The Florida Area Coastal Environment (FACE) Program
The FACE program is designed to understand the many controlling oceanographic and coastal environmental factors that influence Florida public health and coastal biota, and to provide this knowledge to the area's environmental regulators, resource managers, utility operators, and to the public. The broad objectives of the studies include:
• Quantify the sources of selected nutrients and microbial contaminants into critical areas of interest within the FACE purview.
• Measure relevant physical parameters such as ocean currents and meteorology with which the chemical measurements must be interpreted.
• Determine the likely exposure of coral reef resources to those nutrients.
The study area of FACE covers 467 km of coastline in Miami-Dade to Brevard counties. The area includes six treated wastewater plants: Miami Central, Miami North, Hollywood, Broward, Boca Raton, and South Central, which together contribute ~1 million cubic meters (284 millions of gallons) per day to the region. In addition, this coastal area receives fresh water discharged through six inlets, from the Miami Harbor inlet in the south to the Boynton inlet in the north. This area is the home of nearly 5.5 million people (U S Census Bureau, 2006) and an economy heavily dependent on a healthy offshore environment.
Activities and projects
The FACE program has had an active field program since its inception in 2004. These are some highlights
Hollywood Tracer Study. This study, completed in 2004, investigated the plume from the Hollywood TWWP plume, using the introduced hexafluoride (SF6).
The Florida Outfalls Survey. Two cruises were undertaken on the NOAA Research Ship Nancy Foster to perform surveys of each of the six TWWP plumes, in 2006 and 2008. The studies included multibeam scans, nutrient and biological sample analyses, and three-dimensional nutrient surveys.
The Florida Outfalls and Coastal Inlet Experiment (FOCITE-1, FOCITE-2). These experiments employed two deliberate tracers: rhodamine-WT and SF6. In FOCITE1 (February 2007), both the South Central TWWP plume and the Boynton Inlet plume were studied during the winter season. In the FOCITE-2 experiment (June 2008), the South Central TWWP plume was studied under summer conditions.
The Boynton Inlet 48-hour Intensives. Two 2-day sampling intensives were conducted at the Boynton Inlet , resulting in the sampling of eight ebb and eight flood tide flows (June 3-4 and September 26-28, 2007). These samples were investigated for chemical and biological properties. In addition, high-quality water flow measurements were conducted.
- The Boynton-Delray Monitoring Cruises (BD-WQM). A series of eighteen water quality monitoring sites were sampled by the R/V Cable or R/V Nancy Foster approximately bimonthly from June 2007 through July 2008. The samples were analyzed for nutrients and biological entities, A report has been published.
- Nancy Foster Eddy Experiment 2009 (NFEEX-09), a 9-day cruise aboard the NOAA R/V Nancy Foster to track eddies of the Gulf Stream as they interact with the SE Florida shoreline. A array of CTD/rosette sites were sampled before, during and after passage of an Gulf Stream eddy.
The following field programs are currently underway:
The Coastal Water Quality program surveys the chemical, physical, and microbiological monitoring (monthly) of the coastal ocean off of Broward County. The emphasis is on the areas affected by the Broward and Hollywood outfalls, and the Port Everglades and Hillsboro inlets. This is an extension of the 1-year bimonthly monitoring program which took place in the Boynton Beach / Delray coastal ocean. Measurements include nutrients, microbiology, and ocean currents. Biscayne Bay Turbidity Study. Three sites in the Bay will be instrumented to monitor turbidity and related parameters in order to determine typical turbidity levels, to characterize the particulates, and to increase our knowledge of the causes and transport of excess turbidity the Bay.
The Port Everglades Shipping Channel Experiment (PESCE), a long-term measurement system that estimates the flow through the Port Everglades Inlet. Periodically, samples are obtained during ebb flow for microbial and nutrient analysis. Supported by the U.S. EPA.
Scientists and support staff
FACE Principle Investigators: Thomas Carsey, Jack Stamates
NOAA Nutrients: Jia-Zhong Zhang, Charles Fischer, Lindsey Visser
NOAA Microbiology: Chris Sinigalliano, Maribeth Gidley
NOAA Upwelling Studies: Lewis Gramer
Scientific Support: Joseph Bishop, Cheryl Brown, Charles Featherstone
NOAA Corps officers: LT Rachel Kotkowski
Associated Investigators: John Proni (Applied Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, Florida), Frederick Bloetscher (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida), and Dan Meeroff (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida).