RESTORING THE EVERGLADES
The Eighth Biennial Review - 2020
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of
Everglades Restoration Progress
Water Science and Technology Board
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
This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of the Army under Cooperative Agreement No. W912EP-15-2-0002 and 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: 978-0-309-67978-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-67978-8
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25853
Cover credit: Eric Edkin
Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2021 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. 2021. Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Eighth Biennial Review - 2020. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25853.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president.
The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.
The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.
Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.
Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.
For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.
COMMITTEE ON INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF EVERGLADES RESTORATION PROGRESS
CHARLES T. DRISCOLL, Chair, Syracuse University, NY
WILLIAM G. BOGGESS, Oregon State University, Corvallis
CASEY BROWN, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
ROBIN K. CRAIG, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
THOMAS DUNNE, University of California, Santa Barbara
M. SIOBHAN FENNESSY, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
JAMES W. JAWITZ, University of Florida, Gainesville
EHAB A. MESELHE, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
DENISE J. REED, University of New Orleans, LA
JAMES SAIERS, Yale University, New Haven, CT
ERIC P. SMITH, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
MARTHA A. SUTULA, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Costa Mesa
JEFFREY R. WALTERS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
DENISE H. WARDROP, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Study Director
BRENDAN R. MCGOVERN, Research Associate (until December 2019)
ERIC EDKIN, Program Coordinator (from December 2019)
ELLENI GIORGIS, Program Assistant (from September 2020)
WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD
CATHERINE L. KLING (NAS), Chair, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
NEWSHA AJAMI, Stanford University, CA
PEDRO J. ALVAREZ (NAE), Rice University, Houston, TX
JONATHAN D. ARTHUR, Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee
RUTH L. BERKELMAN (NAM), Emory University, Atlanta, GA
JORDAN R. FISCHBACH, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
ELLEN GILINSKY, Ellen Gilinsky, LLC, Richmond, VA
WENDY D. GRAHAM, University of Florida, Gainesville
ROBERT M. HIRSCH, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA
VENKATARAMAN LAKSHMI, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
MARK W. LeCHEVALLIER, Dr. Water Consulting, LLC, Morrison, CO
CAMILLE PANNU, University of California, Irvine
DAVID L. SEDLAK (NAE), University of California, Berkeley
JENNIFER TANK, University of Notre Dame, IN
DAVID L. WEGNER, Jacobs Engineering, Tucson, AZ
P. KAY WHITLOCK, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., Rosemont, IL
DEBORAH GLICKSON, Director
LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer
STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer
M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial Business Partner
COURTNEY DEVANE, Administrative Coordinator
CALLA ROSENFELD, Senior Program Assistant
SARAH HAEDRICH, Program Assistant
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 these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Kenneth W. Potter, University of Wisconsin and Bonnie McCay, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Appointed by the National Academies, 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 received full consideration. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
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 Emad Habib, University of Louisiana at Lafayette for assistance with Figure 6-3. We would also like to thank the following people who gave presentations, participated in panel discussions, provided public comment to the committee, or served as field trip guides.
This page intentionally left blank.
This report is dedicated to the memory of two long-time supporters of the Everglades and its restoration, Drs. Karl Havens and William (Will) Graf. Karl was a member of the faculty of the University of Florida and the director of the Florida Sea Grant program. He was a member of the National Academies Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP), participating in committees in 2014 and 2016. Karl was an internationally recognized scholar on the response of freshwater and coastal ecosystems to human disturbances, including excess nutrients and climate change. He had considerable research interests and experience in Lake Okeechobee and Everglades restoration, which this committee put to good use. Karl was passionate in his personal and professional interests and always generous with his time and energy. Karl was an ardent and talented photographer and a great resource for interesting eateries in South Florida.
Will Graf was a Foundation University Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He served on CISRERP committees from 2004 to 2016, including as chair for the second biennial review (NRC, 2008). He also served on two prior National Academies Everglades committees from 2002 to 2004. Will had a long and distinguished career in geography, focusing on the geomorphology and hydrology of rivers, and the intersection of science and policy for public lands and waters. Will was generous in professional service, and he chaired or served on more than 20 committees of the National Academies, serving continuously on at least one committee (sometimes more) for 30 years. He had many interests, including hiking, kayaking, and traveling, and he delighted in sharing these passions with other committee members by organizing bicycling adventures in Newport Beach and a subgroup trip to Picayune Strand. The committee fondly remembers Will’s train whistle calling committee meetings to order and his relentless enthusiasm for the application of Everglades restoration science.
Karl and Will were tremendous colleagues and great friends. They will be missed.
This page intentionally left blank.
The Everglades is a wondrous and unique landscape. This vast wetland drains a complex of sawgrass marshes and sloughs, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, and cypress swamps before discharging into its surrounding estuaries, including the St. Lucie Estuary, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, Biscayne Bay, and Florida Bay. The Everglades is also surrounded by ever-increasing urban development. Although there is an inherent tension between the built and natural environment, a fully functioning Everglades is critical to many ecosystem services that benefit the ever-increasing population of South Florida, including drinking water supply; mitigation against sea-level rise and storm surges; and healthy, productive, and diverse wildlife and fisheries, among many others. Unfortunately, drainage and development compromised the form and function of the Everglades and continue to impair the quantity and quality of water. Recent observations show that the Everglades are also increasingly challenged by changing climate. Sea-level rise, erratic and extreme weather, and harmful algal blooms are all manifestations of climate change and have focused public attention on the critical need to restore and protect the natural environment of South Florida.
Recognizing the consequences of the long-term degradation of the South Florida landscape, in 1999 the federal government partnered with the State of Florida to initiate the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to maintain and improve the ecosystem’s structure and function. In establishing the CERP, Congress also requested that an independent scientific review be conducted on progress toward restoration with biennial reports. The National Academies formed the Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP) in 2004. This report is the eighth in the series.
