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South Florida Ecosystem Program of the U.S. Geological Survey

August 1, 1995


The South Florida Ecosystem Program is one of several study areas within the USGS Ecosystem Program. The Ecosystem Program was established to enable the USGS to enhance its scientific assistance to resource managers who require an improved scientific information base to resolve or prevent complex resource conflicts or environmental problems in specific ecosystem sites. Through 3-5-year efforts in each ecosystem site, USGS intensifies its provision of scientific information tailored to the specific management needs of that ecosystem. The information is designed to have a direct, significant, and immediate impact on management and policy decisions. It addresses regional or subregional issues that involve environmental resources such as water, minerals, and land. The sites may have as their focus such issues as water quality or water supply, environmental effects of mineral or energy use or extraction, effects of alterations in land use or land cover.

Initially, the Ecosystem Program focussed on two ecosystems: San Francisco Bay and south Florida. Chesapeake Bay was added in FY 1996. Activities in each site last from three to five years, and additional ecosystem sites will be added as funding becomes available.

The program is multidisciplinary and brings together scientists from appropriate disciplines to apply their diverse expertise to common problems. Disciplines in the present suite of ecosystems include land characterization, surface modeling, geospatial database management, ground- and surface-water hydrology, geophysics, ecology, geochemistry, paleontology, hydrologic modeling, and contaminant, sediment, and nutrient dynamics.

The South Florida Ecosystem Program is an intergovernmental effort to reestablish and maintain the ecosystem of south Florida. One element of the restoration effort is the development of a firm scientific basis for resource decisionmaking. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the agencies that provides scientific information as part of the USGS South Florida Ecosystem Program. The Program, which was begun in fiscal year 1995, provides multidisciplinary hydrologic, cartographic, and geologic data that relates to the mainland of south Florida, the Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys and Reef ecosystems. The Program complements ongoing USGS work, such as the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, the Federal-State Cooperative Program, Marine and Coastal Geology Program and Regional Geology Program, and topographic mapping and digital cartography.