Citation
Algae, exotics, and management response in two Florida springs

Material Information

Title:
Algae, exotics, and management response in two Florida springs : competing conceptions of ecological change in a time of nutrient enrichment
Creator:
Evans, Jason Michael ( Dissertant )
Burkhardt, Robert J. ( Thesis advisor )
Wilkie, Ann C. ( Thesis advisor )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
University of Florida
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Copyright Date:
2007
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Interdisciplinary Ecology thesis, Ph. D.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Interdisciplinary Ecology
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Fort White

Notes

Abstract:
Interdisciplinary methods based upon principles of participatory action research, systems ecology, and adaptive management were used to create multi-scalar narratives of ecological changes associated with nutrient enrichment in two Florida springs ecosystems: Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River. Review of scientific literature, presentation of historic water quality data, qualitative interviews with stakeholders, and iterative public engagements with stakeholders about ecosystem management policy are integrated in both of the case studies. Patterns of management pathology, or the tendency of management institutions to rigidly adhere to policies that are inappropriate for the maintenance of desired socio-ecological values in the face of emergent environmental changes, were identified at both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River in relation to ecosystem management policies narrowly based upon the minimization of nonnative plant species. While management of nonnative plants generally is based upon the laudable goal of maintaining native biodiversity and ecological function, a holistic consideration of historical ecology, scientific literature, and stakeholder accounts indicates that emergent conditions associated with nutrient enrichment and other contaminant factors may make aquatic plant management practices an important catalyst in shifting springs ecosystems towards an undesirable stability domain characterized by dominance of filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Adaptive management experimentation based upon growth and optimum harvest of nonnative plants, particularly water lettuce in Ichetucknee River and water hyacinth in Kings Bay, is recommended as a potential means of facilitating recovery of more desirable stability domains. ( ,, )
Subject:
adaptive, crystal, ecology, hydrilla, ichetucknee, interdisciplinary, invasion, kings, manatee, participatory, river, water
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Title from title page of source document.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 168 pages.
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Includes vita.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Evans, Jason Michael. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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ALGAE, EXOTICS, AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSE INT TWO FLORIDA SPRINGS:
COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE INT A TIME OF NUTRIENT
ENRICHMENT




















By

JASON MICHAEL EVANS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007


































Copyright 2007

by

Jason M. Evans

































In memory of Ralph Frank Ashodian (1950 to 2006), beloved mentor and friend.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

There are many people who made this dissertation possible. First of all, I sincerely thank

all of my committee members for the unique insights and contributions they provided throughout

the dissertation process, as well as my overall academic career at the University of Florida.

Former committee member Dr. Clyde Kiker helped get me through the proposal process through

long, entertaining conversations about interdisciplinary issues. Dr. Mark Brown provided

rigorous courses and excellent mentoring on systems ecology, geographic information systems,

and ecological engineering, while also helping me get over ecological bigotry. Dr. Richard

Hamann prodded me to j oin the Conservation Clinic's springshed protection proj ect, which,

along with his bonfire parties, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my graduate career.

Dr. Richard Haynes served as my advisor throughout my master' s thesis project, provided me

with the opportunity to work as a graduate teaching assistant in two courses, and, perhaps most

rewardingly, has served as my mentor for gardening in the Paynes Prairie corridor. Dr. Annie

Wilkie, my committee cochair, helped me appreciate the wonders of aquatic plants, develop a

deeper appreciation for the many facets of sustainability through the BEST society, and get on

with the business of writing. Dr. Jeff Burkhardt, my committee chair, gave me the freedom of

intellectual and philosophical exploration, while also patiently reining me in to produce

something that, hopefully, turned out to be somewhat coherent. While not on my committee,

Conservation Clinic Director Dr. Tom Ankersen played a key role in this dissertation by, among

other things, introducing me to the Crystal River area.

Next, I thank all of the stakeholders who participated in this research, whose commitment

to protecting springs ecosystems is truly an inspiration. Without their gracious help and time, this

dissertation certainly would not have been possible.










I also thank Julie Morris, Jono Miller, and Heidi Harley for giving me the opportunity to

work as an adjunct professor and environmental consultant at New College of Florida during

much of my Ph.D. candidacy period. Not only was the experience invaluable in itself, the

opportunity to present some of my preliminary dissertation results to students helped the

dissertation evolve in new directions.

My parents and other family have provided great love and support throughout my long

collegiate career. In particular, my wife, Sharon, has selflessly helped support me throughout

most of my graduate career. Her love and patience throughout this process are something that I

appreciate greatly, and will never forget through the rest of our lives.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES .........__.. ..... .__. ...............8....


LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............9.....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 10...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............12.......... ......


FI orid a' s Springs. ................ .............. ....................... ..........................12
Conservation and Protection Efforts ................. ...............13................
Florida Springs Task Force .............. ...............13....
Water Quality Working Groups .............. ...............14....
Model Land Use Codes .............. ...............15....
Other Regulatory Efforts ................ ...............16........... ....
Research Problem ................. ...............18.......... .....


2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ................. ...............22........... ....


Introducti on ................. ...............22.................

Obj ectives .............. ..... ...............22.......... .....
Participatory Research ................. ...............24.................
Typologies of Participation ................. ...............25................
Participatory Methods .............. ...............29....
Problematizing Participation .............. ...............35....
Confronting Wicked Problems ............ ...... ._ ...............39...
Sy stems Ecology............... ...............40
Analytic Scales .............. ...............41....
Multi-scalar Narratives ................. ...............42.................

Adaptive Management............... ...............4

3 ICHETUCKNEE RIVER .............. ...............49....


Site Description .............. .. ...............49...
Socio-Ecological Background .............. ...............51....
Pre-H history .................. ... .......... ...........5
Spanish Invasion (1539 to 1708) ................ ...............52........... ..
Seminole Period (1708 to 1845) ................. ...... ........ ......... .......... .....5
American Settlement and Development (1845 to 1940) ............_...... ..__............53
Early Socio-Ecological Accounts (1940 to 1960) .............. ...............54....
Mass Recreation (1960 to 1980) ............_ ..... ..__ ...............55












Ecological Recovery (1980 to 1990) ................ ...............56........... ..
Water Quality Concerns and Springshed Research ............... ... ........... .. ............. .....57
Uncertain Science: Nitrate-Nitrogen and Algae Response in Springs Ecosystems ...............59
Water Lettuce Eradication ................ ...............64........... ....
Observed Ecosystem Response .............. ...............66....
Systems M odel .............. ...............69....
Stakeholder Responses .............. ...... ......... ...........7
Adaptive Learning and Institutional Rigidity ................. .............. ............... 73.....
Management Experimentation: Moving beyond All or Nothing ................. .....................77

4 KINTGS BAY/CRY STAL RIVER .............. ...............86....


Site Description .............. ...............86....
W atershed Context ................. ...............88.................
Participatory M ethods................... .. .. .... ...................9
History of Nuisance Aquatic Plants in Kings Bay: 1950 to 2005 .............. .....................9
Factors Related to Lyngbya wollei Dominance ................. ...._._ ....._._ .........10
Current Restoration and Management Strategies .............. ...............104....
SW IM Plan ........._..... ......_ ._ .... ...............105

Kings Bay Aquatic Plant Management Plan ........._..._......_._ ........___.........0
Maintenance Control vs. Adaptive Management ............... ....... ......... ........0
Adaptive Restoration Opportunities Provided by Four Notorious Macrophytes .................11 1
Hydrilla ................. ...............111....._._. .....
W ater Hyacinth ........._.___..... ._ __ ...............114....
Eurasian M ilfoil ................. ...............119......... ......
W ater Lettuce ............... ... .. .. ........... .. ... .. .. .. ... .......12
Recommendation: Participatory and Adaptive Management of Aquatic Plants .................. 121

5 CONCLUSION............... ...............13


Research Summary .............. ...............130....
Obj ectives .....__ ................ .........__..........1 0
Research Questions ............... ......... ...........13
Beyond Ideology in Aquatic Plant Management ......__................. ............... 134 ...
Invasion Biology and Ecological Restoration ................ .....................__......13
Alternative Stability Domains ................. ...............1 8....__ ....
Defining Harm ................. ...............140....... ......
Final Thoughts ......__................. .........__..........14

APPENDIX ................. ...............147....... ......


LI ST OF REFERENCE S ....__. ................. .......__. .........14


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........._.__............ ...............168....









TABLE


Table page

3-1 T-test comparison of Ichetucknee River nitrate levels, 1985-1998 vs. 2001-2006 ..........84











LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

3-1. Map of Ichetucknee River and Springs ................. ............. ......... ........ .......80

3-2. Time series photographs of Devil's Eye Spring A) 1987 B) 1989 C) 1993 D) December
2000 E) M ay 2001. ............. ...............81.....

3 -3. Map of water lettuce removal at ISSP ................ ...............82.............

3-4. Ichetucknee Springs nitrate: 1966 2006 .............. ...............83....

3-5. Ichetucknee Springs nitrate: 1985-2006 ................ ...............83..............

3-6. Ichetucknee Springs nitrate: 2001 2006 .............. ...............84....

3-7. Systems model of water lettuce and algae competition at Ichetucknee River.. ................... ...85

4-1. Map of Kings Bay/Crystal River ................. ...............124.............

4-2. West Indian manatees in Kings Bay, May 2006 .............. ...............125....

