Statement of Task

This congressionally mandated activity will review the progress toward achieving the restoration goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The committee meets approximately four times annually to receive briefings on the current status of the CERP and on scientific issues involved in implementing the restoration plan, and it publishes biennial reports providing:

  1. assessment of progress in restoring the natural system, which is defined by section 601(a) of WRDA 2000 as all the land and water managed by the federal government and state within the South Florida ecosystem;

  2. discussion of significant accomplishments of the restoration;

  3. discussion and evaluation of specific scientific and engineering issues that may impact progress in achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Plan; and

  4. independent review of monitoring and assessment protocols to be used for evaluation of CERP progress (e.g., CERP performance measures, annual assessment reports, assessment strategies).

seepage management, water reuse, conservation), and reestablish pre-drainage hydrologic patterns wherever possible (e.g., removing barriers to sheet flow, rainfall-driven water management). The CERP builds upon other activities of the state and the federal government aimed at restoration (hereafter, non-CERP activities), many of which are essential to the success of the CERP in achieving its restoration goals.

Natural system restoration progress from the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) remains slow. This committee reaffirms its predecessor’s conclusions (NRC, 2008) that continued declines of some aspects of the ecosystem coupled with environmental and societal changes make accelerated progress in Everglades restoration even more important. A review of the changing context for the CERP over the past decade reveals positive as well as negative trends. The decade brought 2 major droughts and 12 tropical storms, creating extensive challenges for water managers. Some species, particularly wading birds, Cape Sable seaside sparrows, and panthers appear to be increasing or stable, while others, such as the snail kite, have declined. Tree island habitats continue to decline. Despite some impressive control efforts, especially for plants, invasive species continue to present major challenges, and the invasive exotic animals have few effective controls. Despite large investments in STAs and long-term water quality improvements from these efforts, water quality violations suggest that more work is needed. Meanwhile, the economic downturn has led to shortfalls in revenue for the SFWMD, although the downturn has also

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