RESTORING THE EVERGLADES
The Sixth Biennial Review - 2016
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of
Everglades Restoration Progress
Water Science and Technology Board
Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology
Division on Earth and Life Studies
A Report of
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This activity was supported by the Department of the Army under Cooperative Agreement No. W912EP-04-2-0001. Support for this project was also provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the South Florida Water Management District. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-45087-4
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-45087-X
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/23672
Cover image courtesy of David J. Policansky.
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Sixth Biennial Review – 2016. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23672.
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COMMITTEE ON INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF EVERGLADES RESTORATION PROGRESS
DAVID B. ASHLEY (Chair), University of Southern California
MARY JANE ANGELO, University of Florida, Gainesville
WILLIAM G. BOGGESS, Oregon State University, Corvallis
CHARLES T. DRISCOLL, Syracuse University, New York
M. SIOBHAN FENNESSY, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio
WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia
KARL E. HAVENS, University of Florida, Gainesville
WAYNE C. HUBER, Oregon State University, Corvallis
FERNANDO R. MIRALLES-WILHELM, University of Maryland, College Park
DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
GORDON H. ORIANS, University of Washington, Seattle
DENISE J. REED, The Water Institute of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
JAMES E. SAIERS, Yale University, Connecticut
JEFFREY R. WALTERS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director, Water Science and Technology Board
DAVID J. POLICANSKY, Scholar, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology
ED DUNNE, Program Officer, Water Science and Technology Board
BRENDAN R. McGOVERN, Senior Program Assistant, Water Science and Technology Board
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Many individuals assisted the committee and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine staff in their task to create this report. We would like to express our appreciation to the following people who have provided presentations or public comment to the committee:
Nick Aumen, U.S. Geological Survey
Drew Bartlett, Florida Department of Environment Protection
James Beerens, U.S. Geological Survey
Ingrid Bon, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Eric Bush, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Cara Campbell, Ecology Party of Florida
Cara Capp, Everglades Coalition
Pat Cauley, Rep. Clawson’s Office
David Ceilley, Florida Gulf Coast University
Newton Cook, United Waterfowlers of Florida
Anna Maria Costillo, Arthur R. Marshall Foundation
Chris Costillo, Sierra Club
Dan Crawford, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Steve Davis, Everglades Foundation
Tylan Dean, U.S. National Park Service
Don DeAngelis, University of Miami
Deb Drum, Martin County
James Erskine, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians
Shannon Estenoz, U.S. Department of the Interior
Jim Fourqurean, Florida International University
Howie Gonzales, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Patti Gorman, South Florida Water Management District
Wendy Graham, University of Florida, Gainesville
Jaime Graulau, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Susan Gray, South Florida Water Management District
Jud Harvey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Jennifer Hecker, Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Don Jodrey, U.S. Department of the Interior
Bob Johnson, U.S. National Park Service
Jennifer Leeds, South Florida Water Management District
Tom Lodge, Thomas E. Lodge Ecological Advisors, Inc.
Tom MacVicar, MacVicar Consulting
Ernie Marks, South Florida Water Management District
Jeremy McBryan, South Florida Water Management District
Agnes McLean, U.S. National Park Service
John Mitnik, South Florida Water Management District
Matt Morrison, South Florida Water Management District
Martha Musgrove, Florida Wildlife Federation
Cal Neidrauer, South Florida Water Management District
Jayantha Obeysekera, South Florida Water Management District
Gib Owen, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Leonard Pearlstine, U.S. National Park Service
Colin Polsky, Florida Center for Environmental Studies
Bob Progulske, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Gina Ralph, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Armando Ramirez, South Florida Water Management District
Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Stephanie Romanach, U.S. Geological Survey
Colin Saunders, South Florida Water Management District
Dan Scheidt, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dawn Sheriffs, Everglades Foundation
Fred Sklar, South Florida Water Management District
Ed Smith, Florida Department of Environment Protection
Karen Smith, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mike Sukop, Florida International University
Donatto Surratt, U.S. National Park Service
Kim Taplin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tom Teets, South Florida Water Management District
Abby Tinsley, U.S. Senator Nelson’s Office
Jorge Tous, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Steve Traxler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Joel Trexler, Florida International University
Ryan Valdez, National Park Conservation Association
Kate White, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
South Florida is blessed with a unique, wonderfully diverse, and geographically extensive, wetland ecosystem reaching from south of Orlando to the Florida Keys. After nearly 150 years of drainage, channelization and flood control actions, this extraordinary natural resource has been dramatically altered and continues to decline. Where water once traveled slowly south toward the Everglades National Park through ridge and slough wetlands, marl prairies and sawgrass plains, it is now often diverted to the ocean or to other uses—less than half ever reaches its historic destination. The quality of the water remaining in the system is compromised by the phosphorus, nitrogen, mercury and other contaminants introduced by urban development, agriculture, and industry. The combination of reduced water flow and degraded water quality impacts has adversely changed land formation and vegetation patterns. Experts recognized over 20 years ago that significant action was needed to preserve and maintain this national wetland resource.
The U.S. Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000 as the multi-decadal, multi-billion-dollar response. The CERP is focused on restoring, preserving, and protecting the South Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region. This massive restoration program, the largest in U.S. history, is jointly administered by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and is equally funded by federal and Florida monies. As part of the initial authorization, Congress mandated periodic independent reviews of progress toward restoration of the Everglades natural system. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress, or CISRERP, was formed for this purpose in 2004. This report represents the sixth biennial review of CERP progress by this committee.
