be implemented in an “adaptive assessment” framework that allows for changes in project design and management based on knowledge provided through synthesis of information that has been collected by a monitoring and assessment program.
The AAT envisions the Monitoring and Assessment Plan as a single, integrated system-wide monitoring and assessment program that will be used to determine if ecosystem response to the Restoration Plan is progressing towards the objective of restoration, preservation and protection of the ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region. Ultimately, the AAT envisions that the final monitoring and assessment plan will consist of five major sections: 1) identification and measurement of ecological indicators, 2) design of the monitoring network (e.g. temporal and spatial scales of measurement), 3) implementation plan for sampling, 4) analysis of the indicators to assess ecosystem response, and 5) research needs in support of the monitoring and assessment. To date, most of the effort of the AAT has focused on ecological performance measures.
The overarching goal of the CERP is to “get the water right” by restoring historic hydrologic conditions in the natural ecosystem. The objectives of the CERP are to create historic quantities, quality, timing, and distribution of water in the natural system while at the same time providing fresh water to the built environment and protecting the built environment from flooding.
The CROGEE recognizes that the monitoring and assessment process for the Restoration Plan provides the critical scientific basis for plan evaluation and improvement (mid-course corrections in the lexicon of adaptive management). Together with scientists and staff of the AAT, the CROGEE devoted several meetings to the subject, culminating in an Adaptive Monitoring and Assessment Workshop in November 2001. This report summarizes the perspectives and findings of the CROGEE regarding the Restoration Plan Monitoring and Assessment Plan dated March 29, 2001 and supplemental materials published at http://www.evergladesplan.org/ as of June 1, 2002. The introduction to the Monitoring and Assessment Plan (at http://www.evergladesplan.org/pm/recover/recover.html) is in Appendix E. Because the Monitoring and Assessment Plan is still evolving, this report does not dwell on specific indicators or protocols (the performance indicators in the 2001 version of the plan are provided in Appendix E for information). Instead, it reviews the general approach and design of MAP in order to highlight the major strengths of the program as well as issues of potential concern. As a result, it is likely that some of the recommendations of this report are already being pursued. The CROGEE expects to continue to focus considerable attention on this aspect of the Restoration Plan.