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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 2010 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Improving linkages and integration between management issues and science needs for Landscape Conservation (SHC) in the Greater Everglades
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; 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 science for Everglades ecosystem restoration through research, monitoring, and modeling. The focus for FY10 will be on development and implementation of collaborative research projects to support the Fish and Wildlife Services landscape approach to conservation (Strategic Habitat Conservation).

The objectives for year 5 of this project (FY10) are to:

  1. Work with other scientists, especially those in USGS, on research, monitoring, and modeling efforts related to DOI, with special emphasis on FWS high priority needs for landscape conservation and responses to climate change.
  2. Work with other scientists and managers in the design and implementation of adaptive management at multiple scales.
  3. Work with USGS and University of Florida scientists to synthesize work completed via the University of Florida JEM agreement 2005-2010.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The study supports the DOI Science Plan by providing scientific information for integrated evaluation and assessment of ecosystem restoration. It provides priority information 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:

During the first part of FY09, this project supported coordination of Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM), activities both internally and externally to further discussions and development of ecological models and modeling tools. Coordination included planning and running a multi-agency meeting in October and conducting follow up discussions with potential end users and scientists developing modeling tools. The result was a better understanding of ecological modeling needs relative to upcoming management decisions.

In the later part of FY09 more emphasis was placed on developing, implementing, and reporting on research relevant to high priority management needs including exotic control, monitoring and assessment of ecosystem restoration, and adaptive management. Part of that effort include coordination and collaboration with USGS researchers to help link scientists with management needs.

Recent Products:

Brandt, L.A., M. Campbell, and F.J. Mazzotti. Spatial pattern of alligator holes in the central Everglades. In Press. Southeastern Naturalist.

Brandt, Laura A., Ryan L. Lynch, Ikuko Fujisaki, Hongjun Chen, Rafael Crespo, and Frank J. Mazzotti. 2009. Assessment of Hurricane Damage to Tree Islands in Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Their Recovery with Special Emphasis on Establishment of Lygodium microphyllum. Final Report for Cooperative Agreement 401815J012 between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and University of Florida. University of Florida, Davie, FL.

Chen, H., R. Lynch, L.A. Brandt, D. Ogurcak, C. Ugarte, F. J. Mazzotti.   Impact of Hurricanes on Lygodium microphyllum (Old World climbing fern) Invasion on Tree Islands in the Everglades, Florida, U.S.A. Biotropica. Submitted to Biotropica.

Fujisaki I., L.A. Brandt, H. Chen, and F.J. Mazzotti. Post-hurricane colonization and growth of Lygodium microphyllum on tree islands in Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. Submitted to Plant Ecology.

Increasing Science Capacity within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through partnership with USGS. DRAFT. Submitted to Cindy Dohner FWS.

Three Trimester Reports

Proposals:

Refinement of species-habitat models and development of climate envelope models for evaluation of potential effects of climate change on threatened and endangered species. Frank Mazzotti and Stephanie Romañach. (Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative)

Climate envelope modeling for evaluating anticipated effects of climate change on threatened and endangered species. Stephanie S. Romañach, Don DeAngelis,Craig Conzelmann, Laura Brandt, Leonard Pearlstine, Steve Friedman, Ikuko Fujisaki, Frank Mazzotti. (National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center)

Survey protocol for round-tailed muskrats (Neofiber alleni) and initial assessment of muskrat occurrence as an indicator of Everglades and other freshwater emergent wetlands ecosystem health. Kristen Hart, Frank Mazzotti, and Emily Pifer. USGS/FWS Quick Response.

Protocol for monitoring and assessing community responses of habitats and wildlife to exotic species and fire management at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. H. Franklin Percival, Frank Mazzotti, and Ryan Lynch. USGS/FWS Quick Response.

Abstracts and Presentations:

Brandt, L.A., G.R. Best, F.J. Mazzotti, and others. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and University of Florida Cooperative Research: Examples from 2009. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Science Workshop. August 2009.

Planned Products:

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:

Willard, D. A., C. E. Bernhardt, and L.A. Brandt. Response of Wetlands in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge to Hydrologic Changes: Anthropogenic and Climate Impacts. To be submitted to: Environmental Management.

Romañach, S.S., F.J. Mazzotti, L.A. Brandt, L.G. Pearlstine. In Preparation. Role of Protected Natural Areas and Private Lands for Recovery of Threatened and Endangered Species in South Florida. To be submitted to Conservation Biology.

