For the past few years, Ive been researching the cultural history of Floridas southern Everglades, a remnant portion of the historic Everglades wetland system now preserved within Everglades National Park. Visitors to the Everglades often expect a hair-raising adventure, with snakes and the snapping jaws of alligators at every juncture. Yet in reality, the Everglades is a much more placid spot -- where sawgrass marshes extend from horizon to horizon, their endless monotony punctuated by the occasional island of tropical hardwoods and shrub, and where the major shifts in topography are measured in mere inches. Today this landscape gives way to housing developments, trailer parks, and agricultural developments. Primarily, my work has been documentary in nature -- an attempt to discover and record the ways Anglo gladesmen understood South Floridas swamp lands prior to the establishment of the national park in 1947. Part of this research included an oral history project that I conducted with one man, Glen Simmons, who made his living by hunting alligators in the Everglades during the 1930s and 1940s. One day, I found a note that Glen had left for me. The message was torn from a spiral-bound notebook, and though his writing was shaky and uneven, his meaning was clear. He wrote:
Does anyone ever think or wonder what this country was like before development. When youre speeding along on the expressways and theres little to see but buildings that are getting thicker and bigger all the time, do you wonder what was here just a few years ago? Although its commonly known, it was a wilderness just a hundred years ago, and a man could lose himself mentally for days without meeting anyone. Birds would fly up ahead of him, deer would jump, wary otters busy digging crawdads, quails whistling, turtles in and around the gator holes, even turkeys, a panther now and then, and fish in every hole. Now much is gone. Even in my time, since 1916, a lot of the country was still producing most things of the flora and fauna. I wonder sometimes, am I the only one thats saddened by mans takeover and ruination of this large wilderness, now gone forever! Surely not, but so few even realize it.
For obvious reasons, Glens note resonated with a sad nostalgia for me. Of course, this would be a nostalgia for a pristine wilderness that he experienced, but that I have never known. I imagined this man -- now in his eighties, his eyes blinded with cataracts, his feet gnarled and tough from years of walking barefoot through sawgrass marshes, his hands and arms which were once strong enough to wrench an alligator from its cave, now a mass of overlapping wrinkles, discolored by the bruises which seem to come easily in old age -- sitting there in his house on the outskirts of the Everglades writing me this note. So, I took this note and tacked to the front of my refrigerator -- where it stayed for the couple of years it took us to complete our project.
In South Florida we are in the process of defining and implementing one of the largest ecosystem restoration initiatives in the world. This process spans a number of complex South Florida landscapes -- from sawgrass marshes, mangrove swamps, and coral reefs to a acres of agricultural lands and rural towns, all of which are bounded by a sprawling urban corridor, culminating in the pastelled urban metropolis of Miami. The scale of the greater South Florida restoration effort is vast -- for instance, the region spans more than 18,000 square miles with a population of about 6 million. The boundaries of this system include the Kissimmee River and floodplain, Lake Okeechobee, and the freshwater marshes south of Lake Okeechobee. These marshes interconnect with the Big Cypress Swamp (a national preserve) and ultimately flow through the mangrove and salt marsh estuaries into Florida Bay (Davis and Ogden). "Restoring" this system to the memoryscape of those, like Glen, who knew it intimately prior to massive drainage efforts, would be near impossible -- as this would require effacing from the landscape miles of agricultural lands, rural communities, and urban development. Instead of waging a scorched earth approach to the region, the multiple federal, state, tribal, and local agencies coordinating South Florida restoration efforts are attempting to balance the often competing water and land requirements of the regions wilderness and developed areas.
In 1993, the South Florida Ecosystem Task Force (and related Working Group) was created through an interagency agreement among six federal agencies; in 1995, membership of the Task Force was expanded to include relevant state agencies and the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes (Milon, Kiker, Lee). The Task Forces mission is to coordinate state and federal efforts related to ecosystem restoration in South Florida. Authorizing legislation allows the Task Force to address the connections between the regions environmental, economic and social spheres, as well as mandating extensive public involvement in the process. In fact, restoration in South Florida is guided by the principles of ecosystem management, which stress the interrelationships between biological and social systems and the need for consistency between ecological and social goals.
The paradigm leading restoration in South Florida emphasizes the expansion of the entire regions water resources. The metaphor often used, perhaps not too surprisingly, is that of a pie. Currently, the region has a finite amount of water which is divided and diverted into different sectors (pieces of the pie), including water used for agriculture, to meet the regions municipal and industrial demands, and for the natural system. So instead of dividing the pie differently, say by allocating more water for the environment and less for agriculture, we will just bake a larger pie. The process of expanding this pie involves creating water storage, delivery, and flood control systems which prevent water from being lost from the system (such as lost to tide, etc.). Yet this emphasis on water reflects the way agencies have conceptualized restoration here -- which has primarily meant "natural" system restoration. And funding for restoration research has followed this directive, such as exotic plant species eradication programs, ecological and hydrologic modeling of the Everglades, etc.
I use the word "natural" in quotes, not only for philosophical reasons, but also as a reminder that even the more pristine landscapes in South Florida (such as within the boundaries of Everglades National Park) are now regulated by highly complex water management systems. While we strive to understand the complicated interactions between South Floridas built and non-built environments, its economic exchanges, and societies relationships and understandings of natural landscapes, etc., we are at the same time confronted by the arbitrary distinctions between natural and human systems. This represents one of the most challenging aspects of ecosystem restoration in South Florida, and surely echoes the challenges of restoration efforts throughout the world.
Focusing on water remains the obvious intersection of science and policy efforts in South Florida, if the goal is natural system restoration. For underscoring each of the Everglades systems ecological components is a fundamental dependence on water. In the distant past, Lake Okeechobees waters would spill over its southern shore, then flow slowly southward, flooding expansive marshes and sloughs, and finally seep unfettered into the mangrove forests bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay. Even today during the dry season, the systems interior glades and resident wildlife are nourished by water running through deeper drainage channels, or sloughs, and pooling in shallow ponds. These inland glades then give way to a band of coastal mangrove swamps, twenty miles wide in places, where fresh and salt water mingle.
Although flood control measures have been in place since the late 1920s, for the past forty years the Central and Southern Florida Project, a consolidated state and federal water management plan (involving numerous levees, water storage facilities, and drainage canals), has played a critical role in the transformation of this water-based landscape (Light and Dineen). The environmental and social consequences of these latter-day efforts span less than a single lifetime. Only a few people, like Glen, can still remember poling flat-bottomed glade skiffs and Seminole dug-out canoes across the state, through the transverse glades which link the western true Everglades to the mangrove-lined creeks of the regions southwestern shores. Rapid development and water management practices is South Florida have not only effected the cultural landscape, but also altered critical habitats for now endangered and threatened species. Fifty-six Everglades plants and animals are now considered endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (including the Florida panther, American crocodile, manatee, snail kite, and the Southern bald eagle).
Yet at the same time, the water management systems now in place were designed to address human system needs and priorities -- including the drainage of wetlands for agricultural development, flood control for communities built on former swamps, and finally, for natural system health. While we are beginning to understand the interactions between the ecological components of this landscape, our understanding of the relationships between South Floridas diverse populations and economies and the natural system is marginal. In fact, aside from a few attempts at soliciting "stakeholder" involvement in the planning process, there has been little consideration of the negative or positive impacts of restoration efforts on communities, labor forces, or economies. The emphasis on natural system restoration in South Florida, and subsequent funding priorities, has also meant that little research has been directed at integrating "local knowledge" or understandings of how the historic system reacted to the natural cycles of drought and flooding, or the pre-drainage diversity of species and habitats, into the process of scientific discovery.
Social Science Symposium
As first step toward integrating societal and economic goals into restoration planning, monitoring, and adaptive management strategies, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force "Working Group" asked its Science Coordination Team to develop a plan for social science input into the restoration process. With funding from the Department of Interior, as well as staff support from various state, federal, and tribal agencies, we developed a symposium process designed to help us develop an "Action Plan" for social science research and the application of social science methods into the restoration process. This symposium was held at the end of February, in Key Largo, FL.
