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projects > ecological models for evaluating effects of restoration alternatives on coastal ecosystems of southwest florida > work plan

Project Work Plan

Department of Interior USGS GE PES

Fiscal Year 2008 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Ecological Models for Evaluating Effects of Restoration Alternatives on Coastal Ecosystems of Southwest Florida
Study Start Date: 2003   Study End Date: 2008 or end of SW Florida Feasibility Study
Web Sites: www.sofia.gov, crocdoc.ifas.ufl.edu
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): The boundaries of the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study (SWFFS). This includes all of Lee County, most of Collier and Hendry counties, and portions of Charlotte, Glades, and Monroe counties.
Funding Source: GE PES
Other Complementary Funding Source(s):
Funding History:
FY03; FY04; FY05; FY06; FY07; FY08
Principal Investigator(s): Frank J. Mazzotti, University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center; Laura A. Brandt, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Ken Rice, US Geological Survey, Fort Lauderdale.
Study Personnel: Kevin Chartier, Adam Dougherty
Supporting Organizations: USGS, USACOE, SFWMD
Associated / Linked Studies: A Spatially Explicit Decision Support System for Everglades Ecological Assessment and Restoration (PES)

Overview & Objective(s): The objectives of this project are to develop and apply forecasting models to evaluate the impacts of CERP projects on ecological attributes selected from the conceptual models as part of the SWFFS.

Project Background and Relation to CERP: The SWFFS is a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The SWFFS will result in an independent but integrated implementation plan for CERP projects. The SWFFS will provide a framework to address the health and sustainability of aquatic systems. This includes water quantity and quality, flood protection, and ecological integrity. The SWFFS was initiated in recognition of the fact that there were additional water resource issues (needs, problems, and opportunities) within southwest Florida that were not being addressed directly by CERP. A purpose of the SWFFS is to identify alternatives that address those issues in the study area. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effects of those alternatives on ecosystems of southwest Florida.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

Relevance to DOI science plan: The study supports Lower West Coast projects in the DOI science plan (specifically: Southwest Florida Feasibility Study and C-43 Basin Storage Reservoir) by (a) developing stress-response models of habitat for coastal species selected during Caloosahatchee conceptual modeling and (b) developing integrated assessment tools to support landscape level decision-making.

The study supports the Lower West Coast projects (SWFFS and C-43; p.49) as it (1) provides assessment tools that are a critical priority for making landscape level restoration decisions that favor one species or trophic level over another or that maximize biodiversity with an ecological system (p.49); spatially models the impacts of hydrologic targets on ecological conditions and the critical links between hydrology, water quality and ecological responses in southwest Florida (p.50); (3) models how hydrologic and water quality targets relate to the landscape-scale assemblages of habitats needed to support the area's fish and wildlife resources and particularly, the wide-ranging species (p.50); Geographic information system mapping for habitat database of hydrologic restoration contributions to listed species and the protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife value (p.50); and aids in the identification of key indicator of the desired ecological responses (p.51). Specifically, this study supports the following science plan information needs:

Southwest Florida Feasibility Study    
  Medium Models capable of predicting trophic- or species-level responses to habitat changes
Landscape-Scale Modeling    
  Critical Improved ecological models
  Critical Integrated hydrology / water quality / ecology models
  Critical Improved accessibility of modeling data
  Critical Spatially explicit habitat suitability index models: indicator species sensitive to hydrologic change
  Critical Incorporation of models into the monitoring and adaptive assessment program

This study supports information needs for SWFFS activities that impact ecological communities. The decision aids and methodologies for decision-making are implicit in the DOI Science Plan which requires the gathered science to be integrated and applied to restoration. The ecological modeling, synthesis of science information, and application of decision aids specifically supports CERP as it (1) helps with prioritization of science resource allocations (p.11); (2) helps decision-makers in establishing specific goals and objectives in the context of conflicting priorities and adaptive management (pp. 10,15 & 17); and (3) provides a systematic and documented procedure to evaluating alternatives for what actions will restore, protect, and manage natural resources in South Florida (p.9).

Relevance to MAP: This study supports information needs in the Caloosahatchee estuary for the CERP hypothesis (the restoration of hydrology toward NSM conditions will provide estuarine habitat conditions so as to (1) improve the spatial and structural characteristics of submerged plant communities, (2) improve the recruitment and survivorship of the eastern oyster, and (3) promote the recovery of the relative abundance and distribution of fish communities. (p.3-114) and the Adaptive Management Question (Will the restoration of favorable flow and salinity regimes achieve restoration objectives for estuarine epibenthic habitats, thus providing for an increase in the distribution and density of representative estuarine fauna? If not, what additional changes in the flow and salinity regimes are necessary? (p.3-114) by modeling the impacts of alternative hydrologic inflows on estuarine habitat for Caloosahatchee Ecological Attributes: submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster, and fisheries (blue crab and spotted sea trout) (p.A-146 - p.A-148). These attributes are derived from CERP MAP conceptual model for the Caloosahatchee Estuary (p.A-160). Specific Research Questions supported by the modeling include (1) Relationship of Blue Crab Fishery to Temperature, Salinity and Other Water Quality Parameters, (2) Relationship of Mollusk Populations and Fish Recruitment to Submerged Aquatic Vegetation and Salinity, and (3) Relationship of Current and Historical Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Coverage to Potential Distribution (p. A-157).

