Communication to Policymakers

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Time series data are compared to targets derived from a model linking rainfall and baseline conditions identified as approximating historical hydrological conditions. In the example presented here, the density of an indicator species was much lower than the target in 2001 through 2003.
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.

The Everglades is imbedded in a human-dominated landscape that is constantly changing in response to local and global environmental manipulations. Working with an inter-governmental task force, FCE has helped create a reporting system linking the causes and consequences of these dynamics and communicating the results in a transparent format accessible to a wide audience. This reporting system has been 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 science 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 collaborated with 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.

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). This example is for 6 aquatic consumer performance measures from two regions of the Everglades. Trends can be seen by comparison across years; a statement about current status and projected condition is included for each. These performance measures were selected based on life history patterns linking hydrological management and production of food for wading birds, which are a major concern for management.
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 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.
For further information: 
Evelyn Gaiser
Joel Trexler
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