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Managing multiple species with conflicting needs in the Greater Everglades

February 16, 2022

Given limited funding, natural resources decision making is riddled with tradeoffs, including which species or landscapes to prioritize for management action. Florida’s Everglades wetland is home to numerous indicator species, some of which are endangered. But with a multitude of species comes differing hydrologic requirements to yield appropriate foraging and breeding conditions for each. The Everglades ecosystem is highly managed, with water being moved across the landscape to meet the habitat and reproductive needs of species of concern. Predictive modeling can help water managers understand potential consequences to targeted water conditions. EverForecast is a novel spatially explicit, hydrologic, and ecological operational forecast developed to inform conservation management decisions. Not only does EverForecast provide probable near-term water conditions, but also predicted species responses to those hydrologic conditions. Using examples from two focal regions of the Everglades, we show the magnitude of impacts to a suite of species and an almost 70% decline in suitable conditions for one species when prioritizing water management to meet the needs of another species. Although EverForecast is a relatively new decision support tool, its hydrologic outputs are already commonly used to make water management recommendations because it provides near-term hydrologic forecasts that scientists and managers need for water operations decision making. Because species management decisions have historically been made to target a single species at a time, it may take longer for full utility of EverForecast’s ability to quantify tradeoffs among species to become integrated into decision making.

    Citation Information

    Publication Year 2022
    Title Managing multiple species with conflicting needs in the Greater Everglades
    DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2022.108669
    Authors Stephanie Romanach, Saira Haider, Caitlin E. Hackett, Mark McKelvy, Leonard G. Pearlstine
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title Ecological Indicators
    Index ID 70229665
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center