Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research
Florida Coastal Everglades LTER Key Findings

FCE Key Findings

5. Communication to Policymakers
Collaborating with agency scientists, FCE scientists developed an effective communication tool for directly informing the U.S. Congress and other decision makers about the science of Everglades restoration.

Though much of the Everglades is Federally designated Wilderness, it is also a human-dominated landscape that is sensitive to manipulations of water delivery and quality. Working with a State-Federal task force, FCE contributes to a reporting system linking the causes and consequences of these dynamics and communicating the results in a format accessible to a wide audience. This reporting system is used in bi-annual reports to the U.S. Congress by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (http://www.sfrestore.org/) to assess progress in ecosystem restoration. The "stoplight" reporting system allows us to communicate our results to other scientists and policy makers through a multi-layered reporting tool that extracts management signals from long-term datasets. The reporting system includes 11 indicator types that address diverse spatial and ecological dimensions of the Everglades restoration initiative. Three of the indicators, periphyton-epiphyton, fish and macroinvertebrates, and Florida algal blooms, are closely linked to FCE core research topics and long-term data gathering. FCE scientists participated in a team of the Federal Task Force on Everglades Restoration, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other universities to develop this communication tool.

Time series data from each site are compared to targets derived from a model linking rainfall and baseline conditions identified as approximating historical hydrological conditions. Developed from Trexler and Goss (2009).

An example report card with stoplights indicating compliance with targets (green), deviation from targets that require ongoing attention (yellow), and deviation from targets indicating a failure to meet management goals (red).

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Contact Joel Trexler

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National Science Foundation logo This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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