2

Overview of the CESI Program

To abate the environmental degradation that has occurred in the ecosystems of South Florida, a series of restoration projects are underway or in development, including C-111, Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (ModWaters), the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, and 68 projects of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). These projects aim to restore the natural system to as near historic conditions as possible in the face of limitations imposed by the loss of over 50 percent of the natural system and competing demands and stresses from the developed environment. However, the path to restoration is not easily implemented, and clearly there is an element of uncertainty in this ambitious undertaking. Good science will increase the reliability of the restoration, enable solutions for unanticipated problems, and potentially reduce long-term costs. To this end, the Department of the Interior (DOI) created the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) to contribute science and planning in support of the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem.

This chapter provides an overview of the CESI program, describing the history and concept behind the initiative and the primary program areas for CESI funding. In addition, the chapter outlines examples of CESI-funded projects and contributions to date and identifies several areas of additional research needs. The chapter also presents an analysis of the timeliness of current and future CESI-funded studies relative to restoration planning needs.

CESI HISTORY AND CONCEPT

In January 1996, the Department of the Interior proposed a plan to “kick-start” the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration effort through increased federal funding and programmatic initiatives. These initiatives were focused on four key areas: (1) federal legislative authority for restoration activities, (2) land acquisition by state and federal governments, (3) scientific research to guide restoration, and (4) cost-sharing among federal, state, and private entities (DOI, 1996). The science component of this plan was developed as the Critical Ecosystem



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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE 2 Overview of the CESI Program To abate the environmental degradation that has occurred in the ecosystems of South Florida, a series of restoration projects are underway or in development, including C-111, Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (ModWaters), the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, and 68 projects of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). These projects aim to restore the natural system to as near historic conditions as possible in the face of limitations imposed by the loss of over 50 percent of the natural system and competing demands and stresses from the developed environment. However, the path to restoration is not easily implemented, and clearly there is an element of uncertainty in this ambitious undertaking. Good science will increase the reliability of the restoration, enable solutions for unanticipated problems, and potentially reduce long-term costs. To this end, the Department of the Interior (DOI) created the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) to contribute science and planning in support of the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem. This chapter provides an overview of the CESI program, describing the history and concept behind the initiative and the primary program areas for CESI funding. In addition, the chapter outlines examples of CESI-funded projects and contributions to date and identifies several areas of additional research needs. The chapter also presents an analysis of the timeliness of current and future CESI-funded studies relative to restoration planning needs. CESI HISTORY AND CONCEPT In January 1996, the Department of the Interior proposed a plan to “kick-start” the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration effort through increased federal funding and programmatic initiatives. These initiatives were focused on four key areas: (1) federal legislative authority for restoration activities, (2) land acquisition by state and federal governments, (3) scientific research to guide restoration, and (4) cost-sharing among federal, state, and private entities (DOI, 1996). The science component of this plan was developed as the Critical Ecosystem

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Studies Initiative with the mission to support studies that provide the physical and biological information, simulation modeling, and planning critical for achieving South Florida ecosystem restoration (DOI, 2000). To accomplish this mission, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds totaling $51,016,000 from FY 1997 through FY 2002 to support the CESI program1 (William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002). Congress appropriated these funds to the National Park Service (NPS) budget to support DOI's scientific information and planning needs related to the South Florida restoration and did not intend for CESI funds to meet all restoration science needs (Deborah Weatherly, House Appropriations Committee Staff, personal communication, 2002). Numerous reviews of research in the NPS have stressed the value of a strong research program to gain an understanding of the natural resources under federal stewardship and to develop effective resource management strategies (NRC, 1992; NPS, 1992; NPCA, 1989). Further details on CESI funding are provided in Chapter 4. The initial intent of the CESI program was to support the feasibility phase of the Restudy, which was initiated in 1995 to assess the feasibility of modifying the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project to restore the South Florida ecosystem. Within this context, the overall objectives of the CESI program were described as follows (DOI, 2000): to initiate and accelerate completion of studies required for sound ecosystem restoration to meet critical science information needs in support of the South Florida restoration to provide administrative support for coordination, contracting, and review of activities supported by the CESI program to develop annual funding requests to Congress to meet anticipated critical studies required for achieving ecosystem restoration Even though the region was rich with agencies conducting scientific and engineering research, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), limited funding, divergent agency missions, insufficient coordination, and compressed timetables left critical voids in the restoration science (SSG, 1996) (see Box 2–1). The CESI program was developed to help fill the scientific information gaps and to complement the efforts of other agencies. CESI funds were also available to address newly identified research needs or to respond to urgent decision-making time frames. This gap-filling strategy offers agility and flexibility, allowing the CESI program to respond to emerging restoration science questions, while also supporting overlooked or underfunded science needs. The CESI program supports a science partnership among numerous federal, state, local, and tribal governments with the objective of developing the knowledge base required to address the restoration goals. Several projects have been funded jointly with state agencies, leading to additional opportunities for collaboration. In summarizing 1   This total includes the $1.717 million that was later reappropriated to support the increased staffing needs of CERP implementation (see Chapter 4).