4-3. Lyngbya wollei in Kings Bay, May 2005 ................. ............... ......... ........ ...125

4-4. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1944 ................. ...............126.............

4-5. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1960 ................. ...............126........... .

4-6. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1974 ................. ...............127.............

4-7. Kings Bay total nitrogen and total phosphorus, 1989-2002 ................ .......................127

4-8. Harvester in Kings Bay, May 2006 .............. ...............128....

4-9. Contents of harvester in Kings Bay, May 2006................... ......___ ........ ...........128

4-10. Tape grass and Lyngbya wollei after harvester pass in Kings Bay, May 2006 ..................129









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ALGAE, EXOTICS, AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSE INT TWO FLORIDA SPRINGS:
COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE INT A TIME OF NUTRIENT
ENRICHMENT

By

Jason Michael Evans

May 2007

Chair: Robert J. Burkhardt
Cochair: Ann C. Wilkie
Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology

Interdisciplinary methods based upon principles of participatory action research, systems

ecology, and adaptive management were used to create multi-scalar narratives of ecological

changes associated with nutrient enrichment in two Florida springs ecosystems: Ichetucknee

River and Kings Bay/Crystal River. Review of scientific literature, presentation of historic water

quality data, qualitative interviews with stakeholders, and iterative public engagements with

stakeholders about ecosystem management policy are integrated in both of the case studies.

Patterns of management pathology, or the tendency of management institutions to rigidly adhere

to policies that are inappropriate for the maintenance of desired socio-ecological values in the

face of emergent environmental changes, were identified at both Ichetucknee River and Kings

Bay/Crystal River in relation to ecosystem management policies narrowly based upon the

minimization of nonnative plant species. While management of nonnative plants generally is

based upon the laudable goal of maintaining native biodiversity and ecological function, a

holistic consideration of historical ecology, scientific literature, and stakeholder accounts

indicates that emergent conditions associated with nutrient enrichment and other contaminant

factors may make aquatic plant management practices an important catalyst in shifting springs










ecosystems towards an undesirable stability domain characterized by dominance of filamentous

algae and cyanobacteria. Adaptive management experimentation based upon growth and

optimum harvest of nonnative plants, particularly water lettuce in Ichetucknee River and water

hyacinth in Kings Bay, is recommended as a potential means of facilitating recovery of more

desirable stability domains.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Florida's Springs

The artesian springs of Florida are among the world' s most unique and treasured natural

resources. These aquatic ecosystems are known to have served as centers of human culture in

Florida for thousands of years, with images such as the Fountain of Youth and biblical Eden

commonly used throughout historical times to describe the crystal clear water of springs and the

beauty of their surrounding landscapes (Scott et al. 2004). Today Florida' s springs continue to

serve as beloved oases that provide natural respite from the state's summer heat, critical habitat

for unique ecological associations, and important windows into the state's main drinking water

source the Floridan aquifer (Florida Springs Task Force 2000).

Like many of Florida' s ecosystems, alarming changes are being observed in the ecological

condition of springs throughout the state. The most common problems include decreased spring

discharge due to groundwater pumping for human usage, contamination of groundwater by

human land use activities, severe ecological shifts characterized by increased growth of

undesirable plant and algae species, and physical impacts associated with recreational activities

(Florida Springs Task Force 2000). Concern associated with such issues has come from a wide

variety of citizen stakeholders and public officials, with some scientists and policy-makers

suggesting that issues related to springs and groundwater conservation may become as prominent

(and difficult) for Florida in the 21st century as Everglades protection and restoration became in

the latter half of the 20th century. Given the vast ecological costs associated with years of policy

and management failures in the Everglades (Light et al. 1995) and the huge economic costs,

uncertainties, and controversies now associated with implementing the Comprehensive










Everglades Restoration Program, it is hoped that effective conservation and management

strategies will help avert a similar socio-ecological traj ectory for springs and groundwater.

Conservation and Protection Efforts

Several programs specifically dedicated to the conservation and protection of springs have

been initiated by government agencies in recent years. Some of the more notable programs

include 1) the formation of a statewide Florida Springs Task Force that collects information,

funds research, and advocates for the protection of springs statewide; 2) the establishment of

several local "water quality working groups" that collect information, facilitate collaboration,

and advocate for the better protection of individual springs systems and their associated

groundwater basins, or "springsheds," on the local scale; and 3) the development of model

springshed protection land use codes that local governments may incorporate within their growth

management plans.

Florida Springs Task Force

In 1999, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) formed the Florida

Springs Task Force as a multi-agency entity charged with recommending "strategies for the

protection and restoration of Florida's springs" (DEP 2007b). An initial report produced by the

Florida Springs Task Force (2000) has served as the primary foundation for springs protection

and restoration over subsequent years. The two maj or strategies suggested by the report for

fostering and promoting springs protection are education of the public and formation of

collaborative springshed working groups, with the hope being that "appreciation of Florida' s

springs" will "bring about cooperation and voluntary compliance" with springshed protection

efforts (Florida Springs Task Force 2000, 22). Examples of funded education efforts include

production of videos, outreach to public schools and local governments, and placement of signs

along highways to denote springshed capture areas. Significant research related to springs










hydrogeology and identifying groundwater contaminant sources has been performed through the

auspices of the Florida Springs Task Force and other government agency programs (e.g., Jones et

al. 1996; Katz et al. 1999; Champion and Starks 2001; Butt and Murphy 2003). Knowledge

developed through these studies has been critical for identifying ways in which current

regulatory programs might be modified and/or strengthened to better protect water quality in

springs.

Water Quality Working Groups

Formation of water quality working groups is promoted by the Florida Springs Task Force

(2000) as a means of expanding upon the educational and research missions of springs protection

on a local basis. Working groups have been formed for several large springs groups, including

Wakulla Springs, Silver Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, and the lower Santa Fe Springs.

Participants in the working group process typically include representatives from government

agencies, the local agricultural community, business groups, environmental organizations,

university researchers, and other members of the general public concerned about springs

ecosystems. Working group meetings generally are held on a quarterly or bi-annual basis, with

the stated intention of facilitating "a vigorous, collaborative process for identification and

resolution of spring problems" through discussion of research findings, creation of outreach

strategies, and making plans for meeting additional research and outreach needs (Florida Springs

Task Force 2000, 24-25). The ideal behind such a collaborative approach is to build upon local

and scientific knowledge to develop appropriate conservation goals, create research and

volunteer networks that can monitor progress towards conservation goals, and maintain a visible

political presence that helps to ensure the consistent pursuit of spring protection into the future.









Model Land Use Codes

Soon after the release of the Florida Springs Task Force report, an advisory committee

composed of representatives from several state agencies, local governments, business groups,

and environmental organizations was formed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs

(DCA) and DEP. The deliberations and recommendations of this committee were used to

produce a planning manual that recommends a series of land use policies and practices that can

be used by local governments, industries, and the general public to further the goal of protecting

water quality in springs ecosystems through the process of local comprehensive planning (DCA

and DEP 2002). Comprehensive planning is the general framework under which local

governments in Florida regulate growth and development in their communities, and the statutory

rubric of this process gives local communities the power "to articulate a vision of the future

physical appearance and qualities of its community" using a "collaborative planning process"

(Florida Statutes 2006a). Due to both the broad powers of local government to regulate

development and the impact that development can have on the water quality of nearby springs,

the manual suggests that local comprehensive planning represents one of the most powerful

instruments for developing long-terms springs protection strategies.

General guidelines as to how human impacts on springsheds can be mitigated through site

selection and development design are given in the planning manual, as are more specific best

management practices (BMPs) for large land usages that can be associated with large nutrient

loadings, such as golf courses, silviculture, and agriculture (DCA and DEP 2002). In addition, it

is suggested that local governments can utilize hydrogeologic information to create planning

maps that designate appropriate land uses based upon the risks of groundwater contamination

associated with geologic formations and connections with springs. Under these guidelines,

highly vulnerable areas geographically near and/or with direct hydrogeologic connections to









springs would be designated as "primary protection zones." Low intensity land usages such as

conservation land, open space, unimproved rangeland, and long rotation silviculture would be

considered appropriate for these primary protection zones. "Secondary protection zones" would

be established for those areas not as vulnerable as primary zones, but that are still important to

protect due to their function as treatment zones for water moving toward the spring from more

intensive land usages. Higher intensity silviculture, rangelands, low density rural residential, and

any of the primary protection land usages are considered appropriate for secondary protection

zones. "Tertiary zones" appropriate for more intensive land usages such as high density

residential, intensive agriculture, mining, heavy commercial, and golf course would be

established for all areas that do not pose a high risk of contaminating springs. While the

development and implementation of such planning regulations currently are at the complete

discretion of local jurisdictions, some communities near popular springs have recently begun to

adopt some of the recommended planning principles (DEP 2005).

