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Unformatted text preview: Hydrology of Paynes Prairie Will Mazzota • Introduction • Overview of the prairie • Natural flow and current flow • Floridan Aquifer • Alachua Sink • Water Management • Restoration • Overview of Paynes Prairie • Paynes Prairie is considered a wet prairie ecosystem. • It lies south of Gainesville, and drains the storm water runoff from the north. • There is 16,000 acres of actual prairie land, however the state park includes about 22,000 acres • Important habitat for wildlife, such as bison, alligator, wild horse, wild turkey, and various migrating birds. • Provides critical land for water management and recharge in the area • Map of Paynes Prairie • Some History • William Bartram described the land as the “Great Alachua Savannah” • Most of the land has been for cattle raising in the past • During the years 1871 – 1873 there were large amounts of rain that caused the prairie to become flooded and the Alachua Sink to be clogged, which lead to prairie becoming a lake until 1891 when the sink became unclogged • The lake became known as Alachua Lake • Natural Flow and Current Flow • The water entering the prairie historically comes from the north of Paynes Prairie, mostly through sheet flow and creeks • However the natural sheet flow has drastically been reduced • Most flow currently comes from artificial or altered natural creeks, used to expedite the movement of storm water out of the city to prevent flooding • Floridan Aquifer • Paynes Prairie lies on top of the exposed area of the Floridan Aquifer • Alachua Sink • The Alachua Sink is an example of a karst conduit in limestone • Water is drained into the conduit from the prairie • This allows for the recharge of the Floridan Aquifer • This site is critical for ensuring the supply of water from the aquifer • It also acts as an source to the springs that can be found east of the prairie • Map of Paynes Prairie • Water Management • Input Sources to Paynes Prairie: • Precipitation • Tumblin Creek and Bivens Arm – storm water from the city flows into the creek and then into Bivens Arm. This water then flows into Bivens Arm Canal that brings the water to the prairie • Sweetwater Branch Canal – carries water from Sweetwater Branch, and into the prairie and meets up with the Bivens Arm Canal. Sweetwater Branch has input not just from storm water, but the Gainesville Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant and Kelly Power Plant. These plants increase the amount of nutrients present, creating poor water quality. The high nutrient levels create the perfect conditions for the establishment of invasive and exotic plants to take hold. • Prairie Creek – this creek provides the greatest surface input into the prairie. Much of the water is diverted from the natural flow, mostly going to Orange Lake. The source of Prairie Creek is Newna • Restoration • Prairie Creek sheetflow restoration - 500 acres have been restored, this is very significant considering...
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- Spring '09
- Hydrogeology, Floridan Aquifer, Paynes Prairie, Alachua Sink