RESTORING THE EVERGLADES
The Seventh Biennial Review - 2018
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 Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001
Support for this study was provided 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: 978-0-309-47978-3
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47978-9
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25198
Cover credit: David Policansky
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Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Seventh Biennial Review—2018. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25198.
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COMMITTEE ON INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF EVERGLADES RESTORATION PROGRESS
WILLIAM G. BOGGESS, Chair, Oregon State University, Corvallis
MARY JANE ANGELO, University of Florida, Gainesville
CHARLES T. DRISCOLL, Syracuse University, New York
M. SIOBHAN FENNESSY, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio
WENDY D. GRAHAM, University of Florida, Gainesville
KARL E. HAVENS, University of Florida, Gainesville
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, University of New Orleans, Louisiana
JAMES E. SAIERS, Yale University, Connecticut
ERIC P. SMITH, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
DENICE H. WARDROP, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
GREG D. WOODSIDE, Orange County Water District, Fountain Valley, California
STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director, Water Science and Technology Board
BRENDAN R. McGOVERN, Research Assistant, Water Science and Technology Board
DAVID J. POLICANSKY, Scholar, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology
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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 provided presentations or public comment to the committee or served as field trip guides.
Nick Aumen, U.S. Geological Survey
James Beerens, U.S. Geological Survey
Laura Brandt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Tim Breen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Trisston Brown, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rich Budell, Budell Water Group
Cara Capp, National Parks Conservation Association
Dean Carpenter, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership
Bill Causey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bahram Charkhian, South Florida Water Management District
Cris Costello, Sierra Club
Dan Crawford, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Steve Culberson, Delta Stewardship Council
Steve Davis, Everglades Foundation
Celeste De Palma, Audubon Florida
Michael Drog, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dennis Duke, U.S. Geological Survey
Gretchen Ehlinger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Shannon Estenoz, Department of Interior
Michelle Ferree, South Florida Water Management District
Brad Foster, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Jim Fourqurean, Florida International University
Tom Frankovich, Florida International University
Evelyn Gaiser, Florida International University
Donna George, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Alex Gillen, Bull Sugar
David Gillings, Palm Beach County
Howie Gonzales, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Patti Gorman, South Florida Water Management District
Susan Gray, South Florida Water Management District
Paul Gray, Audubon Florida
Tim Gysan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Chuck Hanlon, South Florida Water Management District
Rainer Hoenicke, Delta Stewardship Council
Bud Howard, Loxahatchee River District
Tom James, South Florida Water Management District
LTC Jennifer Reynolds, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Kang-Ren Jin, South Florida Water Management District
Bob Johnson, U.S. National Park Service
Paul Julian, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Kelly Keefe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Chris Kelble, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
William “Chad” Kennedy, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Kevin Kotun, U.S. National Park Service
Glenn Landers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Jennifer Leeds, South Florida Water Management District
Andy LoSchiavo, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Ernie Marks, South Florida Water Management District
Jenna May, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Agnes McLean, U.S. National Park Service
Miles Meyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Brenda Mills, South Florida Water Management District
June Mirecki, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Matt Morrison, South Florida Water Management District
Melissa Nasuti, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mark Nelson, Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Mindy Parrott, South Florida Water Management District
April Patterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mark Perry, Everglades Coalition
Patrick Pitts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rene Price, Florida International University
Bob Progulske, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Jed Redwine, U.S. National Park Service
Gregg Reynolds, U.S. National Park Service
Stephanie Romanach, U.S. Geological Survey
Barry Rosen, U.S. Geological Survey
Rob Rossmanith, Jonathan Dickinson State Park
David Rudnick, U.S. National Park Service
Steve Schubert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dawn Shirreffs, Everglades Foundation
Fred Sklar, South Florida Water Management District
Janet Starnes, South Florida Water Management District
Eric Summa, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Donatto Surratt, U.S. National Park Service
Peter Tango, U.S. Geological Survey
Kim Taplin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Brett Thomas, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Joel Trexler, Florida International University
Tiffany Troxler, Florida International University
Diana Umpierre, Sierra Club
Stuart Van Horn, South Florida Water Management District
Craig van der Heiden, Miccosukee Tribe
Eva Velez, South Florida Water Management District
Bob Verrastro, South Florida Water Management District
Zach Welch, South Florida Water Management District
Walter Wilcox, South Florida Water Management District
Mike Yustin, Martin County
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South Florida is blessed with a unique, wonderfully diverse, and geographically extensive wetland ecosystem reaching from just 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 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 more than 20 years ago that significant action was needed to rescue and preserve this national treasure.
The U.S. Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000 as the multidecadal, multibillion-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 seventh biennial review of CERP progress by this committee.
This seventh 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. The committee met five times over a 14-month period, including four times in Florida. We reviewed a large volume of written material and heard oral presentations from state and federal agency personnel, academic researchers, interest groups, and members of the public. The committee’s task is a daunting one, given the size and complexity of the Everglades ecosystem and corresponding scope of the CERP. I greatly appreciate the time, attention, and thought each committee member invested in understanding this complex system. I also appreciate the careful, rigorous analyses, expert judgment, constructive comments and reviews, and good humor with which they conducted their work. The report presents our consensus view of restoration accomplishments and challenges that have emerged during not only the past 2 years but also the nearly two decades since the project was authorized.