Other Regulatory Efforts

One of the major regulatory impediments to springs conservation is the use of drinking

water quality criteria in the establishment of permitting standards for municipal and agricultural

wastewater discharged into groundwater (Evans 2004). Direct discharges of municipal and

agricultural wastewater into surface water are discouraged by DEP as a matter of explicit public

policy (DEP 2007d). Advanced wastewater treatment with minimum standards of 3 mg/L of

Total Nitrogen (TN) and 1 mg/L of Total Phosphorus (TP) typically is required of municipal

facilities that do discharge into state waters (Florida Statutes 2006c). However, municipal

wastewater facilities that discharge into groundwater typically only are required to meet a

secondary treatment standard of 10 mg/L for TN (Florida Administrative Code 1993) and not

result in violations of the 10 mg/L drinking water standard for nitrate-nitrogen within the










groundwater (DEP 2007c). In addition, large animal feeding operations are regulated by DEP

through its industrial wastewater program. Receipt of an industrial wastewater permit is

contingent upon determination by DEP that discharges will not adversely affect flora, fauna,

and/or beneficial uses or result in drinking water violations in the receiving water body (Florida

Administrative Code 2005). In practice, adverse ecological changes in surface waters occur at

nutrient levels well below numeric drinking water quality standards,' and nutrient management

plans designed to prevent such adverse effects are required of facilities that discharge

agricultural wastewater into state water bodies (Florida Administrative Code 2005).

These discrepancies between surface water permitting standards based upon ecological

criteria and groundwater permitting standards based upon less stringent human health criteria

likely have had the effect of spurring preferential construction of facilities designed to discharge

wastewater directly into groundwater, including springshed areas (Evans 2004). The

straightforward economic rationale for choosing groundwater discharge in such a regulatory

environment is that secondary treatment is significantly less expensive to achieve than advanced

treatment. However, studies increasingly suggest that permitted wastewater discharges from

municipal and agricultural sources may be a significant source of nitrate-nitrogen loading to

springs ecosystems such as the Wakulla River, Ichetucknee River (Ritchie 2006), and Wekiva

River (DEP 2004a). The process of groundwater discharges eventually affecting surface water

resources fed by groundwater, such as springs ecosystems, was not anticipated when current


SA serious problem with the overall regulatory system is the utilization of drinking water standards designed to
protect human health as the default water quality standard for water bodies that have primary ecological usages. For
example, Florida establishes no explicit numeric standard for nitrate in Class III surface water resources used for
boating, swimming, and fishing, but does state that nutrients must not cause an "imbalance in natural populations of
aquatic flora or fauna" (Florida Administrative Code 2006). Numeric standards for individual water bodies generally
are established as a mitigation tool after a water body is deemed "impaired," in the sense that an imbalance of flora
and fauna as a result of nutrient loading is documented. Establishment of numeric criteria for nutrients as a
preemptive means of avoiding impairment, while undoubtedly complex, clearly is needed if prevention of
impairment is a primary goal of clean water regulations.










regulatory frameworks were crafted (Evans 2004). To address such concerns, the DEP has

engaged in a thorough review of how groundwater quality permitting standards might be

modified for springsheds impacted by wastewater (DEP 2004a), and has also helped broker

agreements and secure financing for upgrades to advanced treatment for wastewater facilities

that discharge into springshed areas (DEP 2006). Additional measures such as the aggressive

development of BMPs for farmers within springsheds and, in some cases, establishment of total

maximum daily loadings (TMDLs) are being pursued for the purpose of reducing nutrient

loadings into groundwater from all sources, including wastewater, agriculture, and urban

stormwater (DEP 2007a).

Research Problem

While these education, regulatory, and planning efforts undoubtedly represent an important

step in springs conservation, little research attention, however, has been given to the socio-

ecological complexities associated with managing and/or restoring springs ecosystems through a

time of long-term nutrient enrichment. The rationale for such an ecosystem management concern

is fairly straightforward. Even if it is assumed that current conservation strategies are highly

successful in reducing the loading of contaminants (such as nitrate-nitrogen) into springsheds,

groundwater monitoring and hydrogeological research both indicate that extant contamination is

likely to take several decades to "flush" through springs ecosystems (Jones et al. 1996; Katz et

al. 1999; Champion and Starks 2001; Cowell and Dawes 2004). Consequently, the grim

prognosis is that, despite ongoing conservation efforts, water quality is likely to continue

declining in many springs ecosystems for at least the next two or three decades a condition

with profound and far-reaching implications that current management practices and policy

discussions have yet to reckon with in any holistic manner.










The primary obj ective of this dissertation research was to directly engage this major gap

through case studies of two popular springs ecosystems that are both affected by groundwater

contamination and have active cooperative restoration programs based upon the working group

model: Ichetucknee Springs and Kings Bay/Crystal River. Interdisciplinary methods based upon

principles of participatory action research, systems ecology, and adaptive management were used

to create multi-scalar narratives that discuss ecological changes associated with nutrient

enrichment in both of these ecosystems, as well as the ongoing management responses to these

changes. Review of scientific literature about springs and other aquatic ecosystems, presentation

of historic water quality data, qualitative interviews with stakeholders and ecosystem managers,

and iterative public engagements with stakeholders and ecosystem managers about ecosystem

management policy are integrated within both of the case study narratives.

What emerges from this broad approach is the identification of what recent natural

resource theorists have deemed "management pathologies" (Holling 1995; Gunderson et al.

2006). Management pathologies have their origin in management institutions rigidly adhering to

policies that are inappropriate for the maintenance of desired socio-ecological values in the face

of emergent environmental changes. A typical result of such static management is the

precipitation of a complex and nonlinear shift in ecological function and structure, which often is

expressed as the sudden collapse of the socio-ecological values that management policies

originally were designed to protect (Holling 1995). The shifts in ecological conditions

represented by the sudden collapse are generally referred to as alternative "stable states" or

"stability domains." Sudden switches in stability domain, particularly in aquatic ecosystems,

have proven extremely difficult to reverse through traditional management, conservation, and

restoration approaches (Scheffer et al. 1993; Gunderson 1999).










Patterns of management pathology were identified at both Ichetucknee River and Kings

Bay/Crystal River in relation to ecosystem management policies narrowly based upon the

minimization of nonnative plant species. While management of nonnative plants generally is

based upon the laudable goal of maintaining native biodiversity and ecological function, a

holistic consideration of historical ecology, scientific literature, and stakeholder accounts

indicates that emergent conditions associated with nutrient enrichment and other contaminant

factors may make traditional aquatic plant management practices an important catalyst in shifting

springs ecosystems towards an undesirable stability domain characterized by dominance of

filamentous algae and cyanobacteria.

Following and expanding upon a recent philosophical argument made by Sagoff (2005), it

is argued that the a priori attribution of ecological harm to targeted nonnative plants is a primary

factor driving the observed management pathologies, in regard to both moral and scientific

discourse. In terms of moral discourse, it was found that key institutional actors tend to conflate

the socio-moral attribution of harm into a technocratic conception of established scientific

knowledge, with this conflation then used as a basis for discouraging open reflection, public

debate, and/or experimental modification of current management policies.2 As a result, novel

assessments of ecosystem conditions and management activities become stunted at an a priori

level, to the detriment of both the advancement of scientific knowledge and the creation of


SPut another way, the "harmfulness" of nonnative species is thus mistakenly defined as an undisputable scientific
fact, rather than as a highly disputable socio-moral claim about what constitutes harm. Following Norton (2005) and
other pragmatist philosophers of science, the distinction between facts and values implied here can, however, also be
called into question. Through a pragmatist conception of truth, there ultimately are no "undisputed facts." Rather,
there are good arguments and bad arguments that can be used in support of claims, and it is based upon the strength
of these arguments whether moral, scientific, or both that provisional claims of truth emerge. However, all truth
claims, including scientific ones, are always open for dispute, modification, and/or refutation through the
development of strong alternative arguments. The irony of the conflation being described here is that a neo-
positivistic truth claim, which typically justifies its primacy based upon the assumed reliability of knowledge
established through scientific discourse, is actually, in this case, predicated on what appears to be a tautological
moral position of defining the presence of nonnative species as an inherent form of ecological harm (Sagoff 2005).










adaptive socio-ecological techniques that could be used to confront surprises posed by emergent

environmental conditions.

For both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay, a likely implication of maintaining such a rigid

management framework towards nonnative species during this time of nutrient enrichment is a

continued shift towards stability domains characterized by increasing coverage of filamentous

algae and cyanobacteria. Qualitative research performed in both of these ecosystems indicates

that many stakeholders currently regard such a shift in stability domain to be more harmful than

increased coverage of nonnative plants. Increased monitoring, holistic evaluation of existing

aquatic plant control programs, and adaptive management experiments to better understand the

functional effects of alternative aquatic plant approaches are suggested for both ecosystems.









CHAPTER 2
CONCEPTUAL FRA1VEWORK

Introduction

An increasing amount of natural resource management and social scientist theorists argue

that broad, interdisciplinary frameworks provide a means through which the many different

factors relevant to complex environmental problems can be methodologically explored,

effectively integrated, and coherently analyzed (Gunderson et al. 1995; Fischer 2000; Allen et al.

2003; Norton 2005). Such an integration of perspectives from both the natural and social

sciences helps bring focus onto the complex ways in which human culture interfaces with

nonhuman nature, thereby overcoming artificially sharp distinctions, both epistemological and

ontological, that often are made between the realms of nature and society (Sneddon et al. 2002).

Objectives

Florida's springs ecosystems provide a clear opportunity for such interdisciplinary research

due to the wide range of geological, ecological, legal, political, and socio-moral issues associated

with their long-term management and conservation. Based upon this general premise, six specific

methodological and analytic obj ectives were established for this dissertation research:

1. To participate actively in two collaborative conservation groups: the Ichetucknee

Springs Water Quality Working Group and the Kings Bay Water Quality

Subcommittee.

2. To represent the targeted natural systems through basic maps and textual descriptions.

3. To outline the conservation problems facing the natural systems as typically defined in

public discourse.

4. To describe past and present ecosystem management actions taken by management

agencies within each of the case study systems.









5. To evaluate how conservation problems are being approached through ecosystem

management and policy.

6. To make specific research recommendations for facilitating adaptive management in

each of the case study systems.

The following research questions were then derived from these objectives:

1. Are the principles of adaptive management being utilized in the conservation and

management efforts within each of the case study springs?

a. What, if any, management practices may be inadvertently catalyzing observed

degradation in the natural systems?

b. How open are managers and stakeholders to new hypotheses about the behavior

of the natural systems?

2. What research and policy priorities can be identified for facilitating the emergence of

adaptive learning?

a. What gaps in current research and monitoring efforts can be identified?

The conceptual framework utilized for conceiving and addressing these research questions

is based upon three complementary foundations: the methodological principles of participatory

research, the analytic theories of systems ecology, and the normative criteria of adaptive

management. It was recognized from the outset of this proj ect that the stated obj ectives are

complicated in scope, fraught with a number of epistemological perils, and unable to address

completely the many different geologic, ecologic, legal, and socio-political factors that may be

relevant to springs protection. However, such difficulties are commonly associated with

interdisciplinary research on complex environmental problems that cover multiple temporal,

spatial, and epistemic scales. Following Sneddon et al. (2002, 666), an integrative approach was










adopted as a means for better understanding the "interplay between, on the one hand, physical

and ecological processes operating at certain scales and, on the other social processes that may

be constructed according to an entirely different scalar logic."

In this chapter, detailed explanations of the theoretical constructs underlying this

conceptual framework are developed. First, principles of participatory research are described,

problematized, and justified as an appropriate primary methodological approach for

understanding and confronting "wicked" problems that resist straightforward solutions based

upon existing ecosystem management paradigms (Fischer 2000). Second, principles of systems

ecology are presented as a holistic means by which information gathered from disparate

epistemological sources can be integrated into multi-scalar models and narratives, thereby

avoiding the traps of both crude reductionism and crude relativism. Third, it is argued that

principles of adaptive management, particularly as expounded by C.S. Holling, L.H. Gunderson,

and in a recent philosophical work by Bryan Norton (2005), provide clear epistemological,

discursive, and normative criteria by which ecosystem management can be both judged and

guided.

Participatory Research

Participatory research has been described as research that goes beyond "an effort to come

up with research findings" through a conscious attempt to provide communities with information

that is directly relevant to the problems that they face (Fischer 2000, 180). While there currently

are a variety of competing schools and conceptions bundled under the general term participatory

research (Berardi 2002), a unifying thread is that it offers an alternative to "top-down"

approaches, particularly those "carried out within centralized bureaucracies," that tend to

privilege expertise from natural resource sciences and economics over local knowledge (Ferreyra

2006, 577). It is generally argued that such an alternative is needed because the complex, value-









laden, and particularized natures of socio-ecological systems make traditional forms of scientific

expertise an insufficient albeit useful and necessary basis for making many natural resource

management decisions (Sneddon et al. 2002; Norton 2005). Participatory research is thus

fundamentally based upon both understanding and empowering local ecological knowledge,

which can be defined as the informal forms of experiential knowledge and narrative accounts

developed by members of a community through long-term utilization and/or observation of a

given natural resource.

As such, the typical participatory research project is characterized by a "bottom up"

engagement with community members, who are viewed as co-equal partners in identifying,

defining, and attempting to iteratively solve complex socio-ecological problems (Berardi 2002).

As described by Fischer (2000, 179), the ongoing dialogue between researcher and the

community creates a dialectical tension between "formal academic knowledge" and the "popular

knowledge of ordinary citizens," which can then be used to "enrich the standard quantitative

analyses of efficient means to given ends with a qualitative discussion of the ends themselves."

In other words, participatory research helps provide alternative perspectives on the management

techniques employed to achieve established goals, while also giving a holistic means by which

evolving opinions about what goals should be pursued can be iteratively discussed. Such an

approach often implies interaction of diverse methodologies from fields such as geography,

anthropology, sociology, philosophy of science, and environmental science, with the overall

purpose being an integration of informal local knowledge into the formal processes of both

analytic research and policy-development.

Typologies of Participation

In recent years, there has been an accelerating trend towards approaches that outwardly

encourage public participation in ecosystem management and research, particularly through the









creation of cooperative watershed initiatives that utilize communication among stakeholder

groups as a key tool for gathering information and managing aquatic ecosystems on a watershed

basis (Briassoulis 1989; Norton 2005; Ferreyra 2006). Many cooperative watershed initiatives

originally arose on a grassroots level through coalitions of environmental organizations and other

community activists unsatisfied with the progress of agency bureaucracies in solving issues such

as dwindling water supply, deteriorating water quality, and preservation of local landscapes

(Wescoat and White 2003). However, agency bureaucracies themselves have also increasingly

moved to create collaborative forums, such as watershed working groups, in which a key stated

goal is participation among a wide range of stakeholders for the development of more robust

ecosystem management plans. Springshed working groups in Florida are examples of

collaborative watershed initiatives that are established and institutionally coordinated through

government agencies.

One result of the increasing utilization of the collaborative watershed approach has been

the "buzzword," hence often equivocal, usage of terms such as "collaborative," "participation,"

and "participatory" to describe ecosystem research and management activities. Critics argue that,

in some cases, creation of a collaborative watershed group and/or labeling of an ecosystem

management process as participatory may be little more than a formal statutory requirement, a

public relations attempt, or even a cooptation tactic that masks a bureaucracy's continued use of

traditional expert-based research models and centralized decision-making structures (Sneddon et

al. 2002). In other cases, however, the turn towards collaborative and participatory approaches

may, in fact, produce a reworking of power relations between the wider stakeholder community

and bureaucracies, which is actualized through the direct utilization of local knowledge in the










production of future expert knowledge and evaluation of management techniques (Berkes and

Folke 1998; Fischer 2000).

Berardi (2002) helps to clarify these definitional issues by giving fiye typologies to

describe different ways in which the term "participation" is currently used, both in terms of the

institutional framework in which a collaborative watershed group is organized as well as the

principles under which local knowledge is employed within the ecosystem management context.

First, "manipulative participation" is defined as an extreme situation in which participation is

used primarily as a pretense for manipulating or confusing the public with respect to a

controversial issue. Second, "participation by consultation" is defined as a condition, commonly

encountered within the context of regulatory and/or permitting deliberations, in which citizens

are consulted and questions are answered by officials, but there is no obligation to accept and/or

act upon public comment. Third, "functional participation" is used to describe those situations

where participation is seen by agencies as a means of achieving pre-determined, but generally

non-controversial, goals at reduced cost, often through the use of volunteer labor. Fourth,

"interactive participation" describes situations in which local citizen intimately participate in

research, development, analysis, and implementation of management plans. The fifth typology is

"self-mobilization," or a condition in which participation and/or formation of collaborative

frameworks is initiated from a grass roots level that is independent of government bureaucracies.

While the buzzword process has to some extent muddied the waters of what is meant by

participatory research, academic researchers have tended to bring confusion from another

direction: overly pedantic distinctions and arguments about what constitutes "authentic"

participatory research. The wide array of acronyms used for approaches such as participatory

rural appraisal and participatory rural assessment (PRA), participatory action research (PAR),









participatory learning and action (PLA), rapid rural appraisal (RRA), grass roots environmental

management (GREM), participatory forest resource assessment (PFRA), participatory analysis

and learning methods (PALM), and participant observation research (POR) underscores the

diversity of participatory approaches being employed by different researchers and research

teams. Although each research methodology has some differences that may be more appropriate

for specific situations, Berardi (2002) notes that there has been an unfortunate tendency among

some practitioners to turn a style of research originally focused on empowering community

change into a technical academic problem characterized by debates about who is really doing

participatory research, or what is the proper "brand" description of a participatory research

project (Argyris and Schon 1989; Bellamy et al. 1999).

Chambers (1997), however, sidesteps such academic squabbles by arguing that

participatory research ultimately is characterized by the underlying "attitude" of engaging

community stakeholders in the production and utilization of knowledge, rather than through

strict, ideological adherence to a given set of favored methods. Development of a relaxed rapport

with community members through participation in local activities and workshops, conducting

conversational interviews with key informants, use of "triangulation" in which observations are

confirmed from multiple perspectives, and assisting community members with the translation of

local knowledge into forms relevant for utilization within the management policy and research

context are cited as key features common to all participatory research approaches (Chambers

1997; Fischer 2000; Berardi 2002; Ferreyra 2006). A general use of such guidelines, not strict

adherence to any of the acronym approaches, was employed in both the Ichetucknee River and

Kings Bay/Crystal River case studies.









Participatory Methods

Participatory research for this dissertation was conducted by engaging with stakeholders in

three collaborative conservation groups: the Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality Working Group

(ISWG), the Kings Bay Water Quality Subcommittee (KBWQS), and the Kings Bay Working

Group (KBWG). While the term stakeholder is sometimes used to describe non-scientist, non-

agency, or other "non-expert" participants within a collaborative conservation process, a

stakeholder is more broadly defined in this dissertation to include all those who attended

meetings of the collaborative conservation groups, including research scientists, agency

scientists, and other government officials.