This report period coincides with a particularly exciting period for the CERP. Twenty years in, the restoration efforts are, at last, seeing the completion and operation of some projects and progress in others. This transition from planning projects to beginning of their operation, integration, and optimization is
rewarding for the many people and groups who have worked long and hard on Everglades restoration. This pivot toward project operation represents an opportunity to learn about the first stages of ecosystem response to restoration and to use this information to inform and guide future restoration efforts.
The CISRERP consists of scientists, social scientists, and engineers with a range of relevant expertise and experience in the environmental sciences, hydrology, wetland and estuarine science, systems engineering, statistics, modeling, project and program administration, law, economics, and public policy. Some committee members have experience in past CISRERP reviews or have relevant research experience working on the Everglades. Other committee members are less familiar with this complex and important system. This span of experience is healthy and brings a range of perspectives to the issues and activities we considered. The full committee met on four occasions in Florida and twice virtually over a 12-month period. We reviewed reports and published literature, heard oral presentations, and had discussions with federal, state, and tribal personnel, academic scientists, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and interest groups, and the public. I am humbled and honored to work with such a distinguished and dedicated group. The CISRERP members are highly accomplished and have worked diligently and effectively as a team to produce this report. I have been impressed with the careful analysis, ideas, time committed, and thoughtful suggestions by committee members in reviewing materials and developing the report. This report represents a consensus of the committee on the restoration progress and challenges anticipated in future restoration not only from the perspective of the most recent 2-year period, but also more broadly since the CERP was initiated 20 years ago.
The committee is indebted to many individuals for supplying information and resources that have been critical to our review. In particular, the committee’s technical liaisons—Glenn Landers (USACE), Eva Velez (USACE), Nafeeza Hooseinny (SFWMD), and Robert Johnson (DOI)—greatly facilitated our work by effectively responding to frequent requests for information and providing access to agency resources and expertise. The committee is appreciative of the efforts of numerous people who readily provided valuable insights and knowledge of the Everglades ecosystem and its restoration through presentations, conversations, terrific field trips, and public comments (see Acknowledgments).
The committee has been extremely fortunate to work with gifted staff from the National Academies to help us meet our charge. Stephanie Johnson has been stellar as project officer of eight CISRERP committees for the National Academies. The CERP is a remarkably challenging and interesting program entailing a complex biophysical system, many interconnected restoration projects, a number of federal, state, and tribal agencies that work together to accomplish the restora-
tion, and stakeholders who are passionate about the Everglades but at times have conflicting ideas and interests. Stephanie’s intellect, experience, and tenacity have been essential to help the committee navigate through the complexity in order to address the issues facing the CERP. Her perseverance and leadership have been critical in the development of this report. We were fortunate to have the services of Brendan McGovern to support the logistical needs of the committee and provide sage advice on local restaurants for memorable and productive dinners after committee meetings and field trips. Unfortunately, Brendan left the National Academies before the committee’s work was complete. His positive outlook, hard work, and stories have been missed. Fortunately, Brendan was replaced by Eric Edkin. Eric’s technical mastery was invaluable to the committee, particularly when it was necessary to transition to virtual meetings. Without these capable staff, the committee would have experienced difficulty meeting the challenge of this review and report.
Charles Driscoll, Chair
Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress
This page intentionally left blank.
This page intentionally left blank.
|ASR||aquifer storage and recovery|
|BBCW||Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands|
|BBSEER||Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration|
|BBSM||Biscayne Bay Simulation Model|
|BMAP||Basin Management Action Plans|
|BMP||best management practice|
|BOD||biochemical oxygen demand|
|C&SF||Central and Southern Florida|
|CEPP||Central Everglades Planning Project|
|CERP||Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan|
|CFR||Code of Federal Regulations|
|cfs||cubic feet per second|
|CHNEP||Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership|
|CISRERP||Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress|
|COP||Combined Operational Plan|
|COP-PDT+||Combined Operational Plan project delivery team|
|CROGEE||Committee on the Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem|
|CSSS||Cape Sable seaside sparrow|
|DOI||U.S. Department of the Interior|
|EAA||Everglades Agricultural Area|
|EIS||Environmental Impact Statement|
|ENP||Everglades National Park|
|EPA||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|ERTP||Everglades Restoration Transition Plan|
|FDEP||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
|FEB||flow equalization basin|
|FWS||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
|HAB||harmful algal bloom|
|HSI||habitat suitability index|
|IDS||Integrated Delivery Schedule|
|IOP||Interim Operational Plan|
|IRL-S||Indian River Lagoon-South|
|LNWR||Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge|
|LOWRP||Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project|
|LTER||Long-Term Ecological Research|
|MAP||monitoring and assessment plan|
|NASEM||National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine|
|NCEAS||National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis|
|NEPA||National Environmental Policy Act|
|NGVD||National Geodetic Vertical Datum|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|NPDES||National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System|
|NPS||National Park Service|
|NRC||National Research Council|
|PACR||Post Authorization Change Report|
|PPA||project partnership agreement|
|ppb||parts per billion|
|ppt||parts per thousand|
|PSU||practical salinity unit|
|QAOT||Quality Assurance Oversight Team|
|RECOVER||REstoration, COordination, and VERification|
|RPA||reasonable and prudent alternative|
|RSM||Regional Simulation Model|
|RSMGL||Regional Simulation Model Glades-Lower East Coast Simulation Area|
|SAV||submerged aquatic vegetation|
|SEACOM||Florida Bay Seagrass Community Model|
|SESYNC||National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center|
|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|
|TTFF||Tamiami Trail Flow Formula|
|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)|
This page intentionally left blank.