projects > compilation of alligator data sets in south florida for restoration needs > project summary
Project Summary Sheet
U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies
Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet
Location (Subregions & Counties): LNWR (Palm Beach), WCA 2A,2B,3A,3B (Broward, Dade), ENP (Dade).
Funding (Source): Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI), USGS Place-Based Studies
Principal Investigator(s): Kenneth G. Rice, USGS: firstname.lastname@example.org; Frank J. Mazzotti, University of Florida
Project Personnel: Christa Zweig (MS student, UF)
Supporting Organizations: University of Florida, FFWCC, USFWS, NPS
Associated / Linked Projects: Parameter Estimation of American Alligator Populations in Support of ATLSS
Overview & Status: Information on alligator densities, nesting and growth have been collected in south Florida since the 1950s by rangers and researchers in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel, University researchers, and private consultants. Many of the most critical data sets are not accessible for use in evaluating restoration alternatives or developing models. This study provides access to this historical data and uses the information to evaluate current alligator populations and develop restoration evaluation techniques. Progress includes (1) Interviews, questionnaires, and discussions with crocodilian biologists and managers in South Florida have been used to identify, locate, and assess availability of historical data sets; (2) The most important datasets have been identified. Several have been acquired and assimilated into an ACCESS database. Other databases have been identified and are being acquired; (3) We have evaluated alligator condition throughout the Everglades Ecosystem in response to hydrology. Animals have been captured from Loxahatchee NWR, WCA 2A, WCA 2B, WCA 3A North, WCA 3A South, Everglades National Park (Shark Slough and estuarine areas), and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Needs & Products: We are continuing to acquire historical data and incorporate them into our database. Our condition study and the development of tools for evaluation of restoration success continue through 2002. We will produce a final web-accessible database by 2003 for use by all researchers involved in Everglades restoration and provide the condition analysis tool for use in performance measure development and evaluation.
Application to Everglades Restoration: (1) This study was designated a critical project for restoration of crocodilian populations determined by a meeting of over 40 biologists, managers, and administrators held in Homestead in December, 1998. (2) This study provides information that directly addresses the critical ecological pathways outlined in the Everglades Ridge & Slough Conceptual Ecosystem Model. (3) This information is needed to develop specific performance measures such as reduce frequency of water dry-outs during courtship period and duration of below ground water depths to increase alligator nesting and re-establish hydrological predictability for relationship between peak early wet season water levels and late wet season levels to reduce alligator nest flooding. (4) This study allows estimation of parameters necessary for an ATLSS American alligator production index and an ATLSS alligator population model for comparison of restoration alternatives during implementation as outlined in South Florida Ecosystem Restoration: Scientific Information Needs by the Science Subgroup of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. (5) The condition factor analysis designed by this study will allow researchers to quickly assess the progress of restoration in the Everglades.