The ISWG is a stakeholder discussion group established in 1995 and funded through the

DEP. The maj or goals of the ISWG are to integrate knowledge about the Ichetucknee River,

educate the public about threats to the river' s water quality, and promote polices and voluntary

adoption of land use practices that can increase protection of water quality in the Ichetucknee

springshed. It includes representatives from environmental groups, agriculture and business

interests, all government agencies with jurisdiction in the Ichetucknee springshed, elected

officials, and other interested citizens. In 2005 and 2006, the ISWG met three times a year. I

attended at least some part of meetings held on February 15, 2005; May 24, 2005; October 1 1,

2005; February 8, 2006; and October 11, 2006. Due to a scheduling conflict, I did not attend a

meeting held on May 10, 2006.

The KBWQS is a stakeholder discussion group that advises the City of Crystal River on

policies related to improving water quality in Kings Bay, and is funded through grants provided

by the Waterfronts Florida Partnership of the DCA. Meetings were held monthly or, in some

cases, every other month. I attended ten meetings of the KBWQS from November 2004 through

March 2006: November 16, 2004; February 15, 2005; March 15, 2005; April 19, 2005; May 17,










2005; June 21, 2005; July 19, 2005; November 15, 2005; January 26, 2006; and March 15, 2006.

Core members of the KBWQS included a lead facilitator, a home builder, a restaurant owner, a

commercial fisher, a waterfront homeowner, a retired scientist from a federal environmental

agency, and two local vendors who cater to water-based tourism. Several meetings were attended

by one or more members of the Crystal River City Council, and two meetings included

presentations by representatives from government agencies with regulatory and management

jurisdiction over the Kings Bay water body. Stakeholder attendance, including myself, ranged

from four to sixteen at the meetings in which I was present. I gave a presentation about issues

associated with adopting a local fertilizer ordinance to the KBWQS on November 16, 2004,

which I gave as part of a course proj ect. I also gave a presentation showing examples of water

hyacinth phytoremediation and utilization to the KBWQS on January 26, 2006. By invitation of

the city manager, I gave a presentation about my work with the KBWQS and a review of recent

water hyacinth phytoremediation and utilization to the Crystal River City Council on June 26,

2006.

The KBWG is a stakeholder discussion group facilitated by the Southwest Florida Water

Management District. The maj or purposes of the KBWG are to integrate scientific knowledge

about Kings Bay, educate the public about voluntary actions that can be taken to improve water

quality, and achieve greater coordination between government agencies with management

jurisdiction over the water body. I attended KBWG meetings held on July 25, 2005; November

10, 2005; March 16, 2006; September 19, 2006; November 30, 2006; and March 7, 2007. I gave

a presentation about water hyacinth phytoremediation, utilization, and aquatic plant management

in Kings Bay to the KBWG at the meeting on November 10, 2005. I also gave a presentation to

the KBWG on November 30, 2006 about stormwater GIS mapping and landscaping outreach









work that I conducted in Sarasota over 2005-2006 through partnership with New College of

Florida, with a focus on benefits that a similar proj ect might have for Kings Bay/Crystal River.

Experiential knowledge formed through attendance at public meetings was used as a basis

for conversational interviews with key informants among stakeholders in both case study

ecosystems. The conduct of this interview research was based upon a protocol approved by the

University of Florida' s Institutional Review Board in April 2005. Key informants typically are

defined in qualitative research as those people who have intimate knowledge of the topic of

concern (i.e., conservation of the springs ecosystems), including holders of both informal local

knowledge and formal scientific knowledge (Ross et al. 1999). The key informants were

identified through "snowball" and "opportunistic" techniques, which commonly are used in

qualitative research for the purpose of locating members of the public likely to have a greater

knowledge of the topic of interest than the general public at large (Miles and Huberman 1994).

The snowball technique employed entailed soliciting nominations of knowledgeable individuals

from the lead facilitators of the ISWG and the KBWQS. Nominated individuals who participated

in the research then were asked for names of other knowledgeable individuals, with this process

repeated until at least 20 interviews were conducted. The opportunistic approach was used to

identify new key informants, particularly research and agency scientists met in public meetings,

not captured through the nominating process.

After potential interview informants were identified through either the snowball or

opportunistic approach, they were contacted by phone and/or e-mail and asked if they would be

willing to be interviewed for the purpose of dissertation research about the case study ecosystem.

If the potential informant agreed to be interviewed, a time and place was agreed upon for the

interview. Upon meeting the informant at the agreed upon time and place, a brief explanation of










the interview process was given. All informants then read and signed an informed consent form,

a copy of which is contained as an appendix in this dissertation. Field notes were taken during all

interviews, and a cassette tape recorder was used to record interviews of those who agreed to be

taped. Under the terms of the research protocol, all interview informants are kept strictly

anonymous in this dissertation.

The interview process utilized an open-ended, conversational approach to solicit

perceptions and information about conservation issues within the respective case study spring

system. All informants in both case studies were asked the following ten questions:

1. Please describe your career.

2. If you work for a government agency, please indicate your j ob title and the agency for

which you work.

3. Approximately what year did you first visit the spring system?

4. How close do you live to the spring system?

5. How often do you visit the spring system?

6. Why are you interested in conservation issues within the springs system?

7. Approximately what year did you become concerned about problems in the springs

system?

8. Please describe your understanding of the problems currently facing the springs

sy stem.

9. Where did you learn about problems currently facing the springs system?

10. What do you think are the most important conservation and management issues within

the springs system today?









For both case studies, the overall purpose of this basic interview questionnaire was to

develop a richer historical understanding of changes in the ecological systems and stakeholder

perceptions about these changes. Follow up questions and comments were added in the flow of

conversation, generally to be sure that I adequately understood informational points given by the

informant and also to encourage informants to go in more detail about their specific

remembrances and knowledge.

As discussed in more detail in both chapters, scientific and policy discussions in springs

ecosystems are largely focused on the role of increased nutrients, particularly nitrate-nitrogen, in

causing ecological changes observed over time. Based upon this focus, most policy-making and

education efforts undertaken by agencies for the purpose of maintaining and/or restoring

ecological communities are hinged largely upon the achievement of significant nutrient load

reductions into the spring ecosystems. For the purpose of novel hypothesis development,

particular attention was given to those understandings and perceptions among local knowledge

holders found to be qualitatively different from those official accounts highlighted in scientific

and agency discourse.

In the Ichetucknee case study, an additional interview research component was included.

Using my own observations of the ecosystem taken while living and working on the river in

2000-2001 and a review of scientific data and literature, a hypothesized relationship between

increased algae growth recently observed in the system and manual eradication of water lettuce

(Pistia stratiotes) was described to informants. After presentation of this information, the

following questions were asked:









1. Have you previously been presented with information suggesting that there may be a

relationship between invasive plant management and proliferation of nuisance algae in

the springs system?

2. Based upon your knowledge and experience, do you believe that there is any merit to

the idea that invasive plant management may be linked to proliferation of nuisance

algae?

3. Do you think that the idea of invasive plant management being linked to proliferation

of nuisance algae should be investigated further by scientists?

4. Do you believe that ecosystem managers should consider modifying the ways in which

they manage invasive plants in the springs system?

Because my involvement in the KBWG was subsequent to the approval of the interview

protocol, informants for interview research were not selected from this stakeholder group.

Instead, my own participation and subsequent public communications with agency

representatives in the KBWG were utilized as a means of more deeply exploring how different

conceptions of nature and values affect dialogue in ecosystem management at Kings Bay,

particularly in relation to nonnative plant species. Public comments from KBWG members to the

formal presentation given at the meeting on November 10, 2005 were recorded by field notes,

and discussed in more detail on an individual basis through follow up e-mail communications.

An additional round of public comments about issues related to water hyacinth phytoremediation

in Kings Bay was solicited from all KBWG members through an e-mail communication sent on

April 28, 2006. The solicitation of comments in April 2006 was associated with publication of a

front page article and accompanying editorial about my research in the Citrus County Chronicle

(Hunter 2006a, 2006b), the maj or local newspaper for Crystal River and surrounding areas of









Citrus County. The genesis of the Chronicle stories apparently came when I sent draft copies of

my findings in Kings Bay/Crystal River to several stakeholders whose interview accounts were

relied upon heavily in the construction of the ecological change narrative contained in Chapter 4.

The explicit purpose for sending the draft to stakeholders was to ensure that the narrative

representations were an accurate reflection of the information they had provided, but an

unintended consequence of this "confirmation" exercise was that the draft text was "leaked" to

the Chronicle. I agreed to do an interview when contacted by the newspaper for further comment

on my work. Although the newspaper stories were unplanned and, arguably, premature in terms

of disseminating dissertation research Eindings among the wider public, nine public e-mail

responses about water hyacinth phytoremediation among government agencies were recorded as

a direct result of this process. These responses were catalogued, and excerpts are reported

anonymously in Chapter 4. The specific results of the participatory methods described in this

section are embedded within and qualitatively discussed in each respective case study.

