The St. John’s River in Florida has been identified as a potential source of potable water to supplement groundwater withdrawals, which have traditionally been the main water source for communities in the region. Increased groundwater pumping over the past 60 years is now reaching the limits of sustainability for the Floridan Aquifer, the principal groundwater source, and thus alternative sources, such as surface water withdrawals from the river, are being considered. To evaluate the potential impacts of surface water withdrawals, our team did a short-term survey of benthic invertebrates of shoreline and floodplain marshes in order to: 1) develop a baseline data set to compare with future benthic community sampling that might be conducted after any commencement of surface water withdrawals from the river, and 2) evaluate measures of benthic invertebrate community characteristics that potentially could be sensitive to water level change and hence useful metrics in evaluating impacts of hydrologic change due to water withdrawal or other causes.


Work contracted by Bureau of Environmental Sciences, St. Johns River Water Management District | Palatka, FL


Robert A. Mattson, PhD, Environmental Scientist V


logistical preparation, habitat surveying, population sampling, data processing, and manuscript preparation


R.A. Mattson, K.W. Cummins,  R.W. Merritt, M. McIntosh, E. Campbell, M.B. Berg, B.W. Merritt, O. Hernandez, & R. Kimbirauskas. (2014). “Hydroecological Monitoring of Benthic Invertebrate Communities of Marsh Habitat in the Upper and Middle St. Johns River.” Florida Scientist, 77(3), pp. 144-161.