3

Implementation Progress

This committee is charged with the task of discussing significant accomplishments of the restoration and assessing “the progress toward achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan [CERP]” (see Chapter 1). In this chapter, the committee updates the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) previous assessments of CERP and related non-CERP restoration projects (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010). This chapter addresses programmatic and implementation progress as well as analyzes any natural system benefits resulting from the progress to date. This chapter ends with a short series of conclusions that encapsulate the committee’s general assessment of restoration progress.

PROGRAMMATIC PROGRESS

To assess programmatic progress the committee reviewed a set of primary issues that strongly influence the progress of the CERP toward its overall goals of ecosystem restoration. These issues, described in the following sections, relate to scheduling, planning, funding, cost-sharing, land acquisition, and endangered species. The following review represents the next iteration of a series of similar reviews by previous committees (Box 3-1).

Project Scheduling and Prioritization

The CERP project construction schedule through 2020 is outlined in the Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS; Figure 3-1), which was developed in consultation with the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (hereafter, simply the Task Force) and reflects the priorities of the CERP partners as well as sequencing constraints and other project implementation issues. The IDS is revised several times per year to reflect changing budgets and other developments that affect project schedules. A review of recent changes to the IDS reveals



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3 Implementation Progress This committee is charged with the task of discussing significant accom- plishments of the restoration and assessing “the progress toward achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restora- tion Plan [CERP]” (see Chapter 1). In this chapter, the committee updates the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) previous assessments of CERP and related non-CERP restoration projects (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010). This chapter addresses programmatic and implementation progress as well as analyzes any natural system benefits resulting from the progress to date. This chapter ends with a short series of conclusions that encapsulate the committee’s general assessment of restoration progress. PROGRAMMATIC PROGRESS To assess programmatic progress the committee reviewed a set of primary issues that strongly influence the progress of the CERP toward its overall goals of ecosystem restoration. These issues, described in the following sections, relate to scheduling, planning, funding, cost-sharing, land acquisition, and endangered species. The following review represents the next iteration of a series of similar reviews by previous committees (Box 3-1). Project Scheduling and Prioritization The CERP project construction schedule through 2020 is outlined in the Integrated Delivery Schedule (IDS; Figure 3-1), which was developed in con- sultation with the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (hereafter, simply the Task Force) and reflects the priorities of the CERP partners as well as sequencing constraints and other project implementation issues. The IDS is revised several times per year to reflect changing budgets and other develop- ments that affect project schedules. A review of recent changes to the IDS reveals 39

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40 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades BOX 3-1 Key Prior NRC Conclusions on CERP Programmatic Issues NRC (2007): “. . . there have been significant delays in the expected completion dates of several construction projects that contribute to natural system restoration. . . . The delays seem to be the result of a number of factors, including budgetary and manpower restrictions, the need to negotiate resolutions to major concerns or agency disagree- ments in the planning process, and a project planning process that can be stalled by unresolved scientific uncertainties, especially for complex or contentious projects.” NRC (2008): “The complex project planning and approval process has been a major cause of delays for CERP projects to date. The greatest challenge in the project planning process has been developing technically sound project plans that are acceptable to the many agencies and stakeholders involved. . . . The infrequent and unpredictable federal authorization mechanism for CERP projects has caused some additional problems and attendant delays.” “Deficiencies in CERP system-wide planning are affecting the delivery of natu- ral system restoration benefits. The CERP lacks a systematic approach to analyze the costs and benefits across multiple projects in support of project planning. Funda- mentally, the CERP is designed as a system of related projects (i.e., components) that work together in the aggregate to produce overall restoration benefits. Without a system-wide planning process, it is not clear how system benefits can be optimized for any one project without any systematic consideration of other projects.” “To reduce restoration delays, CERP planners should develop a stronger con- ceptual basis for multi-species recovery planning and management.” NRC (2010): “Given the slower than anticipated pace of implementation and unreliable funding schedule, projects should be scheduled with the aim of achieving sub- stantial restoration benefits as soon as possible.” that the anticipated pace of project construction has slowed significantly since the committee’s previous report (NRC, 2010). Of the 24 CERP and non-CERP project components in the most recent version of the IDS (August 2011) for which the scheduled construction can be directly compared to the March 2010 IDS, 14 were delayed (by an average of 3.4 years), 3 were accelerated (by an average of 1.3 years), and 7 had no change. In particular, NRC (2010) praised the acceleration of the Water Conservation Area (WCA)-3 Decompartmental- ization and Sheetflow Enhancement (Decomp) project reflected in the March 2010 IDS, which showed all three phases of Decomp being completed by 2019.