At the symposium, approximately 70 social scientists representing the disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Psychology, Geography, Political Science and Sociology, as well as applied fields of policy/policy analysis, risk assessment, environmental justice, and planning worked in six interdisciplinary breakout groups to examine how social science (research and programs) can be applied to current South Florida Ecosystem Restoration efforts. Symposium participants were divided into six breakout groups; each breakout group serving as an example of different kinds of South Florida ecosystem restoration efforts. Through a facilitated process, participants identified social science information or program needs that they found critically lacking when evaluating the project or projects in their breakout group. Participants then translated these information "gaps" into research recommendations or made more programmatic recommendations (such as integrating a community involvement strategy in the project scoping phase). The topics of the six breakout groups served as "case studies" for social science input into the restoration process. The social science recommendations linked to each case study could then be applied to similar efforts throughout the study area. These six case studies included a cross section of South Florida restoration projects, representing different: stages in the project planning process, geographic scale, location in study area, populations potentially impacted, and land use issues.
We reasoned that this model would offer managers and policy makers (non-social scientists) with concrete examples of the utility and application of these disciplines, rather than an abstract discussion of methods. In addition, since many of the symposium participants came from outside of the region, we felt that this model for the meeting would help us prepare the participants with relevant information prior to their attendance. To do so, we assigned participants to breakout groups and provided them with pre-symposium information packets tailored for their breakout group topic.
A summary of breakout group topics follow. See attached map for location of projects within the study area.
Group 1: Best Management Practices for Agriculture
Examined Department of Agriculture BMPs for agriculture programs in Florida. Participants reviewed BMP program material which was provided by the US Department of Agriculture prior to arriving at the symposium. During the breakout session, NRCS project managers presented additional information and answered questions on BMP programs in Florida.
Group 2: Economic Assessment of the C&SF Restudy Project
The Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project, first authorized by Congress in 1948, was designed as a multipurpose water resources project -- facilitating the drainage of wetlands for agriculture and development, as well as providing flood control and water delivery for South Florida communities. Over the past 50 years, this project has resulted in some unintended consequences to the environment in South Florida. According to the C&SF Project Restudy Plan Formulation, "the purpose of the restudy is to reexamine the Project to determine the feasibility of structural or operational modifications essential to restoration of the Everglades and Florida Bay ecosystems while providing for other water-related needs such as urban and agricultural water supply and flood control." The US Army Corps of Engineers has developed a scope of work for the economic evaluation of the Restudy plan formulation process. This scope of work was developed to meet Federal laws, regulations and statues which guide economic evaluation of water resources and ecosystem restoration projects. Symposium participants received this scope of work prior to attending the meeting; Corps economists and their consultants were on hand to provide additional information to symposium participants.
Group 3: Water Storage North and West of Lake Okeechobee
Symposium participants in this breakout group examined two potential components of the C&SF Project Restudy plan. Both components have similar goals, though impacting different regions. These goals are to increase regional water storage, provide flood attenuation, estuary flow protection and water supply benefits.
The area impacted by a storage facility north of Lake Okeechobee is part of the historic Kissimmee River Basin. The Kissimmee River Basin forms the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, extending south from Orlando 90 miles to Lake Okeechobee. The upper basin contains a series of interconnected lakes, and the lower basin contains Canal 38, the channelized Kissimmee River. The Kissimmee River is the primary tributary to Lake Okeechobee; the lake spans a 730 square mile area in six counties. Development along the northern half of the northwest edge of the lake is sparse. The Brighton Seminole Reservation is located along the northwest edge, and the city of Okeechobee (population ~ 5,000) is located at the northernmost point of the lake. The rest of the land bordering Lake Okeechobee is agricultural, primarily composed of cattle and dairy industries, but also including sugar cane and citrus. The proposed storage facility would span approximately 35,000 acres -- most likely in close proximity to the lake to allow for inflows to be pumped out of the lake when waters rise above the inflow line.
