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
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).
For further reading:
Boyer, J. N., C. R. Kelble, P. B. Ortner, and D. T. Rudnick. 2009. Phytoplankton bloom status: An indicator of water quality condition in the southern estuaries of Florida, USA. Ecological Indicators 9s: s56-s67.
Doren, R. F., J. C. Trexler, A. D. Gottlieb, and M. Harwell. 2009. Ecological indicators for system-wide assessment of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Program. Ecological Indicators 9:S2-S16.
Gaiser, E. 2009. Periphyton as an indicator of restoration in the Everglades. Ecological Indicators. 9: S37-S45.
Trexler, J. C., and C. W. Goss. 2009. Aquatic fauna as indicators for Everglades restoration: Applying dynamic targets in assessments. Ecological Indicators 9S:S108-S119.
For further information: