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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE 1 Introduction and Background The greater Everglades ecosystem is recognized globally as a unique ecological treasure. However, driven by population growth and agricultural opportunity, South Florida has been transformed in the last century from a “river of grass” (Vignoles, 1823) (Figure 1–1) into an international center for tourism, agriculture, finance, and transportation. The remnants (less than 50 percent) of the original Everglades now compete for water with urban and agricultural interests and store runoff from these two activities (Figure 1–2a) (Davis and Ogden, 1994). Now unfolding within this twenty-first century social, economic, and political latticework, restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem is one of the most ambitious ecosystem renewal plans ever conceived (Figure 1–2b). This chapter outlines the history of the South Florida ecosystem from its environmental decline to the present restoration efforts. It then summarizes the science of the greater Everglades ecosystem, including the history and current role of science in guiding restoration planning and decision making. Finally, this chapter describes the role of the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) within this scientific and institutional context and provides this panel's study charge. SOUTH FLORIDA'S ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION Alteration of the greater Everglades ecosystem began soon after Buckingham Smith reported to Congress in 1848 that draining the Everglades by 4–5 feet would produce a “tropical breadbasket of no trifling advantage to the whole nation ” (Smith, 1848; Dovell, 1947). Efforts to reclaim the area for development and human habitation evolved slowly, as the marsh and sloughs were largely impenetrable and uninhabited. The land and water interface fluctuated dramatically with the changing seasons and with cycles of wet and dry years.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 1–1 Greater Everglades ecosystem. SOURCE: USGS, 2002a. In the mid-1880s, Hamilton Disston, the heir of a Philadelphia family fortune, saw the future of the region in the production of fruits and vegetables to be shipped to burgeoning East Coast cities (Trustees, 1881). He spent a decade ditching, draining, clearing, and planting over 50,000 acres north and west of Lake Okeechobee. He and his crops would have had a virtual monopoly in the northern winter markets, but the economic conditions following
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 1–2 Schematic maps of water flow in the Everglades, representing (a) current flow and (b) the system as envisioned in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. SOURCE: South Florida Water Management District, 2002d. the Silver Panic of 1893 put an end to his grand experiment (Blake, 1980). His techniques, however, would ultimately evolve beyond his wildest dreams (Snyder andDavidson, 1994). In 1907, governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward created the Everglades Drainage District for “draining and otherwise improving the hidden resources of the wetlands of Florida” (Blake, 1980). By the early 1930s, 440 miles of canals dissecting the Everglades had been constructed (Lewis, 1948), spurring population growth along the lower east coast (Dietrich, 1978). STEPS TOWARD RESTORATION As drainage of the Everglades proceeded, naturalists chronicled the “senseless vandalism” of the watery wilderness (Simpson, 1920; Small, 1929). Arthur Morgan testified before Congress in 1912 that the “haphazard reclamation of the watershed would finally result in unpredictable confusion in the balance of life in the Everglades” (Blake, 1980). J.K.Small (1929) prophesied, “This reckless and even wanton devastation has now gained such headway, that the future of North America's most prolific paradise seems to spell DESERT.” These protests stirred Florida Congressman Mark Wilcox and Ernest Coe, a landscape architect, to pro-
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE pose protection of the submarginal lands of the southern Everglades and the Gulf Coast. Their efforts, coupled with those of women's clubs and the Audubon Society, eventually led to the establishment of a park in 1934. However, because of the lack of funding, Everglades National Park (ENP) was not dedicated until 1947, and the park ( Figure 1–3) had been reduced by one-third of the original plan to accommodate private land holdings (Blake, 1980). With input from wildlife reports such as Beard (1938), the Florida Soil and Crop Science Society crafted the first plan for recovery of the Everglades, eventually addressing conservation of soil, wildlife, and vegetation, saltwater intrusion, water levels, data-gathering needs, and institutional problems. These efforts culminated in the “Re-watering Plan” of 1939 (DeGrove, 1958). Among its elements, the plan addressed over-drainage and advocated the reversion of some areas to wetlands (i.e., water-conservation areas). The Central And Southern Florida Project The disastrous floods of 1947–1948 in South Florida coupled with postwar labor surpluses led to two related initiatives: in 1948, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) produced the Comprehensive Plan for the Everglades largely based on the Re-watering Plan, and Congress established the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes. The project employed levees, water storage, channel improvements, and large-scale use of massive pumps to supplement gravity drainage. The project also installed a 100-mile perimeter levee to separate the Everglades from sprawling urban development, effectively eliminating 160 square miles of Everglades that had historically extended east of the levee to the coastal ridge (Light and Dineen, 1994; Lord, 1993). The