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Implementation Progress 41 FIGURE 3-1  Integrated Delivery Schedule, August 2011 draft. NOTE: Project costs cited represent October 2008 price levels and have been adjusted for inflation based on construction start and finish dates for each contract. SOURCE: K. Tippett, USACE, personal communication, 2011. By accelerating the Decomp project, which has been identified as the highest priority project for reversing ecosystem decline and advancing restoration (Ad Hoc Senior Scientists, 2007), the committee concluded that the March 2010 IDS was consistent with the goal of achieving substantial restoration benefits as soon as possible. Unfortunately, in the August 2011 IDS, the completion of Decomp Part 1 had been pushed back until 2020, and construction of the other two Decomp phases are to begin after 2020 (see Figure 3-1). The August 2011 IDS separates the projects into groups largely defined by the timing of their authorization. The foundation projects represent non-CERP

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42 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades (and largely pre-CERP) projects, such as Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (Mod Waters), C-111 South Dade, and the Kissimmee River Res- toration. Generation 1 projects include those authorized in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA; Picayune Strand, Site 1 Impoundment, Indian River Lagoon-South [IRL-S]) and the Melaleuca Eradication project, which was authorized within program authority. The construction of these projects is well under way (more detail on project-level progress is provided later in the chapter). Generation 2 projects include those projects that are anticipated to be included in the next WRDA bill, that is, projects with final or near-final p ­ roject implementation reports (PIRs)—C-43, C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands, and Broward County Water Preserve Areas (WPAs). Two of the Generation 2 projects—C-111 Spreader Canal and Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands—have been the focus of expedited construction initiatives by the state of Florida. However, no federal funding can be provided to support continued construction progress until the projects are authorized. The Genera- tion 3 ­ rojects reflect near-term priority projects for which project planning p and development of a project implementation report (PIR) is far from complete. Note that the August 2011 IDS was published prior to the launch of the Central Everglades Planning Project (discussed later in this chapter). Previous reports by this committee have noted that early authorizations have focused on more peripheral projects that have either strong local sup- port or little opposition that would delay project planning. As a result, NRC (2007) concluded that “production of natural system restoration benefits within the Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park is lagging behind production of natural system restoration benefits in other portions of the South Florida ecosystem.” Although the C-111 Spreader Canal and Broward County WPAs would enhance seepage management in the central Everglades, the remaining Generation 2 projects largely target restoration benefits outside of the remnant Everglades. Projects such as Decomp and Everglades National Park (ENP) Seepage Management (both Generation 3) combined with Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park (Mod Waters) and additional water storage for central Everglades restoration offer the most promise for restoration of the “core” Everglades. However, the August 2011 IDS shows completion of many of these projects beyond 2020. In response to past NRC criticisms and recognizing the need to stem eco- system declines in the remnant Everglades, the CERP agencies launched the Central Everglades Planning Project in October 2011 (described in more detail in the next section). This project aims to deliver an increment of restoration to the central Everglades as soon as possible within certain constraints, such as using only publicly owned land. The prioritization of restoration in the central Everglades and the proposal to advance increments of restoration as a means

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Implementation Progress 43 of accelerating restoration is consistent with past committee recommendations (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010). Meanwhile, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) also appears to be prioritizing its investments toward further improvements to water quality to ensure compliance with the 1992 Consent Decree (discussed later in this chapter). As discussed in detail in Chapter 4, r ­ efocused efforts on the central Everglades and integrated water quality and quantity improvements are keys to reversing the declines in the historical Everglades. Project Planning, Approval, and Authorization A complex project planning, approval, and authorization process is in place for CERP projects (as described in NRC, 2007) that significantly affects the pace of project implementation. Past NRC reports have concluded that the federal planning process contributes to substantial restoration delays and does not effectively support system-wide planning (see Box 3-1). Senior CERP man­ gers a admit that the current U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project planning and approval process frustrates local sponsors, Congress, and the USACE staff because it is time consuming, overly detailed, and expensive (S. Kopecky, USACE, personal communication, 2012). This section discusses a major initiative to address some of these planning and approval challenges, as well as continued delays in project authorization. USACE Planning Transformation Pilots In 2011, the USACE launched a nationwide pilot program to test a revised project planning and approval process to reduce the typical 6-year preauthori- zation timeframe to 18-24 months, while still addressing all current legal and programmatic requirements (such as National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] and independent external peer review). The process requires a cultural shift toward less-detailed analyses and risk-based project planning. The process uti- lizes planning teams that consider what information is really needed to compare alternatives and reduce overall risk and includes early involvement by senior leadership and decision making at key project phases (or decision points). At the heart of the revised process is a more aggressive and comprehen- sive early project scoping process. In the scoping phase, federal interest in the project is assessed, problems and opportunities are identified, and key assump- tions and analysis plans are agreed upon (e.g., assessment measures, modeling tools, “future without project” conditions). The process compresses the scoping phase from three years into three months (Figure 3-2), which requires planners to balance and manage the level of detail in their considerations of benefits and

