Research objectives to support the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration initiative-Water Conservation Areas, Lake Okeechobee, and the East/West waterways

Kitchens, Wiley M. (1994) Research objectives to support the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration initiative-Water Conservation Areas, Lake Okeechobee, and the East/West waterways. Gainesville, FL, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit , University of Florida,

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Abstract

The South Florida Ecosystem encompasses an area of approximately 28,000 km2 comprising at least 11 major physiographic provinces, including the Kissimmee River Valley, Lake Okeechobee, the Immokalee Rise, the Big Cypress, the Everglades, Florida Bay, the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, Biscayne Bay, the Florida Keys, the Florida Reef Tract, and nearshore coastal waters. South Florida is a heterogeneous system of wetlands, uplands, coastal areas, and marine areas, dominated by the watersheds of the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades. Prior to drainage, wetlands dominated the ecosystem, covering most of central and southern Florida. The landscapes included swamp forests; sawgrass plains; mosaics of sawgrass, tree islands, and ponds; marl-forming prairies dominated by periphyton; wet prairies dominated by Eleocharis and Nymphaea; freshwater marshes; saltwater marshes; cypress strands; and a vast lake-river system draining into Lake Okeechobee. Elevated areas that did not flood supported pine flatwoods, pine rocklands, scrub, tropical hardwood hammocks, and xeric hammocks dominated by oaks. The natural seascapes of South Florida consisted of riverine and fringe mangrove forests; beaches and dunes; seagrass beds; intertidal flats; mud banks; hardbottom communities; coral reefs; and open, inshore shallows. All these habitats were interconnected on an extremely low topographic gradient (2.8 cm/km) with elevations ranging from about 6 m at Lake Okeechobee to below sea level at Florida Bay. The Science SUb-Group (1993) described the defining characteristics of the South Florida Ecosystem and the problems that resulted from hydrologic alterations and other anthropogenic changes. Restoration objectives were proposed for each sub-regionand the region as a whole. The overall goal of the restoration effort is to restore a sustainable South Florida Ecosystem that preserves the valued properties of South Florida's natural systems and supports productive agriculture-, fishery-, and tourist. based economies and a high quality of urban life. Sustainability means high natural productivity, human and ecosystem health, and resiliency to climatic extremes and catastrophic events. It also means accommodation of needs of human systems-flood control, irrigation, and drinking water supply. SCOPE This section addresses the entire ecosystem, cutting across the artificial boundaries of designated subregions, as well as geopolitical and geomorphological boundaries, to present the broader issues of deVeloping an interagency and interdisciplinary ecosystem-based science program to support South Florida restoration. Here we discuss the general premise and the general approach, with brief discussions on monitoring, modeling, and special studies. The latter two topics are covered in greater detail in other sections. (PDF contains 119 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Research objectives to support the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration initiative-Water Conservation Areas, Lake Okeechobee, and the East/West waterways
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Kitchens, Wiley M.
Date: 1994
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit , University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Projects: Research Work Order no. 139
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Additional Information: Science sub-meeting, September 27, 1994
Uncontrolled Keywords: South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative; objectives;
Subjects: Management
Limnology
Planning
Item ID: 1087
Depositing User: Stephanie Haas
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2008 22:29
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 21:10
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/1087

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