This sixth iteration of CISRERP includes a mix of science and engineering specialists brought together for their combined expertise in environmental, biological, hydrologic, and geographic sciences; systems engineering; project
and program administration; law; economics; and public policy. These experts were selected for their eminence in their fields, as well as their experience with complex, natural systems similar to the Everglades. As committee chair, I am extremely appreciative of the significant time and energy, as well as intellectual capital, committee members devoted to this review; they performed careful, rigorous analyses of program progress and systemic issues. Our committee deliberations were always constructive, collegial, and professional—the positive spirit and good humor contributed to an especially enjoyable collaboration process. This 2016 report is a truly consensus committee product documenting the most critical factors in the successful completion of the CERP program.
The committee wishes to thank many individuals for the information and resources they provided. Specifically, we appreciate the efforts of the committee’s technical liaisons—David Tipple (USACE), Glenn Landers (USACE), Rod Braun (SFWMD), and Robert Johnson (DOI)—who responded to numerous information requests and facilitated the committee’s access to agency resources and expertise when needed. The committee is also grateful to the numerous individuals who shared their insights and knowledge of Everglades restoration through presentations, field trips, and public comments (see Acknowledgments).
The committee was assisted by five dedicated and very talented National Academies’ staff: Stephanie Johnson, David Policansky, Ed Dunne, Brendan McGovern, and Michael Stoever. Stephanie Johnson has served as senior program officer for all six CISRERP panels and is a deep reservoir of Everglades history and knowledge. Her comprehensive understanding of CERP and its component parts, the complex physical system, agency interrelationships, diverse constituencies, and the surrounding political landscape, gave her an unparalleled vantage point in supporting the committee’s activities. Stephanie’s stewardship of the final report creation process, initial drafting through completion, was exceptional. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine scholar David Policansky is also a veteran of all the CISRERP panels and his experience, insightful observations, and penetrating questions were fundamental to the committee’s deliberations. Brendan McGovern, and Michael Stoever before him, most ably supported the logistical needs of the committee. Brendan was also a valued contributor in completing the final report. Representing the entire committee, I wish to express our profound appreciation for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine staff’s exceptional abilities and unswerving support.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. 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 process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Stu Appelbaum, ARCADIS, Inc., Jacksonville, FL
Steven Beissinger, University of California, Berkeley
Peter Goodwin, University of Idaho, Boise
James Heaney, University of Florida, Gainesville
Catherine Kling, Iowa State University, Ames
Len Shabman, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
Chad Smith, Headwaters Corporation, Vestal, NY
Alan Steinmann, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI
Ramesh Teegavarapu, Florida Atlantic University, Baco Raton
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before the release. The review of this report was overseen by Robin McGuire, Lettis Consultants International, Inc., Boulder, CO; and Kenneth Potter, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 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.
In this sixth CISRERP review cycle, our committee has the pleasure of reporting the early ecosystem benefits from CERP investments. Another portion of our charge is to illuminate those issues that may impede or diminish the overall success of CERP. In the past, we have highlighted the slow rate of program implementation, focus on the periphery rather than the center, adverse trajectories for natural system components, potential impacts of climate change, and implications of invasive species. We believe our independent reviews have brought an important and timely focus on these critical concerns. Our attention this review is on what we have learned in the 16 years since initial authorization. Everglades restoration has always been an ambitious and complex endeavor; our current review emphasizes how it is also dynamic. Incorporating this new information into future program planning and implementation is crucial to achieving ultimate ecosystem restoration success. We offer this report in the spirit of bringing focus to what has been learned and how it informs future CERP planning.
David Ashley, Chair
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of
Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP)
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|ASR||aquifer storage and recovery|
Basin Management Action Plan
|BMP||best management practice|
Central Everglades Planning Project
|CERP||Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan|
|cfs||cubic feet per second|
|CISRERP||Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress|
|COP||combined operational plan|
|CROGEE||Committee on the Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem|
|C&SF||Central and Southern Florida|
Dynamic Model for Stormwater Treatment Areas
|DOI||U.S. Department of the Interior|
|DPM||Decomp(artmentalization) Physical Model|
Everglades Agricultural Area
|EDRR||early detection and rapid response|
|ELM||Everglades Landscape Model|
|ENP||Everglades National Park|
|EPA||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|ERTP||Everglades Restoration Transition Plan|
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
|FEB||flow equalization basin|
|FHA||Federal Highway Administration|
|FWS||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
General Design Memorandum
Herbert Hoover Dike
Integrated Delivery Schedule
|IOP||Interim Operational Plan|
|IRL-S||Indian River Lagoon-South|
Joint Ecosystem Modeling
Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment
|LNWR||Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge|
|LOPA||Lake Okeechobee Protection Act|
|LORS||Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule|
|MBTA||Migratory Bird Treaty Act|
|MGD||million gallons per day|
|MOM||Management Options Matrix|
North American Vertical Datum
|NESRS||Northeast Shark River Slough|
|NGVD||National Geodetic Vertical Datum|
|NRC||National Research Council|
|NSM||Natural System Model|
|NSRSM||Natural System Regional Simulation Model|
parts per billion
|psu||practical salinity units|
REstoration, COordination, and VERification
|RESOPS||Reservoir Sizing and Operations Screening|
|RPA||Reasonable and Prudent Alternative|
|RSM||Regional Simulation Model|
|RSMWQ||Regional Simulation Model Water Quality engine|
Synthesis of Everglades Research and Ecosystem Services
|SFERTF||South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force|
|SFWMD||South Florida Water Management District|
|SFWMM||South Florida Water Management Model|
|STA||stormwater treatment area|
to be determined
|TMDL||total maximum daily load|
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
|USGS||U.S. Geological Survey|
Wader Distribution Evaluation Modeling
|WCA||Water Conservation Area|
|WPA||Water Preserve Area|
|WQBEL||water quality-based effluent limit|
|WRDA||Water Resources Development Act|
|WRRDA||Water Resources Reform and Development Act|
|WSE||Water Supply and Environment|
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