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE BOX 2–1 Cross-Cutting Restoration Science Issues and Gaps Identified by the Science Subgroup The following 19 statements summarize the major cross-cutting issues and gaps in interagency ecosystem-based science support for the South Florida ecosystem restoration identified by the Science Subgroup (1996). A more detailed listing of individual science objectives for the entire region and for South Florida sub-regions is provided in Appendix B, along with a list of related CESI-funded projects. Ecosystem-wide science management concerns: Flexible and sustained resources are essential to an effective, comprehensive restoration effort. Some critical activities needed at early stages in the restoration process are being neglected for lack of directed resources. A region-wide ecosystem approach to monitoring, support studies, and modeling in a coordinated interagency framework is the only means to attain restoration, but its achievement requires special effort and application of personnel and supporting resources. Critical linkages between sub-regions are not being adequately addressed. Issues of agency authority are at times barriers to focusing efforts at problem sources. Information exchange is a problem, because there is so much information in the hands of myriad sources, including local governments. Monitoring projects by various agencies have not been coordinated or integrated into the restoration effort. Hydrological and ecological modeling needs: Hydrological models that currently exist or are under development do not have the geographic coverage required to meet region-wide ecosystem management needs or to provide the hydrological information for regional ecological models. Existing hydrological models do not extend to the coast and therefore cannot show how physical and ecological processes in the mangrove zone are affected by water management strategies. Such models are needed to support regional ecological models of wading birds and fish and to provide input to hydrodynamic models of coastal waters. The most suitable current hydrological models cannot be used to test alternatives for the interagency restoration effort on a timely basis. Systems of nested models are needed, in which finer resolution can be provided to address some questions and coarser resolutions can be provided to address others.

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Modeling is not well integrated with present scientific studies, and funds for modeling usually do not include sufficient funds for special supporting studies, including verifications. An objective process is needed to evaluate existing models within the context they are being used and to ensure necessary improvements are made. Ecosystem processes/indicators: Certain key species (e.g., apple snail) or communities (e.g., periphyton) that might be suitable ecological indicators are so poorly studied that they cannot be used as indicators. Furthermore, lack of knowledge about the response of these species or communities to hydrological and nutrient variables may seriously handicap the restoration effort. Water-quality/contaminants: Phosphorus-dosing studies to examine the effect of loading on ecological balance in higher plant and algal communities need to be augmented by gradient studies and process-oriented studies of nutrient cycling through soils, plants, algae, and the water column. While monitoring for contaminants is extensive, little interpretation of monitoring results is occurring. Social science: Both tangible and intangible connections between natural and human systems need to be quantified and widely communicated while reinstatement of a sustainable system is still possible. A scientifically based analysis is needed to demonstrate alternative futures under various land and water configurations. Best management practices: Potential opportunities need to be explored for configurations of land and water that lead to ecosystem restoration and enhanced quality of life and economic sustainability in human communities. There is no coordinated science program to support reduction in agricultural or urban pesticide usage. the projects and accomplishments of the CESI program and in evaluating the future goals, it is critical to view the CESI program as one component of a larger entity that includes other science initiatives as well as political and socioeconomic issues. Research studies funded through the CESI program were intended to elucidate how the natural system functions, identify the ways in which the ecosystem has been altered, and develop tools for examining how the current system might respond to restoration of historic hydrological conditions. In support of these