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44 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades NEW PARADIGM: PREAUTHORIZATION STUDY PROCESS CURRENT PLANNING PROCESS: 6+ YEARS (approximate timeframes) STUDY RECONNAISSANCE NEGOTIATIONS FEASIBILITY FEASIBILITY FEASIBILITY FEASIBILITY Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 •Federal I nterest •Feasibility Study •Problems & •Alternative Plan •Plan Selection •Public Review Assessed Scoped Opportunities Development •Independent External •Report •I dentify Sponsor •Feasibility Study •Future Without •Design & Cost Estimate Peer Review Finalization Agreement Project •Plan Evaluation •Agency Technical Executed •Management & Comparison Review Measures •Agency Technical •Cost Certification Review RECONNAISSANCE FEASIBILITY FEASIBILITY ALTERNATIVE CIVIL CHIEF’S STUDY COST SCOPING FORMULATION WORKS REPORT CERTIFICATION SHARING MEETING BRIEFING REVIEW BOARD AGREEMENT SIGNED REVISED PLANNNING PROCESS: ~2 YEARS STUDY STUDY STUDY REP ORT SCOPING EXECUTION REVIEW FINALIZATION Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 •Federal I nterest •Alternative •Agency •Problems & Development Technical Review Opportunities •Plan Evaluation •I ndependent •Future Without & Comparison External Peer Review Project •Plan Selection •Cost Certification •Management •Public Review Measures •Plan Confirmation •Analysis Plan •State & Agency Review DECISION DECISION DECISION CHIEF’S POINT 1 POINT 2 POINT 3 REPORT FIGURE 3-2  Comparison of the timeframes of the traditional USACE project planning and approval process against the revised planning pilot process. SOURCE: Modified from S. Kopecky, USACE, personal communication, 2012. uncertainty. Additionally, the process requires techniques to support extensive Figure 3-2 replaced stakeholder involvement and public communication. editable vector image The USACE is testing its revised planning process with a nationwide pilot program focused on five projects—two navigation, one flood control, and two environmental restoration projects. The intent of the pilot program is three-fold: 1) demonstrate effectiveness and efficiencies of the new civil works planning paradigm, 2) inform future planning guidance, and 3) develop sustainable, replicable processes (S. Kopecky, USACE, personal communication, 2012). The

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Implementation Progress 45 Central Everglades Planning Project was launched in October 2011 as one of the five pilots. Central Everglades Planning Project The purpose of the Central Everglades Planning Project is to substantially reduce the project planning and approval time for a suite of CERP project com- ponents to “improve the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water flows to the central Everglades (WCA-3 and [Everglades National Park] ENP)” (Box 3-2; USACE and SFWMD, 2012). Although the project focuses on the central Ever- glades, the redistribution of flows also could notably benefit the northern estuar- ies and Lake Okeechobee, and these benefits are included among the project objectives (Box 3-2; Figure 3-3). The scope of the project includes increments BOX 3-2 Central Everglades Planning Project Purpose, Goal, and Objectives Project purpose: “The purpose of the CEPP [Central Everglades Planning Project] is to improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water flows to the central Everglades (WCA 3 and ENP).” Project goal: “The goal of the CEPP is to improve the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water in the Northern Estuaries, Water Conservation Area 3, and Everglades National Park in order to restore the hydrology, habitat, and functions of the natural system.” Project objectives: • “Restore seasonal hydroperiods and freshwater distribution to support a natural mosaic of wetland and upland habitat in the Everglades system • Improve sheetflow patterns and surface water depths and durations in the E ­ verglades system in order to reduce soil subsidence, the frequency of damaging peat fires, the decline of tree islands, and saltwater intrusion • Reduce water loss out of the natural system to promote appropriate dry season recession rates for wildlife utilization • Restore more natural water level responses to rainfall to promote plant and animal diversity and habitat function • Reduce high volume discharges from Lake Okeechobee to improve the quality of oyster and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitat in the northern estuaries” SOURCE: USACE and SFWMD, 2012.