project then divided the remaining northern sawgrass and wet prairie into conservation areas, separated by levees, designed primarily for water supply and flood control, with some provision for wildlife habitat and recreation. The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) (Figure 1–3) was created out of the mucklands homesteaded by family fanmers since the turn of the century. The added protection afforded by the levee on the south end of Lake Okeechobee and the conservation areas began attracting large-scale agriculture. This mammoth infrastructure, nearly completed by the early 1960s, was initially viewed by many as providing a balance between humans and nature. The C&SF project did set aside from further development approximately one million acres that were folded into the three water-conservation areas (Figure 1–3). However, it also exacerbated disputes over water deliveries to the park (Rosendahl and Rose, 1981; Parker, 1984). These disputes were tempered when minimum flows to the park were established in 1970, although these flows bore little resemblance to natural hydrological conditions. Additional hydrological alteration on the eastern boundary of the park, through the construction of the Everglades National Park-South Dade Conveyance System, further threatened the southeastern areas of the park, including Taylor Slough (Figure 1–4). The Corps plan called for installing a major levee and a grid of canals to protect lands east of the park and to carry water from south
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE FIGURE 1–3 South Florida features map, including Everglades National Park, water conservation areas, and select structures. SOURCE: Light and Dineen, 1994.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Dade, Homestead, and Florida City into Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and Barnes Sound. The National Park Service requested that water drained from the Taylor Slough headwaters be directed to the slough rather than routed to Barnes Sound via Canal 111 (C-111). Ultimately, a gate was installed and minimum monthly flows were established for the Taylor Slough. However, since completion of the system in 1983, water levels and delivery patterns have been a source of controversy between the park, Dade County, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and the Corps (Light and Dineen, 1994). Renewed Momentum Toward Restoration A series of activities, including legislative acts (Box 1–1), provided support and momentum for the restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem. Major droughts and floods in 1980–1982 created the conditions for Everglades National FIGURE 1–4 Map of eastern Everglades National Park showing current restoration activities to remedy impacts of flow diversion through the South Dade Conveyance. SOURCE: General Accounting Office, 1999.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Park to declare an environmental emergency and propose a plan to respond to its water-supply and water-quality problems (Light and Dineen, 1994). In response to the park's demands for a more natural distribution and timing of water, Congress passed the “Fascell Bill ” in 1984. This act authorized a modified water-delivery schedule from the C&SF project to the park and an experimental program for scheduling water deliveries to mimic rainfall patterns in the water-conservation areas (MacVicar and Lin, 1984). This was a turning point in the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration because at this juncture, multiple agencies began to address the park's deteriorating conditions. The Fascell Bill complemented the publication of Arthur R.Marshall's For the Future of Florida, Repair the Everglades, commonly called “the Marshall Plan” (Marshall, 1982), and it also complimented the initiation of the state's Save Our Everglades program in 1983 by governor Bob Graham. In 1989, Congress authorized the Everglades Protection and Expansion Act to purchase 107,600 acres of undevelopable land northeast of Everglades National Park (Figure 1–4). The assistance also aided the acquisition of some lands that were either adjacent to or affected by the restoration of natural water flows to the park or Florida Bay (Light and Dineen, 1994). Starting in 1993, the Corps and the SFWMD began work on the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project Comprehensive Review Study (“Restudy”), which was “initiated to re-examine the C&SF Project to determine the feasibility of modifying the project to improve the sustainability of South Florida ” (SFWMD, 2002a). Following a reconnaissance phase, in 1995, a six-year work plan was presented for a feasibility study that would include the development and peer review of computer models and specific hydrological and economic studies. This timetable was thought to be reasonable considering the size of the study area, the need to maintain an ecosystem-based focus, the magnitude of the project, and the complex and controversial issues involved. However, based to some extent on recommendations by the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996 hastened the Restudy effort by requiring completion of a comprehensive plan by July 1999. This placed some time pressure on providing the necessary science to inform restoration planning. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan The Restudy resulted in a document (USAGE, 1999), termed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which was approved by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000). The overarching objective of the plan was to restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including flood protection and water supply (Figure 1–2b). Of the 68 projects included in the CERP, approximately 24 directly impact DOI lands, or indirectly affect water inflows (Robert Johnson, NPS, personal communication, 2002).
