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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

RE-ENGINEERING WATER STORAGE IN THE EVERGLADES

Risks and Opportunities

Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

Water Science and Technology Board

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Division on Earth and Life Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This project was supported by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, U.S. Department of the Interior, under assistance of Cooperative Agreement No. 5280-9-9029, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authoring committee and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-09529-8 (Book)

Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

Cover design by Michele de la Menardiere, National Academies Press. Map by the National Academies.

Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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COMMITTEE ON RESTORATION OF THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM (CROGEE)1,2

JEAN M. BAHR, Chair,

University of Wisconsin, Madison

SCOTT W. NIXON, Vice-Chair,

University of Rhode Island, Narragansett

BARBARA L. BEDFORD,

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

LINDA K. BLUM,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

PATRICK L. BREZONIK,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

FRANK W. DAVIS,

University of California, Santa Barbara

WILLIAM L. GRAF,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

WAYNE C. HUBER,

Oregon State University, Corvallis

STEPHEN R. HUMPHREY,

University of Florida, Gainesville

KENNETH W. POTTER,

University of Wisconsin, Madison

KENNETH H. RECKHOW,

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

LARRY ROBINSON,

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee

HENRY J. VAUX, JR.

University of California, Berkeley

JEFFREY R. WALTERS,

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

NRC Staff

STEPHEN D. PARKER, Senior Board Director,

Water Science and Technology Board

DAVID J. POLICANSKY3, Scholar,

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Program Officer,

Water Science and Technology Board

PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Senior Program Associate,

Water Science and Technology Board

1  

The activities of the Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE) are overseen and supported by the NRC’s Water Science and Technology Board (lead) and Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (see Appendix B).

2  

Biographical sketches of committee members are contained in Appendix C.

3  

Lead NRC staff supporting the drafting of this report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

Preface

The Everglades of south Florida is truly a unique ecosystem. Nowhere else on Earth is there the same combination of a warm and alternately wet-dry climate, relatively flat topography, and predominantly limestone geology that came together in south Florida to create a vast wetland unlike any other. The animals and plants that live there have evolved in a unique environment and thus the biological community is unique as well. The ecological value of this ecosystem is reflected in the approval by Congress in 2000 of nearly $8 billion for its restoration. And restoration is needed: the changes that have occurred in south Florida over the past century have been dramatic. They include the development of large cities along Florida’s coasts; the development of agriculture in the region, especially to the south of Lake Okeechobee; and the construction of canals, levees, dikes, roads, and other structures in and around the Everglades designed to move water and people and to protect people and their structures from floods.

Restoring the ecosystem—or even successfully preventing further degradation—is an enormous and exciting challenge. There is no successful model to follow anywhere. Many components of the restoration plan depend on relatively new technologies, untried at the scale envisioned for the Everglades. A host of financial, political, social, environmental, ecological, administrative, and legal challenges make the effort even more complex. The stakes are high.

This is the seventh and final report1 of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem (CROGEE),2 which provides consensus advice to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (“Task Force”). The Task Force was established in 1993 and was codified in the 1996 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA); its responsibilities include facilitating the coordination of the development of a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving, and protecting the south Florida ecosystem, and the coordination of related research. The CROGEE, established in 1999, works under the auspices

1  

The six previous reports are: Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: A Critique of the Pilot Projects and Related Plans for ASR in the Lake Okeechobee and Western Hillsboro Areas (2001); Regional Issues in Aquifer Storage and Recovery for Everglades Restoration (2002); Florida Bay Research Programs and their Relation to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (2002); Adaptive Monitoring and Assessment for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (2003); Science and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration: An Assessment of the Critical Ecosystem Initiative (2003); and Does Water Flow Influence Everglades Landscape Patterns? (2003).

2  

As of 12/31/04 the CROGEE was disbanded and effectively replaced by a new, congressionally mandated NRC committee, which was organized in August 2004 to provide regular reviews and biennial reporting on progress toward Everglades restoration. The first report of the new Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2006.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board and Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.

The CROGEE’s mandate includes providing the Task Force with scientific overview and technical assessment of the restoration activities and plans, while also providing focused advice on technical topics of importance to the restoration effort. The main topic of this report is the storage options in the restoration program. Replacing the natural storage and flow-damping functions within the Greater Everglades that have been lost through more than a century of drainage and development in south Florida is at the heart of the Restoration Plan’s goal of “getting the water right.” Thus, the success of this multidecadal, multibillion dollar restoration project hinges on the many project components related to storage, some conventional and some novel.

