RE-ENGINEERING WATER STORAGE IN THE EVERGLADES

Risks and Opportunities

Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

Water Science and Technology Board

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Division on Earth and Life Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities RE-ENGINEERING WATER STORAGE IN THE EVERGLADES Risks and Opportunities Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Water Science and Technology Board Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Division on Earth and Life Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, U.S. Department of the Interior, under assistance of Cooperative Agreement No. 5280-9-9029, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authoring committee and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09529-8 (Book) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover design by Michele de la Menardiere, National Academies Press. Map by the National Academies. Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council www.national-academies.org

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities COMMITTEE ON RESTORATION OF THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM (CROGEE)1,2 JEAN M. BAHR, Chair, University of Wisconsin, Madison SCOTT W. NIXON, Vice-Chair, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett BARBARA L. BEDFORD, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York LINDA K. BLUM, University of Virginia, Charlottesville PATRICK L. BREZONIK, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis FRANK W. DAVIS, University of California, Santa Barbara WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia WAYNE C. HUBER, Oregon State University, Corvallis STEPHEN R. HUMPHREY, University of Florida, Gainesville KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin, Madison KENNETH H. RECKHOW, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina LARRY ROBINSON, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee HENRY J. VAUX, JR. University of California, Berkeley JEFFREY R. WALTERS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg NRC Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Senior Board Director, Water Science and Technology Board DAVID J. POLICANSKY3, Scholar, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Program Officer, Water Science and Technology Board PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Senior Program Associate, Water Science and Technology Board 1   The activities of the Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE) are overseen and supported by the NRC’s Water Science and Technology Board (lead) and Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (see Appendix B). 2   Biographical sketches of committee members are contained in Appendix C. 3   Lead NRC staff supporting the drafting of this report.

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities Preface The Everglades of south Florida is truly a unique ecosystem. Nowhere else on Earth is there the same combination of a warm and alternately wet-dry climate, relatively flat topography, and predominantly limestone geology that came together in south Florida to create a vast wetland unlike any other. The animals and plants that live there have evolved in a unique environment and thus the biological community is unique as well. The ecological value of this ecosystem is reflected in the approval by Congress in 2000 of nearly $8 billion for its restoration. And restoration is needed: the changes that have occurred in south Florida over the past century have been dramatic. They include the development of large cities along Florida’s coasts; the development of agriculture in the region, especially to the south of Lake Okeechobee; and the construction of canals, levees, dikes, roads, and other structures in and around the Everglades designed to move water and people and to protect people and their structures from floods. Restoring the ecosystem—or even successfully preventing further degradation—is an enormous and exciting challenge. There is no successful model to follow anywhere. Many components of the restoration plan depend on relatively new technologies, untried at the scale envisioned for the Everglades. A host of financial, political, social, environmental, ecological, administrative, and legal challenges make the effort even more complex. The stakes are high. This is the seventh and final report1 of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE),2 which provides consensus advice to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (“Task Force”). The Task Force was established in 1993 and was codified in the 1996 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA); its responsibilities include facilitating the coordination of the development of a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving, and protecting the south Florida ecosystem, and the coordination of related research. The CROGEE, established in 1999, works under the auspices 1   The six previous reports are: Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: A Critique of the Pilot Projects and Related Plans for ASR in the Lake Okeechobee and Western Hillsboro Areas (2001); Regional Issues in Aquifer Storage and Recovery for Everglades Restoration (2002); Florida Bay Research Programs and their Relation to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (2002); Adaptive Monitoring and Assessment for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (2003); Science and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration: An Assessment of the Critical Ecosystem Initiative (2003); and Does Water Flow Influence Everglades Landscape Patterns? (2003). 2   As of 12/31/04 the CROGEE was disbanded and effectively replaced by a new, congressionally mandated NRC committee, which was organized in August 2004 to provide regular reviews and biennial reporting on progress toward Everglades restoration. The first report of the new Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2006.

