Title: John Ogden
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Interviewee: John Ogden
Interviewer: Brian Gridley
Date: April 10, 2001

G: This is Brian Gridley interviewing John Ogden at the South Florida Water
Management District in West Palm Beach. The date is April 10, 2001. Mr. Ogden,
what are the two or three most important contributing factors that have led to the
present problem in the Everglades?

O: What are the problems in the system itself that have changed it? Obviously, it
goes back to the rapidly-growing human population in South Florida and the fact
that so much of the land that was originally Everglades has been converted into
agriculture or urban areas, and that in turn has substantially reduced the size of
the remaining Everglades. The fact that the actual size of the natural system, the
natural Everglades, has been so great reduced, in combination with the fact that
what is left of the system has been compartmentalized, has been broken up into
segments by levees and highways. Those two changes, in combination, in terms
of water volumes and water patterns, have been far and away the most
disruptive to an Everglades kind of system, because what made the Everglades
so wonderful and special and different from any other system was that
combination of its original size and the fact that it was totally integrated. It was a
single integrated system. Of course, those two changes are direct and indirect
consequences of a huge human population in South Florida, their need for
space, their need to control water. So, it is that, and I guess if you had to add one
more to the list of major contributing factors, it is changes in water-quality, the
things that have changed the quality of water. Of course, the biggest issue there
is the nutrients. The phosphorus that gets into the system now has substantially
changed the Everglades, because the natural, the pre-drainage, Everglades was
a very nutrient-poor system. So, all of the plant communities out there are
evolved to be very successful in a system with very low nutrient levels, and we
have changed that.

G: John DeGrove once characterized the ecological problems in South Florida as
being the product of "innocent ignorance." Would you agree with this

O: Yeah, that is good. John is wonderful, and that is a great phrase, and I certainly
agree with it. Although it implies that most of the damage we have done to this
system, we have done innocently, and there is no question that in spite of the
fact that the Everglades looks simple to the eye, is visually simple, it is a very
complex ecosystem and it is not one that we understand real well, even today
after a lot of research. So, clearly, a lot of things were done to the system in
terms of levees and impoundments and drainage and so on were done without
any understanding at all of the effects of those impacts on the ecosystem. But I

Page 2

think it is much more than innocence. There has certainly been a change in
attitude over the last few decades, that I see, to an attitude of much more
concern, and I think it is about the system and about our overall environment and
health of our systems and much more realization of how everything is integrated
now. That might lead you to assume that if that has sort of been the attitude
about the Everglades, innocent ignorance, but when you look at stuff from the
1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, there was a much more aggressive attitude about the
Everglades, a much more aggressive interest in draining it and changing it and
controlling it. Again, those things were done without realizing the consequences,
the ecological consequences, but there was much more an attitude of, we do not
care. I mean, the system was looked at much more as a problem than it is today.

G: To what extent does the current restoration initiative embodied in the Corps'
comprehensive plan and related projects represent a change from earlier
management efforts?

O: What we are doing today and in the last ten years is, I think, hugely different from
the attitude about the problem and the solutions even ten years earlier. I have
been working in the system a couple of times. I was here from sort of the end of
my graduate school in the mid-1960s up until the late 1970s, and then I went
away for five years, and then I came back in the mid- to late-1980s. Between
what you might call my first period and my second period, there was sort of a
breakthrough in attitude about the problems and the solutions here. That change,
of course, was for the first time beginning in the 1980s, we the government, the
people themselves, but primarily the government agencies have the
responsibility for managing and protecting the Everglades started looking at it
as a whole system for the first time. In the 1970s, I worked for the National Park
Service, and even the National Park Service looked at the Everglades as the
piece inside their boundaries. There just was no such thing as a system-wide
view by any agency. There was no coordination, cooperation, among these
agencies to try to understand the problems and come up with the solutions. It
was every agency fulfilling its own policy and mandate, actually, with no
coordinated effort to deal with the Everglades. In some respects, the agencies
were somewhat competitors, because there were conflicting or competing
mandates or policies among the agencies and that made it real difficult for them
to remove agency barriers and look at the system as a whole. Of course, the only
real solutions are ones that come out of a holistic approach. That whole attitude
shifted in the 1980s, or at least that is the time when it really became apparent
that there was a meaningful shift. That had to happen before something like the
re-study or the comprehensive plan could ever have happened. So, that is the
big change.

G: Why do you think that change occurred?
O: It seems to be something larger than South Florida, in terms of the answer,

Page 3

because we see this all over the country, this shift in attitude about systems. It
almost certainly is a combination of many factors that lead to this more holistic
view. The evolution of the science of ecology itself and the fact that ecology as a
science has become much more prominent, prevalent; there are many more
trained ecologists working in agencies today than there might have been fifteen
or twenty years ago. Changes in just public opinion, I think the public, the
informed public certainly, seems to be more aware today, compared to twenty-
five years ago. That bigger view, the larger view of the world, the larger view of
their own environments, their own systems seems to be just more general today.
Certainly with the case of the Everglades, it was maybe easier than in some
other systems around the country to make the case, because it was a water
system, that everything really was connected. I mean, you could see there is this
continuous sheet of water, so it was easier, visually, to make the argument that
what you do in this piece of the system affects all the rest. That might be an
easier story to sell or to understand among the public, compared to some forest
system where you can cut the trees down on one side of a hill and maybe not
have an effect on the other side. You know, a comparable situation is the
Chesapeake Bay restoration program, which has actually been going on much
longer than the Everglades. Again, there, they took a watershed approach which
involved seven different states, but they could make the case that this is all inter-
connected because it was a single watershed, and the same is true of the

G: To the extent that change has occurred and is reflected in the current South
Florida project, are there any specific turning points or watershed events that you
might point to as being critical to this change?

O: Some things that I am aware of in the 1980s. One that pops into my head
immediately is Bob Graham when he was governor. I do not know the details of
this; in fact, I was in California for several years in the early 1980s, so I came
back to a different situation and got involved in it. But during the early mid-1980s,
whenever that was when Bob Graham was governor [1979-1987], if I am right
about the dates, he had some lead role in organizing this group of environmental
organizations called the Everglades Coalition. Again, that was maybe the first
time that all of the environmental groups that were concerned about this system
came together in any unified way under the umbrella of this organization called
the Everglades Coalition that Bob Graham had, based on what I remember now,
some important role in sponsoring or encouraging. The Everglades Coalition
during the 1980s really raised the profile of the issues, so I guess one key point
would be just the formation of the Everglades Coalition and whatever role Bob
Graham had in that when he was governor. A second, sort of a spin-off of the
Everglades Coalition, there was a guy named Jim Webb, who was the South
Florida representative for the Wilderness Society. The Wilderness Society was
one of the organizations in the Everglades Coalition, but Jim Webb himself had

Page 4

training as a lawyer but was head of a very small Miami office for the Wilderness
Society. But he single-handedly produced a lot of the energy within the
Everglades Coalition, maybe more effective or more focused energy, and he was
actually the first person I ever heard talk about doing a re-study. I think he was a
driving force in influencing the politics in Washington in a way that eventually led
to the Corps being authorized to do the reconnaissance-study. My memory is, he
was the first person I ever heard say that, he said it over and over again, he
really pushed for, it is time to re-authorize the Central and South Florida Project
to solve the problems of the Everglades, and he was in Washington quite a bit on

G: How much of a driving force has the scientific community been in promoting this
type of change in attitudes?

O: I think they have had a major role, although subtle in the early period, if we call
the 1980s and 1990s the period when the restoration really became a reality and
took force within the agencies and within the public as the period when that
happened. The scientists who worked for the agencies and the universities were
probably just as split or just as poor at communicating among themselves as
were the agencies on these Everglades issues in the 1970s and into the 1980s.
Of course, many of the agencies had very small science programs as well. The
scientists of that period almost represented the agencies themselves and their
narrow views, in general. There were a few early scientists who really spoke out.
But through the 1980s, I think, again, because of the growing number of people
trained in ecology and trained in systems-biology and trained in those kinds of
fields, those numbers increased in the agencies, and the information that they
were collecting in the field accumulated. By the mid-late-1980s, the scientists had
reached a point where they were beginning to coordinate much better within
themselves and beginning to really, informally at first certainly, create some sort
of consensus about what the problems were. I mean, basically, you had to have
some sort of technical consensus about the nature of the problems or the
stresses on the system before you could design a restoration program,
something to solve the problems. All that really came to a head in October of
1989 when several hundred scientists had this week-long conference at Key
Largo. That was the first really big-scale organized effort to pull together all the
scientists who had worked in the Everglades and to really understand what we
know and do not know about the system and to share that information. So, in a
sense, that was a real kind of a threshold for science.

G: Briefly, could you tell me about your professional background, included education
and career positions leading up to your involvement in the Everglades?

Page 5

O: Well, I am from Tennessee. I grew up in Nashville, and, as an undergraduate, I
attended George Peabody College, which is now a piece of Vanderbilt University
but at that time it was part of what was called the Joint University something.
Anyway, Vanderbilt and Peabody are across the street from each other, and I did
most of my undergraduate work at Peabody. I took a few classes at Vanderbilt,
but I was enrolled at Peabody and graduated with a bachelor's degree at
Peabody with a double major in biology and American history. It must have been
right around 1960 or 1961. I went off to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville
and started a master's program in biology, zoology, ecology, animal ecology, and
was there less than a year when I applied and got a research-grant fellowship at
Florida State University in Tallahassee, so I transferred toward the tail-end of my
first year of my master's program to Tallahassee, to Florida State University. My
professor at FSU was a guy named Henry Stevenson, who had been an
ornithologist in the South for decades, one of the famous Southern ornithologists
of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The money that lured me to Tallahassee was
from a big public-health grant where he was looking at encephalitis in migratory
birds, and so I spent three years in Tallahassee with the money from this grant.
We did field-work in every county in Florida, so I really got to know Florida well in
the early-mid-1960s when I was on my master's program at FSU. Through that, I
met a guy named William "Bill" B. Robertson, Jr., who was the only scientist on
the staff at Everglades National Park. Somewhere toward the end of my master's
program at FSU, he invited me to spend a couple of weeks with him on the Dry
Tortugas [Islands and National Park] where he had a big research program on
one of the pelagic terns. The sooty terns nest out there in the tens of thousands.
So, I met Bill, and Bill hired me to come to work at Everglades National Park in
1965 as about the most junior-grade biologist that the federal government
probably hires. It was a term-position for nine months. It was the only money he
could scrape together. At that time, the Park Service essentially had no money
for research, so they had one full-time person and Bill was able to get a few
dollars to hire me for nine months. So I went to work at Everglades National Park
as a GS-4 and junior-junior biologist. I did some work with eagle surveys. The
first time, I started doing some work with water birds were these big storks and
ibis and egrets and things that are so characteristic of the Everglades. I had to go
back to Tallahassee and finish up some classwork on my master's, but in that
time, Bill got some money. So, maybe in late 1966, I went back to Everglades
and was hired on as a full-time biologist. I worked there as a biologist from 1966
through about 1974 as a field scientist and did a lot of long-term ecological
studies of big wetland vertebrates over the years there, mostly with water birds,
wood storks and ibis and so on, but I also did some work for two or three years
on alligators and crocodiles and the nesting ecology/biology of those two animals
and looking at relationships between their distribution and nesting success and
water patterns. In 1974, I left the Park Service, and it was entirely because of
frustration with the federal government and the fact that the Park Service seemed
so unwilling, I mean, by that time we certainly were seeing big changes in the