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46 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades FIGURE 3-3  The Central Everglades Planning Project study region, including areas potentially impacted the project. SOURCE: USACE and SFWMD (2012). Figure 3-3 replacement grabbed from source

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Implementation Progress 47 of a number of CERP project components described in the original restoration plan (the Yellow Book; USACE and SFWMD, 1999), such as the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, Decomp, seepage management, and rain- driven operations. The Central Everglades Planning Project shifts the planning emphasis from multiple independent project PIRs (each normally taking 6 or more years to complete) to a regional integrated PIR for the first increment of restoration on an expedited schedule of approximately 18 months. The central Everglades is an ideal pilot candidate for the USACE revised planning process and offers the ability to move toward a more integrated planning process where benefits can be aggregated both spatially and across project components, thereby addressing criticisms of previous NRC committees (Box 3-1). The project also incorporates the incremental adaptive restoration approach (NRC, 2007) as a means of moving forward with increments of restoration as quickly as possible, while learning in ways that enhance subsequent project designs. The process is early in its 18-month timeframe, and as of May 2012, there were no publicly available decision documents for the committee to evaluate. Assessment The proposed USACE planning transformation is clearly not business as usual. It is a striking change to a process and culture that have existed for some time, and it directly addresses several concerns raised by earlier reports of this Committee (see Box 3-1; NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010). The inclusion of the Central Everglades Planning Project as one of five nationwide pilots is both responsive to a recognized need for planning acceleration and a true test of the revised process. The USACE is to be commended for undertaking this much needed and ambitious effort. The Central Everglades Planning Project team has identified several concerns and limitations in the Draft Project Management Plan (USACE and SFWMD, 2012). The timeframe of the Central Everglades Planning Project does not allow for the development of new planning tools or approaches that could help to facilitate the process. One of the most substantive concerns is the time avail- able for formal approval of critical models, including the “local” model used to evaluate and compare project alternatives. The time required for USACE model approval may hamper the completion of the Central Everglades Planning Project within the 18-month target period. Another concern centers on the fact that data and design will be limited compared to those available during con- ventional ­ roject scope definition and PIR development. The prospect of greater p uncertainty during the scoping phase is well recognized by the transformation process itself, although the formal methods for managing it have not been fully articulated and vetted. By recognizing and addressing these issues, the Project

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48 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades Delivery Team can help to advance the Central Everglades Planning Project toward a timely, successful conclusion. Project Authorization Once project planning is complete and the USACE Chief of Engineers approves the PIR (also called the Chief’s Report; see Figure 3-2), the project is submitted to Congress for authorization. Water Resources Development Acts have served as the mechanism to congressionally authorize Everglades restora- tion efforts and specific CERP projects (see Appendix C). The CERP was formally launched by WRDA 2000 and included authorizations for 4 pilot projects, 10 initial Everglades restoration projects (pending congressional approval of the PIRs), and an adaptive management and monitoring program. All other projects with costs exceeding $25 million1 must be individually authorized by Congress. WDRA 2000 stipulated that the initial project authorizations are subject to Section 902 of WRDA 1986, thereby requiring reauthorization if project costs increase by more than 20 percent of the original authorized cost (exclusive of inflation). As a result of the Section 902 limits or other major project changes, all 10 conditionally authorized projects now require reauthorization (S. Appelbaum, USACE, personal communication, 2012). The CERP planning process was developed with the assumption that WRDAs would be passed every two years, but this has not occurred. Since WRDA 2000, Congress has passed only one WRDA; WRDA 2007 authorized Indian River Lagoon-South, Picayune Strand Restoration, and the Site 1 Impoundment ­ rojects P (Figure 3-4). Federal funding has been appropriated for construction of all three of these projects plus the Melaleuca Eradication, which was authorized under programmatic authority (see Table 3-1). Without additional congressional autho- rizations, no new CERP projects can receive federal appropriations to support construction. Since 2007, Chief’s reports have been issued for four additional projects (C-43 Reservoir, C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands, Broward County Water Preserve Areas. These four projects represent the Gen- eration 2 CERP projects (Table 3-1). Without passage of a new WRDA (or some other mechanism) to authorize these additional restoration projects, the federal government will be unable to maintain progress on several state-expedited proj- ects now under way (e.g., C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands). The uncertain and sporadic occurrence of WRDA legislation has the potential to severely impede CERP progress, particularly for the four projects with completed Chief’s Reports. Alternatives to using WRDA for project authorization may be 1 Programmatic authority for smaller projects (less than $25 million each) was subject to a total limit of $206 million (WRDA 2000).

