BOXES 1 Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Statement of Task

This activity provides scientific guidance to multiple agencies charged with restoration and preservation of the Central and South Florida aquatic ecosystem, i.e., the Greater Everglades. The NRC activity provides a scientific overview and technical assessment of the many complicated, interrelated activities and plans that are occurring at the federal, state, and nongovernmental levels. In addition to strategic assessments and guidance, the NRC provides more focused advice on technical topics of importance to the restoration efforts when appropriate.

Topics such as the following (to be determined to the mutual agreement of the restoration program management and the NRC) are expected to form the bases for the committee’s investigations:

  1. Program goals, objectives, an planning approach;

  2. Data and information aspects, including needs for basic hydrologic and water quality data, environmental resources information, display and dissemination, and monitoring needs;

  3. Use of hydrological and hydroecological simulation models;

  4. Technological aspects of civil works facilities;

  5. Best agricultural and management practices of nutrients management;

  6. Wildlife management;

  7. Decision support systems; and

  8. Research requirements to support analyses for decision making and implementation.

converted to urban and agricultural uses, and the remainder is highly engineered, intensively managed, and tightly bounded by development.

The fundamental premise of the Restoration Plan is that restoring the historical hydrologic regime to the remaining wetlands will reverse declines in many native species and biological communities. To “get the water right”—a major goal of the Restoration Plan that involves quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water—the plan proposes construction of 68 major projects over an estimated 36 years at a cost of $7.8 billion (1999 estimate). How Everglades ecosystems will respond to the restored water regime is quite uncertain, so extensive ecological research, monitoring, and adaptive management are planned during construction and after the projects are completed.

The ultimate success of the Restoration Plan hinges on a well-designed and well-supported program of monitoring and assessment, the subject of this report. Such a program, now in development, is expected to consist of five major sections: 1) identification and measurement of ecological indicators, 2) design of the monitoring network, 3) implementation plan for sampling, 4) analysis of the indicators to assess ecosystem response, and 5) research to support the monitoring and assessment activities. To date, most of the development effort has focused on identifying ecological performance measures. Because the “Monitoring and Assessment Plan” (MAP) is still evolving, this report does not dwell on specific performance

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