the greater Everglades ecosystem. There was also discussion of CESI program objectives, the methods for identifying research priorities, and the selection and review of funded projects.
During the second meeting, the panel addressed the adequacy of science being conducted in the CESI program in light of the needs of the overall restoration effort. This meeting involved discussions with a broad range of agencies active in South Florida, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the USGS, the FWS, the NPS, the Corps, and the SFWMD, on topics such as interagency coordination and integration of CESI projects.
The subject of the third panel meeting was the analysis, synthesis, and results dissemination of CESI-funded research. CESI program planning and management were discussed, as were the ways in which the CESI program and restoration managers could work together to identify extant and emerging research needs in support of strategic planning of the CERP during the design, implementation, and operational phases of restoration. A case study was also examined of the contributions of research (both CESI-funded and others) to C-111 project decision making.
The panel's conclusions and recommendations are based on presentations and discussions from these three meetings (see Acknowledgments), materials provided by the CESI program (e.g., lists of CESI-funded projects, budgets, and program objectives), limited independent analysis (e.g., the time line comparison between CESI projects and related CERP components; see Figures 2–2 and 2–3), the experience and knowledge of the authors in their fields of expertise, and the collective best judgment of the panel. This report summarizes the findings of this review.
It is important to highlight some topics that were outside the charge of this report. The report does not evaluate the restoration plan (CERP) or suggest improvements to it. The National Research Council's Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem currently provides scientific overview and assessments of restoration activities, such as its current review of the CERP Monitoring and Assessment Plan (NRC, in press). This report also does not provide an assessment of all South Florida science (or even all DOI science related to South Florida) but focuses distinctly on the contributions and areas for improvement in the CESI program in the context of other ongoing science. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the CESI-funded research, the report discusses the CESI within an adaptive management framework, but the report does not suggest or recommend an adaptive management approach for restoration. Finally, the report does not judge the quality of individual CESI-funded research projects systematically, since such a detailed review was beyond the study charge. The study instead focused on the processes used by the CESI program to support the restoration (e.g., coordination with other science programs, prioritization of CESI research funding, and dissemination of results) and looked broadly at the contributions of several prominent CESI-funded projects.