BOX ES-1 Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Statement of Task

The CROGEE 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, and 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.

constraints such as a coarse grid size, and natural factors such as low gradients, complex microtopography, and dense vegetation.

There are, however, compelling reasons to believe that flow affects important physical, chemical, and biological processes in the Everglades. Flow in wetlands generally enhances mixing, and it transports biologically important materials including nutrients, organic matter, gases, seeds, and spores. More important, there are major landforms in the Everglades—notably parallel ridges and sloughs, and tree islands—that are ecologically important and aligned with present and past flow directions. This alignment suggests that their genesis and maintenance have been importantly shaped by flow. For this reason, better understanding of the role of flow in shaping Everglades landscapes is critical to the restoration effort.

To focus on this issue, the SCT sponsored a flow workshop at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration conference in December 2000. It then prepared a white paper on the role of flow in the Everglades ridge and slough landscape, had it peer-reviewed, and released it in final form in January 2003. Between the peer review and the final release, the CROGEE held a Workshop on Flows and Levels in the Ridge and Slough Region of the Everglades in Miami, Florida on October 15, 2002 to gather additional background and information and to discuss the science informing the White Paper’s conclusions and recommendations.

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