A storage facility west of Lake Okeechobee would create water storage within the Caloosahatchee River basin to accept lake regulatory discharges and local basin runoff, as well as to provide environmental water deliveries to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The Caloosahatchee River was channelized in the late 1880s as part of an effort to drain the Kissimmee-Lake Okeechobee Everglades system. In the process, the hydrology of Lake Hicpochee, the traditional headwaters, was altered. The River is the major source of freshwater to the Caloosahatchee Estuary and southern Charlotte Harbor aquatic environment. The management of water discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee watershed has dramatically altered both the estuary and harbor. Land use near Lake Okeechobee is primarily agricultural, specifically sugar cane. Moving west the land use pattern changes from agriculture (cattle grazing and patches of citrus) mixed with extractive industry (sand mining) to urban uses, particularly subdivisions. The population along the river is now .25 million people, with the potential to increase to .75 million. Glades and Hendry counties, the areas under consideration for the storage area, have experienced rapid growth (for a rural area) over the past 20 years, with the population increasing by 25%. These counties also have some of the most extreme cyclical employment rates in the state, unlike the coastal counties in the area, growing retirement population has not caused an expansion of the job base to smooth out the employment cycles. Agriculture remains a critical component of the tax base. Storage in this area would be created through the construction of a 20,000 acre water storage reservoir along the river, in Hendry or Glades counties.
Group 4: North Fork of the New River Restoration Project
The North Fork of the New River Restoration is part of a larger effort to revitalize the environmental and aesthetic qualities of the New River Basin. The 30 mile long New River is one of the few naturally occurring surface water bodies in Broward County, Florida. The North Fork, particular from World War 1 to the 1960s, was once the heart of the African American community in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Today the waterway is a focal point of activity for many commercial, residential, recreational, urban, environmental, and tourism interests in Broward County. A 1991 Broward County Department of Natural Resource Protection assessment identified the North Fork as an area of low water quality due to impacts from pollution and low water circulation. Stormwater runoff, illicit discharges, and debris dumping have been chronic problems. In addition, other potential sources of contaminants such as septic tanks and sewage lines surround the waterway. These factors have led to a degraded natural system that meanders predominantly through low-income minority communities. The rivers water and sediment quality characteristics also pose a potential health risk to the local residents. The New River project represents a unique juncture of natural resource restoration and urban renewal and revitalization issues.
Group 5: South Biscayne Watershed Management Plan and the Florida Keys Carrying Capacity Study
Both the South Biscayne Watershed Management Plan and the Florida Keys Carrying Capacity Study represent planning projects at the southern end of the historic Everglades system. These projects remain at the scoping phase, and are intended to balance the competing needs of the regions fragile natural resources with the current and future growth and development demands on the area.
The objectives of the Southern Biscayne Watershed Management Plan are: to preserve the environmental, economic, and community values of Biscayne National Park (which lies within the watershed area); to identify and establish mechanisms for protecting the constitutional private property rights of land owners; to support a viable, balanced economy including agriculture, recreation, tourism and urban development in the area; and to promote land uses and zoning decisions in the area consistent with the long-term objectives for a sustainable south Miami-Dade County. The impetus for this plan stems from the future redevelopment of the Homestead Airforce Base into a commercial airport and the impact this transfer may have on the agricultural land values adjacent to the airbase. Biscayne National Park would prefer adjacent lands to remain in agriculture as a means of retaining a open space boundary between the park and urban sprawl from greater Miami. A number of business interests and the agricultural community are conversely concerned that zoning restrictions would severely restrict the future economic growth of the entire South Miami-Dade region compounding the effects of Hurricane Andrew on the region. A stakeholder working group developed the scope of work for the land management plan in an effort to balance the environmental health of Biscayne National Park and water quality, while fully preserving the necessary rights, credit and equity of land owners within the study area boundaries.
