Dr. Donald Boesch - Florida Bay Science

Florida Bay Scientific Review Panel, 1993

Florida Bay is the large (2200 km2), shallow (average depth <1 m) lagoon lying between the southern tip of the mainland of Florida and the Florida Keys. Beginning on or before 1987, the bay underwent significant changes, including the die-off of large areas of seagrasses and the development of persistent algal blooms. In 1993, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior requested that I chair a panel to undertake an independent assessment of the problems being experienced in Florida Bay. Based on a conference held in Key Largo, the expert panel prepared a report, Deterioration of the Florida Bay Ecosystem: An Evaluation of the Scientific Evidence, under the auspices of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Florida Bay Science Oversight Panel, 1995-1998

The recommendations of the 1993 assessment provided initial guidance for the initiation of the Interagency Florida Bay Science Program being implemented by the National Park Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, and South Florida Water Management District. This Program is now probably the largest, multi-agency science program dealing with a U.S. coastal environment.

I was asked to chair the standing Florida Bay Science Oversight Panel (FBSOP), a committee of experts established to provide the Interagency Program with regular, broad, technical and management review of agency plans; Program Management Committee (PMC) strategies for program development; the scientific quality of research, modeling and monitoring; and research results. The Panel consists of senior scientists and engineers with significant experience in major estuarine restoration programs but without involvement in Florida Bay projects. The Panel participates in the annual Florida Bay Science Conference by formally leading question and answer sessions and by providing a written report to the PMC which presents critical review and recommendations for advancing the program. Under my chairmanship the FBSOP produced the following reports evaluating the overall program:

In 1998, after five years in involvement in the scientific issues related to Florida Bay I stepped down as Chair of the FBSOP and was succeeded by Dr. John Hobbie of the Ecosystem Center, Marine Biological Laboratory. I greatly appreciated the interactions with and cooperation of the PMC, investigators and fellow members of review panels.

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