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE research goals, studies were funded within the following broad program areas (funding levels are expressed as a percentage of the budget for FYs 1997–2001) (Robert Johnson, NPS, written communication, 2002): Baseline Research (55%)—Baseline research studies characterize the pre-drainage ecosystem and the defining ecological and hydrological attributes that have been lost. Baseline research studies would include, for example, historical reconstructions to characterize pre-drainage systems and data collection to parameterize models. This category also includes hydrological and ecological process studies and development of appropriate performance measures to characterize the ecological response to hydrological change. Simulation Modeling (15%)—Simulation modeling supports the development of physical and biological predictive models designed to evaluate proposed structural and operational modification to the C&SF Project. Such modeling includes, for example, studies focusing on model uncertainties and studies to expand the scope of and to refine and improve existing models. Environmental Impact Assessments (20%)—Short-term environmental impact assessments are used to evaluate proposed structural and operational changes to the C&SF Project while long-term monitoring studies measure ecosystem response to restoration activities. These studies include status and trend reports, long-term biological and physical monitoring programs, regional-scale ecosystem responses, and environmental impact assessments of early-phase projects, such as the ModWaters and C-111 projects. Planning and Coordination (10%)—Coordination and science peerreview activities were funded in support of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and Working Group. These include funding for strategic planning, science peer review, development of invasive-species control strategies, CESI-sponsored workshops, and support for the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Science Conference and the Florida Bay Science conferences. During its first year (FY 1997), the CESI program was used primarily to provide additional resources to important ongoing research programs, under the guidance of the Science Subgroup's Scientific Information Needs report (SSG, 1996). In the following years as new science priorities developed based on discussions and workshops held during the Restudy, CESI managers identified additional studies for CESI funding (William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002). As restoration plans moved forward, the science objectives of the CESI program gradually evolved to meet changing restoration science needs. In 1996, Congress shortened the original six-year time frame of the Restudy by more than two years to speed the initiation of restoration activities. Although this acceleration of the Restudy predated the CESI program, CESI managers at first primarily funded long-term baseline research projects, which they viewed as vital to restoration planning decisions. The implementation of the $7.8 billion Comprehen-

