EFDC Hydrodynamic Modeling
Evaluation of Release Scenarios
DSI has completed development of a 3-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the St. Lucie Canal and Estuary. The objective of the modeling study was to develop a 3-dimensionl hydrodynamic, salinity and temperature model to evaluate the effect of freshwater inflows, particularly high flow releases from Lake Okeechobee, on salinity distributions in the estuary. High flow events, by diluting salinity levels, adversely impact biologically sensitive habitats such as oyster beds and stands of submersed aquatic vegetation.
The calibrated model has been used to simulate the salinity response in critical habitat areas of the estuary as a function of potential storm water release scenarios from Lake Okeechobee. The EFDC hydrodynamic model and EFDC_Explorer software will ultimately be used by the Jacksonville District to make real-time water management decisions and maximize pulsed releases from Lake Okeechobee while minimizing the fresh water impacts on salinity in the St. Lucie estuary. DSI also conducted a model sensitivity analysis of high and low flows and an alternatives analysis study of potential release scenarios. DSI provided a 4-day training workshop for the USACE Jacksonville District staff in the use of the EFDC and EFDC_Explorer application.