Page 6

Everglades, certainly in the park, and things were deteriorating. The wading-bird
numbers were going down pretty rapidly and so on, [and] that is probably the
most visible sign of a deteriorating ecosystem. We were into that period of the
1960s and 1970s of a fairly rapid collapse in wading-bird numbers in the
Everglades, trying to figure that out and trying to propose some changes in
management in Everglades National Park to try to better understand what was
going on and look for solutions, and the Park Service was pretty conservative.
The attitude, especially in the National Park Service, less so now but then, was
that the National Park Service is an agency that protects the wilderness areas by
putting boundaries around them and then just keeping them pristine. They did not
seem to understand the hands-on management needs that some ecosystems,
especially ones that are in trouble, may require. They really believed if they just
kept a fence around the Everglades that it would be protected, and it was dying
in their face. So, in frustration, I left. National Audubon Society at that time had a
big national avian-research program, and they hired me. From 1974 through
about 1985 or so, I worked for National Audubon, about half that time in Florida
on water birds, continuing to work on Everglades issues and long-term ecological
studies of water birds in the Everglades. But five of those years were in
California; I was co-director of the California condor-recovery program. I tell a lot
of people that is why I have a white beard, because I spent five years in
California and California politics. That is where I got my first white beard; I have
had several since then. But I came back to Florida, still working for Audubon. I
worked five years as co-director of the condor program, and that was about as
much as anybody could take, so I came back to Florida. Especially as
Everglades issues began to have a higher profile, as the agencies began to
scratch their heads about trying to restore the Everglades, I came back to
Florida, worked for Audubon another year or two. I think it was about 1987 or
1988, Audubon substantially cut back their wildlife- research program because
they were having funding problems. Actually, they fired me, which I was not too
happy about at the time, but there is some humor in it now. But the Park Service
immediately rehired me, because the Everglades restoration thing was really
picking up and I had a good many years of experience in the system by that time.
Everglades National Park almost immediately rehired me, so I went back to work
for the Park Service from about 1988 through 1995 at Everglades National Park,
increasingly involved in the senior science aspects, not so much in the field
anymore but helping to work with the Park Service to support the restoration
efforts and organized science in support of restoration. It was actually myself and
a fellow named Steve Davis, who worked here at the Water Management District,
who organized that big conference that I mentioned earlier that was in Key Largo.
Then, later, we edited the big book that came out on the Everglades in the early
1990s. Then, in 1996, I got an offer for a job here at the Water Management
District by the executive director, Sam Poole, who had been executive director
here at the Water Management District for a year at that time. He was looking to
bring a couple of really senior Everglades scientists into the executive office to

Page 7

help him on science policy in support of Everglades restoration. I could not turn
that job down; it was wonderful. I came to work here in the executive office in
November of 1996, and I have been here ever since, essentially full-time in
science-policy kinds of stuff. I was on the original re-study team, the one that was
formed in Jacksonville back when I was still in the Park Service, whenever that
was, 1994 maybe, when the reconnaissance study for the re-study started. It was
solely a federal effort then. It was before they had evolved to the point where it
became a joint federal-state program. So I was on the original re-study team,
representing the Park Service in the Corps office in Jacksonville, traveling back
and forth a good bit. Then I came to work here. Sam Poole, executive director,
basically turned me loose to do what I wanted to do, whatever I thought needed
to be done to help substantially improve the profile and the role of science in the
Everglades restoration effort. So I have spent most of my time since coming to
work here working on the Everglades restoration stuff in one way or another.
Right now, over the last year or so, I have been the senior scientist on the
Everglades for the Water Management District. Right now, we have a big science
team that is called RECOVER [restoration coordination verification]. There is a
person from the [Army] Corps of Engineers and a person from the Water
Management District who co-lead RECOVER, and I am the Water Management
District person who is the co-leader of this big science team in support of
Everglades restoration. I do not know if that gets everything or not.

G: Let me ask a few follow-up questions. First of all, why do you think there was
such little emphasis on science within the Park Service in the late 1960s [and]
early 1970s?

O: It just was the attitude and philosophy of the agency. I mean, there were some
agencies in the Department of Interior, like the Fish and Wildlife Service, that
managed wildlife refuges all over the country. The philosophy and enabling
legislation of the Fish and Wildlife Service and all the policy and so on said that
this is an agency that is sort of a hands-on management agency. It acquires big
tracts of land as wildlife refuges, [and] it manages them actively, hands-on, for
specific wildlife purposes. Then, the federal government had a different agency
called the National Park Service that has a very different approach, and that is to
acquire big tracts of pristine wild lands and fence them off and protect them that
way, just leave them alone, let nature take its course. It was essentially the
philosophy of the Park Service, very different from some other land-
management agencies. The Park Service had developed a management culture
over decades that healthy natural areas are best protected by leaving them
alone; let them be natural systems. You try to get tracts of land that are big
enough, that are fairly self-sustaining, and you fence them off and make sure that
nobody damages them, just simply by keeping people out of them or limiting the
kinds of things people do in national parks, so that the system itself is not
damaged. So there was that philosophy in the agency. Philosophically, they were

Page 8

not prepared, at least certainly in the 1950s and 1960s, with active management,
changing things. I remember Bill Robertson telling me over and over again. He
was one of the first people to do fire-ecology research in Everglades National
Park, and he learned that unless you had burned the pine forest every three to
five years to reproduce the kind of fires that would have occurred in the natural
system due to lightning or something, eventually you lost the pine forest, if you
excluded fire from the pine forest. He tried to convince the Park Service that they
had to do burns, and it was a huge multi-year battle to convince the Park Service
even to do something as simple as occasional controlled-burns. It was just an
attitude thing, just a philosophy of the agency, and that has changed a lot now.

G: In what ways has it changed now?

O: Well, the Park Service has realized, especially in the last couple of decades, and
not just from the Everglades example but all over the country, that that does not
work. You just cannot put a fence around a big tract of wilderness and assume it
is going to stay the same, and they have learned, again through the growing
influences of ecological sciences, that natural systems keep changing, on their
own, and that there is almost no natural system that has not already been in one
way or another impacted by humans, and so there are things you have to do,
especially if you are a wetland-system like the Everglades and all your water
comes from outside the boundaries. There are just things you have to do. You
have to be much more active. So, gradually, that method just infiltrated Park
senior management and became accepted.

G: Do you think that has translated into a change in the relationship between
management and scientists within the Park Service?

O: That is a good question, and I guess the answer has to be yes. Certainly, when I
was working in the Park Service, especially the first time but even the second
time, my experience was that the general attitude in senior-management in state
and federal agencies, not just the Park Service, was that scientists have their
place, but it is not at the policy table. There was this almost infuriating view that
even the senior scientists were out there being scientists and doing research and
that they just were not at the policy table. So, when the policy-makers sat around
the table and made decisions, what they wanted was information from the
scientists, but they wanted to make their own decisions independently of the
presence of science at the table. That is one of the things that, certainly, I have
been fighting very much to change, and it has occurred. It has changed,
especially in the last decade or two, that scientists have become members,
almost accepted now, expected to be at the policy tables, and that was just
almost unheard of. So, a lot of changing attitudes.

G: Why did the alteration of historic hydrological patterns in the Everglades have

Page 9

such a dramatic negative impact on wading-bird populations?

O: At the beginning of this discussion, you asked me a question about what were
the big changes in the system and what are the big major sources of stress, and I
mentioned loss of spatial-extent and the compartmentalization of the system.
Those two changes are probably directly responsible for the collapse in the
wading-bird populations. One of the things that made the Everglades, well, it is
interesting, when we started trying to plan this restoration thing ten years or so
ago, seriously, in the early years of the re-study, so less than ten years ago, one
of the first big questions we asked ourselves and I am getting back to your
wading-bird question here in a circular way is what was the pre-drainage
system like; if we are going to restore it, we need to know what we are going
back to. There was not a lot of information about what the system was like.
Nobody was around before it got changed. Certainly, there were no scientists or
ecologists working in the system in its pre-drainage period. We tried to
characterize, as best we could, what was the pre-drainage system, based on
what we know about it today and what anecdotal stuff you can read from a long
time ago. One of the things, almost by chance, that we read, trying to get some
clues as to how we would characterize the pre-drainage system and what was
the Everglades, we read Marjory Stoneman Douglas' book and the famous first
page where she says there is no other Everglades... There is a paragraph or two
there, and she uses the word "unique" about three times in one paragraph and
she uses the concept two or three other times in the first couple of paragraphs.
We just actually sat a table once in Jacksonville and said, is there some chance
that she was really right, that this is more than just a poetic paragraph, that there
really was something that was unique about the Everglades, unique in the true
sense of the word, that made the Everglades different than any other wetland
system in the world? And if we could agree on what it was that made the
Everglades different from any other system in the world, clearly that had to be a
focus of the restoration, would be to recover those defining unique
characteristics. All that led to this agreement that large spatial extent and this
interconnectedness, a single, totally-integrated wetland-system over a large
space, was one of the major reasons why the Everglades was different from any
other system in the world. Because it was so large and because it was so
integrated ecologically, it was able to support huge numbers of animals that
actually need a lot of space to operate in systems, and wading birds are the
classic example. Wading birds are very mobile animals, and the way they
operate, successfully operate, is in places where they have lots of choices, lots of
options, and because they are so mobile, they can take advantages of lots of
different kinds of habitat choices and options. So if you have a really wet year or
if you have a really dry year in terms of rainfall, or whatever you have, if you got a
big enough system, somewhere in that system there is probably going to be a
good wading-bird habitat in any kind of year. Wading birds just move around in
the system to find what works for them in any given year. Basically what we have

Page 10

done is [we have] taken away those choices by reducing the size of the system
by half and by compartmentalizing the piece of the system that we still have and
managing it in such a way that the variability is gone. We are trying to control
water so every compartment is just alike in a given year, hydrologically, so it
means that in many years wading birds just do not find what they are looking for
in the system. So, instead of nesting every year or two years out of three, they
now may nest, in big numbers, one year in ten, because they just do not have the
choices. So reducing the size and then compartmentalizing and then controlling
water-levels in what is left has just taken away habitat choices for an animal that
has to have choices or options to survive. It is designed to move around over big
areas and take advantage of choices, and so its response is to do what it knows
how to do and that is move around. What it has done is move around over larger
scales than it used to, which means they have left South Florida.

G: What was the impact of the decision by the Water Management District in the
mid-1980s to convert to a rain-based water-delivery system?

0: I do not know that I can describe some measurable, or that I saw any sort of
measurable, benefit. The concept is wonderful, and I guess my feeling right now
is that shifting from a much more regulatory schedule to one that tried to mimic
rainfall patterns in terms of distribution and abundance of water was a major step
in the right direction to try to solve Everglades problems. When that first step was
taken in the 1980s, it was perhaps too small or too cautious or too limited
spatially to really show dramatic responses. I mean, there were still all these
requirements; they were not options or choices, they were requirements to still
maintain water-supply for urban and agricultural] areas, they were still
requirements to reduce flood damage. The early rain-driven formula was one that
was constrained within the framework of these other management requirements,
so it was not totally wide-open rain-driven.

G: Why was the Fish and Wildlife Service opposed to the adoption of a rain-based
delivery approach?

0: I do not remember that one. I do not know if it was directly part of the rain-driven
debate or not, but I know in the late 1980s the Fish and Wildlife Service was very
much concerned that these early restoration efforts potentially could actually
cause problems for some endangered species. I think we all agreed that, in
mismanaging the Everglades for fifty years or more, if we forced a lot of animals
that lived in the system to change where they live in the system, if you need deep
water like a snail kite might, places in the system today where there is deep
water are different from where they were when it was a natural system 100 years
ago. A lot of animals have moved around trying to find something that works for
them, so they are not working, not operating, not occurring in the same pieces of
the Everglades that they might have fifty or 100 years ago. So, as we go try to go

Page 11

back to restore, we are essentially going to force some of these animals to move
again. In the long term, it is clearly going to be better for them, but in the short
term, especially if you are an endangered species and you do not have many
animals out there, there could be some new stressors placed on them by trying
to, say, take out levees, go back to a more natural water-delivery formula. It is
going to, again, rearrange water in the system, and animals are going to have to
respond. I know in the late 1980s, there was especially a lot of concern in the
Fish and Wildlife office in Vero Beach that somehow, in taking these steps back
toward a more natural system, that we actually would create stresses on wood
storks and snail kites. They had a biologist at that time in the office in Vero Beach
who was pretty incompetent, and he developed some very simple little predictive
models. I forget what they were called now, [but] they were little habitat-index
models that he ran. He ran these little models based on some stuff that had been
done here at the district with the bigger hydrological models that would show
where water patterns would change as a result of some of these attempts at
restoration. His little habitat-suitability index models were predicting big problems
for wood storks, as I remember, and it was just totally bad science on his part.
His models were massively flawed. I even wrote him a couple of letters and told
him that I had been studying wood storks for five or ten years by then, and I said
I did not believe anything that was coming out of his models. But he was a tool
they had, and they stuck with him; they stuck with their tools. So there was a
conflict then.

