peer-review structure in place. Other recommended management and programmatic changes outlined in this report (e.g., enhanced dissemination, strengthened synthesis, improved funding accountability, and development of an independent fast-track peer-review process; see Chapters 2, 3, and 5) are no less critical but may require additional time or resources to implement. The restoration science needs are simply too important and too urgently needed to delay the contributions from additional research funding. Nevertheless, future CESI allocations should be contingent upon noted progress toward these recommended improvements.
An additional concern for financial management of science to support the South Florida restoration is the distinction between research and monitoring. Research seeks explanation, and its ultimate purpose is prediction. It is a complex activity that often involves hypothesis testing and model building. Monitoring provides fundamental data input for science (and management) activities, but monitoring is best used in the context of answering scientific questions with ongoing synthesis and analysis. Such analysis of ecosystem monitoring data will ultimately discern the impact of restoration activities. Research and monitoring should not be confused with each other in CESI management and financial planning.
In summary, this review shows that funding for CESI science has been inconsistent and inadequate. Funding is now far less than the existing needs for science to support DOI's interests for the restoration. Funding in the late 1990s was depressed within DOI based on concerns about the effectiveness of the CESI program and because of countervailing economic pressures, including the budgetary demands of CERP implementation. The result of these budget shortcomings has been that CESI science has been limited in its potential contributions to inform restoration management and decision making. The implications of inadequate early science investments in the South Florida ecosystem restoration will ultimately be borne by taxpayers over the next 5–30 years.