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE BOX 1–1 South Florida Ecosystem Restoration: Summary of Major Legislation During the last two decades, the Florida legislature and the Congress have enacted a series of laws to redress various environmental harms affecting the South Florida ecosystem. Many of these laws provide the authority under which the state and federal governments operate and fund various programs that collectively comprise the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort. At the state level, the most significant efforts include: Florida Water Resources Act of 1972. This act established statewide policy for the allocation of water resources, including the establishment of minimum flows and levels to prevent “harm” to water resources and the ability to reserve water from consumptive use for the benefit of the public health or fish and wildlife. Surface Water Improvement and Management Act of 1987, codified at Florida Statute chapter 373.453 (2000). The Surface Water Improvement and Management Act required the water-management districts to develop plans to clean up and preserve Florida lakes, bays, estuaries, and rivers. 1994 Everglades Forever Act, codified at Florida Statute chapter 373.4592. The Everglades Forever Act enacted into state law the settlement provisions of federal-state water-quality litigation and provided a financing mechanism for the state to advance the cleanup of the Everglades by constructing 44,000 acres of stormwater treatment areas. The act also requires a rulemaking process to establish a phosphorus criterion in the Everglades Protection Area. Florida Preservation 2000 Act, codified at Florida Statute chapter 259.101 (2000). The Florida Preservation 2000 Act established a coordinated land-acquisition strategy to protect fish and wildlife and waterrecharge areas. At the federal level, the most significant legal authorities include: 1989 Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act, codified at 16 U.S.C. § 410r. This act added approximately 107,000 acres of land to Everglades National Park and authorized the restoration of more natural water flows to northeast Shark River Slough through the construction of the Modified Water Deliveries Project.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Kissimmee River Restoration Project, authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 (WRDA 1992), Public Law No. 102– 580, 106 Statute 4802 (1992). WRDA 1992 directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take steps to restore the Kissimmee River floodplain, which was disrupted when the river was channelized during the 1960s. Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law No. 104–127, 110 Statute 1007 (1996). This act appropriated $200 million to the Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of acquiring lands for greater Everglades ecosystem restoration purposes. Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (WRDA 1996). WRDA 1996 established the intergovernmental South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to coordinate the restoration effort among the state, federal, tribal, and local agencies involved in the effort and directed the Corps to submit to the Congress a comprehensive review study of the Central and Southern Florida Project for the purpose of modifying the project so as to restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem. Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000), Public Law No. 106–541. WRDA 2000 authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan for the modification of the Central and Southern Florida Project over the next four decades to increase future water supplies, with the appropriate timing and distribution, for environmental purposes so as to achieve a restored Everglades natural system, while at the same time meeting other water-related needs of the ecosystem. SOURCE: Donald Jodrey, DOI, written communication, 2002. The plan tried to address a series of problems with the existing system. These included excessive diversion of water resulting in too little water being available for some parts of the system and too much being available for others (e.g., the estuaries); nutrient enrichment; and disruption of sheetflow. The CERP also considered future water-supply needs of the region. Major components of the plan include: Increases in water-storage capacity. New water-storage would be created by constructing surface-water storage reservoirs, adapting existing quarries for storage at the end of their useful lives, and by utilizing a technique called “ aquifer storage and recovery.” Improvements in water quality. Treatment wetlands would be built along the boundaries of the system. In addition, multipurpose “water preserve areas” are planned between the urban areas and the eastern Everglades to
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE treat urban runoff, store water, and reduce seepage. A “Comprehensive Integrated Water Quality Plan” is planned. Improved water deliveries to the estuaries and the Everglades. The increases in storage capacity, and some proposed reuse of treated wastewater, would allow the amount and timing of water deliveries to be improved. The salinities of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries would be maintained at more natural levels, and additional water would be sent to Everglades National Park. Restoration of the connectivity of the system. Many canals and levees within the Everglades would be removed, and parts of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Route 41) would be rebuilt, to reestablish some of the natural sheetflow of water through the Everglades. Provision for feasibility studies. Studies are planned to further examine approaches to improve deliveries of fresh water flows to Florida Bay and to evaluate additional environmental restoration needs in southwest Florida, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys. Restoration planners are currently refining the mechanisms for assessing the progress toward the