G: Let me ask a related but more specific question: in the early 1990s, there was a
conflict between the Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service over the use
of water pooled in Water Conservation Area 3A, a dispute that centered on the
relative needs of the wood stork versus the Everglades kite.

B: That is right.

G: Why was it so difficult to balance the needs of these two species in this case?

B: The attitude of the Park Service at the time was the changes that were being
proposed in the experimental water-delivery program and in the early rain-drive
were going to benefit both of those animals, and, again, the Fish and Wildlife
Service, using their habitat-suitability models, said, no, it is going to hurt [them],
[that] their requirements are too different [and] you cannot do something for one
without damaging the other. The Fish and Wildlife Service was just wrong. We
knew it then, and we had a bunch of meetings, went to Vero Beach a lot of times,
to try to straighten that one out. We finally had to set up an independent, invited
the American Ornithologist Union to set up an independent peer-review panel.
Gordon Orians chaired the panel, and they came in somewhere in the early
1990s and did an independent assessment of the stork-versus-kite debate and
put out a little publication that basically said they thought restoration was

Page 12

probably going to benefit both of them, that there really was not a conflict.

G: Do you see any broader general conflict between the way we do endangered
species protection and efforts to try to promote ecosystem restoration?

O: Yes. You know, that has been a concern for the last ten or fifteen years, and in
my own mind, I am still not sure that the system-wide Everglades restoration
program is not going to cause problems for the Cape Sable sparrow. System-
wide restoration is overall going to make the Everglades a wetter system than it
is today, and the Cape Sable sparrow is a specialist of dry prairies that are only
seasonally flooded. It may be that they are going to lose habitats if we achieve all
of our targets for restoration, our hydrological targets anyway. There are some
real challenges. As far as the other endangered species are concerned,
especially the ones that are most closely linked with the Everglades, like the snail
kite and the wood stork and alligators and crocodiles and things like that, it is
hard to see where restoration is going to cause any problems. Certainly in the
long term, it is going to be greatly beneficial. A lot of people use the snail kite as
an indicator of the Everglades. After all, the old name of the bird was the
Everglades kite, so everybody associates it with the Everglades. They think it is
one of the key indicators of the Everglades. It illustrates the point that we still do
not know a lot. These systems are so incredibly complex, biologically,
ecologically, that we do not know as much as we need to know. My own view is
that the Everglades kite may not be a good indicator of the Everglades, and that
is because, during the last couple of decades, when the Everglades has really
been the most stressed it has ever been as a natural-system, the number of snail
kites have been substantially increasing. If you look at snail kite numbers, they
have gone from less than 100 in the 1950s to, I do not know what is out there
now, maybe 1,000 or 2,000. It is hard to reconcile that increase in numbers with
the argument that somehow it is an indicator of the health of the Everglades. But
this just points out how complex the system is and complex these animals are
and the fact that we are going to have to move forward with restoration and at the
same time set up a really good working monitoring program on these
endangered species to watch them really closely. I am not sure I believe anybody
who stands up and says they are certain how one of these animals is going to
respond in the next ten or twenty years. One of my own views is that we have got
to get wood storks nesting back in the southern Everglades National Park if we
are ever going to get the numbers built back up to what they were in the 1940s
and 1950s, because I think they really need the estuarine parts of the system to
support big nesting colonies. In the last ten years or more, they pretty well
abandoned that country. We have a fair amount of confidence that when we get
more water flowing down to the system and more freshwater into the estuaries
and increase the overall health of the estuaries that wood storks... [End of Side 1,
Tape A.] ...should return, but we really do not know. There are just a lot of
uncertainties, and this certainly applies to the endangered species.

Page 13

G: During your time with the Park Service, how involved were you with the problems
in Florida Bay?

O: Not closely. I did a fair amount of work in Florida Bay, but mostly earlier. As I
mentioned earlier, I spent several years looking at crocodile nesting-patterns in
northern Florida Bay, and I did a lot of work in earlier years on osprey nesting-
patterns and food habits in Florida Bay, and I have done some work on roseate
spoonbills in Florida Bay, but mostly that was done in the 1960s and 1970s.
When I came back to the Park Service in the mid-1980s, I was really much more
focused on the true freshwater Everglades and working on wood storks and
wading birds up in the Everglades. So, I did not do anything, at least I was not
out in the field in Florida Bay when the seagrass problem developed in the late
1980s, when the big die-off of seagrass beds started happening. That really
caught everybody off-guard, because the attitude at the Park generally was that
when everything was going to hell in the Everglades during the 1950s, 1960s,
1970s, into the 1980s, that Florida Bay was staying healthy. We all had our back
to Florida Bay. We were all looking into the interior, the freshwater part of the
system, trying to figure out what was going on. The few indicators we were
looking at in the Bay numbers of bald eagle nesting pairs, numbers of
spoonbills, crocodile nesting patterns all looked pretty good. The spoonbills
were increasing, bald eagles were stable, crocodiles were increasing. So, we had
a few animals we were watching in the Bay, and everything looked good and the
water was clear and the fisherman were reasonably happy, and so I think we
thought everything was okay. I know some of the more recent research in Florida
Bay has suggested that the crystal-clear water might have been actually an early
indicator for problems, but we did not know it then.

G: During your time at the Park Service, how would you characterize the
relationship between the Park service and the [Army] Corps of Engineers?

O: Well, the Park Service has had, for a long time, an attitude problem about other
agencies. I have racked my mind, you know, the day I left the Park Service and
came to work up here in 1996, some people at the Park suddenly viewed me as
the enemy, even though I had worked there for ten or fifteen years. The Park
Service has an attitude about the Corps and the Water Management District that
goes back a long time, an attitude of distrust. The Park Service in the last five or
ten years, especially since I have been up here and I have really been working
almost full-time in science policy and trying to lead the multi-agency Everglades
Restoration process, the Park Service has been the least cooperative agency in
terms of letting barriers down. Recognizing that while each agency has its own
independent mandates and laws and policy, there is an issue called Everglades
Restoration that we all have in common. A bunch of agencies have that one
common goal, and there are ways we can work together to achieve that. There

Page 14

has been a lot of difference among the agencies in how well they have been
willing to integrate their efforts on these issues where there is a common multi-
agency goal, but the Park Service has probably been the most conservative,
especially of the major players. They have been the most unwilling to be partners
in efforts, they have been the most unwilling to participate with their top-level
scientists on these efforts, they have been the quickest to demonstrate that they
do not fully trust the Corps or the District today, or anytime in the past that I can
remember, and it has been really frustrating. I do not know the reason for that.
Obviously, there were conflicts between the Corps and the Water Management
District and the Park Service in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s over water-
management practices and priorities, and there was a lot of distrust that occurred
during that period. There were some people here at the Water Management
District and in the Corps who ran roughshod over the Park Service in those
periods, but that was a different world. But it has carried over in the Park Service,
and it is still there.

G: Have those relations improved at all, or is it pretty much the same today?

O: It is hard to see big improvements. I would say that generally they have not
improved. We are still not getting the kind of participation or cooperation or
integrated effort or partnering from Everglades National Park that we are getting
from almost all the other agencies.

G: During your time with the Park Service, how much interaction was there between
Park scientists and scientists in other agencies?

O: Not a lot, although as I said earlier, a lot of that started changing in the mid-late-
1980s, especially between the Park Service when I say Park Service, I always
mean Everglades National Park Everglades National Park and the Water
Management District started working together. Of course, they jointly sponsored
the big science conference in 1989. Both put money in the pot to pay for that
conference. They assigned an agreement, a formal agreement, to support the
science conference. The two staffs worked together. I think that, and then after
the big conference in 1989, there was a lot of cooperation among the
hydrologists on developing this, what we call, natural-systems model, this
hydrological model we use to predict what pre-drainage water patterns were like
in the Everglades. That was developed here at the District, and, actually, Tom
MacVicar, some people say he is the father of the natural-system model. But
there was cooperative effort between hydrologists at the Park and at the District
in the early 1990s on refining and improving that model. So it was not a black-
and-white thing, but it just never has gotten really warm and fuzzy.

G: Could you describe the process of events that led to the Key Largo science
conference and the subsequent publication of your co-edited volume,

Page 15

Everglades: The Ecosystem and Its Restoration?

O: The way I remember it is that Steve Davis was here on the staff of the Water
Management District in the late 1980s. He had been here a long time before that,
but in the late 1980s, he was here and he and some other people, and I do not
even remember who all of them were, Lance Gunderson, who was at the park at
the time as a plant ecologist, and some other people, started talking about
putting together a science conference. After I left Audubon, I was hired back at
the Park Service and originally was asked as one of my earliest duties, because
wading birds were so crucial in understanding the Everglades system and we
knew a lot more about the biology of wading birds, I was asked to organize a
wading-bird conference. It was to invite everybody in who had been working on
wading birds in South Florida. It did not take long for us to realize that there were
two competing efforts going on to develop a science conference and develop a
wading-bird conference. Somewhere, I would guess 1988 or maybe late 1987,
we merged forces. Because Steve Davis had been one of the lead people in the
other effort and I had been the lead in the wading-bird effort, when we merged
forces, Steve and I ended up being sort of co-chairs of the steering committee
that designed this conference. So, for about a year prior to the actual conference,
we had a series of steering-committee meetings. Periodically, we got a lot of
Park and Water Management District scientists on the team. You know, the
steering committee might have been fifteen people, and they were not all Water
Management District and Park Service people. I remember Frank Mazzotti, who
was from the University of Florida, was on it and so on. Through some kind of
agreement here at the District, they got Buzz Holling at the University of Florida
involved as a guru kind of person to help guide us and advise us on setting this
conference up. We had some money, primarily from the Water Management
District, to help pay for the conference. It just grew together, this small team of
people who knew each other and had the blessing of our two agencies but, in
some fairly independent way, we created this little team, a steering committee,
and met and designed the conference.

G: What do you see as being a long-term impact of that conference?

O: The conference was in 1989, [but] the book did not come out until early 1994, so
a lot of the stuff that came out of the conference was the beginning point for the
book, but a lot of it was rewritten and went through a fairly exhaustive peer-
review all the chapters went out for peer-review. There were a series of
workshops over a couple of years or so, after the conference itself, where we
continued to explore ideas and hypotheses. The conference pulled everybody
together and created the focus and the energy, but the book was really the
important product of all that. Between the time of the conference and the actual
publication of the book, there was a lot more evolution of ideas and integration of
ideas. There were several workshops that Buzz Holling even sponsored up in

Page 16

Gainesville, where we all went up there for two or three days and continued to
explore the ideas that came out of the conference, to let them grow, to think
about them and so on. When the book came out, one of the big chapters in it was
this restoration chapter toward the end where we summarized all of the big
hypotheses that had come out of both the conference and the subsequent
workshops about what was the Everglades, how did it work, why did it change. It
was really that set of hypotheses in that chapter that were more or less
supported by this technical information in all the other chapters in the book that
were used directly by the Corps of Engineers' planning team in the re-study as
the initial set of these are the problems that we have got to solve. These
hypotheses about the Everglades ecosystem and why it has changed became
the basis for, this is what the restoration plan has got to solve. These hypotheses
identified the stressors on the system, [and] the restoration plan has got to
neutralize those adverse impacts of that set of stressors. The book was actually
a strong document in the early couple of years of the re-study in laying out the
framework of what we are trying to accomplish.

G: To what extent did the publication of that book create tension between you and
Park Superintendent Dick Ring?

O: Oh, a huge one. Everything I did, I think, caused Dick problems, and he caused
me problems. I think Dick did more damage to science in South Florida of any
federal land-management manager in a long time. Dick was a controlling micro-
thinker, doer. Controlling is the huge word. He saw science as just one arm of
policy, that science did not help create policy. It was the other way around; he
created policy and tried to figure out ways to use science as a way of
implementing his policy, as well as everything else he controlled. He certainly
tried to kill the book, did everything he could to kill the book. I think the major
reason he wanted to kill the book before it was published was that he felt that all
of that science out there in the public domain would make it harder for policy-
makers to have choices in terms of their policy decisions. This book would make
it so clear what was wrong with the Everglades and what had to be done to
restore it, [and] Dick saw that as taking away his options, his control over policy.
He saw that science was moving too much into policy with this book. He saw it as
a threat to policy. He thought all science had to be filtered through him, certainly
within the Park Service. Then he was a stickler for rules, so I think he found
several little flaws in the agreement between the District and the Park Service on
how this thing would be done. In fact, before we got the book published, the
cooperative agreement had expired, and from his point of view, because he was
a stickler on rules, he said unless we had a new agreement everything stopped.
He just was not one of these kind of people who, you know, this is what we need
to do and we got to find some ways to get these things done. He was always
looking for reasons why you cannot do this because of this rule, you cannot do
this because of this rule, you cannot do this because I will lose control. It was just

Page 17

totally different.

