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projects > improving linkages and integration between management issues and science needs for landscape conservation (via shc) in the greater everglades > work plan

Project Work Plan

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)

Fiscal Year 2007 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Improving linkages and integration between management issues and science needs.
Study Start Date: 2004 (FY05)   Study End Date: 2010 (FY09)
Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/projects/link_integration/
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park, or Refuge): South Florida including the boundaries defined by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and the Multi-Species Recovery Plan.
Funding Source: GE PES
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): FWS SE Regional Office (Region 4)
Funding History: FY05; FY06; FY07
Principal Investigator(s): Laura A. Brandt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Region 4), Fort Lauderdale, FL
Supporting Organizations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Florida, National Park Service
Associated / Linked Studies: Scientific and Technical Support for a Joint Ecosystem Modeling Laboratory, Across Trophic Level System Simulation, Southwest Florida Feasibility Study

Overview & Objective(s): Restoration of the Everglades and other ecosystems requires a coordinated, integrated approach to addressing management issues using the best available scientific information. USGS is in an ideal position to provide the scientific information necessary for managers and decision makers. Recent reviews of two science focused programs, the Critical Ecosystems Study Initiative (CESI), and Science Coordination in South Florida, conducted by the National Academy of Science (2003) and the General Accounting Office (2003), respectively have identified improving science coordination, synthesis and integration of research data, and communication of research findings as high priority tasks that are necessary for Everglades Restoration. In addition, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and United States Geological Survey have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Integration of Research, Planning, and Interagency Coordination which was established to “…integrate and facilitate coordination among the Parties for all ongoing and future monitoring, research, planning and interagency coordination activities supporting Everglades Restoration”. This project will address science coordination, synthesis, and integration needs identified in the above mentioned documents. The focus for FY07-FY09 will be on integration of ecosystem models into resource management and trust resource decision making through the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) Laboratory.

The objectives for year 3 of this project (FY07/FY08) are to:

  1. Work with DOI and other agency managers and scientists to identify highest priority needs for ecological modeling to address Everglades Restoration and Strategic Habitat Conservation planning needs.
  2. Provide leadership and coordination for staff and scientists working within the JEM Laboratory umbrella
  3. Put ecological models and other JEM Lab products in the hands of the users through workshops and training

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The study supports the DOI Science Plan by developing integrated evaluation and assessment tools to support landscape scale and project level decision-making. It provides assessment tools that are a critical priority for making landscape level restoration decisions that consider multiple species or trophic levels or that maximize biodiversity with an ecological system. Specifically, this study supports the DOI science plan information needs under Landscape-Scale Modeling of improved ecological models; integrated hydrology and ecology models; and incorporation of models into the monitoring and adaptive assessment program. In addition, it supports FWS's Strategic Habitat Conservation Plan.

Status: Tasks 1 and 2 of the previous work plan have been completed. In October 2006, Dr. Brandt assumed the position of Team Leader for the JEM Lab.

Recent Products:

Brandt, Laura A. 2006. Benefits Anticipated from the 1995 Water Regulation Schedule for Water Conservation Area 1: Review and Analysis. Report number: LOX06-006. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boynton Beach, Florida. 52 pp.

Brandt, Laura A. 2005. Summary of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge 2004 Science Workshop. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR, Boynton Beach, FL.

Planned Products:

Reports will include summaries of workshops and meetings and a document summarizing available ecological models. In addition, fact sheets and presentations will be prepared describing JEM Lab capabilities and products.