Problematizing Participation

A number of questions have been raised by critics, and even some practitioners, about the

obj activity and efficacy of participatory research methods. Perhaps the most fundamental charge

is that the up front commitment to utilize "value-laden" information gained through participatory

methods within the policy context can lead the researcher into a slippery slope of activism,

which, it is charged, inherently prevents the acquisition and transmission of reliable knowledge.

There are, however, two answers to this. First, some philosophers have noted that the prima facie

case against openly value-laden, and even activist, research can be dismantled through the

assertion of a straightforward distinction between "obj activity" and "neutrality" (Proctor 1991).

Through this distinction, obj activity is defined as the open search for reliable knowledge about

the world, while neutrality is defined as taking no normative position about a given condition of









the world. Thus, while the research and results of a participatory research proj ect may not be

neutral in the sense that specific positions are advanced through the inherently value-laden

discourse of ecosystem management, obj activity can still be maintained so long as any given

position is based upon interpretive reasoning that utilizes a transparent set of facts and defined

values (VanDeVeer and Pierce 2003).

A second line of defense is to question the very idea of any firm distinction between facts

and values in the conduct of the scientific enterprise (Norton 2005), particularly as characterized

within the politicized and uncertain context of complex environmental issues. For example,

Fischer (2000, 101) found that one of the "most important determinants" for characterizing the

different positions of scientists giving expert advice in the midst of complex environmental

issues are the moral commitments and institutional interests of the scientists. Such a relationship

appears to provide compelling empirical evidence of the interdependent, if unconscious,

relationship between facts and values in the production of scientific knowledge (Hays 1987).

When viewed in this way, it can be argued that participatory methods differ from traditional

expert discourse on environmental issues only because they consciously and, thereby, more

obj ectively bring this interdependence into the forefront of the research concern.

More problematic, however, are questions about the ultimate efficacy and/or usefulness of

participatory approaches in achieving the stated aim of producing meaningful and beneficial

socio-ecological changes. A number of researchers recently have utilized the rubric of

participation to generate models of inclusion and collaboration within the policy-making context,

and to identify the effects of these variables on the development of ecosystem management

plans. The results and conclusions of such studies are mixed, at best. For example, Brody (2003,

412) found that a wider breadth of participation in the development of local Comprehensive









Plans in Florida was not at all correlated with an increase in the protectiveness of ecosystems,

likely because the din of competing interests leads to a logic characterized by the "lowest

common denominator." Although Kellert et al. (2000, 709) did Eind success in meeting socio-

economic objectives through participatory approaches in both Alaska and Kenya, "conservation

and biodiversity protection goals" were significantly more difficult to achieve. The work by

Duram and Brown (1999) is more ambiguous in that participatory watershed planning across the

United States is not found to result in any significant improvement in environmental or social

conditions over other types of planning, although facilitators of watershed planning initiatives

generally believe that better participation does result in the production of better watershed plans.

However, Suman et al. (2000) concluded that the failure of the National Oceanographic and

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to foster public participation in the establishment of the

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary clearly had a negative effect on ecosystem

management, largely because the backlash of stakeholders angered at being excluded from the

management process eventually led to the weakening of regulations critically important for the

sustainable management of Esheries.

What these studies demonstrate is that while public participation may be increasingly

recognized as a necessary political component of successful ecosystem management programs

(Lovell et al. 2003), it is erroneous to assume that even the best implemented strategies of

participation and the emerging consensus resulting from participation will be sufficient to

achieve successful ecosystem management (Wescoat and White 2003). For example, there is the

possibility of consensual management plans emerging that are not consistent with long-term

protection and/or restoration of environmental resources simply because the respective users

and/or managers of the resource determine that other political or economic values are more










important than environmental conservation. Alternatively, consensual plans for managing

environmental resources may fail because the participatory consensus and eventual plan

implementation are based upon fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of the targeted

ecological system.

As Fischer (2000, 33) writes, the recognition of such limitations within participatory

approaches is often used in support of the traditional argument that experts alone have "the

knowledge and skills needed to render the competent decisions required for effective social

guidance" in solving environmental problems. In this view, wider participation, as suggested by

Brody's (2003) work, offers little more than simplistic, self-serving information of little use for

tackling inherently complex issues over which the general public has little, if any, technical

competence .

But several interrelated answers can be given to this challenge. First, as suggested above,

there is the empirical evidence that expert discourses and scientific experts are not immune from

getting locked into simplistic, myopic, and even self-serving lines of reasoning, particularly

when deliberations and decisions about complex ecological issues are made in an insulated, non-

transparent, and/or mechanical fashion. Following from this is an argument based upon

democratic theory, which, as summarized by Grudens-Schuck (2000, 82), suggests that

participation goes beyond the goal of "producing smarter outcomes" and, instead, finds its

ultimate justification in an ethic of democratically respecting "people's accounts of the world" in

the process of open argumentation. A final epistemological justification for participatory

research is that, ideally, it helps to facilitate convergence between local expertise and scientific

expertise, thereby producing emergent forms of socio-ecological understanding that would not









have been achieved through strict reliance on traditional scientific methods (Fischer 2000;

Norton 2005).

Confronting Wicked Problems

The term "wicked problem" is often used to describe those problems that defy solution,

and often times become measurably worse, through traditional problem-solving tools,

particularly those locked within a narrow disciplinary perspective. Wicked problems are often

contrasted with what are called "benign problems." While benign problems can be exceptionally

complex, such as completion of a higher-level mathematical proof or construction of a

skyscraper, experience shows that these problems, as defined, can be reliably solved through a

given technical method. Environmental problems often are given as archetypal examples of

wicked problems, generally because most environmental issues are associated with, and cross,

many different boundaries of natural science, economics, politics, and human values. This

inherent interdisciplinarity has the effect of preventing resolution of many environmental

problems through prescribed technical approaches. Indeed, many environmental issues even defy

any sort of consensual statement about what the problem actually is due to incomplete

information, multiple analytic variables, and changeable, conflicting values. A key virtue of an

interdisciplinary, participatory approach is the explicit focus on both diagnosing those wicked

problems that may lie at the heart of a given environmental problem, and on utilizing the

dialectic between local knowledge and expert knowledge to develop novel lines of analysis that

can be used as the basis for experimentally confronting some aspects of the wicked problem

(Norton 2005).

Participatory methods in this dissertation are utilized in this dialectic spirit, in the sense

that local knowledge gained through attendance of public meetings, stakeholder interviews, and

direct observation of natural systems is not uncritically valorized as a panacea for solving the









wicked problems of ecosystem management in the two case studies. Rather, local knowledge

obtained through participatory methods is combined with expert knowledge obtained through a

review of scientific literature and application of systems ecology principles, resulting in the

construction of alternative ecological hypotheses and management scenarios relevant for both

further exploring and, ideally, experimentally confronting the wicked problems of ecological

change in springs ecosystems.

Systems Ecology

Environmental science and management can be loosely characterized by two streams of

thought and inquiry. The first stream is a reductionist "science of parts" in which "a narrow

enough focus is chosen to pose hypotheses, collect data, and design critical tests for the rej section

of invalid hypotheses." The other is an interdisciplinary "science of the integration of parts" that

"combines historical, comparative, and experimental approaches at scales appropriate to the

issues" (Holling 1995, 12-13). This second stream of thought is commonly referred to as the

science of systems.

Odum (1994, 4) defines a system as "a group of parts that are interacting according to

some kind of process," with "new properties 'emerging' from the interactive combination of

parts." A basic premise behind systems ecology is that the properties that "emerge" from the

interactions of constituent parts in any given ecological system are more functionally and

structurally complex than the simple sum of the parts. Systems ecology typically utilizes the

findings of reductionist science to build models that simulate linkages and identify emergent

properties, ultimately attempting to reveal causal processes that underlie "the complexity of time

and space behavior of complex systems" (Holling 1995, 13). Computer simulations that track

material and energy flows implied by modeled relationships are a key tool utilized by systems

ecologists for better understanding the behavior of ecosystems. More broadly, the use of systems









thinking can be used to help to facilitate the identification of knowledge gaps, development of

new hypotheses, and institution of integrated evaluative methods for better understanding the

effects of human actions on the structure and function of environmental systems. By extension,

the iterative models and theories of systems ecology provide an important tool by which logical

and interpretive reasoning about the interplay between moral values, management choices, and

ecological conditions can be deepened (Lovell et al. 2003).

Analytic Scales

Scales are defined the spatial and temporal dimensions associated with ecological and

social processes. Systems ecologists consider different scales to have characteristic orders of

analytic magnitude in both spatial extent and turnover time, or the time it takes for the system to

replace itself (Lovell et al. 2003). A basic premise behind systems ecology is that phenomena of

the world operate within and among a diverse range of analytic scales, and that robust models

should therefore "include all scales pertinent to the phenomena of interest" (Odum and Odum

2000, 14). The iterative process of relating the "transcending concepts that link processes and

actors at different levels in time and space" is often referred to as "scaling" (Lovell et al. 2003,

111).

One of the biggest challenges in the management of ecosystems is the common tendency

of researchers and management agencies to become "stuck" within one scale of analysis (Holling

1995). As Odum and Odum write,

There is a tendency, through long habit and the desire to simplify, to concentrate on
models of one scale. No scale is more basic than another, but people concentrating their
work think of their scale as special. However, limiting the scale of view limits
understanding, because every scale is part of the scale above and composed of the smaller
scaled items below. We cannot understand one scale without studying its relation to that
above and below (2000, 14).









An implication of scalar logic is that the results of a study that focuses on one scale in a

particular socio-ecological system will tend to be radically different from another study of that

same system that focuses on a different scale of analysis, meaning that choices about what

variables and scales are monitored ultimately have profound effects about the ways in which

knowledge about an ecosystem is both produced and interpreted (Norton 2005). With these

scaling issues in mind, participatory research with stakeholders emerges as having critical

linkages with system ecology in that it provides a means of both gathering information that

transcends scales of analysis normatively established through the oftentimes insular paradigms of

management institutions, and focusing new analyses onto those scales in which there is broader

social consensus that a problem exists (Gunderson 1999; Fischer 2000; Norton 2003).

Multi-scalar Narratives

Utilization of a narrative style is often used as a mechanism for integrating and analyzing

information collected across multiple scales of analysis (Berardi 2002; Sneddon et al. 2002;

Allen et al. 2003; Norton 2003). The stylistic approach adopted for both case studies in this

dissertation is deemed as "multi-scalar narrative." Multi-scalar is a term that denotes that the

research traverses a variety of different temporal, spatial, and ontological scales of analysis,

while the narrative form describes the packaging of the various scalar analyses into a unified

socio-ecological "story" interwoven with different empirical, theoretical, and moral

interpretations.

Most generally, narratives are the means by which humans communicate throughout the

bounded limits of language, perception, and imagination. Narratives have been said to comprise

"the quintessential form of customary knowledge" (Lyotard 1984, 19), "the banisters of ethical

life" (Thiele 1999, 9), and the fabric by which behavior, communication, and intellectual inquiry

are framed within shared discursive communities (Roling and Maarleveld 1999). All metaphors,










myths, fictional stories, historical accounts, scientific theories, institutional worldviews, and

philosophical axioms are thus narratives in the sense that all of these communicate a particular

story and/or account about some aspect of the world (Roling and Maarleveld 1999). Thus, Allen

et al. (2003, 232) suggest that narratives about complex environmental problems provide "a

serial arrangement for events that are very differently scaled" in ways that are consonant with

both "the human experience and the way humans remember and reflect on their experience."

From a systems perspective, narratives might be characterized as both an emergent property of

language and an organizing principle for epistemological, moral, economic, and political

constructs within human societies.

Less abstractly, systems ecology principles can provide the framework by which diverse

forms of data from "hard data," such as water quality, to "soft data" such as experiential

anecdotes can be integrated into iterative models, which then form the basis of testable

hypotheses about ecological behavior. In both case studies of this dissertation, a review of

scientific literature, communication with local and scientific experts, water quality data, and

personal observations are used to provide the foundation for the creation of aggregated

ecological systems diagrams (Odum 1994; Odum and Odum 2000), GIS maps, and rich textual

descriptions that generally characterize the hydrogeology and ecosystem structure. In addition,

management and ecological histories of the systems are constructed through a review of the

natural systems literature, policy literature, and interviews with public officials and long-time

local users of the systems. At both Ichetucknee and Kings Bay it was found that the ecological

dynamic currently commanding most social concern is an apparent shift in stability domain

towards increased dominance by filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Therefore, the multi-

scalar narratives ultimately are organized around a description of various socio-ecological factors









thought to be driving the shift in stability domain, along with a presentation of the various

ecological, societal, and institutional pressures that currently constrain and/or prevent an

effective response to the emergent ecological conditions.

Adaptive Management

The term adaptive management is commonly used to describe the development of systems

approaches for the management of natural resources. The ideas behind adaptive management

were initially developed as a means of better managing forests and fisheries through the use of

systems ecology models and monitoring regimes that could be used to facilitate iterative

management and policy adjustments (Holling 1978), but have been greatly expanded in scope

and applied over a wide variety of ecological, social, and institutional settings (Wescoat and

White 2003).

The inherent uncertainty characterizing humans' ability to understand and predict the

behavior of natural resource systems is a key component of adaptive management. From this

recognition emerges the following six principles that underlie adaptive management: 1) natural

resources always change due to both human management actions and the inherent stochasticity

of nature; 2) some of these changes will be quite surprising; 3) new management uncertainties

are bound to emerge from these surprises; 4) all management policies should be treated as

experiments from which new observations, hypotheses, and knowledge about the managed

resource can be developed; 5) management policies should be continuously modified to reflect

newly understood realities within the managed resource; and 6) local citizens should be

intimately involved as partners in building basic knowledge and future goals for better managing

the resource, not just informed passively about agency actions through public information

programs (Holling 1995; Berkes and Folke 1998; Kiker et al. 2001; Norton 2005). The creation

of new ecological, social, and institutional understandings through the application of these










principles is often called "adaptive learning," while the socio-scientific feedbacks between

adaptive learning and the development of new management plans to reflect the new

understandings are often referred to as the "adaptive cycle" (Gunderson et al. 1995).

Proponents of adaptive management have found that failure to manage natural resources

with the recognition of inherent uncertainty in ecological systems and to adjust to this

uncertainty through adaptive learning may often be directly responsible for the destruction of the

very resource that managers are attempting to conserve and control. Situations in which static

institutional paradigms and assumptions within the applied management of a targeted natural

resource lead directly to the collapse of that same system have been termed "management

pathologies." Holling's (1995) work suggests that management pathologies often result when

management institutions achieve initial success in controlling a single target variable within an

ecosystem. This initial success then generally results in a subsequent focus on increasing the

operational efficiency of management operations, while efforts to monitor the ecosystem for

other changes are lessened or even discontinued over time. The result of such narrow

management, Holling (1995) argues, is often an unnoticed homogenization of critical

components within the ecosystem, which consequently results in decreasing resilience within the

ecological community. This decrease in resilience is suggested to then make the ecosystem much

more likely to be unexpectedly "flipped" into a state of persistent degradation by the kinds of

disturbances that could have been previously absorbed.

A maj or analytic goal of this dissertation was to identify and describe different types of

management pathologies that may exist within the two case studies. Ecological hypotheses

relevant to ecosystem management were developed integrating available scientific data,

stakeholder and personal observations, and scientific literature. While it is believed that these









models do represent important ecological relationships, it was not intended or proposed that

these ecological hypotheses would be tested using experimental, statistical, or other formal

means for this dissertation research. Such testing involved time scales and resources that were

beyond the scope of this proj ect. Instead, the process of hypothesis development in this proj ect

was viewed as a participatory contribution to the adaptive cycle (e.g., Woodhill and Roling

1998), with formal management experimentation contingent upon the interest, collaboration, and

resources of relevant stakeholder groups and/or regulatory agencies.

As Holling (1995, 13) argues, in an adaptive management framework there is considerably

"more concern that a useful hypothesis might be rej ected than that a false one might be

accepted." Thus, how ecosystems managers respond to hypotheses about ecological behavior

suggested by stakeholders becomes a variable of considerable interest when evaluating the social

capacity of adaptive learning, particularly when such hypotheses directly challenge the

assumptions of entrenched institutional and research paradigms (Douthwaite et al. 2003).

Habermas' s (1995, 44) influential principle of "communicative rationality" suggests that a

precursor to the emergence of morally and rationally legitimate solutions to difficult problems

involving a multitude of different interests is the presence of an "ideal speech situation" in which

all rational stakeholders are able to participate in deliberations that "result in agreement through

argumentation on practical questions" (see also Roling and Maarleveld 1999). Using Habermas's

(1995) criterion, the rej section of any well-reasoned hypothesis by managers would be socially

legitimate so long as it was based upon procedures of open and rational debate, but would be

illegitimate if based upon communicative restrictions or other modes of coercion that prevent

stakeholders from reaching a truly informed consensus. Under Holling' s (1995) stronger










adaptive management criteria, legitimate rej section would be contingent upon scientific studies

that clearly disprove a reasonable hypothesis.

Norton (2005), through the development of what he calls methodological naturalism, offers

a very detailed explication and philosophical defense of the position that the process of

hypothesis development in an adaptive management framework goes beyond natural science, and

enters into social processes of argumentation. This implies an "ongoing search for coalitions and

consensuses by studying actual citizens and stakeholder groups that participate in actual

processes in actual situations," with adaptive management emerging out of those deliberative

processes that regard no a priori principles, whether scientific or normative, as unchallengeable

(Norton 2005, 206). Experiences, values, data, and arguments can all be freely entered into the

wider discursive community, and, crucially, it is within those areas in which fundamental

disagreements are found between the interpretations of participants that scientific

experimentation is squarely aimed.

Through this process of shifting towards "an active experimental science of management"

policies become justified or discarded through the validation of shared experience, rather than

through arguments "about the correctness of general theories of value" (Norton, 208). As facts

emerge, Norton (2005, 210) continues, assumptions once comfortably held often are discarded as

"new and disturbing questions" are raised about the overall implications of these assumptions.

Using the criteria of Norton (2005) and Holling (1995), it can thus be deduced that management

pathologies may often emerge from an ecosystem management context in which a priori

principles stultify the discussion and, ultimately, testing of useful hypotheses put forth by

members of a discursive community engaged in a collaborative conservation process. This

principle of discourse provides the foundation for which participatory methods and systems









ecology can be used to make judgments about principles such as flexibility, open evaluation,

experimentation, and learning characteristic of an adaptive management process.









