic phosphorus in stream water as influenced by pH and calcium concentration. Water Res 28:1755–1763. doi: 10.1016/0043-1354(94)90248-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dierberg FE, DeBusk TA, Jackson SD et al (2002) Submerged aquatic vegetation-based treatment wetlands for removing phosphorus from agricultural runoff: response to hydraulic and nutrient loading. Water Res 36:1409–1422CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunne EJ, Reddy KR (2005) Phosphorus biogeochemistry of wetlands in agricultural watersheds. Nutr Manag Agric Watersheds Wetl Solut Wagening Neth Wagening Acad Publ 105–119Google Scholar
  14. Fan X, Gu B, Hanlon EA et al (2011) Investigation of long-term trends in selected physical and chemical parameters of inflows to Everglades National Park, 1977–2005. Environ Monit Assess 178:525–536. doi: 10.1007/s10661-010-1710-2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fitterman DV, Deszcz-Pan M (2002) Geophysical mapping of saltwater intrusion in Everglades National Park. US Geological SurveyGoogle Scholar
  16. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (1991) 62-160 Florida administrative code: quality assuranceGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaiser EE, Trexler JC, Jones RD et al (2006) Periphyton responses to eutrophication in the Florida Everglades: cross-system patterns of structural and compositional change. Limnol Oceanogr 51:617–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gaiser EE, Sullivan P, Tobias FAC et al (2014) Boundary Effects on benthic microbial phosphorus concentrations and diatom beta diversity in a hydrologically-modified, nutrient-limited wetland. Wetlands 34:55–64. doi: 10.1007/s13157-013-0379-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giannimaras EK, Koutsoukos PG (1987) The crystallization of calcite in the presence of orthophosphate. J Colloid Interface Sci 116:423–430. doi: 10.1016/0021-9797(87)90138-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gough LP, Kotra RK, Holmes CW et al (2000) Regional geochemistry of metals in organic-rich sediments, sawgrass and surface water, from Taylor Slough, Florida. United States Geological Survey, RestonGoogle Scholar
  21. Granéli W, Bertilsson S, Philibert A (2004) Phosphorus limitation of bacterial growth in high Arctic lakes and ponds. Aquat Sci 66:430–439. doi: 10.1007/s00027-004-0732-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hagerthey SE, Newman S, Rutchey K et al (2008) Multiple regime shifts in a subtropical peatland: community-specific thresholds to eutrophication. Ecol Monogr 78:547–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hagerthey SE, Cook MI, Mac Kobza R et al (2014) Aquatic faunal responses to an induced regime shift in the phosphorus-impacted Everglades. Freshw Biol 59:1389–1405. doi: 10.1111/fwb.12353 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hanlon EA, Fan XH, Gu B et al (2010) Water quality trends at inflows to Everglades National Park, 1977–2005. J Environ Qual 39:1724. doi: 10.2134/jeq2009.0488 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. House WA (2003) Geochemical cycling of phosphorus in rivers. Appl Geochem 18:739–748. doi: 10.1016/S0883-2927(02)00158-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. House WA, Donaldson L (1986) Adsorption and coprecipitation of phosphate on calcite. J Colloid Interface Sci 112:309–324. doi: 10.1016/0021-9797(86)90101-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Iwaniec DM, Childers DL, Rondeau D et al (2006) Effects of hydrologic and water quality drivers on periphyton dynamics in the southern Everglades. Hydrobiologia 569:223–235. doi: 10.1007/s10750-006-0134-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson W, Cole T, Johnson M et al (1979) Ion balance in water analyses—The Effect of added silica on the carbonate-bicarbonate titration. Mar Freshw Res 30:315–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson CR, Luecke C, Whalen SC, Evans MA (2010) Direct and indirect effects of fish on pelagic nitrogen and phosphorus availability in oligotrophic Arctic Alaskan lakes. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 67:1635–1648. doi: 10.1139/F10-085 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Josephson DC, Robinson JM, Lepak JM, Kraft CE (2012) Rainbow trout performance in food-limited environments: implications for future assessment and management. J Freshw Ecol 27:159–170. doi: 10.1080/02705060.2012.657864 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Julian P (2015) Appendix 3A-6: Water Year 2010-2014 annual total phosphorus criteria compliance assessment. In: 2015 South Florida Environmental Report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  32. Julian P, Payne GG, Xue SK (2014) Chapter 3A: Water Quality in the Everglades Protection Areas. In: 2014 South Florida Environmental Report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  33. Julian P, Payne GG, Xue SK (2015) Chapter 3A: Water Quality in the Everglades Protection Areas. In: 2015 South Florida Environmental Report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  34. Junk WJ, Brown M, Campbell IC et al (2006) The comparative biodiversity of seven globally important wetlands: a synthesis. Aquat Sci 68:400–414. doi: 10.1007/s00027-006-0856-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kadlec RH (1999a) The limits of phosphorus removal in wetlands. Wetl Ecol Manag 7:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kadlec RH (1999b) Response to the Richardson and Qian comments. Wetl Ecol Manag 7:239–245. doi: 10.1023/A:1008438700723 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kadlec RH, Wallace SD (2009) Treatment wetlands. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  38. Keddy PA, Fraser LH, Solomeshch AI et al (2009) Wet and wonderful: the world’s largest wetlands are conservation priorities. Bioscience 59:39–51. doi: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.1.8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. King RS, Richardson CJ (2007) Subsidy–stress response of macroinvertebrate community biomass to a phosphorus gradient in an oligotrophic wetland ecosystem. J North Am Benthol Soc 26:491–508. doi: 10.1899/06-002R.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kleiner J (1988) Coprecipitation of phosphate with calcite in lake water: a laboratory experiment modelling phosphorus removal with calcite in Lake Constance. Water Res 22:1259–1265. doi: 10.1016/0043-1354(88)90113-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Koch MS, Reddy KR (1992) Distribution of soil and plant nutrients along a trophic gradient in the Florida Everglades. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:1492–1499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kotun K, Renshaw A (2014) Taylor Slough hydrology: fifty years of water management 1961–2010. Wetlands 34:9–22. doi: 10.1007/s13157-013-0441-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Light SS, Dineen JW (1994) Water control in the everglades: a historical perspective. In: Davis S, Ogden J (eds) Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, pp 47–84Google Scholar
  44. Maie N, Yang C, Miyoshi T et al (2005) Chemical characteristics of dissolved organic matter in an oligotrophic subtropical wetland/estuarine ecosystem. Limnol Oceanogr 50:23–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Markogianni V, Dimitriou E, Karaouzas I (2014) Water quality monitoring and assessment of an urban Mediterranean lake facilitated by remote sensing applications. Environ Monit Assess 186:5009–5026. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-3755-0 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Miao SL, Sklar FH (1997) Biomass and nutrient allocation of sawgrass and cattail along a nutrient gradient in the Florida Everglades. Wetl Ecol Manag 5:245–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Noe GB, Childers DL, Jones RD (2001) Phosphorus biogeochemistry and the impact of phosphorus enrichment: why is the Everglades so unique? Ecosystems 4:603–624. doi: 10.1007/s10021-001-0032-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Osborne TZ, Bruland GL, Newman S et al (2011) Spatial distributions and eco-partitioning of soil biogeochemical properties in the Everglades National Park. Environ Monit Assess 183:395–408. doi: 10.1007/s10661-011-1928-7 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Osborne TZ, Reddy KR, Ellis LR et al (2014) Evidence of recent phosphorus enrichment in surface soils of Taylor Slough and northeast Everglades National Park. Wetlands 34:37–45. doi: 10.1007/s13157-013-0381-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Otsuki A, Wetzel RG (1972) Coprecipitation of phosphate with carbonates in a Marl Lake. Limnol Oceanogr 17:763–767. doi: 10.4319/lo.1972.17.5.0763 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Payne G, Bennett T, Weaver K (2002) Chapter 5: Development of a Numeric Phosphorus Criterion for the Everglades Protection Area. In: 2005 Everglades Consolidated Report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  52. Peña EA, Slate EH (2006) Global validation of linear model assumptions. J Am Stat Assoc 101:341–354. doi: 10.1198/016214505000000637 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Perry W (2004) Elements of south Florida’s comprehensive Everglades restoration plan. Ecotoxicology 13:185–193CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Pollman CD, Landing WM, Perry JJ Jr, Fitzpatrick T (2002) Wet deposition of phosphorus in Florida. Atmos Environ 36:2309–2318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Price RM, Swart PK, Fourqurean JW (2006) Coastal groundwater discharge—an additional source of phosphorus for the oligotrophic wetlands of the Everglades. Hydrobiologia 569:23–36. doi: 10.1007/s10750-006-0120-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. RECOVER (2007) Performance measure: greater Everglades wetlands basinwide total phosphorus loading and flow-weighted mean concentration in inflows. Evaluation team CERP systemwide performance measuresGoogle Scholar
  57. Reddy KR, DeLaune RD (2008) Biogeochemistry of wetlands: science and applications. CRC Press, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reddy KR, DeLaune RD, DeBusk WF, Koch MS (1993) Long-term nutrient accumulation rates in the Everglades. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:1147–1155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Reddy KR, Newman S, Grunwald S et al (2005) Everglades soil mapping final report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm BeachGoogle Scholar
  60. Redfield GW (2002) Atmospheric deposition of phosphorus to the Everglades: concepts, constraints, and published deposition rates for ecosystem management. Sci World J 2:1843–1873. doi: 10.1100/tsw.2002.813 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Richardson CJ, Huvane JK (2008) Ecological status of the Everglades: environmental and human factors that control the peatland complex on the landscape. In: Richardson CJ (ed) The Everglades experiments: lessons for ecosystem restoration. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Richardson CJ, Qian SS (1999a) Comments: limits of phosphorus removal in wetlands (Kadlec, previous issue, pp. 165–175). Wetl Ecol Manag 7:235–238. doi: 10.1023/A:1008488917561 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Richardson CJ, Qian SS (1999b) Long-term phosphorus assimilative capacity in freshwater wetlands: a new paradigm for sustaining ecosystem structure and function. Environ Sci Technol 33:1545–1551. doi: 10.1021/es980924a CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Richardson CJ, Qian S, Craft CB, Qualls RG (1997) Predictive models for phosphorus retention in wetlands. Wetl Ecol Manag 4:159–175. doi: 10.1007/BF01879235 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rose PW, Flora MD, Rosendahl PC (1981) Hydrologic impacts of L-31 W on Taylor Slough Everglades National Park. South Florida Research Center, HomesteadGoogle Scholar