The Florida Keys Carrying Capacity Studys goal is to determine what level of human population activities can be supported by a healthy, balanced, functioning ecosystem. This determination will be made by identifying "component thresholds" which define the ecosystems sustainability. The study was initiated to comply with an executive order from the Governor of Florida. Human occupation in the Florida Keys dates back to the Calusa and Tequesta Indians. Prior to the completion of the overseas railway in 1912 (which linked the keys to the mainland), scattered communities lived throughout these islands -- surviving by fishing, trade between the islands, sponging, and small-scale farming. The completion of the Overseas Highway in 1938 and the development of the Florida Keys Aquifer further opened the islands to growth. By the 1950s the Keys began to feel the impacts of growth and in 1975 the Florida Legislature created the Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern to protect the islands resources. A rate of growth ordinance was adopted to limit annual building permits. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was created in 1992 to protect the adjacent marine resources.
Symposium participants received both scopes of work prior to attending the symposium; project managers for both studies attended the breakout group session to answer addition questions. The participants were asked to evaluate each scope.
Group 6: Indian River Lagoon Restoration Feasibility Study
The Indian River Lagoon (Lagoon) spans some 156 miles along Floridas central east coast and includes two counties, Martin and St. Lucie. In 1991, it was listed as an estuary of national significance and included in the National Estuary Program. The Lagoon provides a crucial link between the land and the ocean. The protected waters of the Lagoon provide safe harbor for boats and safe passage along the Intracoastal Waterway. The inlets create a mechanism of saltwater flushing creating salt and brackish water habitat that is used as a spawning ground for fish and other marine life. The Lagoon and the St. Lucie Estuary, a major tributary at the southern end of the Lagoon, provide habitats for a wide variety of commercially, recreationally, and ecologically important aquatic organisms. Today, high volume freshwater flows to the St. Lucie Estuary through canals constructed as part of the C&SF Project cause rapid decreases in salinity, increase sediment loading, reduce aquatic productivity, and produce unfavorable water quality conditions for estuarine plants and animals. Both commercial and recreational uses of the Lagoon are important to the economic base of the region. The estimated amount spent by recreational fishermen in the Lagoon exceeded $54 million in 1990 and is expected to increase to $87 million by the year 2010. The economy of the region is also supported by a number of marine service facilities, marine construction and maintenance facilities, yacht clubs and resorts. Approximately 15% of the hotels and restaurants in Florida exist within the Lagoon area.
Symposium participants reviewed the scope of work for the Lagoon Restoration Feasibility Study prior to arriving at the symposium; project managers were available in the breakout group to answer additional questions.
Contributions Made by the Anthropologists
Out of the seventy invited symposium participants, eleven anthropologists participated in the breakout group sessions. In addition, two anthropologists acted as facilitators (myself and Theresa Trainor from the US EPA) for different breakout group sessions. In an attempt to foster a multi-disciplinary approach, we designed the breakout groups to include representatives from all the social science disciplines, as well as matching individual participants disciplinary expertise with the breakout group focus.
Symposium participants recommended a total of fifty-one social science actions. Anthropologists worked on fourteen of these recommendations, in most instances in teams with other non-anthropologist symposium participants. I have outlined the types of recommendations made by the participating anthropologists.
1. Expansion of Existing Surveys/Studies to Include Standard Anthropological Techniques (such as participant observation and ethnography): Symposium participants generally did not feel that current baseline demographic data was adequate to address restoration project development, planning, or monitoring activities. Each breakout group suggested methods for expanding baseline demographic information, as well as applying this information into restoration models. Anthropologists involved helped to broaden the conception of the types of baseline information needed to address natural resource management and regional planning needs. Anthropologists within these breakout group suggested various community profiling techniques as a way of providing policy makers with a more comprehensive portrait of impacted communities. Both the Indian River Lagoon and the Water Storage Reservoir breakout groups specifically called for research to assess the socio-cultural characteristics of communities "directly and indirectly" impacted by restoration projects, including communities linked to the project via economic, social, or environmental interests and issues. Methods suggested included participant observation, life history research, snowballing interviews, structured and unstructured interviews with a stratified sample of group representatives and the development of surveys to illicit socio-cultural characteristics, group composition, views, interest and issues. In addition, the anthropologists involved (as well as other disciplines) stressed the need to develop participatory methods throughout the research process and application.