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Implementation Progress 49 FIGURE 3-4  Locations of CERP and CERP-related projects and pilots listed in Table 3-1. Projects actively under construction are noted with a dark circle. SOURCE: © International Mapping Associates Figure 3-4 replaced uneditable bitmapped image

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84 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades Figure 3-13a R02233 (Everglades 4) raster iamge FIGURE 3-13 Trenching begins on the Limestone Products Association’s 2-mile seepage barrier pilot, February 2012. SOURCE: http://www.l31nseepage.org. Figure 3-13b R02233 (Everglades 4) water quality, so that potential impacts are at their minimum (F. Sklar, SFWMD, raster iamge personal communication, 2011). FDEP subjected the USACE’s application for a permit to construct and operate the DPM to a high level of scrutiny and several requests for additional information but finally granted the permit in January 2012. The extensive permitting process appears to reflect not so much the actual impact of the DPM on water quality but rather the precedent that its permitting sets with respect to water management policy and procedures integrating water quality and water quantity.

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Implementation Progress 85 C-111 Spreader Canal Design Test The C-111 Spreader Canal design test was designed to inform future plan- ning of the C-111 Spreader Canal “eastern project,” which will replace existing portions of the lower C-111 Canal with a spreader canal that enhances sheet flow to Florida Bay and restoration efforts within the Southern Glades and Model Lands. The design test was developed to address the following questions (NRC, 2010; USACE, 2012a): • How would a spreader canal affect surface- and groundwater levels to the north and south of its alignment? • How much of the source water introduced into the spreader canal will return to C-111 and C-111E via groundwater? The features of this design test include a 0.5-mile spreader canal, a 0.5-mile pipe to convey water to the spreader canal while keeping the test area separate from groundwater drawdown influences in neighboring canals, and a 50-cfs water discharge rate into the spreader canal (NRC, 2010). The USACE began testing in June 2010, with seven pump tests of increasing pumping duration (ranging from 12 hours to 10 days) and associated surface- and groundwater monitoring at each pumping intake site. The test was completed in August 2011, but the hydrologic data collected for this project have not been analyzed, and no additional progress is expected in the near future because of limited funding. The USACE anticipates that the data will be analyzed once the C-111 Spreader Canal Western Features project is completed and planning of the eastern project gets under way (USACE, 2012a). NON-CERP RESTORATION IMPLEMENTATION The aforementioned CERP restoration projects do not stand alone, but rather work in harmony with other non-CERP projects. The progress of the CERP depends upon the successful implementation and effective operation of these non-CERP projects, and three that are particularly important are the Mod Waters project, the restoration of the Kissimmee River, and the state’s Long- term Plan for Achieving Water Quality Goals. This committee has followed the implementation of these projects in its past reports (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010). Because these projects directly affect the CERP, a brief review of their progress is provided here. Additional details on the progress of these and other non-CERP projects are provided in Appendix B.

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86 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades Modified Water Deliveries and Tamiami Trail The Modified Water Deliveries to Everglades National Park project, autho- rized in 1989, is designed to restore flows into Northeast Shark River Slough that were diminished by the construction of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway Route 41) and the L-29 canal and levee that parallel the highway. The restoration of these flows on a more natural annual schedule will feed much-needed water into Northeast Shark River Slough and return much of its natural function as a central flow-way in the park (SFNRC, 2010; USACE, 2009b). Additionally, the project was intended to improve hydrologic connectivity in WCA-3 by routing more water through WCA-3B. Improved flows were anticipated to offer habitat support for endangered species such as the wood stork, snail kite, Cape Sable seaside sparrow, and Florida panther. After years of debate over the Mod Waters design, Congress, through the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-008), directed the USACE to con- struct a 1-mile bridge in the eastern end of the Tamiami Trail and raise the road to accommodate a canal stage of 8.5 ft—a project increment that is recognized as only a first step toward the originally intended restoration (NRC, 2008). The Act also directed the National Park Service (NPS) to evaluate the science of flows along the Tamiami Trail and to suggest how to improve the flows from a minimum of 1,400 cfs to 4,000 cfs. In its response to this directive, the NPS completed an environmental impact statement (NPS, 2010) and recommended a project alternative that would add 5.5 miles of bridges and raise the roadbed to accommodate a design high-water stage of 9.7 feet. This initiative would restore sheet flow across much of Northeast Shark River Slough, allow substantially higher flow volumes and velocities during wet weather conditions, and improve ecological connectivity between Everglades National Park and WCA-3 when implemented in conjunction with other planned restoration projects. Congress authorized the Next Steps Plan in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (December 2011), but the associated $330 million (2010 cost estimate) has not been appropriated. The project would provide the conveyance capacity for flows of up to 4,000 cfs to Everglades National Park and create more natural geomorphology in the slough (NPS, 2010). At the time of this NRC report, construction is progressing on the 1-mile bridge (Figure 3-14), with completion expected in December 2013. Because the Mod Waters project features are not yet completed, there are insufficient data to assess the restoration benefits of this project. Nevertheless, the project offers an important opportunity for learning about the ecological benefits of flow restoration. Plans allow for a small amount of water to move through WCA-3B, but the full usage of this route for large flows to Northeast Shark River Slough as part of the Mod Waters project are still under review (R. Johnson, NPS, personal communication, 2012).