G: Does that help to explain some of the problems in the negotiations during the re-
study period that some of the other actors may have had with the Park Service?

O: Yeah. I mean, it was a piece of the story. I know even today when I mention to
somebody that the Park Service tried to stop the book, their mouth will hang
open and they just say, why in the world would anybody try to stop something
like that? There was a lot of amazement that the Park Service took that view, and
I guess that is part of the reason I left the Park Service, because Dick was so
controlling. My own feeling was that as a scientist at Everglades National Park
and one who had been there quite a while, is that I had lost my opportunity, I had
no opportunity to grow anymore professionally. There was no opportunity for me
to discover my professional boundaries, and that was very frustrating. I had to
get myself in a place where I could push out to some edges and find out what my
capabilities were, and that just did not exist at the Park.

G: In terms of the relationship between managers and scientists, how would you
compare and contrast the Park Service to the Water Management District?

O: I often do not think of it that way because, certainly, in the Park Service in those
two periods of years that I worked at the Park Service, I served as a scientist
there under at least ten or twelve different superintendents. One of the things I
learned is that there is a huge difference in the way parks are managed
depending on who is superintendent, that the Park Service gives their
superintendents a lot of leeway, a lot of independent authority to manage their
parks the way they want to. So, certainly when I was at Everglades National
Park, I worked under superintendents who were on the other end of the spectrum
from Dick Ring people who basically said, you are the scientist, you have been
here a long time, you go to the meetings, you speak for the Park, I am not going
to worry about it, you know what you are talking about to the Dick Ring view of
everything gets cleared through the superintendent's office and keeping a pretty
tight lid on all that stuff. So, in the Park Service, there were huge differences
depending on who was superintendent. I see that here at the District as well.
There are different management styles, different priorities. Sam Poole, I thought,
was tremendously enlightened, because one of the things I have been working
for so many years is trying to get science and policy better integrated and Sam
had a couple of senior scientists on this staff in the executive office. Frank Finch
does not choose to do that. He has a different management style. So, I do not
see it so much as an agency [issue], that there is some continuing agency view
on science-policy linkages and roles and responsibilities as I just see it in
changes in managing styles and strategies, depending on who is the top person.

G: How much impact has the governing board had on the staff-people and the

Page 18

scientists within the Water Management District?

O: Again, governing boards change very much. We had a governing board that was
mostly Democrats here, and now everyone is mostly Republicans and they
reflect the philosophies or the policies directly or indirectly of whoever is in
charge in Tallahassee. I have spent a lot less time speaking with the governing
board in this current administration than I did when I worked for Sam because I
was part of the executive office. This current governing board, the one that has
been around for the last couple of years, has not been as supportive of science
or research as earlier ones. It is not something that is unique to them because I
saw this in the Park Service too, especially whenever funds got tight, often
science research gets cut, some of the bigger cuts. Water Management District
has had to take on this huge restoration program, and Governor Bush has
basically said that the Water Management District has to come up with a big
chunk of the money it is not coming all out of Tallahassee so we have had a
massive reorganization in this agency in the last year and redirection of funds
that has really hurt research. I can say as many times as I want to, how do you
think we understand what we know today about the Everglades, except that we
have been doing research for the last fifty years and we have had the ability to
pull these people together to build some consensus on what the problems are
and what the science is, and that has led to where we are today. Nevertheless I
guess in part because the benefits from new research do not appear
immediately, they are often down the road [as] it takes a while to figure out
complex ecosystems this particular current board is not supporting research
very well.

G: In a 1994 Miami Herald article, you were quoted as saying that sometimes good
science alone will not suffice, saying "you have to be political, you have to speak
up sometimes." How active of a role should scientists have in policy decision-
making related to the restoration effort?

O: I think scientists must be at the table. They have every right to be at the policy
table. I feel very strongly about that, and that does not mean that every scientist
is qualified to be a policy person as well. Just like a lot of other people, some
people do good policy, some people do not. We need to have a lot of scientists
out in the field doing research, and we do not want to pull them out of the field so
that they spend too much of their time in meetings. I first heard about this,
actually, when I was looking into some of these regional restoration programs in
other parts of the country. I spent some time in Oregon talking with Forest
Service people about the old-growth forest issues in the Pacific Northwest. The
Forest Service had gotten smart enough to know that they had to have some
science people at the policy table, and they had identified these senior scientists
(they had a cuter phrase for it and I cannot remember what it is right now). They
had five or so people who had worked in the system, some were university

Page 19

people, some were Forest Service employees who had worked in science in the
system for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, and they had pulled those in to be the
science people at the policy table. So they saw that there were two roles for
science, one to do research and one to convert that research, use that
knowledge in policy kinds of debates. That way, once they got these senior
[figures] promoted and they promoted them, gave them a good salary, they put
them up in the upper levels of management and policy and basically said, you
guys are responsible for bringing science to the policy table. And you leave the
field-scientists alone; you do not start pulling them out of the field anymore than
you have to. That is what Sam Poole did when he hired Steve and I. He basically
said, you guys have been here thirty years, and it is time you let your feet dry out
and come sit at the table. But much more than that, it is time for you to start using
your knowledge of the system and the other agencies to figure out better ways of
bringing all that knowledge to the policy process. Taking a whole series of steps
going back to the mid-1990s: when I first came to work here, the first thing we did
was set up this process of pulling in teams of field-scientists to create these
conceptual-models, and we used those... we had the book and we had been
using the book for two or three years as a planning tool, but then the next step
was creating these conceptual-models as a way of moving forward with our
understanding and finding ways that field-scientists appreciated, saw value in, of
pulling them in at various select points and taking advantage of their knowledge,
converting that knowledge into these conceptual-models that then became the
new major restoration planning-tools.

G: Can you talk a little bit about Sam Poole's impact on the Water Management

O: Sure, [though] not objectively, because I thought Sam was great. You know,
everybody has weaknesses and strengths, and one of Sam's weaknesses I will
get that out of the way first is that Sam really trusted people, respected people,
wanted to turn people loose to go do their best, and he was not a close manager.
So people who needed a lot of direction floundered under a leader like Sam. But
if you were really motivated, and Sam tried to get people right around him that he
knew from years, that he trusted to just turn loose. He brought in people and
said, you go be the senior planner, you go do your thing, I trust you, you know
what you are up to. That was a wonderful management style for people who
were motivated and had a lot of drive. I have heard people complain because
they worked here several years and never had a conversation with Sam, they
never saw him. Sam was off, really busy, doing what he thought he needed to do
as executive director, working for the counties and trying to influence regional
planning and policy. Left the agency a lot to just run itself, and some things
worked, some things did not work, when he did that. But, yes, I think he was a
major positive force in getting us where we are today on the restoration program
and that he really threw the full weight of the District behind the restoration.

Page 20

When he got to the point where the federal government had finished their role in
the reconnaissance-study, and the Corps of Engineers had done the
reconnaissance-study and determined that, yes, there are problems and, yes,
here are some solutions that probably will work, and it moves from the
reconnaissance into what became known as the feasibility study of the re-study.
It had to have a local sponsor, and the District came in as the local sponsor and it
became a federal-state cooperative thing. Sam threw the total weight of the
District behind that.

G: Why do you think he felt pressured to resign in 1999?

O: I thought he was fired.

G: Okay. Why was he fired in 1999?

O: I think he was fired because he was a Democrat. That was one reason. The
governor wanted to put Republicans in the position of executive director and in
the board. That happens. Sam really believed that the Water Management
District and his job as executive director was an opportunity to have a major
influence on regional-planning in Southeast Florida or in South Florida. He
wanted to make the District the leader, the real leader, in working with county
governments and working with regional-planning councils and changing the total
way we look at regiona-planning and the future of South Florida, and he ran into
a lot of resistance on that. The business and development industries certainly
were very much against that, and they had a lot more influence on the new
administration and one of the things they wanted to do as quickly as possible is
get Sam out of here, because he was using all of the force and power of the
Water Management District to try to change the way we think about the future of
South Florida and regional-planning. So, yes, the developers and so on, a lot of
big money, were very much opposed to that.

G: In your time with the Water Management District, how would you describe the
relationship between the District and the Corps of Engineers?

O: We are so in-bred now, it is hard to even see the boundaries anymore, at least
certainly on the Everglades restoration effort. We created these big multi-agency
teams when we went into the feasibility-study, whenever that was, several years
ago. Certainly in the Everglades restoration effort, it is easier to plan than to
implement something this big. When we were planning Everglades restoration in
the re-study, their planning-group and our planning-group became really
integrated and worked very smoothly, I thought. We got to the point where there
were forty or fifty or sixty of us, and we worked two or three years as just this big
team and we had all these other agency people on our team. It became like a
huge family. It was really a success, that team-building and integration. But this is

Page 21
primarily a big planning effort, modeling and planning effort. Some of the
differences between the Corps and the District that have always been there are
becoming more apparent now as we move from planning into implementation,
because totally different kinds of people are in implementation as engineers and
people with lots of different backgrounds. There are different ways we do
business, and it is not as smooth. I think it is mostly a lot of little bureaucratic
things that are mostly bugging us in trying to work together now more than it is
anything else. At the philosophical level, I cannot see any big difference in the
two agencies and their real commitment to trying to make this plan work.

G: Some critics have asserted that it is a mistake to give the Corps of Engineers
who built the Central and Southern Florida Project a lead role in the restoration
process. Is this a fair criticism?

O: No.

G: Why not?

O: Well, I have been around thirty or so years and worked with a lot of people and a
lot of different agencies, and I see pluses and minuses in every agency. Every
agency, whether state or federal, is a big bureaucracy and has all the problems
associated with big bureaucracies. Every agency has entrenched people and
conservative people and has bright thinkers. I do not see any real big difference
in that respect in the Corps than any other big agency. I see it in the Park
Service. I see it in all the agencies. I mean, I know some things. The Park
Service has done some things. They vigorously supported some management
decisions in the 1960s and 1970s that were disastrous to the Everglades, simply
because they did not understand the system. The Corps has done some things
that were seriously wrong in the past. Anybody who had anything to do with
building the canal down the middle of the Kissimmee River, whenever that was,
1950s and 1960s, ought to be shot. But it was not strictly a Corps decision. In
fact, sometimes when you push the Corps against the wall and really tongue-lash
them, their final defense is, we just do what we are told to do. You know, it is the
public, it is the Congress that gives us our orders, and we are not going down
trying to drum up business. Obviously, the world is not that simple, but there is
some truth to it, too, in that when the Kissimmee Canal was dug, there probably
was strong support among the public [for] drainage. Today, there is strong
support among the public [for] restoration. But the Corps has a lot of talented
people. I think of people like Stu Appelbaum. He is a big thinker, he understands
complex [matters]. Not many people could have led the Corps through the
planning process of the re-study other than Stew, or would have gotten us where
we are today in the re-study if it was not somebody like Stew. People [say], no,
well, that was the planning group, they are green people, but those engineers up
there, they are the bad guys. There are some old engineers up there who are

Page 22
bad guys. [Tape interrupted.]

G: Has the Corps changed, do you think, in the thirty years you have been involved
with the Everglades?

O: Yes, it has changed. If you look at, say, Stu's operation and the planning
department back in the re-study, you see something that is just totally different
from a lot of people's view of the Corps. You might get the impression that if you
look at that, that planning group, that they have changed a great deal, but if you
look at the entire Jacksonville office, the project people and everybody else, you
see, yeah, it has changed, but not as much as you might think from just looking
at the planning group. It depends on which group you look at, but it is evolving.
So is the Park Service and the Water Management District. They are all evolving.
Yes, the Corps has changed. Here. I do not know a lot about other district offices,
but a lot of people around the country tell me that the Jacksonville District office
of the Corps is somewhere out in front of all the other district offices in this
evolutionary process.

