Since the Everglades can never be fully restored, probable conflicts among desired targets must be identified, necessary compromises must be acknowledged, and the scope of the MAP must contemplate this line of inquiry continuing for the duration of the restoration (so emergent conflicts can be resolved appropriately).
Conclusion: Adaptive management requires an effective process for learning from management actions. The primary reliance on passive adaptive management planned for the restoration may be the only feasible approach given the large time and space scales of the project and constraints such as those imposed by endangered species. Passive adaptive management uses science to formulate predictive models, makes policy according to the models, and revises the models as data become available. But monitoring is done without controls, replication, and randomization, and thus it lacks statistically valid experimental design, and therefore cannot be used to infer cause and effect. Policy effects are not distinguishable from other human forces or from natural processes.
The MAP should be augmented with active adaptive management wherever possible to enable conclusions about cause and effect to be made. As soon as possible, additional expertise in sampling design and analysis of environmental data should be engaged. Opportunities should be identified for active adaptive management that compares alternative policies by means of deliberate experiments. The experiments should use controls, paired comparisons, replication, and randomization. s
Conclusion: The MAP needs a rigorous quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program to ensure that monitoring data are of high quality and utility.
To ensure the quality of RECOVER environmental data and related data products, a QA/QC program with clearly defined roles and responsibilities should be established. The current Restoration Plan Program Management Plan for Data Management calls for such a function, but it appears that there has been little substantive progress in this important area. The National Institute of Standards and Technology or other similar organization should be consulted to provide guidance as a QA/QC plan is developed.
Conclusion: Including combinations of ecological performance measures and environmental variables hypothesized to impact those measures is critical for the MAP given the adaptive management approach being implemented.