restoration goals in the CERP Monitoring and Assessment Plan (USAGE, 2001). Other South Florida Restoration Projects As fundamental to the restoration effort as the CERP is, there are many other restoration-related projects either planned or underway (Figure 1–5). They include the following (SFWMD, 2002e): Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (ModWaters). The ModWaters project is designed to restore more natural flows through Water Conservation Areas 3A and 3B into Northeast Shark Slough, reconnect Shark Slough and Taylor Slough via surface-water flows across the Rocky Glades, and reduce seepage losses from the southeastern Everglades. C-111 Project. The C-111 project is designed to restore the hydrological conditions in the Taylor Slough and Eastern Panhandle basins, eliminate damaging freshwater flows to Manatee Bay and Barnes Sound in Biscayne National Park, and maintain flood protection for the C-111 Basin. Kissimmee River Restoration Project. The purpose of the Kissimmee River Restoration project is to restore the ecosystem and reestablish wetland conditions in the historic floodplain. The restoration is being done through modifications of lake operations, enlargement of some canals and backfilling of another, excavation of nine miles of new river channel, removal of some water-control structures, and land acquisition.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Everglades Construction Project. The Everglades Construction project is composed of 12 interrelated construction projects located between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, the cornerstone of which involves six large constructed wetlands. These stormwater treatment areas (STAs) are designed to reduce the levels of phosphorus that enter the Everglades. In addition to the STAs, the Everglades Construction Project contains hydropattern restoration projects that would improve the volume, timing, and distribution of water in the Water Conservation Areas. “Critical Projects” The category “critical projects” includes a broad range of projects that address issues such as increasing aquifer recharge, reducing seepage, determining the carrying capacity of the Florida Keys with respect to ecosystem and infrastructure, and others. EVERGLADES SCIENCE The Everglades has received considerable scientific attention, beginning over 150 years ago, due to its unique character and its economic value. The Everglades is a scientific treasure trove of subtropical biological diversity, including tree islands, mangroves, panthers, crocodiles, and the exotic Caracara to name a few. Meanwhile, water control was the key to development, and whoever sought to master the Everglades for human habitation and development had to learn how FIGURE 1–5 South Florida restoration projects. SOURCE: Robert Johnson, NPS, per sonal communication, 2002.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE to control water. This section offers a brief overview of the contributions of Everglades science and the role of science in the South Florida restoration efforts. Fuller reviews of this literature than are possible here are given in Gleason (1974), Gunderson and Loftus (1993), and Sklar et al., (2002). Reviews of Lake Okeechobee research are given in Steinman et al., (2002); the extensive body of Florida Bay research is also accessible (NOAA, 2002). The First Century of Science The earliest scientific records of the Everglades come from expeditions to establish military outposts and campaigns against the Seminole tribe in the early to mid-1800s (Knetsch, 1989). South Florida remained a frontier until the Depression era, and some of the most systematic records on the pre-drainage Everglades are from early land surveys, which provide vivid accounts of presettlement wildlife and vegetation conditions (Willoughby, 1898; Mickler, 1859). Construction surveys from the early 1900s contain some of the best site-level information available about early peat, bedrock, water elevation and vegetation conditions in the Everglades (e.g., Ensey, 1911). Naturalists including C.Small, J.Simpson, and Arthur Morgan trekked the southern Everglades (Agassiz, 1910; Simpson, 1920; Small, 1929); they recorded new species of plants and animals, documented patterns of feeding, courting, nesting, and migration, and studied site-specific habitat. Soils and vegetation mapping of southern Florida (e.g., Davis, 1943) was conducted in the 1940s, unfortunately after much alteration to the region. This work was followed by other important vegetation studies such as Egler (1952), Loveless (1959), Craighead (1971), and Gleason (1974). To the north, scientists and agricultural engineers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and elsewhere studied the chemistry, oxidation rate, and productive capacity of the peat (Dachnowski-Stokes, 1930; Evans and Allison, 1942; Stevens and Johnson, 1951), with concerns about overdrainage and muck fires helping to drive the research. Design problems in the C&SF project, evident by the mid-1960s, spurred the Florida Game and Fish Commission (FGFC), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Everglades National Park, and later the Flood Control District (predecessor to the SFWMD) to invest more effort in Everglades science. In 1974, the first biological sciences unit in South Florida was established at the SFWMD. In 1976, the park established the South Florida Research Station—one of the first of its kind in the National Park Service. Pivotal research was conducted in the mid-1980s to determine the background levels of nutrients needed to keep the Everglades vegetation from converting to species tolerant of higher doses, such as cattail. The results of this study and the evidence of cattail invasion into WCA-2 raised enough concern that the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida, which ultimately led to the water-quality restoration efforts described previously for the Everglades Construction Project. Baseline water-quality work was also being done at this time (Waller, 1982).