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Implementation Progress 87 FIGURE 3-14  Construction of the Tamiami Trail 1-mile bridge, December 2011. From left to right, the image shows the north edge of Everglades National Park, the new bridge under construction, the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41), the L-29 Canal, its levee, and the surface of WCA-3B. SOURCE: B. Gamble, NPS, personal communication, 2012. Figure 3-14 R02233 (Everglades 4) raster iamge

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88 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades Kissimmee River Restoration Under the Central and Southern Florida Project, the USACE replaced a sinu- ous 103-mile stretch of the Kissimmee River with a straight canal about half that length. The installation of control gates created an artificial flow regime, and the project resulted in the drainage of two-thirds of the flood plain (Jackson, 2011), with severe impacts to the wetland vegetation communities that hosted waterfowl, wading birds, and a variety of fishes (USACE and SFWMD, 2009a). Begun in 1999, the joint federal and state project on the Kissimmee River rep- resents an effort to restore the original river and flood plain ecosystem (USACE and SFWMD, 2009a). Both the Kissimmee Headwaters Revitalization Project and the Kissimmee River Restoration Project are anticipated to be completed by 2014 (see Appendix B for more details). Even though the project is not yet completed, there have been significant gains in measures related to the general goals of the project, such as flood plain inundation, channel flow, organic matter, and dissolved oxygen (Jackson, 2011; see Appendix B). Total phosphorus (TP) in the Kissimmee River remains at elevated levels, however. The partially restored landscape of the ­ issimmee K River (Figure 3-15) is already hosting increased numbers and densities of important species. Aquatic wading birds have increased in numbers, although their populations are still not large. Long-legged wading birds such as white ibis (Eudocimus albus), great egret (Ardea alba), snowy egret (Egretta thula), and little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) have, in some years, been observed in numbers greater than twice that expected in the restoration (USACE and SFWMD, 2009a). In 2010, investigators found record numbers of wood storks (Mycteria americana) in the restoration area, and bass and sunfish make up an increasing percentage of the fish population (Jackson, 2011). In summary, the Kissimmee River Restoration Project is on track to restore one of the key components of the South Florida ecosystem. This achievement will increase the value of restoration downstream, providing a northern anchor to system- wide restoration. Long-Term Plan for Achieving Water Quality Goals As part of its Long-Term Plan for Achieving Water Quality Goals, the state has completed construction of STA Compartments B and C, which have expanded the areas of STA-2 and STA-5/6, adding approximately 11,500 acres of treatment area (Figure 3-16). Both areas were “flow capable” as of December 2010, and vegetation start-up is under way as of 2012. Four of the five planned pump sta- tions are anticipated to be completed by May 2012. Meanwhile, enhancements to maintain or improve the performance of existing STAs continue, such as

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Implementation Progress 89 FIGURE 3-15  A restored portion of the Kissimmee River, with the filled C-38 canal in the upper left and the newly re-carved channel of the restored river with an active flood plain on either side. SOURCE: Jackson (2011), photo by Mark Bias, at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Everglades/ Branches/ProjectExe/Sections/UECKLO/KRR.htm. Figure 3-15 R02233 (Everglades 4) raster iamge addressing hydraulic short-circuiting and converting or reestablishing vegetation as needed (Ivanoff et al., 2012). In early 2012, the state of Florida announced its plans to develop a water quality treatment plan intended to serve as a means of achieving the state’s water quality legal obligations as an alternative to the approach set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its 2010 Amended Determina- tion. On June 4, 2012, the SFWMD outlined the general contours of its alterna- tive plan. In particular, the state has articulated its intent and commitment to construct additional water storage and treatment projects to meet water quality goals. The plan is intended to provide sufficient treatment for the approximately 1.4 million acre-feet/year currently flowing out of the STAs to ensure that water in the Everglades Protection Area meets the legally required water quality standard.