G: How important was the creation of the South Florida Restoration Task Force in

O: Highly important. From my point of view, what it did that was so valuable was that
it endorsed the plan. I am sorry, I was thinking of the Governor's Commission for
Sustainable South Florida as being something highly valuable, so if you ask me
that question later, you already got the answer. The Task Force and its Working
Group have always, to varying degrees, floundered in terms of their role. They
have been around. You know, I do not go to that many Task Force meetings. I
have been to a few. Sometimes they are in Washington, sometimes they are
down here, and they often are fairly tight meetings for a half of a day and the
agendas are organized so that a bunch of people come in with bullet-format tight
reports on what is going on. It is mainly keeping them, these senior policy-
people, at the Washington level or Tallahassee level, informed about what is
going on. I do not know that I know whether they have really had a major impact
in all of this. Certainly, there have been some good successes at communication,
keeping the people at the Tallahassee and Washington levels, senior policy-
levels, informed about what is going on. I do not see as much leadership coming
out of it as just keeping them informed.

G: So you would not describe the Task Force or its Working Group as a decision-
making body but more of an information...

O: Yes. The Working Group seems to have these huge successes as a
communication body. You have representation there for twenty-five or thirty
agencies and they meet once a month and they go on for a day and a half, and

Page 23
there is a lot said and discussed in front of them and a lot of stuff is presented to
them. That has been a huge success. I think that has been really important that
all these people from these different agencies hearing the same messages at the
same time from the same people and so know what is going on. I think they are
frustrated that they have not done something more than be a good
communication system. They seem to be looking for a larger role, and they are
floundering. In fact, when we met last month, in March, in Tallahassee, they got
back to this discussion again who are we and what are we and I hope we are
more than just a communication system. At one point when I was discussing
RECOVER and where we were in RECOVER on several things, I asked them if
they would do something for us to help us with RECOVER, that we are drafting a
partnership agreement that we wanted all thirty agencies to sign that laid out the
role of the agencies on the science RECOVER team. We needed all the
agencies to sign this thing, because we needed to be a little bit more certain than
we are today that all these agencies will participate in RECOVER and send their
scientists, and there were some expectations in terms of what the RECOVER
team does that we need to make sure that the agencies understood. We saw
some real benefits to the agencies for their participation, so let us fill up a
partnership and get all these agencies to sign it so everybody is on the same
place in terms of what RECOVER is and what the role of all the agencies is in the
RECOVER science process. We decided we would just take this to the Working
Group. Once we got the language and this straw-proposal the way we wanted it,
we would just see what happens if we turn it over to the Working Group and let
them then work it through and modify the language that we proposed, in ways
that all the agencies would be comfortable with it and they would sign the thing
and we would move forward. So I asked them if they would take over that
responsibility, and it seemed to me they leaped at that as something, they were
almost looking: what can we do besides be a communications group? So, I said,
here is something you can do. So they are still floundering, I think, still searching
for their real niche.

G: Why do you think there is such a lack of leadership on the Task Force and its
Working Group?

O: Part of my be that the agencies are very sensitive about their own agency
authority, so there is always this huge concern, a major concern, that may not be
often spoken, but you do not want to do something that is going to infringe on the
authority of a different agency, so you are limited to doing things that are non-
aggressive in a way. It does not give you many things you can do. Like [with] any
group of people, when you ask them to discuss some complicated question or
issue, there are going to be a lot of different opinions and the discussion will go
on and on and on for hours, and that makes it difficult for them to ever reach
[consensus]. They just do not seem to reach consensus very often, and maybe
they are not supposed to, maybe they should not be trying to, maybe they can

Page 24
never be much more than just a good communication group.

G: If the leadership for the restoration is not coming from the Task Force or Working
Group, is there an entity out there that is going to provide this leadership?

O: Well, of course, the Corps and the District have the legal responsibility, the
authorization, to lead this process. Much of what the Corps and District are doing
to implement the restoration plan is being done within the two agencies, the a lot
of it is construction and land-purchasing and modeling and so on. Both these
agencies have huge technical staffs that are very capable of doing these things,
and we have a plan that we are trying to meet and so on. We have a lot of
project-managers, and so we divide the plan up into a lot of pieces and we create
project-managers. The two agencies are organized to do this kind of stuff, and
they have a big staff. Somebody told there were 1,800 people who worked for the
Water Management District. The one place where these two agencies are not
equipped, well, let me insert something else in here. Even in these typical
exercises or these typical tasks like construction and design and so on, the two
agencies do not have all the people they need for a project as large as this one
and it looks like both of these agencies are going to be contracting an awful lot of
that work out to private organizations or firms or setting up agreements with other
agencies to do some of that work. The one area where these two agencies do
not have the expertise is in science. Again, even though the Water Management
District has a strong science program, we are a long way from having all the
answers here or all the people here. My view is that this RECOVER team is
really, in a way, having a major role in leading this whole thing, because we are
setting up this RECOVER team and it really is giving the other agencies their
best opportunity to be part of the Everglades restoration process. They can put
people on the RECOVER teams, and they are part of the restoration team. The
way we set it up is that, basically, RECOVER leads the adaptive-assessment
process, and it is the adaptive-assessment process that basically measures
whether the plan is working or not and identifies where it needs to be changed in
design or operation or sequencing or whatever. That gives this science team an
awful lot of... [End of Side 2, Tape A].

G: What is the purpose of the Task Force's Science Coordination Team?

O: The answer to that question, or at least that whole issue, may as well as any
illustrate the problems the Working Group and Task Force are having. The
Science Coordination Team, before that it was called the Science Sub-group,
has also floundered, and I think in part, or maybe in large part, because it rarely
gets direction from the Working Group, so it is not sure what its real role is. There
have been a couple of issues, like the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile-Area a year
or so ago, where the Science Coordination Team decided that it wanted to issue
a White Paper [issue and policy report] on just the science issues that are raised

Page 25
by the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile issue. There were a lot of things being said.
That piece of ground out there where the Eight-and-a-Half-Square- Mile-Area is,
is ecologically or hydrologically important, whether you had to own it or did not
have to own it in order to meet your restoration objectives. I think a lot of things
that Terry Rice was saying about it were wrong, just dead wrong, and a lot of
misinformation. Terry was saying things like, it is not part of the Everglades, it is
way outside of Shark Slough and stuff like that, so it is not really ecologically that
important, and there are engineering ways of achieving your hydrological targets
and you do not need the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile-Area to meet your
hydrological targets in Shark Slough and down in Florida Bay and so on. I
thought that was just terribly misleading and half-truthy and stuff like that. At that
time, he was one of the major spokespersons for trying to leave the people alone
out there and just kind of working around them and moving things forward. He
also saw that the issue of trying to acquire that [the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-
Mile-Area] was going to slow down some of the restoration efforts, because that
would add another major step in the process and one that could be tied up in
courts. But his hydrological and biological arguments in support of moving
around them, we thought, were fairly flawed, and so we were going to write a
White Paper [a report taking a stand on a particular issue] that said, here is what
we think of the science issues, here is what we think the role that piece of land
had in the original Everglades in terms of its function and so on. The mistake we
made was coming to the Working Group and saying, we want to do this, and they
basically voted strongly not for us to do this. We learned a lesson from that. The
cynical view is that they want to be able to say that this is a science process and
science has a role, but we were almost more of an ornament out there than we
were something that they really wanted to use to help get at the science behind
the issues.

G: Why do you think they told you not to do that? Was it political?

O: Yes, I think they were political in that, certainly, by that time the Republicans
were in charge in Tallahassee and the Republican people were in charge of our
governing board and they had changed their position on the Eight-and-Half-
Square-Mile-Area themselves. I assume if we had put something out that said,
there are some legitimate science issues that this land that is in the Eight-and-a-
Half-Square-Mile-Area does have some potential of contributing to the success of
restoration [tape interrupted] ...well, I do not know what is behind all their
motives, but it is the kind of attitude you run across all the time in agencies, that
we want our science when we want it kind of stuff.

G: Is that very frequent that you see the permeation of politics into the science?

O: The answer has to be yes, and, again, it is sort of a scale-issue. There has been
very little disagreement from the policy-world about the overall objectives, about

Page 26
the view of science on what is wrong with the Everglades and what needs to be
done to solve the problems. So, at that scale, a scale of designing a system-wide
restoration program, I do not sense there has been a lot of interference. I think
we have had a lot of freedom to lay it all out. Again, it is part of this business I
talked about earlier, where it is a lot easier to plan something than implement it.
When we went through all the planning of what is wrong and how do we solve it,
there has been very little interference. There is a lot of support for science
integrating, speaking its piece, helping to drive the whole planning process.
There is a team of scientists, what we called the AET in the re-study, which was
the Alternative Plan Evaluation Team. Some policy people would really be upset
with this, but my view is that that team of scientists picked the plan. The plan was
not a policy decision. That team of scientists over a nine-month period, a multi-
agency team, set up the targets to decide what is success and then applied
those targets to a range of alternative plans and identified the plan that came
closest to meeting the targets and said, that is it. I know a lot of policy people
who say they picked the plan, but I do not think they did; I think the team of
scientists did. I think that comprehensive] plan out there was actually designed
and picked by scientists, because it was a team of scientists who decided what is
success, and they decided which set of components got you closest to success.
So, at that scale, I think scientists had a lot of freedom. Where it becomes an
issue is at smaller scales and in implementation kinds of decisions, like the Eight-
and-a-Half-Square-Mile-Area, where there it becomes a big political issue,
controversy, a lot of public opinion on it. More and more in those kind of issues,
the policy people want to be left alone to make a policy decision.

G: I want to come back to your comments about the importance of the Governor's
Commission and get you to comment on that a little more. Why was the
Governor's Commission so important?

O: Well, three reasons. One, it had a spectacular leader, Dick Pettigrew, who was
just awesome as a person who could stand up in front of a room of forty or fifty or
sixty people representing forty or fifty or sixty major different interests in South
Florida and get them to work together the way he did. I just thought that was
awesome. Everybody was just in awe of Dick Pettigrew. Several times, people
asked Dick what was his secret of success, and he used a phrase, you just have
to work through things. It sounded so simple, but Dick had the patience and the
maturity to "work through" very difficult issues I should have gone to all the
meetings so I could have studied his tactics and somehow get to a point where
people agreed on something. I guess of the three reasons why I think it was such
a success, Dick Pettigrew is one. The second is the fact that it did represent
almost all of the special interests or the stake-holder groups in South Florida. It
really did a nice job of representing everybody. I guess in part because of Dick's
way of managing the Commission, there was a sense of maturity and respect
that was always there. They had some flaming differences of opinion, but there

Page 27
were few times that it became hostile. Then, the third reason is that at the time
we were starting the reconnaissance-study, well, moving from the
reconnaissance study into the re-study, we thought we had a relationship with
the Governor's Commission, but it evolved that the politically-wise thing to do
was to basically run everything we were doing through them. If they signed off on
it, it just gave a huge endorsement to what we were proposing to do in terms of
agricultural] water-supply and urban water-supply and land-acquisition and
setting all the ecological [and] hydrological targets essentially was vetted by that
Commission under Dick's leadership. When they basically signed off on the plan,
we were in a hugely strong position to get it accepted.

G: So there was a strong level of interaction between the re-study group and the
Governor's Commission.

O: Right, yes. A lot of stuff we wrote in Jacksonville ended up as some of their
products, so we increasingly became closer together in terms of, now there are
two parallel processes [the Governor's Commission and the re-study]. As the re-
study got bigger and bigger and started really getting stuff on paper in terms of
what the plan should be, it became more and more clear that that group of
people who were on the Governor's Commission were part of the process as we
went step-by-step, and that is what happened.

G: How would you compare the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South
Florida established by Governor Chiles and the more recent commission
established by Jeb Bush?