The committee thanks many individuals for the information and resources they provided. Specifically, we appreciate the efforts of the committee’s technical liaisons—David Tipple (USACE), Donna George (USACE), Glenn Landers (USACE), Rod Braun (SFWMD), Megan Jacoby (SFWMD), and Robert Johnson (Department of the Interior)—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 had the good fortune to be assisted by three dedicated and very talented National Academies’ staff: Stephanie Johnson, David Policansky, and Brendan McGovern. Serving as senior project officer for all seven CISRERP panels, Stephanie Johnson orchestrated the study for the National Academies. 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 seven CISRERP panels, and his experience, insightful observations, and illuminating questions were fundamental to the committee’s deliberations. Brendan McGovern most ably supported the logistical needs of the committee. Brendan was also a valued contributor in completing the final report. Simply put, this report would not have been possible without the National
Academies staff’s exceptional support and good humor. I know I speak for the entire committee in expressing our profound respect and appreciation.
This Consensus Study Report was 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 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Bonnie McCay, Rutgers University, 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 the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
In this seventh CISRERP review cycle, our committee has the pleasure of reporting on the early ecosystem benefits from CERP investments. The past 2 years have also been marked by impressive progress in meeting water quality targets, construction, and project planning. Another portion of our charge is to evaluate the effectiveness of the monitoring and assessment program in supporting resto-
ration efforts. In this report, we provide a detailed review of CERP project-level monitoring and assessment with an eye toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the CERP monitoring program within existing resource constraints.
A third part of our charge is to illuminate issues that may impede or diminish the overall success of CERP. In the past, we have highlighted the slow rate of program implementation, the focus on the periphery rather than the center, adverse trajectories for natural system components, potential impacts of climate change, implications of invasive species, and the need for a CERP update. We believe our independent reviews have brought an important and timely focus on these critical concerns. In this review we turn our attention to the future. During the past 30 years of Everglades restoration, the past has been prologue. Understanding the past tells us what made this ecosystem unique and special, including the processes that created and sustained it, informing the restoration efforts. The original CERP plan was formulated based on a pre-drainage or early-twentieth century vision of the historical Everglades and past sea levels and rainfall and temperature distributions. But the past is not prologue for the future environment of South Florida. There is now ample evidence that rainfall and temperature distributions in South Florida are changing and compelling recent evidence that sea-level rise in South Florida is accelerating. It is clear that the Greater Everglades of 2050 and beyond will be much different from what was envisioned at the time of the CERP conceptual plan, known as the Yellow Book. These changes have profound implications for the interrelated challenges of restoring the natural system, providing flood protection, and meeting the water demands of a growing population. Everglades restoration has always been an ambitious and complex endeavor; our current review emphasizes how it is also dynamic and the importance of focusing restoration on the future Everglades, rather than on the past Everglades. We offer this report with an eye to that future and in support of that grand endeavor.
William Boggess, Chair
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP)
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|ASR||aquifer storage and recovery|
|BBCW||Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands|
|BMP||best management practice|
|CEPP||Central Everglades Planning Project|
|CERP||Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan|
|CESI||Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative|
|CISRERP||Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress|
|CROGEE||Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem|
|C&SF||Central and Southern Florida|
|DMDU||decision making under deep uncertainty|
|DOI||U.S. Department of the Interior|
|DPM||Decomp(artmentalization) Physical Model|
|EAA||Everglades Agricultural Area|
|EDRR||early detection and rapid response|
|EPA||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|ERTP||Everglades Restoration Transition Plan|
|FEB||flow equalization basin|
|FISK||Fish Invasiveness Screening Kit|
|GCM||general circulation model|
|HHD||Herbert Hoover Dike|
|IDS||Integrated Delivery Schedule|
|IRL-S||Indian River Lagoon-South|
|LNWR||Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge|
|LOEM||Lake Okeechobee Environment Model|
|LORS||Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule|
|LTER||Long-term Ecological Research|
|MAP||monitoring and assessment plan|
|NASEM||National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine|
|NDVI||Normalized Difference Vegetation Index|
|NGVD||National Geodetic Vertical Datum|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|NPS||National Park Service|
|NRC||National Research Council|
|PPA||project partnership agreement|
|ppb||parts per billion|
|RCP||representative concentration pathway|
|RDM||robust decision making|
|RECOVER||REstoration, COordination, and VERification|
|RPA||reasonable and prudent alternative|
|RSM||Regional Simulation Model|
|SAV||submerged aquatic vegetation|
|SFERTF||South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force|
|SFWMD||South Florida Water Management District|
|SFWMM||South Florida Water Management Model|
|SSR||System Status Report|
|STA||stormwater treatment area|
|TMDL||total maximum daily load|
|USACE||U.S. Army Corps of Engineers|
|USDA||U.S. Department of Agriculture|
|WAI||wetland affinity index|
|WCA||Water Conservation Area|
|WERP||Western Everglades Restoration Project|
|WQBEL||water quality–based effluent limit|
|WRDA||Water Resources Development Act|
|WSE||Water Supply and Environment|
|WY||water year (May 1 to April 30)|
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