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Hydrological research moved forward in parallel. Parker (1984) summarized the hydrology of the pre-drainage system in South Florida. The USGS and SFWMD developed an understanding of the interactions of the Everglades, the surficial aquifer system, and the canals, including problems of seepage and sea-water intrusion. The SFWMD, in cooperation with the Corps, developed the first systems-level hydrological model (South Florida Water Management Model or SFWMM) of the Everglades during the 1970s and early 1980s (MacVicar and Lin, 1984). By the early 1990s, an adapted version of the SFWMM called the Natural Systems Model (NSM), which attempts to simulate the hydrological response of the pre-drainage Everglades using recent (1965–1990) records of rainfall and other climatic inputs, had been developed (Fennema et al., 1994). These models provided essential tools for examining potential restoration strategies. Adaptive Management and the Beginnings of Everglades Restoration Science The field of environmental management has recently undergone a major paradigm shift to a framework known as adaptive management (Holling, 1978; Walters, 1986, Gunderson et al., 1995). Adaptive management identifies uncertainties in a complex system and develops ways to test these uncertainties in order to achieve restoration goals. Adaptive management uses research both to refine the system operations and to increase knowledge about the system. An aspect of adaptive management that was highly influential in Everglades science was that of developing conceptual ecological models. Conceptual models provide a tool for converting the policy-level objectives into measurable indicators of the progress of the restoration. These models also make testable assumptions about linkages between what is done to a system (desirable or undesirable) and the resulting ecological responses. By the mid-1980s, many scientists working in the Everglades were convinced that taken collectively, more than enough science was known to begin restoration. In 1989, the first Everglades Research Symposium was held, addressing how science had advanced over the previous decade. Follow-up workshops led to a broad understanding of the structure and dynamics of the Everglades system (Holling et al., 1994). Restoration alternatives were also screened using a coarse-scale dynamic simulation model that involved a set of hypotheses about how the Everglades functioned under both natural and C&SF project conditions (Walters and Gunderson, 1994). These efforts and many others, captured in Davis and Ogden (1994), became the foundation of the restoration plan. Although adaptive management would offer a framework for initiating restoration efforts in the face of remaining uncertainties, scientists and planners recognized that many scientific information needs remained. The Science Subgroup (SSG), an interagency science advisory team, issued a series of reports on objectives for the Everglades restoration and accompanying science needs (SSG, 1993, 1994, 1996). The 1996 SSG report supported the Orians et al., (1992) endangered species study conclusion that restoration had to “get the water right,” and it established research on the hydrological system as “the highest priority science.”
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE The report also outlined a range of long-term research needs, including research on nutrients, pesticides, and mercury contamination, endangered species, habitat fragmentation, and exotic species. This 1996 report is a principal scientific summary document to which CERP-related research is directed. Role of Science in Restoration Decision Making As biological, hydrological, and chemical sciences have become increasingly coupled, integrative environmental science (Davis and Ogden, 1994), accompanied by independent peer review, has become an important input for decision making. Unfortunately, water-resource planning, design, construction, and operation have sometimes had difficulty using science as a partner in these activities. Science pertaining to water delivery to the park, the hydrological link between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, and water quality standards has not always had a major influence on decision making. A strong case can be made that research traditions and design-related decision making are two cultures in conflict. Research explores the unknown and asks new questions, while design-and construction-related decision making tries to eliminate uncertainty and to answer existing questions. Bringing these two cultures together in a politically charged environment as restoration projects are negotiated, approved, constructed, operated, and modified can be difficult, albeit essential. The challenge in the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration is that the structure, composition, and dynamics of the resulting landscape will be self defining and not fully predictable. Part of science 's role will be to understand the evolving Everglades ecosystem trajectories and guide design and operations toward the goal of a resilient and self-perpetuating domain of ecological stability. Despite these difficulties, science has had a major influence on decisions affecting the greater Everglades ecosystem at several key junctures. For example, early surveys of South Florida helped justify congressional and state action that led eventually to widespread agricultural and urban development. The work of naturalists from circa 1900–1920s helped justify the establishment of Everglades National Park in 1934. The design of the CERP benefited considerably from the decades of soil science studies, the Re-watering Plan, and the science-supported forums that were engendered over the years. An encouraging example of coupling science and engineering in restoration concerns the Kissimmee River Restoration (KRR) Project. Science influenced the decision-making and design process for the Kissimmee restoration in ways as diverse as incorporating anecdotal history, setting ecological goals, and designing field-scale pilot studies and test floods. In the last decade, science's role in the process has been formalized in several ways. The Science Subgroup (later evolving into the Science Coordination Team) was established in 1993 by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (SFERTF), which coordinates and develops restoration plans and priorities, as an interagency science advisory team (Florida Center for Environmental Studies, 2000). The agencies leading the CERP (SFWMD and the Corps) have cre-
