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Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES and ENP CESI

Fiscal Year 2007 Study Work Plan

Study Title: A GIS-Based Decision-Support Tool to Evaluate Land Management Policies in South Florida
Study Start Date: October 1, 2005   Study End Date: September 30, 2009
Web Sites:
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Biscayne Bay/Everglades land bridge, Bird Drive Basin, see Appendix 1.
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES) and ENP Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative (CESI)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): USGS Geographic Analysis and Mapping (GAM)
Funding History:
Principal Investigator(s):
Richard Bernknopf, Paul Hearn, William Labiosa
Study Personnel: Paul Amos, David Brookshire, Nina Burkardt, Tom Daniels, Kevin Gillen, Caroline Hermans, Dianna Hogan, Tony Smith, David Strong, Susan Wachter, Anne Wein
Supporting Organizations: University of Pennsylvania Electrical and Systems Engineering Department and Wharton School of Business, University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of New Mexico Economics Department
Associated / Linked Studies:

Overview & Objective(s): The primary objective of the project is to develop an ecosystem portfolio model (EPM) for DOI resource managers to use to reconcile the need to maintain the ecological health of South Florida parks and refuges with increasing pressures for urban development. The EPM, a web-enabled Geographic Information System based decision support tool, will integrate natural science and economic information to support the Park Service's participation in local land use planning, Park-related land acquisition strategies, and related regulatory decisions. The web-based EPM will contribute to improved public understanding and awareness of the importance of protecting South Florida ecosystem functions and their socioeconomic implications.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The project is designed to address the following questions and needs in the DOI Science Plan (2005):

  • What are the socioeconomic consequences of development and preservation/restoration decisions associated with critical components of the South Florida ecosystem?
  • Are there ways to increase sustainable compatibility of the built environment with natural system needs of national parks and refuges - especially, relevant to water-related challenges?
  • Conduct studies to estimate the economic value of key environmental and ecological resources affected by development and preservation/restoration decisions;
  • Aggregate and quantify the large uncertainties associated with these decisions;
  • Develop a GIS-based decision framework in a decision support system (DSS) that will provide land managers and local officials with a clearer idea of the economic consequences of various courses of action.

Status: On-going project.

Recent Products: 2006 Progress Report and Appendices; 2006 EPM webpage prototype; 2006 land value model results.

Products: A broad based decision support tool based on the Land Use Portfolio Model (LUPM) (Bernknopf et al., 2005) will be developed. The Ecosystem Portfolio Modeler (EPM) has two components: (1) manage ecological viability of buffer lands adjacent to parks and refuges, and (2) minimize the adverse economic impacts on land values and economic externalities that affect community wealth by (a) minimizing adverse environmental impacts and (b) appropriating land, development rights, or other form of intervention. Specific applications of the EPM will be undertaken within the Greater Everglades Restoration area. GIS databases will be compiled and integrated to organize EPM inputs and outputs and to display model results in an understandable and useful way.


Title of Task 1: Design, Develop, and Implement the EPM
Task Funding:
See above
Task Leaders: Richard Bernknopf, William Labiosa
Phone: 650-329-4951
FAX: 650-329-4710
Task Status (on-going):
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: FY06-FY09
Task Personnel: Richard Bernknopf, Caroline Hermans, William Labiosa, Anne Wein

Task Summary and Objectives: This task is about model design, development, and implementation. The conceptual and empirical EPM framework development, integration of the natural and socioeconomic data into the decision support framework, econometric estimation of land values, and estimation of economic impacts on communities are the elements of this task. The model is being designed to work within a web-enabled interactive GIS framework.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: The principal components of Task 1 include:

  1. Follow-up on the Park Service and Stakeholder User Needs Assessment
  2. Refinement of the Decision Framework
  3. Development of an Ecosystem Portfolio Model
  4. Development, Integration, and Application of Favorability Indices to Data

a. Refinement of the User Needs Assessment - Continue to interface with Park Service, Miami-Dade County, and stakeholders to refine user needs and stakeholder analyses. The purpose of the user needs assessment is to clarify the users' decision context, identify key ecological and economic functions within the decision context, and identify ecological/economic indicators and targets that are key to supporting the Parks' mandates.

b. Development of the Decision Framework - This component captures the important relationships between conservation/ development actions and the ecological/environmental and socioeconomic endpoints of interest to decision-makers and stakeholders. This framework will be developed in terms of ecological and economic indicators within an interactive web-based GIS environment.

c. Development of an Ecosystem Portfolio Model - This component will develop the conceptual framework and working model for modifying and adapting the LUPM for use in environmental and land use decisions. The conceptual EPM has 2 objectives: (1) ensure the ecological viability of parks and refuges by maintaining necessary environmental conditions in contiguous areas and appropriating land and/or development rights, and (2) protecting the social values of the communities, their built environment, and economic functions by minimizing the adverse economic impacts on land values and other factors that affect community wealth.

d. Integration of Favorability Indices (joint with Task 3) - This component will integrate ecological/environmental and socioeconomic information that have been converted to quantitative indices translated from scientific studies by experts from the Park Service, USGS, Univ. of Florida, etc. for predicting the changes in ecological favorabilities, environmental attributes, and economic impacts that include prediction uncertainty estimates into the EPM. These favorability models will score existing ecological values and functions, as well as possible future states and outcomes based on current and possible future land uses.

e. The working version of the EPM will include the expected value and uncertainty parameters for land use strategies for the "land bridge" between Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park and Bird Drive Basin. It will contain the following:

  1. An estimate of current ecological values and functions and possible impacts on Parks from future land use change, including implementation of the Watershed Study's "Preferred Scenario"
  2. Estimate of land values in alternative land uses, including the Watershed Study's Preferred Scenario
  3. An estimate of the economic externalities (other factors) associated with land use scenarios

Specific Task Product(s): [List and include expected delivery date(s).]