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board and Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. The CROGEE’s mandate includes providing the Task Force with scientific overview and technical assessment of the restoration activities and plans, while also providing focused advice on technical topics of importance to the restoration effort. The main topic of this report is the storage options in the restoration program. Replacing the natural storage and flow-damping functions within the Greater Everglades that have been lost through more than a century of drainage and development in south Florida is at the heart of the Restoration Plan’s goal of “getting the water right.” Thus, the success of this multidecadal, multibillion dollar restoration project hinges on the many project components related to storage, some conventional and some novel. Over the past five years, the CROGEE has devoted several meetings to reviews of hydrologic and ecological analyses and other considerations with respect to water storage components proposed in the restoration effort. Those meetings included workshops, field trips, and public sessions. This final report of the CROGEE is based on information obtained during these meetings as well as additional review of literature and project documents by committee members. The Restoration Plan continues to evolve, and some recent changes that occurred after this report entered review were not evaluated by the committee. Whereas this report focuses on storage, because of the critical role played by storage components in the Restoration Plan, it also touches on and has implications for broader issues related to the scientific basis of the plan, some of which have not been fully explored in previous committee reports. The entire committee, with valuable assistance from NRC staff David Policansky, William Logan, and Patricia Jones Kershaw, was involved in the development and writing of this report. The director of the Water Science and Technology Board, Stephen Parker, guided the overall effort and contributed substantively to the committee’s deliberations. Working with them has been educational and productive, and I am grateful to them all. The CROGEE is grateful for the numerous meeting presentations, assistance in data gathering, clarification of project documents, and fact checking provided by many individuals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park, and other partners in the Restoration Plan. The committee has been impressed with the quality of service the staff of those agencies and others are providing to the public. They are dedicated, thoughtful, and able. We suspect that they, like the committee, are motivated at least in part by the wonders of the ecosystem we all have been focusing on. It is difficult to single any of them out for the help they gave to this committee, but I would be remiss not to give special thanks to Stuart Appelbaum, Nick Aumen, Ronnie Best, Michael Chimney, Steve Davis, Bob Johnson, Jayantha Obeysekera, John Ogden, Peter Ortner, and Kenneth Tarboten for their clear briefings, willingness to provide information, and their patient answering of the committee’s questions. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David L. Freyberg, Stanford University Steven P. Gloss, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Arizona Louis J. Gross, University of Tennessee Frances C. James, Florida State University Stuart L. Pimm, Duke University Rutherford H. Platt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Jerald L. Schnoor, University of Iowa Leonard Shabman, Resources for the Future John Vecchioli, Odessa, Florida Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia and Frank H. Stillinger, Princeton University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Jean M. Bahr, Chair Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1      Why is Storage Important?   1      Major Storage and Water-Conservation Components in the Restoration Plan   3      Lake Okeechobee   4      Water Conservation Areas   4      Conventional Surface Reservoirs   4      Aquifer Storage and Recovery   4      In-Ground Storage   5      Seepage Management   5      Water Reuse and Conservation   5      Costs and Effectiveness   5      Sequencing   6      Protect Against Additional Habitat Loss   6      Provide Ecological Benefits As Early As Possible   6      System Uncertainties   7      Sustainability of the Restoration Plan   8      A Second Look at Constraints, Boundaries, and Adaptation   8      Everglades Agricultural Area   9      Lake Okeechobee   9      Analyzing Tradeoffs   10      A Conceptual Restoration System Performance Measure   10      Major Findings and Recommendations   10 1   INTRODUCTION   13      The Everglades Ecosystem   14      Major Storage and Water-Conservation Components in the Restoration Plan   16      Why is Storage Important?   17      Storage, Flow, and Restoration of the Everglades Ecosystem   20      Report Organization   21 2   MAJOR STORAGE COMPONENTS   22      Current Storage Components   25      Lake Okeechobee   25      Water-Quality Considerations   34      Water Conservation Areas   36

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities      Water-Quality Considerations   38      Conventional Surface Reservoirs   39      Kissimmee Basin   40      Water-Quality Considerations   41      EAA and Vicinity   42      Water-Quality Considerations   42      Upper East Coast   43      Water-Quality Considerations   43      Other Technologies and Strategies   44      Aquifer Storage and Recovery   44      Water-Quality Considerations   47      In-Ground Reservoirs   49      Water-Quality Considerations   51      Seepage Management   53      Environmental Considerations   55      Water Reuse and Conservation   55      Water-Quality Considerations   57      Summary and Comparison   58 3   CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES   62      Sequencing   62      Protect Against Additional Habitat Loss   62      Provide Ecological Benefits as Early as Possible   63      System Uncertainties   65      Endangered Species   67      Invasive and Irruptive Species   68      Disappearance of Unique Everglades Communities   70      Loss of Tree Islands and Ridge-and-Slough Topography   70      Expansion of Eutrophic Conditions   71      Mercury Deposition, Mobilization, and Bioaccumulation   73      Regional Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise   75      Contingency Planning   75      Adaptive Management   76      Sustainability of the Restoration Plan   77      Application of Rehabilitation Approach to Evaluation of Everglades Restoration Options   81 4   RECONSIDERING AVAILABLE STORAGE OPTIONS   83      Everglades Agricultural Area   84      Can Lake Okeechobee Provide More Water Storage?   84      Brief History and Site Description   85      Water Quality of Lake Okeechobee   87      Restoration Alternatives for Lake Okeechobee   90 5   EVALUATING ECOLOGICAL TRADEOFFS   93      Introduction   93

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Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities      Characteristics of System Performance Measure   94      A Conceptual System Performance Measure   95      Measuring System Restoration Performance   95      Application of Proposed System Performance Measure   96      Simple Hypothetical Example of the Use of a System Performance Indicator   96 6   FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   100     REFERENCES CITED   103     APPENDIXES     Appendix A:   Master Implementation Sequencing Plan Compared to Initial Restudy Schedule   115 Appendix B:   Water Science and Technology Board and Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Rosters   120 Appendix C:   Biographical Sketches of Members of the Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem   122

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