Over the past five years, the CROGEE has devoted several meetings to reviews of hydrologic and ecological analyses and other considerations with respect to water storage components proposed in the restoration effort. Those meetings included workshops, field trips, and public sessions. This final report of the CROGEE is based on information obtained during these meetings as well as additional review of literature and project documents by committee members. The Restoration Plan continues to evolve, and some recent changes that occurred after this report entered review were not evaluated by the committee. Whereas this report focuses on storage, because of the critical role played by storage components in the Restoration Plan, it also touches on and has implications for broader issues related to the scientific basis of the plan, some of which have not been fully explored in previous committee reports.

The entire committee, with valuable assistance from NRC staff David Policansky, William Logan, and Patricia Jones Kershaw, was involved in the development and writing of this report. The director of the Water Science and Technology Board, Stephen Parker, guided the overall effort and contributed substantively to the committee’s deliberations. Working with them has been educational and productive, and I am grateful to them all. The CROGEE is grateful for the numerous meeting presentations, assistance in data gathering, clarification of project documents, and fact checking provided by many individuals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park, and other partners in the Restoration Plan. The committee has been impressed with the quality of service the staff of those agencies and others are providing to the public. They are dedicated, thoughtful, and able. We suspect that they, like the committee, are motivated at least in part by the wonders of the ecosystem we all have been focusing on. It is difficult to single any of them out for the help they gave to this committee, but I would be remiss not to give special thanks to Stuart Appelbaum, Nick Aumen, Ronnie Best, Michael Chimney, Steve Davis, Bob Johnson, Jayantha Obeysekera, John Ogden, Peter Ortner, and Kenneth Tarboten for their clear briefings, willingness to provide information, and their patient answering of the committee’s questions.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
×

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:


David L. Freyberg, Stanford University

Steven P. Gloss, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Arizona

Louis J. Gross, University of Tennessee

Frances C. James, Florida State University

Stuart L. Pimm, Duke University

Rutherford H. Platt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Jerald L. Schnoor, University of Iowa

Leonard Shabman, Resources for the Future

John Vecchioli, Odessa, Florida


Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia and Frank H. Stillinger, Princeton University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Jean M. Bahr, Chair

Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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 Water-Quality Considerations

 

38

   

 Conventional Surface Reservoirs

 

39

   

 Kissimmee Basin

 

40

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

41

   

 EAA and Vicinity

 

42

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

42

   

 Upper East Coast

 

43

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

43

   

 Other Technologies and Strategies

 

44

   

 Aquifer Storage and Recovery

 

44

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

47

   

 In-Ground Reservoirs

 

49

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

51

   

 Seepage Management

 

53

   

 Environmental Considerations

 

55

   

 Water Reuse and Conservation

 

55

   

 Water-Quality Considerations

 

57

   

 Summary and Comparison

 

58

3

 

CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES

 

62

   

 Sequencing

 

62

   

 Protect Against Additional Habitat Loss

 

62

   

 Provide Ecological Benefits as Early as Possible

 

63

   

 System Uncertainties

 

65

   

 Endangered Species

 

67

   

 Invasive and Irruptive Species

 

68

   

 Disappearance of Unique Everglades Communities

 

70

   

 Loss of Tree Islands and Ridge-and-Slough Topography

 

70

   

 Expansion of Eutrophic Conditions

 

71

   

 Mercury Deposition, Mobilization, and Bioaccumulation

 

73

   

 Regional Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise

 

75

   

 Contingency Planning

 

75

   

 Adaptive Management

 

76

   

 Sustainability of the Restoration Plan

 

77

   

 Application of Rehabilitation Approach to Evaluation of Everglades Restoration Options

 

81

4

 

RECONSIDERING AVAILABLE STORAGE OPTIONS

 

83

   

 Everglades Agricultural Area

 

84

   

 Can Lake Okeechobee Provide More Water Storage?

 

84

   

 Brief History and Site Description

 

85

   

 Water Quality of Lake Okeechobee

 

87

   

 Restoration Alternatives for Lake Okeechobee

 

90

5

 

EVALUATING ECOLOGICAL TRADEOFFS

 

93

   

 Introduction

 

93

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2005. Re-Engineering Water Storage in the Everglades: Risks and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11215.
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The Water Science and Technology Board and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology have released the seventh and final report of the Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, which provides consensus advice to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force on various scientific and technical topics. Human settlements and flood-control structures have significantly reduced the Everglades, which once encompassed over three million acres of slow-moving water enriched by a diverse biota. To remedy the degradation of the Everglades, a comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was formulated in 1999 with the goal of restoring the original hydrologic conditions of its remaining natural ecosystem. A major feature of this plan is providing enough storage capacity to meet human needs while also providing the needs of the greater Everglades ecosystem. This report reviews and evaluates not only storage options included in the Restoration Plan but also other options not considered in the Plan. Along with providing hydrologic and ecological analyses of the size, location and functioning of water storage components, the report also discusses and makes recommendations on related critical factors, such as timing of land acquisition, intermediate states of restoration, and tradeoffs among competing goals and ecosystem objectives.

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