0: I think everybody thinks the second one failed. Two or three reasons. I mean, I
did not stay close to the new commission. It failed because it did not seem to
have as clear a mission or task. Clearly, the Commission for Sustainable South
Florida, I am not sure if it had a clear vision of its mission when it was first
formed, but the fact that the re-study was running parallel, and they gradually
merged in some respects, gave the Governor's Commission a real focus on a
major large task to work on. I never saw that in this new commission that they
had. I mean, they had a list, almost like a shopping list, of things they could work
on if they got out of the governor's office, and it just was not well-thought out or
there was not a clear role for them, and they did not have a person as wise as
Dick trying to lead them, I do not think.

G: How much impact in terms of the difference between the committees or
commissions do you see being a product of who was governor at the time, Chiles
versus Bush? Do you see a different level of commitment between the two

0: I do not know if I was close enough to the commission process to be aware of

Page 28
those kinds of... I mean, I do not know how much conversation went on between
Dick Pettigrew and Governor Chiles. I just do not have a strong opinion on that.

G: Could you describe how you first became involved with the re-study effort?

O: Yes. I worked for the National Park Service, for Everglades National Park, and
the re-study was essentially the feasibility-phase. In the Corps' planning process,
they do a reconnaissance-study, and then they do a feasibility-study. The
feasibility-study was the same thing as the re-study. It was called re-study locally,
but that is where you actually put together a plan. The reconnaissance-study, the
first phase was eighteen months, which was back in the early 1990s. I do not
remember exactly, 1993, 1994, 1995, somewhere in that period. That is the first
major step in the Corps' planning process. Basically, somebody comes to them
and says, we got a problem, the Corps does a reconnaissance-study for eighteen
months or whatever to define the problem and try to, at a conceptual basis,
decide whether there is a solution or not. I joined the reconnaissance] team, so
pre-re-study, as the National Park Service representative] on that, at a time
when we hardly knew what that was at Everglades National Park. I do not think
Dick Ring, I do not think it was very high on his radar screen, to use one of
Rock's phrases. I do not think there was anyway in the world that he would have
allowed me to go up there and represent the park had he, maybe, fully
understood where that was going. He was always a mystery to me, because he
was such a control guy, and he did not trust me at all. I think he just thought he
was sending a junior scientist up there to take notes, but I worked on the recon
for a couple years.

G: That would suggest, then, that the Park Service did not give much priority to that
at that time.

O: Right, not at all. In fact, I rarely briefed Dick on it. It was only when it got toward
the end and we were at a draft phase of a final recon report that basically says,
yes, there is a problem out there, we have identified it. Of course, we used the
big Everglades book to really tease that out and lay it out in the report: the
scientists say there is a series of problems and they say these are the sources.
We did some conceptual-screening modeling to show there are possible real
solutions out there. That was the recon. But I rarely briefed Dick except toward
the end when we were really starting to put that out.

G: How did the process of evaluation of the plans come about creating an
alternative-evaluation team and alternative-development team? Who was the
impetus behind that?

O: Of course, that was into the re-study phase. That was the feasibility-phase. The
recon phase had been solely a federal responsibility. When we moved into

Page 29
feasibility, we moved into a joint federal-state "local" sponsor, a 50-50
partnership. But because the Corps had been the sole agency on the recon and
basically was still viewed all through South Florida as the people who were doing
the Everglades restoration. They continued to make many of the early decisions
when we moved into the feasibility- or re-study-phase, part because the Water
Management District was gearing up to try to provide the equal level support and
it took awhile. So, in terms of the two technical teams, the AET and the ADT, I
am 99 percent certain that it was Stu [Appelbaum], based on the people he knew
at that time, went to Richard upon it and said, you are our best hydrological
modeler, you chair the ADT. And he came to me, because I had been almost the
only ecologist on the recon team, and we had worked together real well. He
came to me and asked me to set up the AET.

G: Could you describe the process of decision-making between those two teams
that led to the agreement on the final proposal?

O: Well, the AET had two large tasks. One was to decide: what is success? What
are we trying to achieve? Then they had to convert that question or that answer
from some policy-level statement. There were a lot of statements that had been
written, for example, by the Governor's Commission, that had said, this is
success, this is what we are trying to achieve. These were very qualitative, very
broad policy kind of statements. The AET had the role of converting those policy-
level definitions of success or objectives or goals into something that was
measurable. So the AET had those two jobs. One, create a set of measurable
performance-measures that collectively would define success and then use that
same set of performance-measures to evaluate different plans to see which one,
through some kind of modeling effort, got you closest to it. By definition, every
performance-measure that the AET created included a numerical target. Whether
it was alligator-nesting or water-depth or tree-island health or seagrass
something or salinity or whatever, there was a numerical target included in the
performance measure. The performance-measure identified what to measure
and what the target would be for restoration, and then we would use that set, that
the AET created, to evaluate plans through a modeling exercise. The AET
created the performance-measures and evaluated alternative plans based on
what those measures were calling for. The ADT, then, was actually designing the
plans. I do not remember, it is a chicken-and-egg kind of thing, I am not sure who
started first. Early on, Richard Punnett, maybe pre-ADT, led a small team that did
some very broad simple screening-level modeling to identify, in a general way,
the kinds of changes in the system we were trying to make and what kinds of
options we had about creating those changes, those improvements. Then they
brought all that to the ADT, and the ADT then started designing alternative plans.
They would model a plan, and then they would give us the results of the
modeling exercise. We would evaluate the results against our targets that we had
set. One of the things I did up front was to create about eight or ten sub- teams,

Page 30
and I had a chair or co-chairs for every sub-team. There was a sub-team for the
lower east water-supply targets, and there was a sub-team for Lake Okeechobee
targets, and there was a sub-team for Florida Bay and so on. Every sub-team,
then, would develop their own set of performance-measures for their piece of the
world and evaluate each plan for how well it met that set of targets that each sub-
team created. There was also what we called a total systems sub- team that
created a set of system-wide targets. So we were working at different scales in
our evaluation. Every time the ADT would create a plan and would model it, they
would give us the results [and] we would evaluate the results. All the sub-teams
would come in and give their reports on how well that plan performed relative to
the targets that it set. Then we gave a report back to the ADT that said, your plan
worked real well here, here, here and here, it did not work at all here, here and
here. Then the ADT would try to improve the next version of the plan, fix the
parts that did not work, leave alone the parts that did work, and so gradually the
plan would get better and better and better. At times, the ADT might say, we are
not sure what to do next to solve a problem that you guys in AET are seeing, and
so they might develop two or three alternatives, that, well, this might work, this
might work, this might work. So we might get two or three model-runs to evaluate
instead of just one. That went on for about nine months, back and forth, back and
forth, at about monthly intervals. It was a really high-paced kind of thing.

G: The performance measures that you talked about, are those the same as the
conceptual-models that you developed?

O: One fed the other. The performance-measures that we used to decide what is
success and which plan got you there closest to that overall target, especially for
the biological performance-measures, were derived from the conceptual-models.
So we actually started the conceptual-model process first. We started even
before there was an AET and ADT, because when we first started it, we were
doing this to support a more local restoration effort in the southern Everglades
called the Modified Water Deliveries Project, and so the first set of conceptual-
models were only for the southern Everglades. Basically, what the conceptual-
models do, they are planning tools, but they are way of building some kind of
consensus among scientists about what is going on out there [and] what are the
problems. They are at the scale of southern Everglades. There is one for Florida
Bay, there is one for eastern Big Cypress, there is one for the marl prairies where
the Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile-Area is. There are ways to diagram on a
blackboard or a piece of paper what the major scientific hypotheses are about
why the system has changed. Then you get these teams of scientists to, A,
create the hypotheses, B, link them all together into a conceptual-model of the
system, then C, to review the models and see if everybody agrees on that is the
problem. Once you get a conceptual-model that everybody is happy with, you
use that as a basis for creating performance-measures, because the conceptual-
models give you two key pieces of information. They tell you what the scientists

Page 31
agree are the stressors on that piece of the system, whether is too deep, the
water has got too much phosphorus, whatever the key stressors are. They also
tell you what the best biological-indicators are for that system, for the effects of
that stressor. So, if you create a performance-measure for each stressor and
each indicator, then you are addressing... you want to change the stressor, you
want to essentially eliminate it because it is causing a problem, so you create a
performance-measure for how you want to change that stressor. You create a
performance-measure for each biological indicator that tells you, when you do
change that stressor, did you get the response that you thought you would, the
improvement? So we worked right off the models to create the performance-
measures, and that gave us a real strong scientific basis for the performance-
measures. Nobody came in and said, why did you pick this set? Said, look, peer-
review set up conceptual-models.

G: Who is involved in the process of designing the conceptual-models?

O: This really was a multi-agency thing, a multi-science thing, but, again, I set up the
first team back in 1996, I think, 1996 or 1997, when the Mod[ified] Water
[Deliveries] thing was going. This was pre-re-study. I had been working some
with the people at the University of Miami marine school, Rosenstiel School.
They already knew about the potential use of conceptual-models as a way of
taking all the science that you have for fifty years of research and getting people
to package it in these models as a way of identifying what is most important. So, I
learned about conceptual-models from Mark Harwell and his team at the
University of Miami marine school, and then we brought it over to this process
and applied it and set up the first teams of scientists from the southern
Everglades. We had a three-day workshop in January, 1997, to create the first
two or three conceptual-models.

G: Was there a specific individual or organization that was the organizing force
behind this?

O: Well, it was here, the District, because Sam had hired me and basically said, go
out there and find out ways to better integrate science into policy. We actually
used the conceptual-model workshops as one of our primary ways of getting
scientific understanding of systems organized in formats that directly supported
the restoration-planning process. So, we got scientists to create the models, and
then we used to models to create the performance-measures to design and
evaluate the alternative plans. That was all done, essentially, out of the executive
office here.

G: Who was involved with the alternative-evaluation team then?

O: A lot of the same people. We are all in-bred. I mean, seriously. Hey, when you

Page 32
talk about science, I mean, there are only X number down here. I chaired the
AET, and we had these ten or so sub-teams and there was a person who chaired
each of the sub-teams. There was a woman named Brenda Mills. She worked for
the planning in Broward County; she chaired the sub-team that looked at lower
east coast water-supply issues. There was a guy named Karl Havens, who is an
aquatic ecologist on the staff here who chaired the Lake Okeechobee team, etc.
There was a guy, who at that time worked for the Nature Conservancy, who was
the expert on cypress ecosystems, who chaired the Big Cypress sub team.

G: How did you make final decisions about recommendations?

O: Every time the ADT would design a new version trying to solve the problems we
were reporting from the previous version, then they would run their models and
we would get output from their model-runs that was in the format that we needed
to see if our performance-measures were being met or not. Each of the sub-
teams, then, would take the output from the model-run and evaluate for their set
of performance-measures, whether it was for Lake Okeechobee or the lower east
coast water-supply or whatever, how well that plan worked and how close. Then
we would have these big team-meetings where everybody would come, all the
teams, all their people. It might be, on average, forty people, and we would work
usually two back-to-back days. Every sub-team would give a report, an
evaluation, for their piece of the world of that previous plan, and we would
integrate that. A lot of people were taking notes, and we would have all these
bullet-statements for every area, you know, we hit our target here, we hit our
target here, we hit our target here, and, oh, we really missed it here. We would
then have discussions, what do you think we need to do to change the plan to
solve this problem? We would issue a written report that came out of that two-
day meeting that said, this is the way your last plan worked, this is our
recommendation for how you should change it to solve some problems that it still
has. Then they would take our report and accept our recommendations or they
would say, no, we see a different way, or a better way maybe, of solving that
problem, and so they would create another alternative.

G: Were there instances where there were strong disagreements among members
of your team?

O: Within the AET? Yes and no, and the reason I say yes and no is that I think we
created a really strong sense of team, and the fact that we worked together so
closely and so intensively for nine months we all really came to know each
other and understand each other. It got to the point where we knew exactly what
a certain person was going to say before he said it. In that sense, there were not
strong [disagreements]. I mean, we did not have the same goals necessarily, but
we let the lower east coast water-supply team set up their own targets based on
their needs and we let Lake Okeechobee scientists set up their lake targets

Page 33
based on the needs of the lake and so on, and so everybody respected that.
Where there was disagreement, again, the Park Service did not trust the
process. They sent people almost to every meeting, but they just were somewhat
cynical of the process. They were not sure that they were going to be able to
maximize their objectives in that kind of format. Dick Ring especially basically
said, I do not trust the democratic process, I mean, I have a set of objectives for
the Park Service and I think I can come closer to reaching the Park Service
objectives through the political process behind the scenes than I can trusting it to
this open science team. He never would let the senior scientists at the Park
participate in any regular way. They were the junior scientists who came, and
they often expressed concerns about what we were doing or disagreements
about what we were doing, but we never were successful at really linking up and
identifying their concerns and trying to resolve them. They did not trust the
process so, toward the end, increasingly, they created their own independent set
of performance-measures and started evaluating plans independently of all the
other agencies based on a different set of targets, and that was a disaster. It was
not that we had really knock-down, drag-out discussions or disagreements within
the team; it was just that certain sub-groups, a small sub-set of people, just did
not participate and went off and did sort of an independent thing.