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE sive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000, however, affirmed the fast pace of restoration and led to a change in CESI funding priorities. The recent draft Programmatic Regulations also assigned DOI concurrence and consultation responsibilities in CERP planning, and required DOI to report jointly2 to Congress every five years “concerning the benefits to the natural system” (USAGE, 2002b). CESI managers now prioritize future studies by their contribution to restoration decision making as it relates to federally managed lands and resources. The long-term CESI-funded research projects were generally continued because of the interest in optimizing the resources already invested and because the same information would also be useful to CERP planning (DOI, 2001). Current CESI research priorities are still linked to the latest Science Subgroup report (SSG, 1996), as it represents the latest comprehensive, multiagency assessment of region-wide science needs (William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002). A vitally important component of DOI's responsibilities in the South Florida restoration will be to assist in evaluating the ecosystem response to the restoration projects once they begin operation, with specific focus on the restoration 's effects on federally managed lands and resources. To accommodate CERP time lines and activities, the CESI program plans to reduce its support for baseline research and model development. Instead, CESI managers will place greater emphasis on the information and tool-development needs of CERP-related environmental impact assessments and long-term monitoring in support of adaptive management (DOI, 2001). CESI PROGRAM AREAS, PROJECTS, AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS The CESI program was established to accelerate ongoing studies and to initiate research needed to support the restoration. A total of 155 CESI projects have been funded, and over $45 million has been obligated as of March 2002 (for a complete list of projects, see Appendix A). Some of these projects are ongoing and extend beyond FY 2002. Nearly all of the funded projects fall under one of the CESI program 's 12 broad program categories (DOI, 2001; SFERTF, 2002): Ecological Processes/Indicator Species Ecological Models Coastal and Estuary Systems Hydrological Models Landscape Patterns, Processes, and Modeling High-density Topographic Surveys Contaminants and Biochemical Processes Water Quality and Treatment Water Quality on Tribal Lands Water Resources Planning, Impact, and Mitigation Assessment (Social Science) Science Information and Dissemination 2   With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Restoration and Science Planning, Coordination, and Review (includes invasive-species control strategy) These categories were developed using the guidance provided in a series of reports by the Science Subgroup (1993, 1996) that identified South Florida ecosystem scientific objectives and information needs for the restoration. Technical workshops and consultation with regional experts provided additional input that refined the CESI program categories and research priorities. Links between specific CESI-funded projects and the science objectives identified by the Science Subgroup (1996) are provided in Appendix B as one framework for viewing the CESI program's contributions to filling information gaps. The CESI program has placed particular emphasis on supporting research to improve the understanding of South Florida's ecosystem structure and function3 in order to provide a basis for predicting the ecosystem's response to restoration of historic hydrological conditions. This emphasis is evident in the large numbers of projects funded within the Ecological Processes/Indicator Species and Coastal and Estuary Systems program categories, as well as studies within the Landscape Patterns category (Figure 2–1). Projects within these categories have contributed fundamental information on the linkages between ecological, hydrological, and water-quality attributes (see Appendix B). Examples include a study on the spatial and temporal response of vegetation to hydrological restoration in Taylor Slough (Armentano et al., 2000) and research on nutrient limitation to primary productivity in Florida Bay (Fourqurean and Zieman, in press). Many CESI-funded ecological studies have also contributed to the development of science-based performance measures. Performance measures are selected as quantitative indicators of the condition of the natural system and will be used in the design of monitoring programs to evaluate ecosystem changes resulting from restoration activities. The CESI program has supported a number of ecological monitoring studies to characterize the ecosystem state and its relationship to other hydrological or water-quality attributes. CESI researchers have developed extensive datasets, that can (and should) be used to address scientific questions regarding ecosystem processes. Although these CESI-funded monitoring and assessment projects are often highly site-specific, researchers can optimize the knowledge gained from these investments by conducting the studies and analyzing the findings in the context of the greater Everglades ecosystem. There has been much emphasis on both ecological and hydrological modeling by the CESI program. This is reflected not only in the large number of projects in the Hydrological Modeling and Ecological Modeling program categories but also in the related Topographic Surveys program categories. Selected high-density topographic surveys were funded by the CESI program to provide the There has been much emphasis on both ecological and hydrological modeling by the CESI program. This is reflected not only in the large number of projects in the Hydrological Modeling and Ecological Modeling program categories but also 3   Structure is related to the species in the ecosystem and the distribution of individuals among those species. Function is related to the processes carried out by an assemblage of organisms in an ecosystem and the rates at which the processes occur.

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 2–1 Number of CESI-funded projects by program category for projects conducted between 1997 and March 2002. The program category for Water Quality on Tribal Lands has been combined here with other water quality and treatment research program categories (William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002). in the related Topographic Surveys program categories. Selected high-density topographic surveys were funded by the CESI program to provide the high-accuracy elevation data (within a vertical accuracy specification of 15 cm) necessary to support the existing hydrological models over the low-relief landscape of South Florida. This topographic data collection currently in progress will require many years to complete. Improved understanding of the hydrological processes in the coastal Everglades is essential to developing predictive flow models for these areas. The South Florida Water Management Model (SFWMM) is the primary hydrological modeling tool used to determine impacts of restoration projects on the natural system, but the model stops well inland of the southwest coast. The predictive capabilities of the SFWMM along the coastal areas are also limited by the coarse 2×2 km grid size of this model, the large time step, and the absence of tidal influence or density-driven flows (NRC, 2002b). CESI-supported modeling efforts and related process-based research, including the work on the Southern Inland Coastal System (SICS) model and the Tides and Inflows in the Mangroves of the Everglades (TIME; http://time.er.usgs.gov) model, attempt to provide this linkage between the SFWMM domain and that of models being developed for Florida Bay. Nevertheless, much work remains to improve the usefulness of these models for restoration planning (USGS, 2002b). Other CESI hydrological modeling studies have worked to improve the understanding of historic hydrological condi-

