The Marine Lab of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation has worked closely with the staff of the JN. worked together “Thing” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has been monitoring water quality and seaweed health since 2003, and a joint project is providing information to support efforts to improve tidal currents and water quality.
On June 4, the team moved a water quality probe from the tower to the impoundment on the west side of Wildlife Drive, an area of stagnant water, occasional fish deaths and abundant macroalgae.
The probe measures salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity and dissolved organic substances in the damming every hour. It was bought by the “Thing” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge about two years ago with a second, and both are maintained by the SCCF.
The SCCF reported that the pent-up body of water seen on the left while driving the wildlife drive was once naturally connected to the tidal mangrove channels that flow into Pine Island Sound on the right. Currently, the Wildlife Drive shares it with passages under the road to connect the tidal currents from side to side.
Regular tidal flow is important on both sides of the Wildlife Drive. It promotes better health for mangrove and seagrass ecosystems, both of which are vital for birds, manatees, and other wildlife that use the refuge habitats.
According to the SCCF, the placement of the probe was based on the depth, altitude, GPS position, salinity and oxygen content of the standing water. The data from the sensor is compared with the water conditions monitored by a neighboring sensor in the Wulfert Flats with unrestricted tidal flushing.
Ultimately, the information will be used to apply for grants to improve tidal flushing.
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