2. Environmental Values Research: To help managers prioritize and design restoration projects, symposium participants repeatedly called for basic research to gauge the publics understandings and perceptions of the natural system. For instance, anthropologists in Group 2 ("Total System") suggested expanding a current public preferences survey conducted by University of Florida economists to include ethnographic research techniques. Originally, this study was designed as a survey to determine the publics preferences for prioritizing various restoration projects, with the questions formulated to help develop "willingness to pay" scenarios. The inclusion of more in-depth ethnographic assessment techniques was designed to produce both qualitative and quantitative data related to environmental values and restoration prioritization options, and ultimately, to help policy makers better understand the publics fundamental environmental values (at a regional, state, and national scale). Discussions on this topic revolved around justifications for this research, as well as methods for defining the "public." In particular, participants stressed the need to survey groups often neglected by this type research, such as migrant agricultural labor, urban minority communities, etc. In addition, participants noted that this information would be critical to designing effective public engagement strategies.
3. Stakeholder Involvement Strategies: Stakeholder involvement strategies were recommended in almost all of the breakout group sessions. These strategies ranged from community participation techniques, to education and outreach efforts. Recommendations by anthropologists included "Developing a Vision for South Florida," as a means of reaching consensus goals for the regions social, economic, and environmental sectors for the years 2020 and 2050; implementing outreach and participatory technique training sessions for restoration projects; to advocating that outreach and community participation techniques become part of specific project implementation protocol for all projects involving human communities. Participants also stressed the need to involve community members in developing and implementing stakeholder involvement strategies. For instance, within the BMPs for Agriculture breakout group, a "Farmer to Farmer Circuit Rider Program" was suggested as a means of providing farmer to farmer technical assistance on achieving greater success on BMP compliance.
4. Social Impact Analysis: Several breakout groups suggested the need to expand social impact assessment procedures beyond the variables typically defined by mandated economic impact analysis. Participating anthropologists specifically linked social impact assessment studies to "quality of life" issues (such as family structure, or sense of "place") on variously defined subgroups (such as: communities, families, income groups, ethnic groups, and user groups). Household level research was suggested as a means to identify household resource consumption, behavior, values, and perceptions of desirable "quality of life;" this information could in turn be used to provide data for future consumption and environmental impact modeling. These recommendations ranged from social impact assessments for specific projects and user groups, to implementing a vulnerability to hazards analysis of the Biscayne Bay Watershed area. Participants linked this research to future information needs, such as stakeholder groups likely to be affected by projects. Also noted were the benefits of this research, such as the ability to forecast the unintended consequences of restoration projects and identify groups likely to need compensation. Multi-methodological approaches (both qualitative and quantitative) were recommended.
5. "Local Meaning" Research: Anthropologists attending the symposium helped craft recommendations designed to incorporate local understandings of policy and programs related to South Florida Ecosystem Restoration. For instance, in a recommendation entitled "Ethnographic Study of Key Farming Groups in South Florida Ecosystem," the authors specifically directed their research recommendations at determining the local meanings of "sustainable agriculture." This study advised using standard ethnographic research methods as a means of addressing different farming communities understanding of sustainable agriculture (understandings of themselves in the future, and what agriculture means to themselves and their families); as well as research to determine different farming sectors participation in sustainable practices, including BMPs.
6. Historical Assessments: Anthropologys reliance on historical context as an avenue for understanding contemporary community values was also underscored at the symposium. Standard archaeological and archival research methods were suggested as a means of "better understanding cultural groups in the area." In the North Fork of the New River breakout group, a recommendation entitled "Historical Human Adaptations: Successes and Failures" was suggested to help characterize human activities (from use of the environment, population and settlement patterns, and to resource use) in the area from 10,000 years ago to the present. This research would be applied to developing better population forecasting models, as well as to identify future archaeological sites which may cause setbacks to project implementation schedules. Other methods suggested included: oral history projects, and analysis of archival information, such as dairies, letters, photographs, and other material culture artifacts. Presentation of this information back to the community would aid in community outreach programs.
