Controls on Water Levels and Salinity In a Barrier Island Mangrove, Indian River Lagoon, Florida

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Conductivity, Electrical resistivity, Evapotranspiration, Hypersalinity, Salt pan

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We examined controls on water levels and salinity in a mangrove on a carbonate barrier island along the Indian River Lagoon, east-central Florida. Piezometers were installed at 19 sites throughout the area. Groundwater was sampled at 17 of these sites seasonally for three years. Head measurements were taken at the other two sites at 15-minute intervals for one year. Water levels in the mangrove are almost always lower than lagoon water levels. Spectral analysis of water levels showed that mangrove groundwater levels are not tidally influenced. Salinities vary spatially, with values of ∼10 psu in uplands, ∼30 psu in regularly-flushed mangroves, and ∼75 psu in irregularly-flushed mangroves. Cation and anion concentrations and stable isotope compositions indicate that water salinities are largely controlled by enrichment due to evapotranspiration. A shore-perpendicular electrical resistivity survey showed that the freshwater lens is restricted to uplands and that hypersaline waters extend deeply below the mangrove. These results indicate that evapotranspiration lowers water levels in the mangrove, which causes Indian River Lagoon water to flow into the mangrove where it evapoconcentrates and descends, forming a thick layer of high-salinity water below the mangrove.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Wetlands, v. 30, issue 4, p. 725-734

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