storage components involve complex design and construction measures, rely on active controls and frequent equipment maintenance, and require fossil fuels or other energy sources for operation. The report recommends that, to the extent possible, the CERP should develop storage components that have fewer of those requirements, and are thus less vulnerable to failure and more likely to be sustainable in the long term.
The CERP imposes some constraints on sequencing of its components. The report concludes that two criteria are most important in deciding how to sequence components of such a restoration project: (1) protecting against additional habitat loss by acquiring or protecting critical lands in and around the Everglades and (2) providing ecological benefits as early as possible. The report recommends that methods be developed to allow tradeoffs to be assessed over broad spatial and long temporal scales, especially for the entire ecosystem, and gives an example of what an overall performance indicator for the Everglades system might look like.
Adaptive Monitoring and Assessment for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (2003)
A key premise of the CERP is that restoring the historical hydrologic regime in the remaining wetlands will reverse declines in many native species and biological communities. Given the uncertainties that will attend future responses of Everglades ecosystems to restored water regimes, a research, monitoring, and adaptive management program is planned. This report assesses the extent to which the restoration effort’s “monitoring and assessment plan” included the following elements crucial to any adaptive management scheme: (1) clear restoration goals and targets, (2) a sound baseline description and conceptualization of the system, (3) an effective process for learning from management actions, and (4) feedback mechanisms for improving management based on the learning process.
The report concludes that monitoring needs must be prioritized, because many goals and targets that have been agreed to may not be achievable or internally consistent. Priorities could be established based on the degree of flexibility or reversibility of a component and its potential impact on future management decisions. Monitoring that meets multiple objectives (e.g., adaptive management, regulatory compliance, and a “report card”) should be given priority. Ecosystem-level, systemwide indicators should be developed, such as land-cover and land-use measures, an index of biotic integrity, and diversity measures. Region-wide monitoring of human and environmental drivers of the ecosystem, especially population growth, land-use change, water demand, and sea level rise are recommended.