  66. Sadle J (2008) Summary of cattail encroachment in Taylor Slough. South Florida Natural Resource Center, HomesteadGoogle Scholar
  67. Sah JP, Ross MS, Saha S et al (2014) Trajectories of vegetation response to water management in Taylor Slough, Everglades National Park, Florida. Wetlands 34:65–79. doi: 10.1007/s13157-013-0390-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Saha S, Bradley K, Heiden CV (2014) Changes in Taylor Slough vegetation from 1979 to 2010. The Institute for Regional Conservation, Delray BeachGoogle Scholar
  69. Saunders CJ, Gao M, Jaffé R (2014) Environmental assessment of vegetation and hydrological conditions in Everglades freshwater marshes using multiple geochemical proxies. Aquat Sci. doi: 10.1007/s00027-014-0385-0 Google Scholar
  70. Scheidt D, Kalla PI (2007) Everglades ecosystem assessment: water management and quality, eutrophication, mercury contamination, soil and habitat: monitoring for adaptive management: a R-EMAP status report. United States Environmental Protection Agency, AthensGoogle Scholar
  71. SFWMD (2009) 2007-08 Miami-Dade 5-ft DEM in NAVD 1988, Release Version 1Google Scholar
  72. Shardendu RS (1991) Relationship of nutrients in water with biomass and nutrient accumulation of submerged macrophytes of a tropical wetland. New Phytol 117:493–500. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1991.tb00013.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. South Florida Water Management District (2012) Restoration strategies regional water quality plan. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm BeachGoogle Scholar
  74. South Florida Water Management District (2016) South Florida environmental report. South Florida Water Management District, West Palm BeachGoogle Scholar
  75. Stewart MA, Bhatt TN, Fennema RJ, Fitterman DV (2002) The road to flamingo: an evaluation of flow pattern alterations and salinity intrusion in the lower glades, Everglades National Park. United States Geological Survey, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  76. Stober QJ, Thornton K, Jones R et al (2001) South Florida ecosystem assessment: phase I/II Everglades stressor interactions: hydropatterns, eutrophication, habitat alteration, and mercury contamination. United States Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  77. Stumm W, Morgan JJ (1996) Aquatic chemistry: chemical equilibria and rates in natural waters, 3rd edn. Wiley-Interscience, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  78. Sullivan PL, Gaiser EE, Surratt D et al (2014) Wetland ecosystem response to hydrologic restoration and management: the Everglades and its urban-agricultural boundary (FL, USA). Wetlands 34:1–8. doi: 10.1007/s13157-014-0525-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Surratt D, Shinde D, Aumen N (2012) Recent cattail expansion and possible relationships to water management: changes in upper Taylor Slough (Everglades National Park, Florida, USA). Environ Manag 49:720–733. doi: 10.1007/s00267-011-9798-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Trexler J, Loftus W, Bruno C (2003) Assessment of IOP/ISOP impacts on aquatic communities. In: Trexler J et al (eds) Monitoring fish and decapods crustaceans in the southern Everglades. Southeast Environmental Research Center and Department of Biological Sciences. Florida International University, MiamiGoogle Scholar
  81. Turner AM, Trexler JC, Jordan CF et al (1999) Targeting ecosystem features for conservation: standing crops in the Florida Everglades. Conserv Biol 13:898–911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. US EPA (1978) Method 310.0: alkalinity. US Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  83. US EPA (1993) Method 300: determination of inorganic anions by ion chromatography. US Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  84. US EPA (1994) Method 200.7: determination of metals and trace elements in water and wastes by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry. US Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  85. USACE, SFWMD (1999) Central and southern Florida project comprehensive review studyGoogle Scholar
  86. Vaithiyanathan P, Richardson CJ (1999) Macrophyte species changes in the Everglades: examination along a eutrophication gradient. J Environ Qual 28:1347–1358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Van Lent T, Johnson R, Fennema RJ (1993) Water management in Taylor Slough and effects on Florida Bay. National Park Service, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park, HomesteadGoogle Scholar
  88. Vito M, Muggeo R (2008) Segmented: an R package to fit regression models with broken-line relationships. R News 8:20–25Google Scholar
  89. Wambeke FV, Obernosterer I, Moutin T et al (2008) Heterotrophic bacterial production in the eastern South Pacific: longitudinal trends and coupling with primary production. Biogeosciences 5:157–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Wetzel RG (1992) Gradient-dominated ecosystems: sources and regulatory functions of dissolved organic matter in freshwater ecosystems. Hydrobiologia 229:181–198. doi: 10.1007/BF00007000 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Ecosystem ProjectsFort MyersUSA
  2. 2.University of Florida, Soil and Water ScienceFt PierceUSA

Personalised recommendations