Development of a Tidal Constituent Dataset for the St. Johns River Water Management District

The St. Johns River Water Management District is employing hydrodynamics models as management tools for monitoring and protecting each of the estuarine systems within the District boundaries, which extend from the St. Marys River, at the Florida / Georgia border at the North to St. Lucie Inlet at the South. These models will be used for assessing and quantifying tidal effects on the health of the estuaries and eventually for the establishment of total maximum daily load for major bodies of water, including the Lower St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon, and Tolomato / Guana / Matanzas Rivers. The performance and accuracy of these models are greatly dependent on the accuracy and resolution of the data used to calibrate, verify, and apply the model.

Tidal constituents at open water boundaries on the continental shelf along the coast of Florida, and within estuaries are essential for hydrodynamics assessments. The historical tidal record is limited and site-dependent, which results in limitations on the number and accuracy of tidal constituents for model boundary forcing. The set of tidal constituents created by this project will provide the capability to set tidal boundary conditions at any location on the continental shelf.

At present the first of two phases of the project has been completed. Phase I included preliminary simulations that were performed on an existing finite element mesh and the production of a new FE mesh named the SJR mesh. Results of the preliminary simulations will be used as a basis of comparison for simulations with the SJR mesh, in addition to historical data. Phase 2 will result in an accurate set of constituents, which will better equip the District to conduct numerical simulations of the Lower Saint Johns River, the Northern Coastal Basin, and the Indian River Lagoon, by providing boundary conditions for the corresponding numerical models.

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