Snow, A., L.A. Brandt, E.M. Call, S. Duke-Sylvester, D.L. DeAngelis. Dispersal of Lygodium microphyllum Spores. To be submitted to Florida Scientist.

In addition, fact sheets and presentations will be prepared for the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Science Conference. Potential fact sheets include:

Paleoecology work at A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR- relevance to management.

Evolution of crocodilian modeling in the Greater Everglades.

Climate envelope modeling for threatened and endangered species in the Greater Everglades.

Complete synthesis document on five years of projects, products, and lessons learned from Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM).

Work Plan

Title of Task 1: Work with other scientists, especially those in USGS, on research, monitoring, and modeling efforts related to DOI, with special emphasis on FWS high priority needs for landscape conservation and responses to climate change.
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 Romañach, USGS; Ken Rice, USGS; Dan Slone, USGS; Steve Hartley, USGS; Ken Kraus, USGS, Paul Conrads, USGS, Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida; Leonard Pearlstine, NPS; others as determined by products and needs.

Task Summary and Objective(s): Research, monitoring, 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, monitoring, 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:

Willard, D. A., C. E. Bernhardt, and L.A. Brandt. In Preparation. Response of Wetlands in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge to Hydrologic Changes: Anthropogenic and Climate Impacts. To be submitted to: Environmental Management.

Romañach, S.S., F.J. Mazzotti, L.A. Brandt, L.G. Pearlstine. In Preparation. Role of Protected Natural Areas and Private Lands for Recovery of Threatened and Endangered Species in South Florida. To be submitted to Conservation Biology.

Snow, A., L.A. Brandt, E.M. Call, S. Duke-Sylvester, D.L. DeAngelis. In Preparation. Dispersal of Lygodium microphyllum Spores. To be submitted to Florida Scientist.

Complete project report on using monitoring data for assessment in the context of adaptive management.

Work with USGS, University of Florida and other researchers on refinement of alligator and crocodile models.

Coordinate with USGS researchers to develop new research projects that help to address high priority research needs for addressing climate change and landscape conservation. Possible collaborators and topics include:

Debra Willard and Paul Conrads for development of future desired conditions at A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR.

Kristen Hart ecology and spatial patterns of indicator species in relationship to current and future conditions (e.g. alligators, muskrats, sea turtles).

Ken Krauss fire effects on refuge habitats and species.

Stephanie Romañach climate envelope and other ecological models for use in decision making.

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: Work with other scientists and managers in the design and implementation of adaptive management and assessment at multiple scales.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Kristen Hart, USGS; Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida; Mike Cherkiss, University of Florida; Ikuko Fujisaki, University of Florida. Other personnel as needed.

Task Summary and Objective(s):

Landscape conservation and ecosystem restoration will be most effective if undertaken in an adaptive management framework. There are opportunities for both active and passive adaptive management at various spatial scales from individual refuges to entire ecosystems. A key part of adaptive management is monitoring and the feedback of monitoring information into the assessment process where the information is used to inform management decisions. This task will illustrate how monitoring and research data can be used in an adaptive management framework as inputs into decision making.

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

This task will use ten years of data on alligators at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NWR to explore how such information can be used in assessment of management actions. Survey and capture data will be integrated with hydrologic and other data to examine linkages between water management and alligator numbers and body condition. Lessons learned from this work will be described in a format that can be used by others in developing monitoring and research for adaptive management.

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 USGS and University of Florida scientists to synthesize work completed via the University of Florida JEM project since FY05.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Laura A. Brandt, FWS; Stephanie Romañach, USGS; Frank Mazzotti, University of Florida; Joy Vinci, University of Florida; Rebecca Harvey, University of Florida.

Task Summary and Objective(s):

The JEM was initiated in FY05 as an informal collaborative arrangement for getting models in the hands of the users. A variety of tasks that have been completed under an agreement with University of Florida and individual project reports exist for these tasks. Specific tasks and subtasks have evolved with emerging issues and needs of South Florida users. In addition, lessons have been learned on developing collaborative relationships for modeling that may be applicable in the context of the development of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives. This task in FY10 will provide a synthesis of projects and products developed since FY05.

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

Work with University of Florida and USGS researchers to prepare a synthesis document articulating key findings and lessons learned.