- ©2000. AAPG/DEG
The Suwannee River watershed is extremely vulnerable to pollution because of its particular hydrological characteristics. The water interaction between surface water and groundwater exists to balance the river and the Upper Floridan aquifer via springs.
El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the heavy precipitation in the watershed. Some El Niño events resulted in severe flood events, whereas some La Niña events resulted in drought events in the past several decades. Those extreme flood-drought events caused serious damages and losses of property and life in the watershed and constituted threats on the hydrological environments.
In El Niño years, groundwater can be endangered by the polluted flood water runoff, which drains development areas and phosphate deposit mines into sinkholes and springs. In La Niña years, the quality of river waters will be influenced by the groundwater with high nitrate concentrations. Coastal saltwater intrusion and insufficient nutrients near shore are possibly related to La Niña events. However, La Niña and drought events can help clean up the river itself. River sediments are hardened and compacted by sunlight and exposure to the atmosphere when the river drains dry. Pollutants are trapped in the river bottom or released to the atmosphere and excess nutrients are oxidized by the air.
Hongsheng Cao is currently a Ph.D. candidate in hydrology at the Florida State University. He expects to defend his dissertation in Summer, 2000. He received his B.S. degree (1987) in tectonics from the Chengdu Institute of Technology (China) and his M.S. degree (1990) in stratigraphy and paleontology from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, where he then worked as a research geologist for 5 years. He is broadly trained in the earth sciences. His research interests include hydrology, chemical hydrology, isotopic geochemistry, environmental hydrology, and Asian geology, with emphases on the Tarim Basin (China) geology, the Floridan aquifer (Florida), and the application of strontium and uranium isotopic tracers in hydrology. He has published more than 15 papers and research reports.