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Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The First Biennial Review – 2006
Statement of Task
This congressionally mandated activity will review the progress toward achieving the restoration goals of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The committee will meet approximately four times annually to receive briefings on the current status of the CERP and scientific issues involved in implementing the Plan. It will publish a report every other year providing:
an assessment of progress in restoring the natural system, which is defined by section 601(a) of WRDA 2000 as all the land and water managed by the federal government and state within the South Florida ecosystem;
discussion of significant accomplishments of the restoration;
discussion and evaluation of specific scientific and engineering issues that may impact progress in achieving the natural system restoration goals of the Plan; and
independent review of monitoring and assessment protocols to be used for evaluation of CERP progress (e.g., CERP performance measures, annual assessment reports, assessment strategies).
ment Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000). The committee is charged to submit biennial reports that review the CERP’s progress in restoring the natural system (see Box S-1). This is the committee’s first report in a series of biennial evaluations that are scheduled to last the lifetime of the CERP.
The committee concludes that much good science has been developed to support the restoration efforts and that progress has been made in CERP program support, particularly in the monitoring and assessment program. However, no CERP projects have been completed to date, and anticipated restoration progress in the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) and Everglades National Park appears to be lagging behind the production of natural system restoration benefits in other portions of the South Florida ecosystem. Additionally there have been some troubling delays in some projects that are important to the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. These delays have resulted from several factors, including budgetary restrictions and a project planning process that that can be stalled by unresolved scientific uncertainties. Restoration benefits from early water storage projects remain uncertain because decisions have not yet been made regarding water allocations for the natural system.