G: How actively involved was the public in this process of decision-making and

O: These were real technical meetings. They were wide-open. I do not know if they
were advertised or not in any kind of way, but they were no secret. We put them
on the websites and stuff, that we were having these. People from agriculture]
came, people from the Indian tribes came, people from the environmental groups
came. There were always a few people there, and we basically an understanding
that the "public," the non-agency people, could open their mouths and say
something anytime they wanted to as long as that did not get out of hand. We
never had a defined public-comment period like a lot of meetings do; we did not
say, between four and five, you guys can get up and give your point of view. A
lot, especially some of the people who came representing ag and the
environmental groups, were actually technically-trained people; they were
hydrologists or ag scientists or whatever, so they actually helped. Legally, they
could not be part of the teams because of FACA and Sunshine Laws, but as long
as they were there, we did not invite certain ones and not others and all that kind
of stuff. Numerically, they did not get out of control. We ran the meetings [with]
some control. People raised their hands. There were not shouting matches.

G: What would you identify as being the strengths of this iterative decision-making

0: I think much of the success of the re-study overall is because we have been real

Page 34
successful at creating teams, real teams in the true sense of the word, and the
AET and the ADT were good examples of that. There was a well-defined task;
there was not uncertainty about why we were there. We had a tight schedule, so
there was no uncertainty about when we had to finish and have a product. I think
that is very important, having a real well-defined task and being under some
pressure to do something by a certain date. We met so often that the team thing
got stronger and stronger, so the integration, the respect that people had for
each other got stronger and stronger throughout. We went from a group of
people, half of which did not know the others very well, to a group of people who,
whenever the meeting was over, went down and had beers together kind-of-
thing. The success was the team-thing. It has been very difficult to move into the
current phase, the implementation, that real sense of team.

G: And the weaknesses of the process?

O: I think the biggest weakness is that not everybody bought into it, and teams do
not work if some people do not believe in teams. I mean, they will work, but it is a
flaw. There were other things. Some just did not have the people to commit that
intensive effort for nine months. Toward the end, it seems like we met seven
days out of ten. The [final] two-week period, it was just a killer. So some agencies
just were frustrated, because they did not have the people to maintain that level
of commitment. One or two agencies did not really trust that process, did not
really believe in that approach. Those were major flaws, again.

G: Why was the chief's report written by Lieutenant General Joe Ballard that
accompanied the comprehensive plan to Congress so controversial?

O: I went to Washington two or three times, and I was not in every meeting, but I
was in a couple of the really interesting ones. Dick Ring's view was, I can
accomplish more behind-the-scenes in the public arena, going to the press,
raising hell at a Working Group meeting, than I can by sending my senior
scientists and working through this in a team approach. They just did not fully
trust us, so when we got toward the end, they did not think the numbers that
were coming out of the plan, in terms of how close we were to getting to the
targets, were good enough for the Park. I keep saying if they had been there
from day one, they would have been working with us to create the performance-
measures they wanted and we would have maybe been using a different set of
performance-measures, but they did not work with us. Then, when we were not
getting close enough to the targets that they wanted us to reach, they set their
own independent ones. So they came up essentially with a different evaluation of
the final plan than the big multi-agency team, in terms of how successful they
thought it was. It was a myth, because they had set some different performance-
measures that we were not even using, their own performance-measures. Dick
basically just took the position that this plan is not good enough, it is not meeting

Page 35
our targets. He went to Washington and put the pressure on. You know, it is
going to really look crazy if the Park Service does not support the restoration
plan, and basically that is what he threatened over and over again. He said he
had the support of his own science people, which he did. There was this great
conference that went on in some conference room across the street from the
White House. It was a White House annex, and we had this conference. We had
the Task Force people there, the top people from Washington and Tallahassee,
trying to resolve this, the Park Service saying, we are not going to support this.
The press was already putting out stuff, and it was a mess. But by that time,
down here, our same teams, the ADT and the AET, merged to try to figure out
ways to solve the Park's problems. We did some additional screening-modeling
after the plan had been decided to see if there were ways, if we took the Park's
performance-measures, are there ways of doing something else to this plan to
get it closer? We did a screening thing where we identified an additional 245,000
acre-feet that potentially could be put in the system that would get us closer to
some targets the Park had set. That had already been done, so we knew that
there were some things that we might do to tweak the plan that would make the
Park happier. So at this big meeting in Washington in the White House annex,
Dick just said, we demand that you add that into the plan, make that part of the
official plan. There were some legal reasons why that was not easy to do, and I
do not keep up with that part of it, but I remember Michael Davis, the wonderful
Michael Davis, Assistant Secretary of our Army, for public works or something,
standing up and just promising Dick across the room that when the General
wrote his letter, he would make that commitment in the letter, even though it had
not gone through any technical-evaluation process, had not gone through any
public process.

G: Some critics have suggested that the comprehensive plan is overly dependent on
unproven technologies, such as aquifer storage and recovery. How do you
respond to that?

O: They have a point. I do not get terribly exercised by that, because I think there
are a number of uncertainties in the plan, including how natural systems are
going to respond to some of the things we are going to be doing that we think are
going to help the natural system. Probably the reason I say that I think scientists
are actually controlling this whole process is because there is, again, this team
called RECOVER, and they are in charge of adaptive-assessment. This plan is
only going to be successful if we watch it closely, monitor the hell out of it, and
have the flexibility to change it as we learn more and as we see problems,
including aquifer storage and retrieval. That is just one of many places where we
may not get the performance that we think our modelers say we may get. We
may not get the responses. Even if we hit our hydrological targets that we have
set in certain areas, we may not get the biological responses that our current
science tells us we are going to get. I just see aquifer storage and retrieval as

Page 36
one of many aspects of this plan that we may change over the next twenty years
as we learn more and as we really begin to closely measure system responses.
As long as the agencies this is a big if really back up their commitment to
adaptive-assessment, then we will changing the plan to solve problems.

G: Can you talk about the function of the restoration coordination and verification,
i.e. RECOVER, team?

O: Just for the record, I named that team. We sat around in a bar one night in
Jacksonville. We had already agreed that the AET's and the ADT's process had
worked well enough and we had learned a lot of lessons from it, that there were a
lot of pluses to it, and we had this idea, we will merge those two teams into a one
big, better integrated science-modeling team that will provide science modeling
and technological support for the CERP throughout the implementation period.
Stu [Applebaum] had named it SWEAT, which stood for system-wide ecological
assessment, something like that, but it was great horror calling this team
SWEAT. We could not just say that is stupid without coming up with something,
so we went to a bar in Jacksonville and we wrote words like WATER and
ECOLOGY and we tried to create [different acronyms]. Anyway, we came up with
RECOVER, and I wrote a memo the next day and said, let us call it RECOVER,
and that stands for restoration coordination verification, and this is the broad role
of the team. The team basically is to make sure that this continues to be a
science-based restoration program, that we are going to keep learning things
throughout the implementation period. We need to have a mechanism just like
the conceptual-models. We need to have a mechanism for continuing to gather
new information we have, organize it in formats that directly support evaluation
and assessment of the plan and improvement of the plan. Basically, what it came
down to is, somewhere in all of this, we need to have a team of people who are
responsible for improving the plan, and that is what RECOVER is. That is their
big role, [that] through a whole series of tasks, what it all comes down to is, they
have the responsibility to determine whether the plan is working or not and to
refine the targets, improve the targets, and to recommend change into the plan
where it is not working.
G: Who is going to participate on this team?

O: The Corps and the District have the legal responsibility to implement CERP, so
the Corps and the District set the team up and we identified a person at the
Corps and a person at the District to co-lead the team. It is Stu for the Corps and
myself for the District. Then we worked through ideas about what the team
needed to do and how we would accomplish all these tasks. We identified fifteen
or so discrete tasks, science, technological tasks. We ended up over time
creating six teams that are a part of RECOVER. There is an adaptive-
assessment team, there is a modeling team, there is an operations team, there is
a water-quality team, there is an evaluation team and so on. We use the word

Page 37
evaluation to mean modeling. Anytime we evaluate something, we are using
modeling to predict how a plan will work. We use the word assessment in the
sense of monitoring. Assessment is actually going out there and measuring what
actually happens and assessing whether this is what you want to happen or not.
So, there is an evaluation, which is mainly a pre-construction modeling task that
RECOVER does where they look at every discrete project, and through
modeling, evaluate whether that project is really going to accomplish what it
should in the context of the total system. Then we use an assessment process
where we design a system-wide monitoring program and actually measure what
happens. [End of Side 3, Tape B.]

G: Will you also then be making program recommendations in terms of changes?

O: Yes. [There are] two powerful teams in all of this are. One is called
Comprehensive Plan Refinement team, which we just call CPR. They are the
team on RECOVER that has the responsibility of taking everything that comes
out of the other teams the modeling, the adaptive-assessment monitoring, the
evaluation taking all of that [and] pulling it together into a periodic set of
recommendations for changes in the plan to improve it. So they take all the work
of RECOVER, of all the RECOVER teams, and they are the link to the
management-policy people. Stuff coming out of RECOVER that says, these are
the places you need to change the plan, these are the places where you can
have opportunities to improve the performance of the plan. CPR has the task of
doing that, creating those reports. Then there is this leadership group. We have
taken the co-chairs off each of the six teams, and add Stu and myself and we
became the leadership group. We basically make sure that all the team activities
are coordinated, we set overall RECOVER priority, we solve problems, we figure
out ways to resolve technical issues that pop up anywhere and so on.

G: Who does the RECOVER team then report to?

O: The team itself, through Stu and I, reports to what is called the Design
Coordination team, which is sort of the management policy. Design Coordination
team is the Corps/District of mid-senior-level managers and attorneys and
modelers and engineers who are responsible for implementing CERP, and it
meets once a month, either in Jacksonville or here, and it is the senior
management-policy team that basically runs CERP, makes sure it happens and
any problems are resolved, and it makes sure that the Corps and the District are
totally integrated in doing this. The Design Coordination team is made up of pairs
of people, one from the District and one from the Corps, from the legal
department, the senior engineers, the land-acquisition people. Every department
in the two agencies has a pair of people on the Design Coordination team. Stu
and I are on there as the representatives from RECOVER, so anything that
comes out of RECOVER that is a recommendation for a change in the plan,

Page 38
design, operations, whatever, goes to the Design Coordination team through Stu
and I.

G: Does the Park Service have representation on RECOVER?

O: Yes, and they played the game the same way they did with AET and ADT. Up to
this point, they have not been very responsive. We actually sent letters signed by
Frank Finch, the executive director here, and Greg May, whatever he is, a district
engineer at the Corps, to all the agencies inviting them to participate in
RECOVER. We even asked for certain names, for certain people, in some cases.
We basically invited them to participate, and we described what the teams are,
tell them what kind of expertise we are looking for. About a year ago, we set most
of these teams up. The teams, people are from all the agencies, the actual
members. The Park has not been as responsive up to this point, and their
argument has been, we do not have the people yet to really handle this
undertaking. We heard that same argument from Fish and Wildlife and some
other agencies, and there is a lot of truth to it. Agencies are gearing up. Part of
what we are doing, as I mentioned earlier, we are doing this partnership
agreement through the Working Group to help the agencies be a little bit more
comfortable about their role on RECOVER, what the expectations are. Now that
we have been operating a year, we have learned a lot. We are trying to help the
agencies be more comfortable. The agencies are participating. In fact, one of the
things we are doing to try to make the agencies feel like they are more equal in
this is, we are setting up a tri-chair position on each of the six teams so that there
will be a representative from one of the other agencies as a leader on each of the
teams, and then those people automatically become members of the leadership
group, so that there will be people from the Park Service and the Fish and
Wildlife Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and so
on, on the leadership group.

