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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