It is expected that the modeled habitat will serve as a basis for sampling design and monitoring which will lead to refinements in the models and, consequently, refinements in management of hydrologic releases for the protection of coastal natural resources. This planned protocol implements the adaptive assessment stratagy (p.2-7 and p.A-1).

Status: Models for the Eastern Oyster, Blue Crab, Sea Trout, Sea Grasses (Halodule and Thalassia), and a Freshwater Submerged Grass (Vallisneria) have been completed and are being used for alternative selection. The Eastern Oyster, Blue Crab, and Sea Trout models have been submitted to the IMS. A modeling and habitat evaluation application to aid decision support has been completed. Inland models have been coded and tested with surrogate hydrological data. Four models have been produced: wading birds (ibis and wood stork), amphibian communities, aquatic fauna communities, and large mammal connectivity and roadkill risk. Additional hydrologic input for inland alternative runs of the ecological models will be supplied by the SFWMD, but are still in preparation.

Recent Products: Final models are completed for all Caloosahatchee coastal models. Completed Final reports are:

Pearlstine, L., D. L. DeAngelis, F. J. Mazzotti, T. Barnes, M. Duever and J. Starnes 2006. Spatial Decision Support Systems for Landscape Ecological Evaluations in the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study. CIR 1479, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences- EDIS.

Pearlstine, L., D. L. DeAngelis, F. J. Mazzotti, T. Barnes, M. Duever and J. Starnes 2006. Sistemas de Soporte de Decision Espacial para Evaluaciones Ecologicas de Paisaje en el Estudio de Viabilidad del suroeste de la Florida. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences- EDIS.

Mazzotti, F.J., Pearlstine, L.G., Barnes, T., Bortone, S.A., Chartier, K. Weinstein, A.. and D. DeAngelis. 2006, Stressor response models for the Spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Geological Survey. University of Florida, Florida Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 11 pages.

Mazzotti, F.J., Pearlstine, L.G., Barnes, T., Volety, A., Chartier, K., Weinstein, A. and DeAngleis, D. 2006, Stressor response models for the Blue Crab, Callinectes, sapidus. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S..Geological Survey. University of Florida, Florida Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 12 pages.

Mazzotti, F.J., Pearlstine, L.G., Barnes, T., Volety, A., Chartier, K., Weinstein, A. and DeAngelis, D. 2006, Stressor response models for the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Geological Survey. University of Florida, Florida Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 15 pages.

Pearlstine, L.G. and F. J. Mazzotti. 2004. Spatial Decision Support Systems for Landscape Ecological Evaluations in the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study. U.S. Geological Survey, Fact Sheet 2004-3113. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 4 pp.

Planned Products: The project continues to implementing coastal evaluation models as alternative scenarios are presented. The inland modeling tools continue to be refined and expanded. Coastal models will be modified and implemented for Estero Bay.

WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Develop and apply forecasting models to evaluate alternatives as they are being developed.
Task Funding:
USGS Priority Ecosystems Science
Task Leaders: Frank J. Mazzotti and Laura A. Brandt
Phone: (954) 577-6304 and (954) 577-6306
FAX: (954) 475-4125
Task Status (proposed or active): Active
Task priority: High
Time Frame for Task 1: FY07
Task Personnel: Kevin Chartier, Adam Dougherty

Task Summary and Objectives: The objectives of this task (and project) are to develop and apply forecasting models to evaluate the impacts of CERP projects on ecological attributes selected from the conceptual models developed as part of the SWFFS.

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

Coastal/Estuarine Model Expansion: The current estuarine forecasting model will be expanded to include Estero Bay and will include all species appropriate for that region. Models will be calibrated and refined for Estero Bay and new documentation will be developed where necessary.

Inland Forecasting Model calibration, refinement, and documentation: The HSI models that make up the inland forecasting model will be evaluated, refined, calibrated, and verified using available scientific data and local scientific knowledge as hydrologic output become available. HSI models will be documented in the accepted IMC format.

Alternative Assessment: Restoration alternatives (project designs) will be evaluated using the ecological forecasting models. In addition, a 2000 base run and a 2050 without project run will be performed. This process includes the capture of hydrologic data and the conversion of this data into a usable format. Modeled results will be delivered in an Excel format. In addition results will be integrated into a decision support system for further project alternative evaluation.

Training: UF will train district staff to operate modeling software for future modeling efforts.

All of the DOI Science Plan information needs, science questions, and MAP research needs listed above apply to this task.

Specific Task Product(s):

Product

Delivery Date

Progress Report (Including completion of coastal scenario evaluations) 31 April 2008
Annual Report 31 October 2008
Progress Report 31 April 2009
Annual Report 31 October 2009

Work to be undertaken during future FY's and proposed funding:

This project will continue to be linked to the ecological evaluation and assessment modeling needs of CERP/ MAP and, with the permission of the PES Coordinator, the ending date of this project will be linked as well. Evaluation models will be completed and work will be focused on continued decision support and expand to include transfer and application of the developed evaluation and assessment models to additional areas of the Greater Everglades. Proposed funding would continue at the present rate.



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Last updated: 24 February, 2015 @ 12:46 PM(KP)