new and emerging concerns. The CESI program's gap-filling approach represents an effective strategy to meet complex and changing science needs in the midst of a large number of state and federal agencies with ongoing science programs. This scientific knowledge base, enhanced by quality research and ecosystem monitoring and assessment funded through the CESI program, will enable DOI to address its own resource management concerns and meet its restoration responsibilities for the CERP.

Recommendation: The fundamental purposes and objectives of the CESI's research program should remain intact, and the commitment to ecosystem research in addition to model development and environmental assessments needs to be continued.

2) Conclusion: Improvements are needed in CESI management. Narrow distribution of requests for proposals, an insufficient peer review process, limited involvement of expert advisors, and minimal accountability in interagency agreements are problems that need to be addressed in order to improve the effectiveness of the CESI program.

Recommendations:

  • CESI managers should broaden the distribution of requests for proposals.

  • The CESI program should develop a consistent and objective process for peer reviews of CESI proposals and a fast-track review process for critical research findings.

  • CESI program managers should work closely with formal program advisory committees to incorporate diverse expert advice into the establishment of research priorities and to promote closer linkages with other South Florida monitoring and research activities.

  • The ESI program must coordinate closely with the RECOVER1 teams and other restoration science programs so that limited science resources are used wisely.

  • The CESI program should expend funds in a timely fashion and should avoid the slow expenditure of appropriated funds that occurred in the early years of the program.

  • The CESI manager and the CESI coordinator should have more direct responsibility for program funds allocated through interagency agreements.

  • National Park Service (NPS) should remove the South Florida Natural Resource Center from the organizational and supervisory structure of Everglades National Park to improve application of CESI science funding over all DOI lands in South Florida.

  • Future CESI management plans should involve sufficient scientific expertise and agency representation in the prioritization and management of the research. DOI should consider appointing a senior scientist within the pro-

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    REstoration, Coordination, and VERification



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