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90 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades FIGURE 3-16  Location of the Everglades stormwater treatment areas (STAs): STA-1E, STA-1W, STA-2, STA-3/4, and STA-5/6 and the proposed locations for additional STAs, STA earthwork, and flow equalization basins (FEBs) announced on June 4, 2012. SOURCE: Meeker, 2012. Figure 3-16 R02233 (Everglades 4) raster iamge The state anticipates that it will take approximately 12 years to construct and fully implement its proposed plan, although some features could come online in as soon as four years. The proposed plan includes enhanced water quality treatment in each of the three flow paths into the Everglades Protection Area: the eastern flow path, the central flow path, and the western flow path (see Figure 3-16). In the eastern flow path, the state-proposed plan calls for the construction of a ~45,000 acre- foot capacity flow equalization basin to moderate inflows into existing STA-1E and STA-1W in addition to 6,500 acres of new STAs west of LNWR. The plan for the central flow path includes converting the Everglades Agricultural Area A-1 Reservoir footprint (north of existing STA-3/4) into a 54,000 acre-foot capacity flow equalization basin to moderate inflows into STA-3/4 and STA-2. In the west- ern flow path, the proposed plan calls for construction of an ~11,000 acre-foot

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Implementation Progress 91 capacity flow equalization basin and an additional 800 acres of earthwork within existing STA-5/6 to maximize the efficacy of this treatment area. The state’s plan also includes subregional source control measures (including enhanced best management practices) in the EAA, restoration of 15,000 acres of former citrus groves to wetland and upland habitat to reduce the loads on STA-5/6, and con- struction of a replacement storage feature in the Loxahatchee River Watershed (Meeker, 2012). As noted in Chapter 2, the EPA announced on June 13, 2012 that the state’s plan provides an enforceable framework for ensuring compliance with Everglades water quality standards. The SFWMD Governing Board must still approve the plan. Although the committee has not been provided with sufficient information to determine whether the plan’s components will achieve a sufficient level of phosphorus reduction to meet legal obligations or restoration goals, the plan appears to be a significant step in the right direction. The plan’s focus on pro- viding significant additional flow equalization and water quality treatment is a significant development with important implications for restoration of both water quality and flow in the central Everglades. CONCLUSIONS During the past two years, notable progress has been made in the con- struction of Everglades restoration projects, with eight CERP projects now under construction. These projects include all of the Generation 1 projects authorized by Congress (Picayune Strand, Site 1 Impoundment, Indian River Lagoon-South, and Melaleuca Eradication) as well as two Generation 2 projects (C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands) and two Generation 3 projects (Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration, Lakeside Ranch STA) con- structed solely with state funding. This level of construction, and the associated program funding for 2010-2011, reflect significant implementation progress since the committee’s previous review. Several major project phases are nearing completion in 2012, including the C-111 Spreader Canal Western Project and the Picayune Strand Merritt Canal components, which are expected to deliver significant increments of restoration benefits upon completion. Progress is also being made on important non-CERP projects, including the Kissimmee River Restoration and Mod Waters. Nevertheless, as noted in previous committee reports, production of nat- ural system restoration benefits within the Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park continues to lag behind restoration progress in other portions of the South Florida ecosystem. Early CERP implementation has largely focused on the periphery of the remnant Everglades, and in the most recent CERP project schedule, the projects with the greatest potential benefits to the

