and promoting California's economy in the case of the Bay/Delta. The two goals are inextricably linked, and developing an acceptable solution to the conflict will sustain both the resources and future economic activity.
Concerns over the ecological health of the Everglades led in 1970 to congressional legislation mandating minimum flows into Everglades National Park.3 Although the park was unquestionably affected by the canals, levees, pumps, and water control structures that regulate flows into the area, it was unusual for Congress to micromanage such a complex ecosystem by legislatively mandating specific flow requirements. The results of this program were clearly detrimental to the environment. The timing and magnitude of flows were inappropriate, exaggerating natural extremes (Light et al., 1989). The ecosystem continued to decline, prompting an emotional public reaction that set the tone for future political and legal developments.
In retrospect, the inflexibility and sweeping character of the congressional requirements doomed the flow standards from the beginning. There were no built-in mechanisms for monitoring environmental effects of the standards or for modifying them to meet the demands of changing natural hydrologic conditions. This omission tied the hands of resource managers in the Everglades' highly dynamic, variable, and unpredictable ecosystem. In short, the program embodied the characteristics of ineffective environmental regulatory schemes—rigid standards that precluded appropriate ecological decision making.
In 1983 severe high-water conditions in Everglades National Park eliminated the wading-bird nesting season, and the Everglades Research Center (part of the National Park Service) told the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) that an ''ecological emergency'' threatened the park. Later the Park Service asked for a comprehensive restoration plan including changes in flow distribution and intentional breaching of levees and filling in of canals to return flows to the approximate levels that existed before widespread development.
The Florida legislature had expanded SFWMD's duties from traditional flood control and water supply to include issuance of permits for certain types of water use, surface water and stormwater management, land acquisition for riverine habitat restoration, and water quality protection.4 This new mission made SFWMD stewards of environmental uses, as well as water uses, and expanded its role in resolving the Everglades crisis.
In response to its new role in the controversy, SFWMD developed a two-pronged program to resolve the issue. The first part involved alternative dispute resolution (ADR), an approach to consensus building that seeks to identify com-