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE tions, including research on the geological and ecological history of buttonwood ridge and recently funded efforts to refine the Natural Systems Model. Ecological models will be critical for defining relationships among water levels, flow, hydroperiod, water quality, wildlife, and vegetation at the individual, community, and landscape levels. Despite emphasis on ecological modeling in the CESI program, ecological models have yet to provide good representation across the system. The principal ecological models, Across Trophic Level Systems Simulation (ATLSS; http://www.atlss.org), consist of a series of species-and process-specific models that are linked across a range of scales. These models are generally robust, but focus primarily on target species. One current constraint in the refinement of ecological modeling is the lack of field data to define the necessary linkages between hydrological and ecological attributes. Field research conducted within the Ecological Processes/Indicator Species program category is designed to provide biological data necessary to refine the ATLSS models (SFERTF, 2002). The CESI program has supported studies to examine the impact of water quality on ecosystem vegetation and insect communities. South Florida 's wetlands are adapted to highly oligotrophic (low-nutrient) conditions. Exposure of these vegetative communities to phosphate-enriched water substantially alters community composition and productivity (Davis, 1994; Noe et al., 2001). As a result, the CESI program's water-quality research has focused primarily on phosphorus. For example, the CESI program has funded research to determine the assimilative capacity for phosphorus within canals through the Seminole tribe. In addition, the CESI program has also funded assessments of mercury contamination, investigations of the effectiveness of new water-treatment technologies, and the development of water-treatment modeling tools. Although solute-and nutrient-transport modeling is recognized widely as an important science information need related to the restoration efforts (USGS, 2002b; SSG, 1996), water-quality modeling represents a topic with minimal support from the CESI program. The large uncertainty about nutrient and contaminant transport resulting from the restoration projects makes this area of inquiry a high priority. Coordination among ongoing research efforts, however, will be critical to maximize the cost effectiveness of science resources. Total phosphorus dynamics have been incorporated into the latest version of the Everglades Landscape Model (SFWMD, 2002c), and current models should be evaluated to determine the most effective and timely approach to incorporate other nutrient-and solute-transport capabilities. CESI funding for research on other contaminants, including metals, pesticides, and other organic anthropogenic compounds, has been limited. There are only two CESI-funded contaminant studies now, and one of these studies is a screening exercise to identify high-risk contaminants in the ecosystem. Once compounds and pathways are identified, CESI managers intend to expand the Contaminants program category. Recent research has identified endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may pose a threat to wildlife populations in the environment (NRC, 2000). For example, research on the endangered Florida panther has raised concerns that bioaccumulated contaminants, such as organochlorines, could contribute to observed reproductive abnormalities (Facemire et al., 1995). Contaminants research, specifically related to organic anthropogenic compounds,

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE represents an information gap that has not been adequately addressed by the CESI program to date. Very few social science projects have been funded by the CESI program even though the Science Subgroup prominently identified social science as a cross-cutting scientific information gap (Box 2–1). Social phenomena such as population growth and changes in land use and water use have been major causes of the decline of the South Florida ecosystem, and social responses will be required to restore the ecosystem. Predictions of future changes in the ecosystem and opportunities for restoration depend on economic activities and on the trajectories for population growth. Likewise, restoration will inevitably impact the urban and agricultural environments. The difficulty of restoring a complex ecosystem is that social and scientific problems are woven into an inseparable mix (Wilson, 2002). The CESI program could make a much-needed contribution to the restoration effort by funding increased research in the areas of social and economic science. The CESI program strives to communicate findings from CESI-funded research studies to restoration managers, planners, and stakeholders so that the policy and management decisions necessary to advance ecosystem restoration can be informed by the best available science. To support this objective, the CESI program added the Science Information and Dissemination program category in FY 1999. This program category was established to develop a data-management system to improve accessibility of hydrological and ecological data collected within the CESI program (SFERTF, 2002). Projects to support this objective, however, were not initiated until 2001 and, thus, are only in their early stages. Efforts are now underway to develop a query-based database to improve access to the large quantity of scientific information available. As of mid-2002, little broad dissemination of the CESI research has occurred, hindering the usefulness and public awareness of the CESI program's research products. The USGS has the capability and a demonstrated record of producing high-quality, readable reports that could serve as a model for providing usable summaries of CESI research. CESI-funded efforts currently underway through the USGS to establish a web site and fact sheets that summarize CESI activities should help with this communication problem. Some CESI-sponsored restoration activities were outside the scope of this review, which focuses on the science components of the CESI program. Those activities not considered in this review include development of invasive-species control strategies, support for the Office of the Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, and funding for the National Research Council's Committee on the Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. To assess the CESI program's overall contributions to the South Florida restoration, it is informative to consider some areas of research that were not supported by the CESI program. The CESI program has not funded engineering design studies that would identify restoration project alternatives and determine the impacts of those options. The CESI program also has not supported research intended to improve the structural design of the restoration projects, such as the development of automatic control systems or pilot programs for aquifer storage

