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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies Initiative

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Sheet

Project: A Spatially Explicit Decision Support System for Everglades Ecological Risk Assessment and Restoration

Starting Date: 10/01/2002 Ending Date: 12/31/2005

Web Sites: ATLSS.ORG

Location: The total system

Funding Source: USGS Place-Based Initiative Funding

Principal Investigators: Leonard Pearlstine, University of Florida, IFAS, 3205 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7799 Phone: 954-577-6304 Fax: 954-475-4125 e-mail:
Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida, IFAS, 3205 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7799
Donald L. DeAngelis, Phone 305-284-1690, e-mail

Other Supporting Organizations: USGS/BRD, NPS, ACE, EPA

Associated Projects: Related to ATLSS Program

Overview & Status: The ATLSS Program is supporting a collaboration with Dr. Leonard Pearlstine to take steps towards the development of a Decision Support System. This collaboration goes beyond ad-hoc policy formulation to an analytical and computer-supported platform for effective management and policy-making. Using available data to make informed decisions and recognizing research gaps to future study in a tractable manner is non-trivial. Support methodologies that help authorities involved in ecological restoration sort out all the decision variables and parameters, problem solving heuristics, and appreciate the impacts of potential policy actions is critical to successful planning and management.

Needs & Products: This project will develop a case study functioning spatial decision support system for a CERP project area using a modular architecture that allows rapid transfer of the prototype system to other project areas. The SDSS will assist managers in assessing issues and alternatives for wildlife habitat response to CERP project activities. Specific objectives in support of the goal include:

  • Habitat modeling of biodiversity (potential use of habitat by all native species, by guilds, and by species of special concern) and of indicator species (species most likely to respond to changes in the physical environment).
  • Make data, images, simulation models and textual information readily accessible through an intuitive user interface.
  • Provide a decision model for assistance in structuring the issues, designing and choosing among alternative actions, and resolving multiple, often conflicting, goals.
  • Facilitate adaptive management, depiction of uncertainty, and targeted monitoring.
  • Provide an adaptable, modular SDSS structure that allows incremental development, potential future interaction with other systems and various levels of sophistication.
  • Improve the effectiveness, thoroughness and documentation of decisions and the decision process.

Application to Everglades Restoration: The development of a computerized DSS makes economic sense in integrated Everglades restoration efforts because of the large amount of data that must be collected and processed to produce and analyze decision alternatives, decision-making procedures that are applied to many cases within a domain or periodically repeated, many potential users, short time frames for making critical decisions, the expense of accessing top-level expertise, and the possibility of a large number of alternative decisions with significant and different implications.

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