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE ated another science entity called Restoration, Coordination, and Verification (RECOVER) to support the objectives of the CERP. This focus on the CERP makes RECOVER's mandate somewhat narrower than that of the SCT, which reports to the interagency SFERTF. RECOVER 's goals are to evaluate and assess plan performance, recommend improvements in the plan's design and operational criteria, review the effects of other restoration projects on the plan's performance, and ensure a system-wide perspective. Scientific peer review has been incorporated in the process in several ways. The National Research Council's Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE) has provided scientific overview and technical assessments of a number of restoration activities since 1999. The WRDA 2000 also called for an independent scientific review panel, not yet established, to review the plan's progress toward achieving its goals. The interagency Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program has been served by an independent Florida Bay Science Oversight Panel since 1994. The SFWMD has had its major hydrological models reviewed by external panels, and the Science Coordination Team seeks formal external review of its white papers. Also, the Project Delivery Teams for individual CERP components, which have broad participation by agencies and other organizations, review project plans at various stages as they move forward. Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative The Department of the Interior (DOI) has continually played a major role in South Florida ecosystem restoration activities from nineteenth-century USGS mapping to its leadership position in the SFERTF today. DOI has a crucial role in CERP implementation and in the long-term tracking of ecological change. WRDA 2000 required DOI concurrence on the Programmatic Regulations (USAGE, 2002b) and joint progress reports to Congress. In addition, the National Park Service, as the largest land steward in South Florida, has a lead role in evaluating ecological restoration actions on its lands along with the Fish and Wildlife Service, with support from the USGS. Finally, the DOI has the responsibility of carrying out legislative mandates related to the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. In anticipation of these increased roles and responsibilities, the DOI (1996) published A Comprehensive Plan for the Restoration of the Everglades (not to be confused with the CERP itself). This set forth the rationale to accelerate the scientific research and model development needed to conduct the Everglades restoration and to assist restoration planning. This plan established the guiding principles for the CESI program, which began in 1997. In addition to supporting restoration planning initiatives, the CESI program funded scientific studies intended to (1) elucidate how the natural system functions, (2) identify the ways in which the ecosystem had been altered, and (3) develop modeling tools for examining how the current system might respond to restoration of historic hydrological conditions (DOI, 1996). Because the restoration was operating under the premise
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE that “to resolve the hydrological issues is the first concern” (SSG, 1996), CESI funding supported research efforts such as defining the link between hydrological change and ecological response. GENESIS OF THIS STUDY AND CHARGE TO PANEL Since 1993, Congress has provided considerable financial support for the restoration of the greater Everglades, and it has been assured that science would advise the restoration efforts. In 2001, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee expressed concern at the gradual decline of the restoration science budget, noting that the funding for a major component of the science program— the CESI—had declined from $12 million per year in fiscal year 1998 to $4 million per year in fiscal year 2002. To address these concerns, that subcommittee, in report language accompanying the FY 2002 Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, directed the DOI to contract immediately with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to undertake a review of the science component of the CESI program. Subsequently, the DOI and the National Academies1 entered into an agreement, enabling the Academies' National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a study to assess the adequacy (types and funding levels) of science being conducted in the DOI CESI program in light of the scientific activities of other entities and the needs of the overall restoration effort provide guidance as to how the science being conducted under the CESI rubric can be better planned, managed, and reviewed; and how it can be better coordinated and integrated with relevant work outside the program advise DOI with respect to CESI strategic planning provide guidance with respect to information management and effective dissemination of science produced in the CESI program to help assure support for decision making during the planning, implementation, and operational phases of restoration To carry out this study, the NRC appointed a special panel organized and overseen by its Water Science and Technology Board and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. The study schedule was intense with the full panel meeting three times between March and June 2002. A fourth meeting was held with a subset of the panel in August 2002 to facilitate report revision. At the first meeting, the congressional mandate and concerns that led to the CESI program review were examined. National Park Service (NPS) personnel described the historical conditions, science needs, and restoration objectives in 1 The National Academies consists of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council is the advisory arm of the National Academies.
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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE 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.
Representative terms from entire chapter: