Restoration refocused : an evaluation of the Central Everglades Planning Project
Author(s)Neary, Devon E
Evaluation of the CEPP
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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In 2000, President Clinton signed legislation authorizing the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), a $7.8 billion, 68 project, 30-year effort to restore one of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in the world. The plan was the culmination of efforts by environmentalists to reverse a century of drainage and development driven by economic speculation in South Florida. For 16 years, CERP has struggled through lawsuits, stakeholder disagreements, implementation delays and a general lack of flexibility. The vastness of the Everglades and the complexity of surrounding agricultural and urban uses require a balancing act including scientific experimentation, large infrastructure construction and skillful management of divergent and competing stakeholders. Unfortunately, CERP was not up to the task. The Everglades ecosystem continues to decline. In 2011, with a great sense of urgency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District reaffirmed their partnership and began planning for a new era of Everglades restoration. The Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) emerged in 2014. It promises a bold new approach to restoring the Everglades ecosystem while meeting the needs of the surrounding communities that depend on it. This thesis analyzes how CEPP is attempting to succeed where CERP failed to mitigate the Everglades' decline. It also seeks to determine whether CEPP will be able to cope with the new complexities of climate change, particularly sea level rise. Based on interviews with many of the key players and a close look at all the relevant planning documents, I found a deeply political, reactionary planning process aimed at restoring a seriously impaired ecosystem while trying to respond simultaneously to sharply competing claims on water and contradictory Federal and State regulations. I do think there are ways that CEPP planners could enhance ecosystem resilience. They would need to rely more heavily on nature-based infrastructure, redundancies in watershed governance structures, innovations in water conservation and a stronger emphasis on protecting drinking water supplies for South Florida.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-116).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.