SFERPM FY00 Implementation Plan for Non-Research Activities


The following pages constitute the requested brief narratives for the two non-research South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Prediction and Modeling (SFERPM) activities to which NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CSCOR has been directed to contribute funds in FY00[1].  Both the scope and total funding for the CSCOR funded activities have already been specified and agreed upon, and the plans and budgets were prepared within those prescriptive guidelines.   FY01 funding is dependent upon FY01 congressional authorization of the NOAA South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative including the National Ocean Service (NOS) component but is anticipated to be essentially similar.  The two activities are Program and Data Management Office/Small Boat Operations and Long-term Interdisciplinary Monitoring. In FY00, NCCOS/CSCOR has been directed to pay all of the NOS contribution for the former and much of the NOS contribution to the latter. 


I. Program and Data Management Office/Small Boat Operations


The NOAA/SFERPM Program was initiated in 1994 by a team of regional NOAA managers (OAR, NMFS, and NOS) and collaborating academic scientists, with the approval and cooperation of our state and federal partners in the then Florida Bay Science Program (now Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program).  In FY96, the elements of SFERPM were re-designed to complement other components of NOAA's South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (SFERI) i.e., the NMFS/SEFSC-lead South Florida Living Marine Resources and the NOS/FKNMS-lead Florida Keys Ecosystem Monitoring programs.   SFERPM has continued to explicitly complement the other components of the NOAA's SFERI.  SFERPM has also completely integrated its program with that of our federal and state partners in the interagency Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program Management Committee (PMC), a component of the greater South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force effort (http://www.sfrestore.org).   All parts of the NOAA SFERI, including SFERPM, have been locally managed, planned and directed in South Florida within an explicit interagency process under the aegis of the PMC and, through it, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.  Unlike most other CSCOR (formerly COP) programs or projects, SFERPM is not a self-contained entity, but from its inception has been a significant but small part of the much larger interagency South Florida Ecosystem Restoration effort.  It is virtually inexplicable outside that context.   SFERPM maintains offices both at AOML in Miami and at the Florida Bay Interagency Science Center in Key Largo.  The new office in Key Largo has been particularly helpful in ensuring investigator contact since field work is staged from that site, in facilitating close collaboration with the PMC’s Executive Officer (who is co-located), and in providing guidance and support to the interagency Florida Bay Education Project office (located nearby in Tavernier, Florida).   The Key Largo office is also within a few miles of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Office, one of SFERPM's principal SFERI partners.


In FY00, SFERPM will consist of two major components: 1) a set of non-research, quasi-operational, long-term activities including overall SFERPM Management, the CMAN/SEAKEYS network, and Long-term Interdisciplinary Monitoring and Operational Modeling all of which will be carried out by NOAA laboratories and their associated joint institute partners; and 2) a set of short-term research projects to be funded through a competitive Announcement of Opportunity (AO) (recently issued by NOAA/NOS/NCCCS/CSCOR).  That AO can be obtained from the Federal Register via the CSCOR web site or from the SFERPM web site (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/sferpm_ao.html).  In FY00 the total NOAA investment in SFERPM will be at least $2.90M, less than half of which will be funded by CSCOR.  This total excludes any matching funds NOAA investigators might contribute to projects selected for funding on the basis of the recent announcement as well as any coordinated projects selected for funding under this same announcement but funded by NMFS/SEFSC rather than CSCOR.  Note that in addition to SFERPM, the AO also addresses the South Florida Living Marine Resources (SFLMR) program which is separately funded at $1.3M in FY00.  FY01 funding for NOAA/SFERPM will depend upon the FY01 Congressional authorization for the NOAA South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative components.


NOAA/SFERPM is the largest individual component within interagency Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program.  A summary of the PMC process is provided both in the AO and in greater detail on the PMC homepage (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/flbay/ ).  By its very charter, PMC membership is restricted to local federal or state employees representing science activities or programs conducted within the geographic scope of  PMC responsibility.  That scope extends at least as far north as Biscayne Bay on the east coast and Charlotte Harbor on the west coast and includes the entire Florida Keys.  The PMC operates under the aegis of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (SFERTF) and, therefore, has an exemption from FACA.  It must, however, abide by procedures specified in the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 which formalized the SFERTF.  


