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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

Department of Interior USGS GE PES

Fiscal Year 2009 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Improving linkages and integration between management issues and science needs for Landscape Conservation (SHC).
Study Start Date: 2004 (FY05)
Study End Date: 2011 (FY10)
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: USGS SE Regional Office (via GE PES)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s): FWS SE Regional Office (Region 4)
Funding History: FY05; FY06; FY07; FY08 (no cost extension to move agreement to fiscal year cycle starting FY09)
FY09 USGS Funding:
Principal Investigator: 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, 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 integration and synthesis of research through the use of modeling to address Everglades ecosystem restoration science needs. The focus for FY09 will be on integration of ecosystem models and other research results into resource management and trust resource decision making through a cooperative effort called Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM).

The objectives for year 4 of this project (FY09) 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 science leadership for staff and scientists working within the JEM umbrella.
  3. Work with other scientists, especially those in USGS, on research and modeling efforts related to DOI high priority needs.

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 within 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 landscape approach to conservation (SHC) by providing tools and information that support the functional elements of Conservation Planning, Conservation Design, Monitoring, and Research in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.

Status:

Existing ATLSS models (high resolution hydrology and SESI) were delivered to the Interagency Modeling Center. This was made possible through collaboration with the National Wetlands Research Center.

A list of existing ecological models and their status was prepared and shared with other partners interested in the use of ecological models in the context of Everglades restoration. This list has been posted on a website by Leonard Pearlstine (NPS) for further modification and use. It will likely form the basis for discussions at an Ecological Modeling workshop coordinated by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force in FY09.

Coordination with DOI and RECOVER staff identified the following models as high priority for “getting in the hands of the users” in the context of interim goals: alligator, crocodile, wading bird, spoonbill, and fish. Progress on all of these was made during FY08. The biggest limitation is availability of appropriate hydrology data.

Workshops on EDEN and the ATLSS data viewer were conducted and a booth was presented at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration conference showcasing JEM efforts and allowing participants to learn more about the models and JEM data viewer.

Ecological models for amphibians, aquatic fauna, wading birds, and landscape connectivity were completed for the Southwest Florida Feasibility Study and documentation submitted and reviewed by the Interagency Modeling Center.

Recent Products:

Mazzotti, F.J., R.G. Harvey, L.G. Pearlstine, A.D. Daugherty, L.A. Brandt, K.L. Chartier, K.G. Rice, J.H. Waddle, D.W. Ceilley, and M.J. Duever. 2008. Stressor Response Model for Southwest Florida Amphibians. Joint Ecosystem Modeling Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Geological Survey. University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 45 pages.

Mazzotti, F.J., R.G. Harvey, L.G. Pearlstine, A.D. Daugherty, L.A. Brandt, K.L. Chartier, W.F. Loftus, J.C. Trexler, D.W. Ceilley, S.E. Liston, and M.J. Duever. 2008. Stressor Response Model for Southwest Florida Aquatic Fauna. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District. University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, Florida, 39 pages.

Mazzotti, F.J., R.G. Harvey, L.G. Pearlstine, Z. Liu, Z. Shang, T.S. Hoctor, L.A. Brandt, and M.J. Duever. 2008. Landscape Connectivity Model for Southwest Florida Large Mammals. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District. University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, Florida, 22 pages.

Mazzotti, F.J., S.S. Romañach, A.D. Daugherty, K.L. Chartier, D.E. Gawlik, P.M. Heidemann, L.G. Pearlstine, L.A. Brandt, and M.J. Duever. 2008. Landscape Suitability Model for Southwest Florida Wading Birds. JEM Technical Report. Final report to the South Florida Water Management District. University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, Florida, 36 pages.

Abstracts:

Brandt, Laura A. 2008. Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) and the importance of ecosystem models. Presented at 2nd USGS Modeling Workshop. Perdido Beach, AL February 2008.

Chartier, Kevin L., Laura A. Brandt, G. Ronnie Best, Frank J. Mazzotti, Donald L. DeAngelis, Adam Daugherty, Rebecca Harvey, and Dover Duverney. 2008. Getting Ecological Models into the Hands of the Users: Joint Ecosystem Modeling. Booth presented at Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference. Naples, FL July 2008.

Planned Products:

Reports will include documentation for ecological models that will be submitted to the Interagency Modeling Center. Planned submissions for FY09 are alligator, crocodile, spoonbill, and crayfish.

