Since 2000, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) has been focused on restoring, preserving, and protecting the treasured South Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region. As mandated by Congress, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conducts biennial reviews of Everglades restoration progress. In this sixth review, the National Academies assesses progress to date and significant accomplishments and enumerates challenges still to be met in carrying out restoration plans.
This Congressionally mandated review is performed by the “Independent Scientific Review Panel” (ISRP), which meets approximately four times annually to receive briefings on the current status of the CERP and scientific issues involved in implementing the Plan. It will provide:
(1) an assessment of progress in restoring the natural Everglades ecosystem;
(2) discussion of significant accomplishments of the restoration; and
(3) enumeration of challenges to be met in the implementation of the restoration plan, including important science and research activities.
The Everglades ecosystem is vast, stretching more than 200 miles from Orlando to Florida Bay, and Everglades National Park is but a part located at the southern end. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the historical Everglades has been reduced to half of its original size, and what remains is not the pristine ecosystem many image it to be, but one that has been highly engineered and otherwise heavily influenced, and is intensely managed by humans. Rather than slowly flowing southward in a broad river of grass, water moves through a maze of canals, levees, pump stations, and hydraulic control structures, and a substantial fraction is diverted from the natural system to meet water supply and flood control needs. The water that remains is polluted by phosphorus and other contaminants originating from agriculture and other human activities. Many components of the natural system are highly degraded and continue to degrade.
Join this webinar at 11:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, December 15 to hear David Ashley of University of Southern California, chair of the report’s authoring committee, discuss the findings and recommendations of the report, which will be publicly released that day. He will be joined in the Q&A by committee members Denise Reed of the Water Institute of the Gulf and Jeff Walters of Virginia Tech. The webinar is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
About the NASEM Water Science and Technology Board
The Water Science and Technology Board was established in the National Research Council to provide a focal point for studies related to water resources accomplished under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The board’s objective is to improve the scientific and technological basis for resolving important questions and issues associated with the efficient management and use of water resources.
In carrying out its responsibilities and to serve the national interest, the board responds to requests for evaluations and advice concerning specific and generic issues in water resources, influences action by initiating studies of issues that merit consideration by public agencies and others, identifies issues and topics of research related to water resources, and cooperates with other units of the National Research Council and groups with mutual interests outside the National Research Council.
The board’s scope covers all dimensions of water resources, including science, engineering, economics, policy, educational issues, and social aspects.
David Ashley, University of Southern California, committee chair
Denise Reed, Water Institute of the Gulf, committee member
Jeff Walters, Virginia Tech, committee member
Stephanie Johnson, National Academies, moderator.