Draft decision EPM framework presented to Park Service managers in January 2007. Updated framework delivered in September 2007. This draft model will be refined and integrated into the web-enabled EPM GIS environment in subsequent years.

Title of Task 2: Design, populate, implement, and manage the EPM GIS Database
Task Funding:
See above
Task Leaders: Paul Hearn
Phone: 703-648-6287
FAX: 703-648-4603
Task Status (on-going):
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 2:
Task Personnel: David Strong, Paul Amos

Task Summary and Objectives:

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

Changing land use (development, as well as restoration) within the land bridge separating BNP and ENP and Bird Drive Basin will alter surface and ground water quality and quantity, and affect the ecological sustainability of the protected areas. A GIS analysis allows the impact of land use changes and mitigation actions within the land bridge to be considered in the context of their effects on BNP and ENP. Estimates of multiple forcing functions (e.g., altered hydrology and nutrient inputs) originating in the land bridge will be utilized to consider probable alterations in economic and ecological value of habitat and ecosystem conditions.

The principal components of Task 2 include:

  1. Collection and organization of relevant GIS data:
    1. Land use and land cover
    2. Future land use, proposed land bridge development information
    3. Parcel data and property values
    4. Chemical, physical, and biologic data: nutrients, sediments, hydrology, and habitats
    5. Roads/streets
    6. Municipal, park, development, protected area boundaries
    7. Orthoimagery
    8. Population - current and future projections
    9. Elevation
    10. Estimates of land bridge mitigation costs
    11. Other data as needed
  2. Development of EPM GIS software including user interface(s) for calculating results, observing model inputs and results, and exploring conservation/development compatibilities and trade-offs over time and space. Methods include approaches from the economics and decision analysis disciplines. This software will be developed as a modification of the Land Use Portfolio Model.
  3. Setup of central repository of GIS data and software for remote access by project contributors and users.

Specific Task Product(s): [List and include expected delivery date(s).]

GIS includes data and user interface(s) to EPM procedures and reports for ecological and economic analysis in South Florida. Delivery Date: Prototype delivered to Park Service management in January 2007 and updated product delivered in September 2007.

Title of Task 3: Develop ecologic indicators/metrics and economic indices for impacts of south Florida land use
Task Funding:
See above
Task Leaders: Richard Bernknopf, Paul Hearn
Phone: 650-329-4951, 703-648-6287
FAX: 650-329-4710, 703-648-4603
Task Status (proposed):
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 3:
Task Personnel: David Brookshire, Tom Daniels, Kevin Gillen, Dianna Hogan, Bill Labiosa, Tony Smith, Susan Wachter, Anne Wein, Landscape Ecologist (TBA)

Task Summary and Objectives:

This task focuses on the development of ecological and environmental indicators that may respond to land use changes, and are key to decision-making. Indices and favorabilities (as affected by decisions) will be utilized to produce a representation of "values at stake" subject to meeting targets. These indicators will be ecological and economic, with targets defined usinginfluenced by/determined by stakeholder requirements and will be used to determine key ecological and economic land use favorabilities.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

The principal components of Task 1 include:

  1. Development of Ecological Indices/Indicators/Metrics, "Scoring System"
  2. Development of Socioeconomic Indices
  3. Development of Ecosystem Portfolio Risk Indices

a. Development of Ecological Favorability Indices - Land use decisions (e.g., development, agriculture, preservation, restoration, or mitigation) within the Biscayne Bay/Everglades land bridge affect incoming water quality (levels of nutrients, sediments, metals, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) and quantity (the depth, timing, flow, duration of inundation, and location of waters), along with other physical impacts. Alteration of the hydrologic regime affects the environmental conditions and wildlife habitat in BNP and ENP and the water resources available to the human population.

b. Development of Socioeconomic Indices - This component will integrate external forcing factors, including demographic factors; develop demographic projections; develop socioeconomic indices as estimates of land values in alternative land uses, economic externalities (other impacts on communities) associated with a land acquisition strategy. Scenarios for externalities will depend on the user/stakeholder needs assessment in task 1, projected population, ecological favorability indices, and other socioeconomic factors.

c. Development of an Ecosystem Portfolio Risk Indices - This component will develop an index that measure the risk to the sustainability of the parks and refuges from different urban development patterns. These indices will be used to estimate the need for offsetting investments in land protection to balance the regional impact of urban development.

Specific Task Product(s): [List and include expected delivery date(s).]

Favorability indices for key ecological and economic functions, ecological indicators and targets, and potential socioeconomic outcomes are key to decision-making specific to the Biscayne Bay/Everglades land bridge and are of interest to decision-makers and stakeholders. Report to Park Service management in January 2007 and updated report in September 2007.

Appendix 1: Map of Study Area

Map of Study Area

[larger image]

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