The goal of the Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for South Florida (MARES) project is to reach a science-based consensus about the defining characteristics and fundamental regulating processes of a South Florida coastal marine ecosystem that is both sustainable and capable of providing the diverse ecological services upon which our society depends. Sea Grant, NOAA/AOML, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and many partners are proud to be a part of this new initiative.
MARES represents a collaboration between academic scientists, federal and state agency experts and non-governmental organizations working in close conjunction with federal and state environmental managers, private industry stakeholders and interested members of the public. The first step in the process will involve the development of Conceptual Ecological Models (CEMs) for three sub-regions (Florida Keys & Dry Tortugas, Southeast Florida Shelf and Southwest Florida Shelf ) and a Total Marine System CEM integrating these with available CEMs for Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Going beyond the models created for the Comprehensive Everglades Plan, the models envisioned for MARES will incorporate not only the best available information about relevant natural science but also about human dimensions science and societal processes. Such models identify Drivers, Stresses, Effects, measurable Attributes and societal Actions. These models and a deliberate series of public meetings and agency briefings will be used to identify Quantitative Ecosystem Indicators (QEIs). A small subset of these QEIs will then be integrated into a South Florida Marine Ecosystem Report Card. A sequence of such Report Cards will assist the natural resource and environmental management of South Florida by providing a common reference with respect to overall ecosystem health and the changes that may occur in response to management actions.
For more information, please visit the MARES page.