Water & Air identified aquatic species and assessed biodiversity in selected canals that traverse the Seminole Tribe’s Brighton and Big Cypress Reservations. The project team assessed the biological health of the aquatic biota and measured water quality within the canals. These data were used to evaluate the environmental effects of waters flowing into the Reservation from outside land uses and the effects of land-use practices within the Reservations.
- Sampled 12 stations during the wet and dry seasons.
- Collected periphyton using periphytometers that were incubated for 28 days.
- Sampled macroinvertebrates with dipnets (FDEP Stream Condition Index method), Hester-Dendy artificial substrates, and bottom dredges.
- Collected fish using a boat equipped with electro-fishing equipment.
- Photographed taxa collected, where ever possible.
- Produced comprehensive with interpretation of results and extensive data analyses.
- Summarized results in a non-technical interpretative report format distributed for use by tribal members and the general public.
- Assisted the client in the presentation of the results to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The Seminole Tribe requires rigorous environmental assessment of its natural resources to protect its economic and resource base. The Water & Air assessments contributed defensible, high quality data with interpretation to help the Tribe achieve their goals. This important South Florida canal bioassessment project provided a comprehensive aquatic organism inventory that followed appropriate Standard Operating Procedures. Due to the prevalence of major canals throughout South and central Florida, the canal bioassessment methods and results are gaining interest from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the South Florida Water Management District to assess water resource health.