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 2–2 CESI funding has helped support research groups from Florida International University, who are studying ecosystem responses to different concentrations of phosphorus at flume sites in Shark River Slough, ENP and Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (FIU, 2003). and recovery (NRC 2001; NRC 2002a). These areas may still represent gaps within the restoration knowledge base, but the CESI program has generally considered these topics to be under the responsibility and expertise of the Corps or the SFWMD. Instead, the CESI program 's efforts have emphasized development of ecological and hydrological modeling tools and research to determine the hydrological attributes required to restore the ecosystem as nearly as possible to historic conditions, so that appropriate project designs can be developed to meet these restoration objectives. Since the authorization of the CERP in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000, the CESI program has specifically tried to fund research where there were scientific questions to be answered that could inform design, implementation, and management decisions to support ongoing restoration projects. Much of the CESI funding was focused on ModWaters, C-111, and the Everglades Construction Project, which directly impact DOI lands and are scheduled to be completed early in the restoration time frame. The decision to focus CESI science on these early projects was a pragmatic one, but scientists admittedly were in a position of playing “catch-up” to the process of project design. This focus, however, was established knowing that the research findings would also inform subsequent restoration activities. One example of the CESI program 's applied research emphasis includes the Everglades Construction Project, which was designed to address water-quality concerns in the Everglades Agricultural Area, with a goal of constructing water-treatment areas (over 47,000 acres of artificial wetlands) at the source (FDEP, 2002). Nutrient-threshold research, sponsored in part by the CESI program, was initiated to determine plant community response to various

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE phosphorus concentrations (Figure 2–2). This research will help advise the state of Florida's decision in setting maximum allowable nutrient concentrations to protect downstream ecosystems. This research represents just one example of how science can both inform decision making and improve the likelihood of meeting restoration goals. Science conducted in support of the Everglades Construction Project represents an example of early research investments that could reduce the total long-term restoration costs. Pilot projects designed as experiments provide information that can be used to inform larger-scale restoration decisions and improve the design of future CERP projects. CESI research on ecosystem response in these early restoration projects, such as C-111 and ModWaters, should also provide valuable findings that will inform and improve future project design. Although the study did not include a systematic review of individual research projects, it is the judgment of the panel that the CESI program has funded many high quality studies that have made important contributions to Everglades restoration. The federal investment has produced useful science, a rich database, and the starting point for acquiring a basic understanding of the dynamics of the Everglades ecosystem. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH NEEDS AND CESI PROGRAM DIRECTION The CESI program is currently restructuring its emphasis, moving from research and development to model applications and data collection in order to support the evaluation of the CERP and related restoration projects as they are implemented over the next 30 or more years. The restructuring includes increased support for refinement and application of simulation models. The CESI program also plans to emphasize development of tools for conducting environmental impact assessments and scenario testing, such as habitat suitability models. At current funding levels and with increasing demand for CERP-related monitoring and assessment, CESI staff foresee little available CESI funding to support future experimental or applied research. Continued research in areas closely related to the South Florida ecosystem restoration objectives provides a strong scientific foundation for future decision making and allows the science knowledge base to develop so that scientists and planners can respond to new and emerging concerns. In addition to model development and environmental assessments, effective use of CESI funding would support fundamental research that has high value to the restoration, with specific emphasis on issues that reflect DOI's interests and restoration responsibilities. Alternate non-CESI funding sources are needed to help support DOI's CERP-related monitoring needs, so that the CESI program will not have to abandon important research on the intersections between hydrological attributes and ecosystem processes and functions. The CESI program has worked to address South Florida's scientific information needs for six years, but many gaps remain, and other questions require significant additional study to appropriately inform the restoration effort. Broad research gaps exist in areas such as social science, contaminants, and the devel-

