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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 2014 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Improving linkages and integration between management issues and science needs for Landscape Conservation (via SHC) in the Greater Everglades.
Current Study Start Date: FY2014 Current Study End Date: FY2015
*This study is a continuation of an Interagency Agreement between USGS and FWS that started in FY2005.
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park, or Refuge): Primarily South Florida includingthe boundaries defined by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and the Multi-Species Recovery Plan, but also extending further north to encompass all of the area within the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative and as needed the rest of the Southeast Region defined by FWS.
Funding Source: USGS SE Regional Office (via GEPES) and FWS SE Regional Office (Region 4)
Funding History: This study is a continuation of previous jointly (FWS and USGS) funded projects that started in FY05
FY14 USGS Funding:
Principal Investigator: Laura A. Brandt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Region 4), Davie, FL
USGS Project Officer: Jess Weaver, Director, Southeast Region, U.S. Geological Survey, Norcross, GA
USGS Technical Officer: Nickolas Aumen, Regional Science Advisor - South Florida, U.S. Geological Survey, Davie, FL
Supporting Organizations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), University of Florida, National Park Service (NPS)

Overview & Objective(s): This project addresses integration and synthesis of science for ecosystem restoration and landscape conservation through identification of management question and science needs, research, monitoring, modeling, and structured decision making. In addition, it contributes to fostering strong working relationships between FWS and USGS at local and regional scales.

The focus for FY14 will be primarily on the use of system-wide ecological indicators to support landscape conservation, Everglades restoration, and understanding responses to climate change.

The objectives of this project in FY14 are to:

  1. Work with managers and scientists (within and outside of DOI) on all aspects of development of the 2014 System-wide Ecological Indicators Report. This includes analysis, integration, and synthesis of scientific information, identification of key management questions and associated science needs and linking the scientific information to those management questions.
  2. Work with other scientists (especially those within USGS) to develop, conduct and report on monitoring and research focused on system-wide ecological indicators for evaluating Everglades restoration and impacts of climate change.
  3. Work with managers and scientists within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and the rest of the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative area to apply scientific information to emerging restoration and landscape conservation issues.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The study supports the role that DOI has in producing a biennial report to Congress on the status of Everglades restoration. In addition it supports needs identified in the DOI Science Plan in Support of Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration 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 within the ecosystem. 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. It supports FWS's landscape approach to conservation (SHC) by providing a real world example of using indicator (surrogate) species to design, implement, and assess landscape restoration. It also provides linkages to larger scale conservation science efforts facilitated by the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative. In addition, it supports efforts by both FWS and USGS to integrate USGS scientific capabilities with FWS research needs and bolster FWS's science capacity.

Planned Products for FY14:

System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration 2014 report.

System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration section for 2014 Biennial Report to Congress.

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:

Relationship of alligator body condition to long-term patterns of hydrology. With Paul Conrads and others.

Comparative analysis of patterns of change in alligator body condition or relative density across management units in south Florida. With Hardin Waddle, Kristen Hart and others.

Work Plan

Task 1: Work with managers and scientists (within and outside of DOI) on all aspects of development of the System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration 2014 report and biennial report to congress. This includes analysis, integration, and synthesis of scientific information, identification of key management questions and associated science needs and linking the scientific information to those management questions.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Various managers and scientists within and outside of DOI including those in FWS, USGS, NPS, South Florida Water Management District, Army Corps of Engineers, Universities, and other entities associated with the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.

Task Summary and Objective(s): The Department of Interior has lead responsibility for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task force and as such reports to Congress every two years on the status of restoration. A part of this is the System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration report. The indicators in this report provide a way to assess current ecosystem health and provide a means to track ecosystem response to restoration and provide a big picture view of restoration, and the ecosystem's health and response, for the Task Force and Congress. The first report was produced in 2006 and over the years the report has evolved with an eye toward better addressing needs of the audiences and better scientific integration among indicators and across other reporting mechanisms including the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) Restoration Coordination and Verification (RECOVER) System Status Report (SSR) and Interim Goals report. At least five years of data have been collected for all of the indicators and we have the opportunity to better integrate what we have learned about the indicators to address key hypothesis and management questions related to Everglades restoration.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Using experiences and feedback from scientists and managers in development of the 2012 System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration report, and section for the Biennial report to Congress, modify the format of both reports to maximize the impact of the scientific information collected. Work with scientists and managers to complete both reports.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Mid-year report March 31, 2014
Annual report September 30, 2014

Task 2: Work with other scientists (especially those within USGS) to develop, conduct, and report on monitoring and research focused on system-wide ecological indicators for evaluating Everglades restoration and impacts of climate change.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: USGS: Mike Cherkiss, Paul Conrads, Kristen Hart, Stephanie Romanach, Hardin Waddle. NPS: Leonard Pearlstine, Dilip Shinde. University of Florida: Jeff Beauchamp, Frank Mazzotti. 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, Strategic Habitat Conservation, and climate change.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Link ecological monitoring and research to Everglades management and restoration planning and decisions through the use of modeling and data synthesis.

Continue synthesis of crocodilian data collected under RECOVER MAP with comparisons among areas with different hydrologic conditions (A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR-an area with multi-year hydroperiods compared to the other Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park and Big Cypress which have areas that dry out at differing frequencies and intensities). The goal of this effort is to assess the ability of using space as a surrogate for time as a way to bring information on expected responses of crocodilians to Everglades restoration into evaluations of alternative restoration plans.

Work with USGS and University of Florida scientists to analyze crocodile and alligator data for inclusion in the 2014 System-wide Ecological Indicators for Everglades Restoration report and various publications.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Mid-year report March 31, 2014
Annual report September 30, 2014

Task 3: Work with managers and scientists within the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and the rest of the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative area to apply scientific information to emerging restoration and landscape conservation issues.
Task Leaders: Laura A. Brandt
Phone: 954-577-6343
FAX: 954-475-4125
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: Various FWS managers, scientists, Science Center directors, and Landscape Conservation Cooperative coordinators and science coordinators.

Task Summary and Objective(s): There is recognition that effective landscape conservation in the face of climate change will require a coordinated science based approach. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers have been established to help to provide that coordination and science support. There are opportunities to link work ongoing in the Greater Everglades with emerging issues being identified as high priority by the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Southeast Climate Science Center.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: Work with DOI managers (especially those in FWS) to identify key management issues related to landscape conservation and climate change and identify opportunities for application of ongoing or new USGS science. Work with managers and scientists to link research, modeling, and monitoring work in Greater Everglades with efforts of the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Look for opportunities to apply a structured decision making approach to addressing restoration, landscape conservation and climate change issues.

Specific Task Products:

Product Delivery Date
Mid-year report March 31, 2014
Annual report September 30, 2014

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Last updated: 08 December, 2015 @ 10:19 AM (KP)