While the majority of these recommendations may seem fairly traditional to fellow anthropologists (for instance no avant-garde performance art proposals seemed to have made the grade), they actually represent substantial departures from the type of social and economic research recommendations that weve seen so far in South Florida. The "traditionality" of recommendations may reflect both the emphasis of the meeting (participants were asked to justify their recommendations with the premise of "meeting management needs") and the prioritization exercises within each group (participants voted on recommendations, then were split into teams to further develop the highest ranked recommendations). That said, what is particularly striking is the absolute number of highly ranked recommendations which are clearly "anthropological" in scope and method. Of the three or four highest ranked social science recommendations for each group, over 1/3 these recommendations employed traditional anthropological methods. Perhaps, the "critical mass" of anthropologists at the symposium helped to strengthen the legitimacy and utility of these research methods. It takes a pretty persuasive anthropologist or sociologist to convince a room full of economists that a quick telephone survey is not going to garner the same depth and complexity of information that longer duration qualitative research produces.
While the "stacking the decks" principle may seem cynical, it seemed, at least at the anecdotal level, to have some other fairly far-reaching consequences. Because symposium participants were urged to work in a multi-disciplinary fashion, there was an unexpected lack of discipline/methods grandstanding. In fact, the opposite was usually the case, where participants from the various social science disciplines learned from each other. For instance, in the BMPs for Agriculture group, I overheard the Director of the Seminole Tribes Anthropology and Genealogy Department (who is actually an historian) explain the concept of "ethnography" to the rest of the group. And although this breakout group was the only group that did not have an anthropologist participating, their number one recommendation was entitled "An Ethnographic Study of Key Farming Groups in South Florida."
Second, as Barbara Johnston suggested at the post-symposium evaluation meeting, the symposium provided a rare forum for applied anthropologists working for agencies and at academic institutions to interact with project managers involved in ecosystem restoration. Each of the breakout groups included "technical experts" to answer participants questions about the projects they were evaluating. Generally, these technical experts were engineers or hydrologists working for the Army Corps of Engineers or other involved agencies, or natural resource managers. When designing the breakout groups, we envisioned the technical expert role as fairly passive--these experts would make a short presentation on the breakout group topic, to supplement the information participants already had, and answer any questions throughout the two-day process. What actually happened was that the technical experts, many of them senior level project managers, teamed up with the social scientists to develop the social science strategies. From the phone calls and e-mail messages that I received after the meeting, these technical experts were extremely enthusiastic about their experience at the symposium and the recommendations which it produced. For the anthropologists, and other participants, these personal contacts with project managers may have accomplished more for the social science research agenda than we could hope for with our "Action Plan," however well crafted.
We are now only in the beginning stages of analyzing the "raw data" that we collected at the symposium. In the coming months, we will work with symposium participants to clarify and strengthen the recommended social science strategies. The Symposiums Core Planning Group will then review, revise, and prioritize these strategies and develop them into a draft Action Plan. We hope to have the draft Action Plan completed by the end of June 1998. The Core Group will also finalize the Action Plans review process; this will include review by the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Working Group, symposium participants, stakeholder review, and peer review. The final Action Plan will include all of the strategies developed at the workshop, though the Plan will place the critical ecosystem-level strategies in priority order. It will summarize how the recommendations meet management needs, and evaluate how they will be applied to resource management issues. The Plan will also provide estimates for the recommendations costs and staffing requirements.
Davis, Steven M. and John C. Ogden, editors 1994 Everglades: The Ecosystem and Its Restoration. Delray Beach, FL: St. Lucie Press.
Light, Stephen S. and J. Walter Dineen 1994. Water Control in the Everglades: A Historical Perspective. In Everglades: The Ecosystem and Its Restoration (edited by Davis and Ogden). Delray Beach, FL: St. Lucie Press.
Milon, J. Walter, Clyde F. Kiker, Donna J. Lee 1997. Ecosystem Management and the Florida Everglades: The Role of Social Scientists. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 29:99-107.
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