G: How important was the decision to create an independent scientific-review panel
to oversee the implementation of the comprehensive plan?

O: I think it is great, as long as it does not take up all my time. Yes, I am fine with
that, and those are really bright people. I have enjoyed working with them. I was
concerned a little bit that they were going to take up too much of our time in
those early meetings when they were still trying to sort out their role and we were
trying our relationship with them. We have presented a lot of stuff to them. I am
very comfortable with them being there. We want peer review, and, in fact, I think
the National Academy science team is, maybe always but certainly more and
more in the future, going to be looking at broad science issues and approaches,
and more and more we are going to be producing stuff that is smaller-scale that
still needs independent-science review. Actually, last month, I went to the
science-coordination team of the Working Group and asked them if they would

Page 39
take the responsibility of coordinating independent peer-review of all the technical
documents that come out of RECOVER. Then they can decide whether they
want to take something to the National Academy team or, if it is something that
does not need the attention from something like the National Academy team,
they can look for alternative ways of doing peer-review. For instance, right now
we are putting out a 400-page document that lists all of our performance-
measures and the science behind all of them and all the revised conceptual
models that clearly need to go through some kind of independent-science review.
We just basically said to the science-coordination team, it is your baby; if you
accept this responsibility, we will just turn this over to you; you do not necessarily
have to do the peer-review, but you can coordinate, as an independent sort of

G: Do you think that having independent review brings more public credibility to the

O: Absolutely, and, actually, I had a long talk with Gordon Orians a year or so ago,
more than that now, and his message which I totally agree with, although he
expressed it much better than I did and he has a lot more weight behind his
views than I do because of his background but he said, look, John, you guys
work for government agencies and the public just does not fully trust government
agencies. He said, I think you guys are doing great science down here, but the
public is just going to trust you more if they know there is this independent thing
going on out there at this level. I said, fine, let us do it.

G: You have already talked about the importance of spatial-extent from for
encouraging species and habitat diversity. Does the comprehensive plan
adequately address this issue?

O: No. If you argue that we have got to add huge new areas back to the Everglades,
that does not happen, and there is no way it can happen that I can see. I think
the estimate that we have lost about 50 percent of the original extent of the true
Everglades is a pretty accurate statement. We have actually sat down and done
some calculations. Last time we did this, I cannot remember, the figure was
somewhere around 48 or 49 percent of the original system is no longer
Everglades. Of course, what that is, I mean, it was here. Miami International
Airport was part of the original Everglades. The only place where there is a
possibility of recovering a lot of original Everglades, an area that currently is not
wetland at all, is in the Agricultural Area perhaps. Politically, that is impossible
right now, and who knows thirty years from now. You know, who can predict what
the price of sugar is going to be and what the soil is going to be? There are all
these pushing and shoving forces that are difficult to predict. One of the
interesting questions we have asked ourselves is, interestingly, the area where
the sugarcane is now, the Everglades Agricultural Area, does not look like it was

Page 40
an area in the original Everglades that was directly important to wildlife. It was
what they called a sawgrass plain. It was a place with really deep peat soils and
dense, dense, dense, pure sawgrass marshes that ran for thirty or forty miles
south of the lake with hardly a tree island and hardly an open body of water. The
Everglades gradually evolved into the system we are more familiar with in the
central and southern Everglades, which is a much more diverse open area with
lots of tree islands. Got a feeling that the original northern Everglades, this
sawgrass plain that is now sugarcane, originally was just the big northern sponge
on the system, that it had more of a hydrological function than an ecological
[one]. It was extremely important at storing water and keeping the whole system
wet throughout most years, so it was a huge sponge kind of function. In addition
to saying, is there any chance we would ever get that back some day, we have
also sort of asked the question, are there other ways we can recreate that
function in the system somehow, and ASR [aquifer storage and retrieval] is one
of them. Expensive as hell way to do it. I do not know if it would be more
expensive than buying. At any rate, we think about this a lot. Biologically, the
parts of the system that we have lost that are irreversibly lost that are much more
crucial are more in the central and southern Everglades along the east side. The
big flanking marl prairies that bordered the east side of the southern Everglades
were probably critically important to the overall function of the system, and a lot
of that is now in housing developments. Right now, our only opportunities to
substantially increase spatial-extent of the current Everglades system is to
recover some kind of ecological functionality in parts of the system that we still
own. For instance, a lot of the marl prairies that are in Everglades National Park
that are functionally dead, as far as I am concerned, because they are so over-
drained, are still in public ownership. When you talk about the extent of the
current Everglades, there are pieces of the current Everglades that still are
biologically sort of healthy and there are pieces that are really screwed-up, so our
only opportunity is to try to get those screwed-up parts back into the system
functionally. Some people might say that is a cop-out, but it is really our only

G: How are we going to know if the restoration efforts that are part of the
comprehensive plan are being successful?

O: There are two ways, probably a thousand ways. One is that we have a set of
about 150 performance-measures for the entire system from Kissimmee all the
way to Florida Bay that have targets. Those performance-measures are in this
plan, and they are out now for agency- and peer-review, and basically we are
saying, collectively, if we reach those 150 targets, we have been successful.

G: Are there some particularly important targets that you would cite?

O: We have targets on wading-bird numbers and nesting patterns. We have targets

Page 41
on pink shrimp commercial harvest, which are directly influenced by flows in the
Everglades. We have targets on water-supply to the urban areas. What is more
to an ecologist might be different than what is more important to an urban or ag
person, but we tried to create targets for everybody, for the whole system. Of
these 150 technical targets, we have actually started already on a workshop
process to identify about twenty or twenty-five that we think are the ones that are
of most interest or importance to the public, and we are going to report those
every year in a big public report-card. We are going to grade ourselves every
year and issue it to the public.

G: What do you believe are going to be the most important obstacles to the
successful implementation of the comprehensive plan?

O: Well, I am an optimist. I have used the word uncertainty many times. I guess we
have some real large uncertainties about whether we will get the funding for the
twenty-five or thirty years. Having part of my background in history, I often look at
history as a way of trying to figure out what is going to happen in the future. If you
look at the history of the first Central and Southern South Florida Project,
authorized in 1947 and you look at the plan they had in the late 1940s and you
look at by the early 1980s what they had actually done with it, there are pieces of
it that they did exactly the way they said they were going to do it, there are pieces
of it that they modified based on new information, and there are pieces of it they
never built. That may happen with this plan over the next thirty years. Certainly,
we are going to learn more, so we are going to change the plan. We are going to
start off building some pieces of it pretty much the way they are designed,
because that is what we got to work with now. Whether it will all be built depends
on the funding, and that will be dependent on whether the public continues to
support it for thirty years. They did not continue to support that 1947 plan for
those forty years. Public values changed, and they just ran out of public support
for the plan twenty or thirty years into it. It would have been more damaging
ecologically if the public had continued to support the original plan.

G: Do you think public support can be maintained, particularly once there becomes
instances where there may be conflicts between development and conservation?
O: Yes, I think so. Again, I look at other things around the country. The Chesapeake
Bay thing has been going fifteen years, and it is comparable in scale, and they
are continuing to get their funding. They are still going full-steam, and they have
not had huge successes. They have done a good job of managing expectations,
and part of the way they do that is through this annual report-card. Right up front,
they have been really good at saying we have all these targets, [and] certain
ones we do not expect to respond for the first ten years simply because of the
sequencing of construction and because of the nature of the ecosystem. The
Chesapeake Bay Foundation actually issues an annual numerical score on the
Chesapeake Bay restoration program, and I think they decided that they cannot

Page 42
achieve full restoration because of the same kind of problem we have, because a
lot of Chesapeake Bay has been built up. So, 100 percent restoration is
impossible, but they calculated they can get to 70 percent of what was the
original system. They started at something like 15 percent of the original system,
and after fifteen years, their score was 28 [percent, and] the public is sticking with

G: Final question. Looking back at your more than three decades of involvement in
Everglades management, what are the most important lessons that you have

O: A sense of humor, patience. Certainly in the last ten years, one of my big goals
has been to figure out ways of bringing scientists to the table as equals, that that
was essential if we were going to be successful. We have done an awful lot,
especially over the last six or eight years, to figure out how to make science an
equal partner in this, and we learned a lot about what works and what does not
work. That is one area. I am a big thinker, so I ought to have an answer for that,
on what is a big lesson I have learned from this. It sounds corny, but I really have
come to believe in teams, and I just think that is great. The brainpower that
comes out of good teams is just awesome. I have become less and less patient
with lone rangers and egos and all that crap. They just have no business in here.
They will undermine us as much as anything will. You asked me a while ago what
was success, and I talked about performance-measures and I gave you an
answer that we can measure success numerically with these performance-
measures, but that is different. There is another thing here that is a vision thing,
and a lot of people who have been around the Everglades a long time have a
real emotional sense for it and attachment and know that it is a lot more than
numbers and know that it has a personality and has a behavior that is part of a
vision thing. I think success ultimately will be reaching some kind of vision,
especially for the public. That is probably one of our biggest challenges ahead of
us, is defining success in a more visionary, qualitative way, and I think it is going
to be essential that we do that and keep working on that in a very, kind of,
aggressive way. Right now, definitions of success run all over the spectrum. The
purists say we have to go all the way back to the way it was 100 years ago. 90
percent of the people do not know what it was like five years ago, much less 100
years ago. There an awful lot of people I work with who would consider the plan
successful if it gets back to what it was like when I first came here in the 1960s.
There were big wading bird rookeries then. Florida Bay was clear. There are a lot
of people who would, wow, we did it, with just that. So, there are a huge range of
views about what is success. It is almost like it is a separate process from this
neat little package of performance-measures that have numerical scores. I mean,
there is this much bigger question of what is success in a qualitative way. This is
my lesson learned, that we have got to keep working on that, kind of in
aggressive way, building consensus on what is success.

Page 43

[End of Interview]

John Ogden

On page 1, Mr. Ogden shares his opinion on the problems that have led to the present condition of
the Everglades and, on page 2, the changes in the current restoration plan, why that change occurred,
and (on page 3) specific turning points that marked that change. He also discusses the influence of
the scientific community on this process. On page 4-7, his professional and academic background is
covered. Page 7 also contains his perspective on the comparative lack of emphasis on science within
the Park Service bureaucracy; page 8-9 continues his opinion of the Park Service, as well as his
understanding of the relationship between decreased wading-bird populations and hydrological

On page 10, Mr. Ogden talks about the impact of a rain-based water-delivery system and why the
Fish and Wildlife Service opposed this system. This leads into a conversation about the tension
between saving endangered species and fostering restoration, with specific regard to the wood stork
and Everglades kite dispute (page 11-12). Mr. Ogden=s involvement with Florida Bay is covered on
page 12-13. He reflects on the relationship between Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers
and the Park=s scientists= working relationship with other agencies (page 13-14). Later, he
discusses the Park Service and the South Florida Water Management District= s relationship (page
17) and the co-existence of the District and the Army Corps of Engineers (where he particularly
disagrees with criticisms levied upon the Corps) (page20).

Mr. Ogden converses at length regarding the process of events leading to the co-edited volume
Everglades: The Ecosystem and Restoration (page 14-16). He stresses his commitment to seeing
that scientists be involved on a political and policy level in the restoration on page 18. He speaks
admirably of Sam Poole on page 19. He then speaks at length at the creation of the Task Force and
Working Group and its Science Coordination team (21-25). He also discusses the Governor=s
Commission on a Sustainable South Florida (26) and compares it with a later, less effective
commission (26-27). He then shares his first involvement with the re-study team, discussing in
detail the teams, models, disagreements, public involvement, and strengths and weaknesses of this
groups process (27-33), culminating in the controversial Chief=s Report (page 33-34).

Mr. Ogden also details his involvement on the RECOVER team (35-37), and shares his belief in the
necessity of peer-review (page 37-38). The balance of the interview contains his thought on the
comprehensive plan: especially in regard to unproven technologies (34), spatial-extent (38), the
targets which will determine the success or failure ofthe plan (39-40), the major obstacles to success
(40), the need for public support (40-41), and the most important lessons he has gleaned from this
process of Everglades Restoration (41-42).

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