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2. Prioritization of Science Resource Allocations

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Prioritizing science needs for ongoing South Florida restoration is integral to the DOI mission as steward and partner with other federal and state agencies. With the enactment of the CERP it is important not only that appropriated funds be targeted at the highest priority research, planning, and interagency coordination needs of the restoration effort, but also that this prioritization be coordinated both within DOI and with state, federal, and other partners. This coordination leverages resources, maximizes the value of federal funds, and results in the best available research products and monitoring and assessment tools responsive to the needs of the NPS, the FWS, and DOI's CERP partners.

Prioritizing the science needed to support South Florida restoration begins by focusing on three key program areas benefiting DOI's resources and mission in South Florida:

  1. Activities to improve the quantity, timing, and distribution of clean fresh water needed to restore the South Florida ecosystem
  2. Activities to restore, protect, and manage natural resources on DOI lands in South Florida
  3. Activities to recover South Florida's threatened and endangered species

The following chapters briefly describe key projects that support these program areas and summarize the remaining science needed to plan and adaptively manage these projects. Taken together, the restoration and resource management projects represent the high priority DOI science information needs critical for supporting restoration and management of the South Florida ecosystem.

The USGS, in consultation with the NPS and the FWS, is developing a process for prioritizing the science needs relevant to the restoration and resource management projects identified in this science plan. This process utilizes a multi-tiered approach to assist in prioritizing critical science information needs. The prioritized list generated from this process will be the foundation for DOI's annual science funding strategy. This tiered approach looks at a number of factors:

  • The relevance of the science effort to improving understanding of the ecological and hydrologic processes affecting DOI lands and resources
  • The applicability of the science to multiple DOI restoration objectives or multiple projects
  • The applicability of the science to the development and refinement of performance measures and targets used to evaluate and assess restoration success
  • Synthesis and sequencing to address the most urgent management information needs
  • Maximization of cost-share opportunities and science coordination across bureaus or with DOI's CERP partners

Using this process, managers and scientists from the NPS, FWS, and USGS will annually review the benefits of DOI-funded science towards supporting DOI managed lands and resources, and the sequencing and timing requirements for that science. The NPS/FWS/USGS team will then recommend an annual funding strategy and propose how available funds from the NPS CESI and USGS PES programs should be used to target scientific efforts yielding the greatest benefit related to DOI's responsibilities in South Florida. This strategy will take into account the ongoing research funded by other partners and stakeholders to avoid duplication and to maximize the use of other scientific efforts.

The prioritization process outlined above emphasizes a primary goal of achieving economies of scale by effectively integrating science programs from many different jurisdictions, including the private sector. The NPS, FWS, and USGS will continue to proactively seek out partnerships and improve existing ones to maximize scientific inquiry.

Finally, the prioritization process will emphasize coordination in developing annual funding proposals to implement DOI research, monitoring, and assessment programs supporting South Florida restoration activities.



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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:04 PM(KP)