mental system properties and to minimize the kind of scientific and technical disagreements that impede decision making. As the definition implies, part of the complexity (and the challenge) of synthesizing the science for a large ecosystem restoration effort is that there are multiple audiences. For the science community, synthesis should advance understanding. For the policy community, which includes science managers and their advisors as well as decision makers, synthesis can be a source of policy recommendations (outlining policy choices) and a tool for managing conflict. For the interested public, synthesis is a tool for translating what can otherwise be obscure observations about the ecosystem and recommendations for restoration.
Other restoration efforts of the CERP’s scale usually have chosen to address one of these audiences at a time, to greater or lesser effect. For example, the CALFED Bay-Delta Science Program in California (now the Bay-Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program) chose to solicit thorough scientific reviews by a single or a few authors on about 12 key subjects. These were termed white papers and were aimed mostly at a scientific audience. The program later summarized a decade of research in a State of the Science Report (Healey et al., 2008), a single document that summarized science accomplishments for the policy community and the interested public. The science supported by the CALFED Bay-Delta Science Program proved most useful in the development of biological opinions used for policy purposes by the resource agencies; some white papers were important in those documents, and others were not. The influences on policy came from continuing exposure to the body of work through workshops and conferences more so than from any single synthesis document.
In contrast, since the last NRC review, the Everglades restoration effort has put together what can only be described as a plethora of synthesis efforts. These include special issues of scientific journals, the RECOVER 2009 System Status Report (2009 SSR; RECOVER, 2010); the RECOVER Scientific Knowledge Gained Document (RECOVER, 2011a); the Synthesis of Everglades Research and Ecosystem Services (SERES) Project, sponsored by the National Park Service; the New Science document produced by the South Florida’s Everglades Restoration Task Force’s (hereinafter, the Task Force) Working Group and Science Coordination Group (2010); the Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for the South Florida Ecosystem (MARES) Project, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and the Task Force’s System-wide Indicators (stoplight) reports (SFERTF, 2010b). MARES remains in a formative stage and will not be considered here. The System-wide Indicators reports were reviewed in NRC (2010).
These products take different approaches and cover the full spectrum of detail and audiences. The 2009 SSR full report is a comprehensive synthesis narrative accompanied by a 20 page “Key Findings” document and a dedicated website. The Scientific and Technical Knowledge Gained in Everglades Restora-