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE opment of useful predictive solute- and nutrient-transport models, highlighting the importance of continued research funding to address critical restoration science needs. Meanwhile, despite the CESI program 's contributions to examining the linkages between hydrological characteristics and ecological attributes, significant additional study is required to delineate these relationships for a wider range of species and communities, with particular emphasis on CERP-identified ecological performance measures. In order to inform the restoration effort, these relationships will need to be incorporated into modeling tools, since the CERP aims to restore the natural system primarily by restoring appropriate hydrological conditions. Enhancements to and improved linkages between ecological and hydrological models are also needed, and much work remains to improve information synthesis, dissemination of research findings, and broad accessibility of scientific and monitoring data. The CESI program should identify priority research topics in under-funded areas, such as those identified here, and formulate effective research programs to meet these needs. CESI managers should then develop budget estimates and seek additional funding to support these programs. Although this report identifies many areas where additional research is needed, a complete and updated assessment of scientific information needs for the South Florida ecosystem restoration, along with research priorities, would be extremely valuable to the restoration effort. Such an effort would improve coordination among the multiple agencies engaged in South Florida ecosystem science and would support wise investment of limited science resources. Recent efforts by the Science Coordination Team and the Science Program for Florida Bay (SCT and SPFB, 2001), the CERP RECOVER team, the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Research conference, and the USGS (USGS, 2002b,c) reflect contributions toward this goal. Depending on future resources, a thorough review of the current ecosystem-wide science needs, conducted principally by local experts most familiar with the South Florida restoration and related ecosystem science, could also provide essential guidance to the CESI program. CESI staff have identified a number of research and science synthesis objectives for the CESI program in the coming years to address critical restoration science needs (Appendix C). These science objectives identified by the CESI staff have not been reviewed for this study, but are provided as broad estimations of the CESI program's future financial needs (see Chapter 4) and as the basis of evaluations of the timeliness of CESI research. EVALUATING THE TIMELINESS OF CESI RESEARCH If scientific information is to inform the design and implementation of the projects within the South Florida ecosystem restoration, the research results ideally should be available well in advance of project planning. All scientific uncertainties, however, cannot be resolved before restoration begins, or science could only document the decline of the Everglades. Adaptive management enables the restoration to move forward in the face of existing scientific uncertainties by encouraging continued learning and project designs that offer operational flexibility. Nevertheless, project design changes will be much easier and less costly if they are made before construction has begun. Therefore, a comparison of time

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE lines between restoration projects and related CESI studies was undertaken in this review to ascertain whether CESI research has produced results within the optimal time frame for restoration decision making and whether the CESI program can continue to generate information that meets the compressed timing of the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration. The CESI program has made a significant contribution of scientific information to the restoration knowledge base. While some CESI research, such as the development of water-quality-treatment models (Walker and Kadlec, 2002), has contributed directly to project design and planning needs, most CESI studies have contributed more broadly by defining appropriate restoration targets and by improving the understanding of important processes within the ecosystem. Therefore, this time line comparison does not reflect a precise analysis of research deliverables but, instead, is intended as an assessment of the timeliness of new scientific information developed through the CESI program. The time-line analysis was based on specific linkages between each CESI study and the related scientific information needs of one or more CERP or non-CERP projects (see Appendix A). These linkages were assigned by the CESI coordinator under the guidance of the CESI's CERP science objectives, which had been determined through a consensus process with representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, and NPS (DOI, 2001). An assessment of the priority (high, medium, or low) of the science information needs with respect to DOI land management interests was also assigned for each linkage. When a single CESI study was determined to be relevant to multiple restoration projects, the highest-priority restoration projects were used as the basis of the time-line comparison. For example, if a CESI study was viewed as contributing high-priority information to both the C-111 project and the Florida Bay Feasibility Study, but only low-priority information to the Lakebelt Pilot Study, the CESI study would be compared to both high-priority linked projects (C-111 and Florida Bay Feasibility Study). Selecting specific dates that would appropriately reflect project-planning needs and the availability of the scientific results required a few assumptions. The scientific information generated by CESI studies was assumed to be available for use in restoration project design by the end of each CESI project. Publication activities, admittedly, can delay the communication of results beyond this date, but these anticipated delays were not easily predictable and were considered minor in the overall analysis. For the restoration timetable, two dates were used in the analysis to bracket the window of time from project planning through construction (SFWMD, 2002a). The start date for a restoration project reflects when research results would be most useful, since project planning would be in its earliest stages. The restoration project end date, when construction is expected to be completed, reflects the date after which adjustments to project design would likely be quite difficult and costly if these changes fell outside of the project's inherent operational flexibility. Two datasets were analyzed for this time-line comparison: one set for CESI research projects that were started between 1997 and 2001 (Appendix A) and one set for projects that CESI managers have recommended be started between 2002 and 2006 (examples listed in Appendix C). For the time period 1997–2001, there