Work Plan

Title of Task 1: Determine highest priority needs for ecological modeling tools for DOI and other agencies and partners involved in Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-577-6347
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task: 2007/2008
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt

Task Summary and Objective(s): A key component of CERP is the requirement for ecosystem models for project evaluation and assessment. Project evaluation includes forecasting effects of restoration alternatives and provides a basis for comparing alternatives. Project assessment occurs post project and requires more quantitative models of performance measures as a basis for setting restoration targets and assessing progress. The role of the JEM Lab is to provide research and development of ecosystem models to meet evaluation and assessment needs. In addition, ecological models can play a key role in Strategic Habitat Conservation. There are a variety of models that have been developed in south Florida for Everglades Restoration, Multi-Species Recovery, and other projects. However; few of these models are directly accessible by users for currently needed decision making. There are a variety of reasons including that the model was developed for another purpose, the model requires computer resources not directly accessible to the user, the model output needs to be post processed, and/or there are no tools for integrating results of the models with other inputs for decision support. Generally, there are three things necessary to maximize the use of models for decision support. 1-a scientifically sound model developed with input from end users and appropriate scientists that has been vetted; 2-an interface that allows users to easily query the output in the context of the decisions to be made in a timely manner; 3-a decision support framework that allows users to integrate results from various sources in the decision process. Many of the models that have been developed do not have all three parts.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Identify and determine the status of ecological models “available” for use in south Florida.

Coordinate with the following through individual meetings and workshops to determine high priority modeling needs based on current decision needs and availability of existing models:

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Trimester report* June 15, 2007
Trimester report** October 15, 2007
Annual report** February 15, 2008
* Report will include a list of ecological models and their availability for use.
**Reports will include summary notes from workshops and individual discussions, list of attendees, and recommendations for ecological models.

Title of Task 2: Team Leader Joint Ecosystem Modeling Laboratory
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-577-6347
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task: 2007/2008
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt, Research Scientists (Leonard Pearlstine, UF; Dale Gawlik, FAU, Jerry Lorenz, Audubon of Florida; Don DeAngelis; USGS, Frank Mazzotti, UF; Ken Rice, USGS), Spatial Statisticians (Ikuko Fujisaki); Programmers (Kevin Chartier, Adam Daugherty, Darcy Thomas); support staff (Joy Vinci, Luisa Slavick) and others based on project needs.

Task Summary and Objective(s): The role of the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) Laboratory is to provide research and development of ecosystem models and to get the models in the hands of the users. A part of that is to develop models and perform initial scenario evaluations as part of the process of testing, calibrating, validating, verifying, and improving models for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) evaluation and assessment needs. Additional model development could focus on other resource management and trust resources needs as identified in Task 1. The purpose of this task is to provide leadership, oversee, and coordinate research and modeling activities of the various staff and scientists involved with the JEM Lab. This includes working with the 10-15 staff of research scientists, statisticians, programmers, and administrative staff at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center and the researchers (currently 5-10 people) working on roseate spoonbills, crocodiles, forage fish, and a whole suite of ATLSS ecological models, as well as species and habitats in southwest Florida.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Work with existing JEM Lab staff and scientists to identify and implement standard/compatible procedures for model development and documentation. Establish methods for developing quantifiable, repeatable, and reviewable models. Coordinate internal JEM Lab activities to ensure completion of products in a timely manner.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Trimester report June 15, 2007
Trimester report October 15, 2007
Annual report February 15, 2008

Title of Task 3: Workshops for dissemination and training on JEM Lab products
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-577-6347
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task: 2007/2008
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt, FWS; Pamela Telis, USGS; Roy Sonenshein, USGS; Leonard Pearlstine, University of Florida; Steve Hartley, USGS; others as determined by products and needs.

Task Summary and Objective(s): A primary objective of JEM Lab is to get the necessary ecological modeling tools in the hands of the users. This task will provide one venue, workshops, for providing training on the use and application of JEM Lab products to DOI staff and other interested users.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Conduct at least four workshops for DOI and other interested parties on the application of JEM Lab products including (but not limited to) the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) and Across Trophic Level Spatial Simulation (ATLSS) data viewing tools. Additional workshops will be determined based on products and needs identified by DOI and other partners (see Task 1).

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Trimester report* June 15, 2007
Trimester report* October 15, 2007
Annual report* February 15, 2008
*Reports will include agenda for workshops, list of attendees, summary of workshops, and summary of participant evaluations.