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Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The First Biennial Review – 2006
disagreements about the alternative project designs. Although a bold plan has recently been initiated to address this problem in Decomp through an active adaptive management approach, Decomp planners face many challenges ahead to resolve these disputes, and the issue of uncertainty has the potential to delay other restoration projects as well.
In the CERP approach to restoration implementation, projects are authorized and implemented sequentially. The Yellow Book (USACE and SFWMD, 1999) expresses the issue as follows:
The large scale hydrologic improvements that will be necessary to stimulate large scale ecological improvements will only come once the features of the Comprehensive Plan which substantially increase water storage capacities of the regional system and the infrastructure needed to move this water, are in place. To the extent that certain features of the Comprehensive Plan must be in place before additional storage and distribution components can be constructed and operated, some of the major ecological improvements anticipated by the Plan will not occur in the short term…. The features of the Comprehensive Plan currently proposed to be fully implemented by 2010 include the components (e.g. seepage control, land acquisition, reservoir construction, development of water preserve areas) that must be in place to set the stage for the addition of substantial amounts of clear water into the natural system. For example, in order to bring water from the urban east coast into the natural system and avoid additional water quality problems, the features required to clean that water must be in place. In order to decompartmentalize the interior Everglades and avoid additional over-drainage problems in Lake Okeechobee and the northern Everglades, the features required to substantially increase the regional storage capacity must be in place (USACE and SFWMD, 1999).
The conclusion that decompartmentalization and sheet-flow restoration cannot be initiated until most CERP projects have been completed is an important reason why environmental benefits to the Everglades ecosystem are likely to materialize slowly. Although early Acceler8 efforts have the potential to produce substantial benefits to Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries, the Yellow Book’s philosophy for CERP project sequencing suggests that several supporting projects will need to be in place before subsequent restoration efforts in the central and southern Everglades can proceed. If the public and its elected representatives in Congress and the administration are to continue to be willing to provide financial support for projects in the Everglades, they must believe that CERP expenditures are contributing to the restoration of the central and southern parts of the Everglades ecosystem, which include such iconic areas as Everglades National Park.
The committee concludes that some currently delayed restoration activities for the Everglades ecosystem can be initiated now, even though the