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE were 130 projects included in the analysis and a total of 203 comparisons, since all comparisons were made separately and many projects were deemed highly relevant to more than one restoration project. In the 1997–2001 time-line comparison, CESI results were expected to be available by the restoration project start date for only 14 percent of the comparisons. Where delayed, the CESI research was expected to arrive an average of 7.3 years after the restoration projects had begun (Figure 2–3a). However, when the CESI research availability was compared to restoration project completion dates, only 3 percent of CESI projects were delayed, and only by an average 1.3 years (Figure 2–3b). This time-line analysis shows that most CESI research science arrived in the midst of project planning and implementation, but before project completion. Because the CESI program has focused its contributions on early non-CERP restoration projects that have clear implications for DOI lands, it is not surprising that the CESI program could not provide research results in advance of the start dates for these restoration projects. Projects such as C-111 and ModWaters were started before the CESI program was even created. The implication of this disjunction between restoration planning and the availability of scientific information are discussed at length in Chapter 5. Admittedly, the modeling tools and knowledge contributed by the CESI program will be useful to many other CERP projects, including several that are more than a decade away, so the CESI research efforts will be available to advise important planning and design decisions for these future CERP projects. Nevertheless, the timing of CESI 's current research results relative to ongoing restoration planning efforts creates clear challenges, demanding open communication between planners and scientists, a collaborative environment, and highly flexible project design (Chapter 5). As the accelerated CERP time line continues to move forward, CESI projects will be further challenged to produce results even in advance of project construction. For the 2002–2006 proposed CESI projects, there were 74 proposed research projects analyzed in 135 comparisons with restoration projects. This analysis shows that research findings from 100 percent of these CESI studies would arrive after the start of the highest-priority associated restoration projects, by an average of 7.4 years (Figure 2–4a). All research projects in the upcoming CESI phase will be completed after the engineering design phase has started, since CERP project implementation will soon be moving at a fast pace. Of these proposed CESI projects, 48 percent of the needed results would also arrive after the project had been constructed, by an average of 2.7 years (Figure 2–4b). This time-line discrepancy will impact the ability of science to inform the restoration planning process, putting tremendous faith in adaptive management to handle new recommendations from later scientific discoveries (Chapter 5).

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 2–3 A comparison between when research results will be available from CESI projects initiated between 1997 and 2001 and (a) starting dates and (b) completion dates for corresponding restoration projects. The difference is plotted in years for each comparison. Positive values mean that research results will be available in advance of the restoration project start or completion dates. Negative values mean that the research results will be delayed relative to the specified restoration project start or completion dates. (CESI project data source: William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002; restoration project data source: SFWMD, 2002f).

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 2–4 A comparison between when research results will be available from CESI projects that CESI managers have proposed be started between 2002 and 2006 and (a) starting dates and (b) completion dates for corresponding restoration projects. The difference is plotted in years for each comparison. Positive values mean that research results will be available in advance of the restoration project start or completion dates. Negative values mean that the research results will be delayed relative to the specified project dates. (CESI project data source: William Perry, NPS, written communication, 2002; restoration project data source: SFWMD, 2002f).