Forecasting ecological responses for wetland restoration planning in Florida's Everglades
The Everglades wetland was once a river of grass, with water flowing slowly through the sawgrass, southward across the landscape. As developers took hold of south Florida, water was sent away from the heart of the Everglades through canals and levees to protect the former wetland for residential and agricultural development. In the 1990s, planning began to restore the Everglades in what is the largest hydrologic restoration undertaking in the world. With billions of taxpayer dollars at stake, restoration planners benefit from forecasting tools to inform restoration planning. To meet this need, scientists developed predictive ecological models and other decision support tools tailored to this dynamic ecosystem as well as to the needs of restoration planning teams. Predictive modeling has been able to take advantage of well-understood relationships between species of interest and hydrologic dynamics in the Everglades. Recent modeling advances include multi-species approaches that consider interactions among species as well as explicit consideration of trade-offs among species from potential water management actions. Scientists are also starting to look at ecosystem-wide vulnerabilities with explicit consideration of future change such as sea level rise. Modeling tools and approaches continue to be refined to meet decision making needs for Everglades restoration. However, more work is needed to consider additional complexities of this dynamic wetland as well as to consider the broader socio-environmental system.
|Forecasting ecological responses for wetland restoration planning in Florida's Everglades
|Stephanie Romanach, Leonard G. Pearlstine
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Wetland and Aquatic Research Center