Validation of a Spatially Continuous EDEN Water-Surface Model for the Everglades, Florida

John C. Volin, University of Connecticut - Storrs
Zhongwei Liu, University of Florida
Aaron Higer, University of Florida
Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida
Dianne Owen, Florida Atlantic University
Jenny Allen, Florida Atlantic University
Leonard Pearlstine, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park

Document Type Report


The Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) is an integrated network of realtime water-level monitoring, ground-elevation modeling, and water-surface modeling that provides scientists and managers with current (2000-present), online water-stage and water-depth information for the entire freshwater portion of the Greater Everglades. Continuous daily spatial interpolations of the EDEN network stage data are presented on grid with 400-square-meter spacing. EDEN offers a consistent and documented dataset that can be used by scientists and managers to: (1) guide large-scale field operations, (2) integrate hydrologic and ecological responses, and (3) support biological and ecological assessments that measure ecosystem responses to the implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1999). The target users are biologists and ecologists examining trophic level responses to hydrodynamic changes in the Everglades. The first objective of this report is to validate the spatially continuous EDEN water-surface model for the Everglades, Florida developed by Pearlstine et al. (2007) by using an independent field-measured data-set. The second objective is to demonstrate two applications of the EDEN water-surface model: to estimate site-specific ground elevation by using the validated EDEN water-surface model and observed water depth data; and to create water-depth hydrographs for tree islands. We found that there are no statistically significant differences between model-predicted and field-observed water-stage data in both southern Water Conservation Area (WCA) 3A and WCA 3B. Tree island elevations were derived by subtracting field water-depth measurements from the predicted EDEN water-surface. Water-depth hydrographs were then computed by subtracting tree island elevations from the EDEN water stage. Overall, the model is reliable by a root mean square error (RMSE) of 3.31 cm. By region, the RMSE is 2.49 cm and 7.77 cm in WCA 3A and 3B, respectively. This new landscape-scale hydrological model has wide applications for ongoing research and management efforts that are vital to restoration of the Florida Everglades. The accurate, high-resolution hydrological data, generated over broad spatial and temporal scales by the EDEN model, provides a previously missing key to understanding the habitat requirements and linkages among native and invasive populations, including fish, wildlife, wading birds, and plants. The EDEN model is a powerful tool that could be adapted for other ecosystem-scale restoration and management programs worldwide.