In prior years the SFERPM office at AOML was completely responsible for COP’s Announcement of Opportunity for SFERPM research.  This year, the SFERPM office and local SFLMR management collaboratively drafted the substance of the AO and worked closely with NCCOS/CSCOR to craft a review process adequate to assure continued interagency program integration.  NCCOS/CSCOR will assume full responsibility for the review process. This will include both a technical mail review and a subsequent panel review to assign priorities amongst the technically meritorious proposals.  SFERPM’s local director, along with a subset of PMC colleagues, will serve on this panel.  Their prioritization will be based upon both the most recent report of the PMC’s standing Science Oversight Panel and the funding status and prospects of other federal and state PMC participant agencies.   Conflicts-of-interests will be assiduously avoided.  Investigators funded through the AO will continue to have explicit obligations to SFERPM (and through it to the PMC) as specified in Part II, Item 14, of the aforementioned AO.




In a broad sense, the SFERPM office fulfills three primary functions: 1) facilitates or provides individual research, monitoring, and modeling project support and coordination; 2) supports and participates in the PMC process, and 3) supports, participates in , and represents NOAA within the SFER effort.  Specific tasks include inter alia:


1)   SFERPM Project Support and Coordination:

·        Supports small boat operations i.e., provides boat and operator for research and monitoring projects (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/boatpolicy/boatpage.html) and maintains vessel as required;

·        Assists applicable investigators with yearly progress reports and end-of-project reports[2];

·        Formulates and administrates the SFERPM Data Policy


·        Prepares an annual SFERPM Implementation Plan;

·        Maintains the SFERPM web site (see http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/);

·        Represents SFERPM at conferences, science reviews, public  forums, and congressional briefings organized by NOAA headquarters;

·        Keeps SFERPM investigators informed of relevant scientific, restoration management, and policy developments;

·        Assures SFERPM project metadata is made available by working with the USGS's SOFIA (South Florida Information Access) project (http://sofia.usgs.gov);

·        Assures integration of  SFERPM Modeling with SFWMD/ACoE's Feasibility Study and SFERPM Monitoring (for example, see Section 2 that follows) with RECOVER’s AAT regional monitoring; and

·        Assures integration and coordination between SFERPM, the SFLMR program, and FKNMS research and monitoring conducted under the aegis of NOAA's SFERI.


2)   PMC Support and Participation:

·        Represents the PMC on the Sea Grant Advisory Council, Florida Bay Needs Assessment Focus Group, and Data Management;

·        Maintains the Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program web site  (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/flbay/);

·        Maintain the PMC’s electronic listservers;

·        Helps develop PMC materials for various science forums, etc. (http://sofia.usgs.gov/sfrsf/ );

·        Assists in organizing and partially funding the annual Florida Bay Science Conference and the standing Science Oversight Panel;

·        Provides logistical, technical and financial support for various topical workshops and meetings including panelist travel, honorarium, sand other costs;

·        Provides both financial and program support to the PMC outreach and education effort;

·        Participates in preparing PMC documents such as the Strategic Science Plan and the Draft Implementation Plan (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/oid.html );

·        Leads the PMC’s  Physical Science Team (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/flbay/pmcphysci.html);

·        Assists the PMC in formulating responses to the standing Science Oversight Panel;

·        PMC liaison to the SFER Working Group’s Science Coordination Team (see below);

·        Interacts with CROGEE (http://www4.nationalacademies.org/cger/wstb.nsf ) on behalf of the PMC;

·        Leads the PMC's subcommittee for Biscayne Bay which is currently developing a Strategic Science Plan for the Department of Interior's Critical Ecosystem Initiative and state and county funding purposes;

·        Leads the PMC's effort to formulate a hurricane response team for Florida Bay at the behest of and to be funded by Everglades National Park; and

·        Provides funds for mid-year contingencies deemed critical by the PMC – e.g., the bloom dynamics experiments conducted by NOAA, USF, RSMAS, UF and LUMCON investigators in FY99 and the Bay-wide surveys made in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Georges.


3)   SFER and/or Comprehensive Plan Implementation Participation:

·        Member of original SFER Working Group Science Subgroup reformed as the Science Coordination Team (SCT) (http://www.sfrestore.org/sct/index.html);

·        Assists in planning and organization for the Greater Everglades Restoration Science Conference to be held this coming Fall;

·        Participates in RECOVER’s Adaptive Assessment Team (AAT) charged with reviewing the adequacy of and regularly updating, as needed, the subregion's conceptual models, developing and implementing a regional comprehensive monitoring program, and assuring the best available scientific information is used to evaluate restoration success.  Plans will be modified as needed over the coming decades as the Comprehensive Plan is implemented;

·        Co-Lead for the AAT in completing the Biscayne Bay Conceptual Model and updating the Florida Bay Conceptual Model;

·        Participates in the Biscayne Partnership Initiative core science survey team;

·        Alternate representative for OAR on SFER's Working Group; and

·        Assists the SFWMD's member of the AAT in developing Minimum Flows and Levels for Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay.


Individual Responsibilities:


LT Boyer covers the daily SFERPM internal responsibilities (predominantly Section 1) and many of the interagency PMC activities listed in Section 2.  Dr. Ortner is responsible for the remaining interagency activities in Section 2 and all of the activities reflected in Section 3. 


II. Long-Term Interdisciplinary Monitoring


Continuing activities include both Eulerian and Lagrangian physical measurements, as well interdisciplinary shipboard surveys.  These measurements will be used to: 1) quantify the important physical processes controlling transport and exchange on daily to inter-annual time scales; 2) monitor advection and dispersion of freshwater discharge from Shark River Slough; 3) determine circulation and water mass patterns within the Bay and the surrounding coastal regions in response to wind forcing and coupling with oceanic regions; and 4) determine the pathways and rates of water exchange between Florida Bay and the connecting coastal regions.  Together they will provide most of the physical data and additional critical biological and chemical data for model evaluation and evolution.


Measurements will consist of a combination of in-situ moored measurements and Lagrangian  drifters with shipboard observations and will feature real-time data transmission with a web- based dissemination of results and analyses.  Both fixed array sites and the standard cruise tracks are shown in the attached Figure. The moored array is made up of the following: 1) three bottom mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP's) in trawl proof concrete anchors with near surface conductivity/temperature (C/T) recorders across the southwest Florida shelf at Sites A, B, and E to monitor the flow coupling the west Florida shelf and Keys coastal zone; 2) an array of four C/T recorders to monitor the spread of the Shark River discharge plume (triangles); 3) a single current and C/T recorder in west Florida Bay to monitor the southeast exchange route with the Keys (site WFB); and 4) an array of three current and T/C recorders to measure the currents and water properties in the Florida Keys coastal zone at Looe Reef, Tennessee Reef and Hawk Channel. The Looe Reef site will be equipped with a bottom mounted ADCP.  Real-time data transmission is planned for the Shark River plume array and the ADCP sites at E and Looe Reef to warn of intrusions from the west Florida shelf or the Florida Current. Bottom pressure will also be measured at the west Florida Bay and Tennessee Reef sites to monitor the cross-Keys sea level slope that drives the connecting flow between west Florida Bay/shelf and the Keys reef tract. Moored time series data are absolutely required to quantify inflow boundary conditions and verify numerical circulation models.


Synoptic interdisciplinary shipboard surveys will be used to determine the spatial patterns of the circulation and water mass properties during different seasons, follow atmospheric forcing events, and quantify volume transports through open boundaries and channels. These data are also required to determine the advective/dispersive pathways of freshwater discharges, their associated nutrient inputs, and phytoplankton responses. Bi-monthly surveys of the entire south Florida coastal region by the R/V Walton Smith will be coordinated with monthly surveys of the interior of Florida Bay by the SFERPM research catamaran, the Virginia K.  Each vessel is equipped for continuous measurement of C, T, turbidity and plant pigment fluorescence, in addition to CTD profiling, ADCP, and nutrient sampling. Survey results have been displayed on the web shortly after each cruise (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/surveymaps.html ).   The real-time data links described above in addition to those already available through CMAN/SEAKEYS will also permit adaptive sampling of episodic high intensity events including discharges from Florida Bay to the FKNMS reef tract and tropical storms.   The SFERPM vessel will be available to take advantage of such opportunities both in Florida Bay and along the reef tract in at least the upper and middle Keys.


Lagrangian nearsurface drifters will be deployed in the Shark River discharge plume on each of the bi-monthly surveys.  Drifter trajectories are necessary to determine the movement of water masses and the degree of coupling between regions. These data are also useful for determining the residence times of different water bodies, as well as the preferred exchange routes and rates. Drifter trajectories are also displayed on the web in real-time to further strengthen the usefulness of the monitoring system as an early warning/forecast capability (http://mpo.rsmas.miami.edu/flabay/latest.html ).  Drifter trajectories provide a real-time tag of water masses that can be used to guide shipboard sampling for process studies and have been exceedingly useful to resource managers in the FKNMS.


Analytical measurements and sampling patterns are designed to complement rather than duplicate long-term water quality monitoring in Florida Bay and the FKNMS being conducted by FIU/SERP.  Together they will suffice to support regional water column monitoring needs for RECOVER, the Comprehensive Plan’s adaptive assessment implementation activity. 


[1] C-MAN/SEAKEYS is another non-research SFERPM activity.  However, it was funded through NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/ CCMA and will not be specifically discussed except to note that is was developed within the same process and falls within the administrative purview and responsibility of the SFERPM Program office (see http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/seakeys/ogdencover.html for further information).

[2] See http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/sferpm/fypro.html for the SFERPM FY97-FY99 research projects' final reports.