At least one peer reviewed publication (submitted) on research conducted with USGS scientists with direct relevance to Everglades ecosystem restoration. Possible topics and collaborators include:

Tree island paleoecology in A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR- Debra Willard

Alligators for use in Everglades restoration evaluations and assessments- Ken Rice, Dan Sloan, Frank Mazzotti

Development and use of ecological models for threatened and endangered species- linkages to restoration and climate change- Stephanie Romanach, Frank Mazzotti, Leonard Pearlstine- in coordination with FWS Ecological Services, Vero Beach and MIT project.

In addition, fact sheets and presentations will be prepared describing JEM capabilities and products.

Work Plan

Title of Task 1: Continue to work with DOI and other agencies and partners involved in Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration to determine highest priority needs for ecological modeling tools in the context of both Everglades Restoration and Strategic Habitat Conservation.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
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. Recently, more attention has been given to issues of climate change and how climate change may interact with Everglades restoration and protection of important DOI resources. Ecological models can assist in evaluation of projected effects of climate change to provide information for decision making.

The role of JEM 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 for this lack of accessibility including: 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 components 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 contain all three components.

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

Continue to work with DOI and other partners to identify highest priority models for use in the decision process. Work with scientists to further develop models and users to identify model output needs with the goal of make modeling output available in the decision process.

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 January 31, 2009
Trimester report May 31, 2009
Annual report September 30, 2009

Title of Task 2: Team Leader Joint Ecosystem Modeling
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt, Research Scientists (Leonard Pearlstine, ENP; Dale Gawlik, FAU, Jerry Lorenz, Audubon of Florida; Don DeAngelis; USGS, Frank Mazzotti, UF; Carl Fitz, UF; Ken Rice, USGS; Steve Hartley, USGS; Craig Conzelman, USGS; Stephanie Romanach; Dan Slone, USGS, Doug Donalson, ENP), Spatial Statisticians (Ikuko Fujisaki); Programmers (Kevin Chartier, Adam Daugherty, Dover Duverney) Thomas); support staff (Joy Vinci, Jen Frost) and others based on project needs.

Task Summary and Objective(s): The role of Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) 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 science leadership, collaborate on and coordinate research and modeling activities of the various staff and scientists involved with JEM. This includes working with the 10-15 staff of research scientists, statisticians, programmers, and administrative staff at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center; staff at the National Wetlands Research Center, and the researchers (currently 5-10 ecologists) working on roseate spoonbills, alligators, 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:

Facilitate and participate in development of high priority models identified in Task 1 though coordination with project scientists and staff. Coordinate venues (workshops, regular discussion sessions, meetings) for scientists and managers to interact to ensure development of models with the most value for the current decision making process.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Trimester report January 31, 2009
Trimester report May 31, 2009
Annual report September 30, 2009

Title of Task 3: Work with other scientists, especially those in USGS, on research and modeling efforts related to DOI high priority needs.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt, FWS; Debra Willard, USGS; Stephanie Ronamach, USGS; Ken Rice, USGS; Dan Slone, USGS; Steve Hartley, USGS; Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida; Leonard Pearlstine, NPS; others as determined by products and needs.

Task Summary and Objective(s): Research and modeling efforts have their most value in the decision making process if they are linked to management needs, and are credible and accessible. Collaborative efforts that link researchers who have a more management perspective with those with a more foundation science perspective can lead to high impact, high quality credible products. Publishing results of research and modeling work in peer reviewed journals is one way to establish credibility while preparing fact sheets and giving presentations are ways to make the information more accessible to the users. This task will focus on conducting and reporting on research and modeling of high relevance to Everglades restoration and Strategic Habitat Conservation.

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

Submit at least one peer reviewed publication on research conducted with USGS scientists with direct relevance to Everglades ecosystem restoration or Strategic Habitat Conservation. Give presentations or conduct workshops on completed research. Possible topics and collaborators include:

Tree island paleoecology in A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR- Debra Willard

Alligators for use in Everglades restoration evaluations and assessments- Ken Rice, Dan Slone, Frank Mazzotti

Development and use of ecological models for threatened and endangered species- linkages to restoration and climate change- Stephanie Romanach, Frank Mazzotti, Leonard Pearlstine- in coordination with FWS Ecological Services, Vero Beach and MIT project.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Trimester report January 31, 2009
Trimester report May 31, 2009
Annual report September 30, 2009