One of the largest and most high-profile applications of adaptive management in the U.S. can be found in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), an effort to restore, protect and preserve the water resources of central and southern Florida, including the Everglades.
The CERP, developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District and numerous other federal, state, local and tribal partners, was approved in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2000. It includes more than 60 elements, will take more than 30 years to construct and will cost an estimated $7.8 billion. The goal of the CERP is to capture fresh water that now flows unused to the ocean and the gulf and redirect it to areas that need it most. The majority of the water will be devoted to environmental restoration in a massive effort to revive this critical, but dying ecosystem.
The ambitious plan includes an arm called “RECOVER,” which is responsible for: evaluating and assessing plan performance; refining and improving the plan during implementation; and ensuring that a system-wide perspective is maintained throughout the program. This interagency, multidisciplinary component of the CERP helps ensure that the plan is continuously improved by conducting scientific and technical evaluations during its planning and implementation. It’s adaptive management at work!
The Everglades make up a truly unique landscape worthy of protection, restoration and preservation. The largest remaining sub-tropical wilderness in the lower 48 states, it contains numerous ecosystems, including rivers, lakes, open ponds, sawgrass marshes, small tree islands, large hardwood hammocks, sloughs, and mangrove swamps. Wildlife in the Everglades includes aquatic birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, of which 56 species are endangered or threatened.
For more information on the CERP and the natural resources of the Florida Everglades, check out these links:
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
USGS’ South Florida Information Access