Hurricanes Affect the Sediment and Environment in Lake Okeechobee
Abbreviated Journal Title
Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol.
Hurricanes impact; Lake Okeechobee; sediment; submerged aquatic; vegetation; LARGE SHALLOW LAKE; SUBTROPICAL LAKE; CULTURAL EUTROPHICATION; FLORIDA; PHOSPHORUS; TRANSPORT; MODEL; USA; RESUSPENSION; Environmental Sciences
Three hurricanes (Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and Wilma in 2005) passed over Lake Okeechobee causing a number of changes in its sediment and environment. The unconsolidated sediment atop the mud sediments in the central region of the lake became thicker due to the settling and deposition of resuspended sediments after the hurricanes passed. The increased unconsolidated sediment layer was more easily resuspended, and resulted in sustained higher solids and nutrient concentrations and lower light transparency in the water column for more than 4 years after the hurricanes passed. Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne disturbed consolidated sediments to a depth of 7-15 cm from the surface while Hurricane Wilma extended the disturbance to a depth of 25 cm. Concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) in the water column increased four to sixfold after the hurricanes. The high concentration of TSS was continuous and maintained 2-4 times higher than a normal situation in the lake until present. Hurricanes contributed to a decrease of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) density from 4-34 g dw/m2 to 0.1-4 g dw/m2 primarily through scouring. SAV recovery was very slow due to the increasing turbidity and reduced light transparency.
Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
"Hurricanes Affect the Sediment and Environment in Lake Okeechobee" (2011). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 1438.