Task Force (Task Force), an intergovernmental body established to facilitate coordination in the restoration effort, and the committee produced six reports (NRC, 2001, 2002a,b, 2003a,b, 2005). The NRC’s Panel to Review the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative produced an additional report in 2003 (NRC, 2003c; see Appendix A). The Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000) mandated that the U.S. Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the state of Florida, in consultation with the Task Force, establish an independent scientific review panel to evaluate progress toward achieving the natural system restoration goals of the CERP. The NRC’s Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress was therefore established in 2004 under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). After publication of each of the first three biennial reviews (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010; see Appendix A for the report summaries), some members rotated off the committee and some new members were added.
The committee is charged to submit biennial reports that address the following items:
1. An assessment of progress in restoring the natural system, which is defined by section 601(a) of WRDA 2000 as all of the land and water managed by the federal government and state within the South Florida ecosystem (see Figure 1-3 and Box 1-1);
2. A discussion of significant accomplishments of the restoration;
3. A 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. An 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, etc.).
Given the broad charge, the complexity of the restoration, and the continually evolving circumstances, the committee did not presume it could cover all issues that affect restoration progress in any single report. This report builds on the past reports by this committee (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010) and emphasizes restoration progress since 2010, high-priority scientific and engineering issues that the committee judged to be relevant to this timeframe, and other issues that have impacted the pace of progress. The committee focused particularly on issues for which the “timing was right”—that is, where the committee’s advice could be useful relative to the decision-making timeframes—and on topics that had not been fully addressed in past NRC Everglades reports. Interested readers should look to past reports by this committee (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010) to find detailed discussions of important topics, such as the human context for the CERP, climate