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92 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades remnant Everglades (e.g., decompartmentalization, seepage management, cen- tral ­ verglades storage) have been significantly delayed or remain uncertain. E For project components that have been implemented, the committee was generally unable to obtain rigorous analysis of incremental restoration benefits. In some cases, the only descriptions of progress are anecdotal accounts of veg- etation changes or field observations of new water flows. Effective assessment of restoration progress will depend on monitoring data that cover periods long enough to establish pre-project trends, followed by similar data after the ­ roject (or project component) is complete to determine the ecological p changes that can be ascribed to the project. Such a scientifically derived assess- ment of ecosystem response to project implementation is important to enhance the understanding of ecosystem recovery processes and may be useful to build public support for ongoing restoration efforts. The Central Everglades Planning Project provides a means to expedite the realization of restoration benefits to the remnant Everglades while addressing major impediments inherent in the USACE project planning and approval pro- cess. The Central Everglades Planning Project is one of five USACE pilot projects nationwide that will test a new accelerated project planning process, with the goal of delivering an approved project implementation report to Congress within two years. The focus on the central Everglades (Water Conservation Area 3 and Everglades National Park) is appropriate for this pilot, given the urgent need to address ongoing ecosystem decline, as noted in NRC (2008). The Central Everglades Planning Project process allows for the combination of increments of multiple CERP projects (e.g., storage, seepage management, decompartmen- talization) within a new planning framework to more easily identify their inter- dependence and system benefits. The pilot also intends to test new approaches for project planning, including clear, early scoping of analyses and decision- making criteria, early coordination with decision makers at all levels of USACE leadership, and reduced reliance on detailed analyses within a framework of risk-based decision making. The Central Everglades Planning Project appears to be an important step forward, responsive to earlier concerns of this committee (NRC, 2007, 2008, 2010), and consistent with the concept of incremental adap- tive restoration (NRC, 2007). However, at completion of this report, the process remained at an early stage, and no specific project plans were available for the committee to review. State-proposed projects to improve water quality represent an important step forward, with critical implications for restoration of attributes in the central Everglades impacted by high levels of phosphorus. Additional progress toward meeting water quality criteria appears likely, because the state and the federal partners have recently agreed upon additional water quality improve- ments for the Everglades Protection Area. These proposed features, however,

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Implementation Progress 93 address only current inflows to the Everglades, and do not provide water quality treatment for increased water volumes anticipated under the CERP. If the pace of restoration progress is to be maintained, then an increased level of federal funding will be necessary for two reasons. First, large cuts to the SFWMD budget have already led to deferral of several large projects, and relatively modest outlays are projected over the next five years, mostly for water quality improvements to attain compliance with water quality criteria. Projected funding relies heavily on a drawdown of reserve funds to levels that, without other changes, will leave the SFWMD with little flexibility and limited capability to fund new CERP projects. Second, overall state CERP spending (including land purchases and expedited construction efforts) has vastly exceeded federal spend- ing. Thus, even if the state could sustain prior levels of spending, the SFWMD might be reluctant to do so until the overall spending gap is reduced between the two partners. Nevertheless, the capacity for increased federal spending could be impacted by CERP cost-sharing requirements, because calculations of the cost- share balance do not include extensive state expenditures from land purchases and construction for projects that are not yet authorized. Without congressional action, project authorization could soon become a major impediment to restoration progress. To receive federal funding, individual CERP projects must be authorized by Congress. To date, only three projects have been congressionally authorized under WRDA 2007, and one additional ­ roject p is under construction with programmatic authorization from WRDA 2000. Four additional projects await authorization. Without a new WRDA, the federal government will be unable to maintain progress on several second-generation, state-expedited projects now under way (e.g., C-111 Spreader Canal, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands). Also, authorizations affect the projects that are eligible for cost-share crediting. With no additional authorized projects and at current rates of federal spending, the federal creditable expenditures could exceed the state’s in approximately three years, bringing the CERP to a standstill because federal cost-share creditable obligations may not exceed those of the state. If Congress does not authorize additional projects and the state does not increase spending, federal funding and project implementation would need to be sharply curtailed. Additional project authorizations (with accompanying project partner- ship agreements) could allow for more than $500 million of state CERP-related expenditures being credited as cost-shared funds. Innovative, multi-species approaches have been applied to resolve local conflicts between species management and restoration management, but such conflicts are likely to continue, requiring flexible and innovative multi-species approaches applied at even larger spatial scales to avoid restoration delays and optimize restoration benefits. Examples of innovative multi-species approaches include the Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP) to address a conflict

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94 Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades between the water management needs of endangered snail kites and Cape Sable seaside sparrows in Water Conservation Area (WCA)-3A and an approach to address a conflict between stormwater treatment area (STA) operations and protection of the nests of black-necked stilts and other migratory birds. Addi- tional conflicts between the needs of endangered species and what is required to restore the ecosystem restoration are inevitable in the transition to a fully implemented CERP. A recent conflict between efforts to protect snail kite nests and STA operations illustrates how single species management could potentially compromise water management required for system restoration.