CHAPTER 3
ICHETUCKNEE RIVER

Site Description

Located near the town of Ft. White and forming the southernmost border between

Columbia and Suwannee counties, the Ichetucknee River is an approximately five mile long

spring-fed stream that discharges into the Santa Fe River with an average daily flow of 233 mgd.

The upper three miles and all eight maj or spring groups of the river are located within the

boundaries of Ichetucknee Springs State Park (ISSP), a designated National Natural Landmark

commonly described as one of the Florida State Park Service' s "crown j ewels" due to its

outstanding natural beauty. ISSP is a highly popular recreational area that annually attracts about

150,000 visitors, almost all of whom engage in river-based activities such as tubing, canoeing,

snorkeling, and diving. These visitors are thought to generate approximately $2 million in annual

economic activity in the rural area surrounding the park (Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality

Working Group 2000).

Ecologists, biologists, and other naturalists have long noted that the Ichetucknee River,

similar to other spring-fed rivers in Florida, supports a highly productive, diverse, and unique

aquatic ecosystem. The river's clear water historically has provided ideal conditions for a rich

submersed aquatic plant community composed of tape grass (Vallisneria amnericana), eel grass

(Sagittaria kurziana), water primrose (Luakuigia repens), two-leaf water milfoil (M~yriophylhtna

heterophyllunt), musk grass (Chara spp.), and several other less common species. A large variety

of aquatic invertebrates, fish, turtles, birds, and mammals are also found in the Ichetucknee

River, including rare, threatened, and endangered species such as wood storks (M~ycteria

amnericana), limpkins (Ara~nus guarauna), American beavers (Castor canadensis), Suwannee

sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi), and West Indian manatees (Trichecus nzanatus). In









addition, the Ichetucknee River ecosystem contains at least one endemic species, the Ichetucknee

silt snail (Cincinnatia mica), which has a range that is entirely restricted to the small Coffee

Springs group.

In recent years, the ecological condition of the Ichetucknee River has been characterized

by increased growth of filamentous green and blue green algae (e.g., Vaucheria sp. Sprirogyra

sp., Oscillatoria sp., Lyngbya sp.) (Stevenson et al. 2004). The observed expansion of algal

biomass is widely regarded by ecosystem managers, scientists, and local citizens as having

negative impacts on the river's ecological communities and recreational appeal. Some of the

more commonly cited effects include smothering and even complete displacement of submersed

aquatic plants by algae, significant declines of aquatic fauna such as spring run crayfish

(Procamnbarus sp.) and loggerhead musk turtles (.Sillinotheins/ minor) (Ritchie 2006), and a

general loss of aesthetic beauty associated with the "slimy" appearance of the algal growth.

Highly publicized suggestions that contact with algae may be the cause of skin rashes and other

allergic reactions developed by swimmers at ISSP in the past several years have further

heightened the level of concern (Bruno 2004; Pittman 2006). It is widely suspected that

increased concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-) in discharged spring water are the primary

cause of the ecological changes observed in the Ichetucknee River (Ringle 1999; Bruno 2004), as

well as many other springs ecosystems throughout Florida (Jones et al. 1996; Florida Springs

Task Force 2000).

In this chapter, a social history and ecological narrative of the Ichetucknee River is

developed using published historical and scientific literature, scientific monitoring data, and

information gathered from communications with local citizens and agency officials. While

acknowledging that anthropogenic contamination of groundwater is a fundamental driving force









behind recent ecological changes documented in the river, it is argued that scientific studies

indicate that conservation strategies based solely upon reduction of nitrate-nitrogen are unlikely

to significantly reduce algae growth in the river in the foreseeable. Field note observations and a

review of scientific literature are then utilized to develop a systems model suggesting that

management activities associated with eradication of water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) may have

exacerbated the recent shift towards algae dominance and loss of aquatic fauna in the ecosystem.

Discussions with citizen stakeholders, agency officials, and non-agency scientists in formal

interviews and public communications are then used as a means of exploring ways in which

normative and scientific disagreements associated with aquatic plant control are handled within

the ecosystem management context. Based upon these discussions, it is argued that institutional

rigidities associated with a priori attribution of harm to targeted plant species currently prevent

the types of scientific evaluation and open public discussion of ecosystem management

experiments that are necessary for adaptive learning. A holistic program of ecosystem response

monitoring, pilot experiments to test the effects of "reintroducing" contained water lettuce mats

into some areas of the river currently characterized by algal overgrowth, and periodic

communication and reevaluation of aquatic plant management techniques in public forums are

suggested as ways of introducing principles of adaptive learning into the management of water

lettuce in the Ichetucknee River.

Socio-Ecological Background

Pre-History

The Ichetucknee River has a rich archaeological and historical heritage dating back over

12,000 years, when the first humans arrived and settled in Florida. Early human tools made of

elephant ivory and high concentrations of bones from a large variety of Pleistocene animals have

been found in the Ichetucknee, providing some of the most important archaeological and









paleontological evidence that arriving humans likely played a determinate role in the extirpation

of North American mega-fauna (Milanich 1998). Despite the presumably quite severe socio-

ecological disruptions caused by the extinction of these animals, the archaeological record

suggests that the Ichetucknee River area was occupied and utilized by human cultures on an

almost continuous basis throughout the subsequent millennia.

Spanish Invasion (1539 1708)

An account by Milanich and Hudson (1993) indicates that Spanish conquistador Hernando

de Soto encountered Aguacaleyquen, a large village of indigenous Timucuan people with

bountiful agricultural resources, located near the Ichetucknee River in 1539. It is well-known and

documented that the Spanish invasion and subsequent settlement of Florida over the next several

decades had catastrophic effects on the Timucuan people, including those of Aguacaleygquen. In

1608, a Franciscan mission, San Martin, was founded at a site near Ichetucknee's Mission

Springs for the purpose of "Christianizing" the area' s surviving Timucuan people (Milanich

1998). The San Martin site is believed to have been abandoned or destroyed between the years of

1660 1675 due to rebellions by remaining Timucuan people (Worth 1992). Another mission,

called Santa Catalina, was built north of the San Martin site in approximately 1675, but was

destroyed by a confederation of Yamassee Indians and English colonial forces in 1685 (Milanich

and Hudson 1993). By the early 18th century, the Timucuan culture in Florida had effectively

vanished due to rampant warfare and disease (Milanich 1998).

Seminole Period (1708 1845)

Soon after the disappearance of the Timucua, Creek tribes began to permanently migrate

into Florida and came to be collectively referred to as the Seminoles (Milanich 1998). While

little is known about Seminole utilization of the Ichetucknee area, it is believed that the word

"Ichetucknee" was derived from a series of Creek words that loosely translate to "beaver pond"









(Simpson 1956). The American army outpost of Ft. White (located on the banks of the Santa Fe

River and several miles to the west of the present town of Ft. White) was established in 183 8

during the initial phases of the second Seminole War (Keuchel 1981). Written records from the

second Seminole War period provide the earliest documentation of the term "Ichetucknee River"

being used (Simpson 1956).

American Settlement and Development (1845 1940)

Florida became a state in 1845, soon after the conclusion of the second Seminole War.

Although little is known about the settlement of the Ichetucknee area from statehood through the

American Civil War period, several letters written by Ambrose Hart, an American settler who

lived on a plantation near the Ichetucknee, do provide valuable insight into years immediately

after the Civil War. Hart describes drying figs, eating fresh peaches at the plantation, and hunting

plentiful game in the rich "hummock" lands surrounding the Ichetucknee River (Herring 1994).

The river and its springs are described by Hart as being "clear as crystal" (Herring 1994; 39).

More intensive land use activities began to occur in the Ichetucknee area around 1890,

with phosphate mining and intensive logging of virgin timber along the river and in surrounding

uplands (Behnke 2003). The Dutton Phosphate Company acquired land surrounding the

Ichetucknee River around 1900, and used convict labor to hand extract phosphate rocks from

several small mines in the area from 1900 to 1920 (Herring 1994). The bases of cut cypress and

several depression features from abandoned phosphate mines in areas along and near the river

are obvious artifacts of this logging and mining era. In 1920, Loncala Phosphate Company

purchased from Dutton the 2,241 acres that later became ISSP (Behnke 2003). Mining activities

ceased soon after the Loncala purchase, largely due to the discovery of more highly concentrated

and extensive phosphate deposits in central Florida's Bone Valley district (Herring 1994).










Early Socio-Ecological Accounts (1940 1960)

Perhaps the first detailed descriptions of the Ichetucknee River from an ecological

perspective come from the famed Florida-based naturalist, Archie Carr. Carr first visited the

Ichetucknee in the 1940s, in a time that he describes as "before tubing; before the Crackers

starting storming up the spring runs in boats with ten-horse Johnsons; before Cousteau perfected

his first scuba regulator a time so far back that the face mask which I saw the things I told of

was only a circle of window pane in a headpiece cut from an inner tube" (1994, 60-61). Over

several pages in the book A Naturalist in Florida: A Celebration ofEden, Carr gives vivid,

literary descriptions of biota he observed in the Ichetucknee using this crude diving mask. A

colorful underwater landscape formed by aquatic plants such as elodea (Philotria densa), musk

grass (called stonewort by Carr), and eel grass is described, as are unusual fish such as the

endemic Suwannee bass (M~icropterus notius), hogchoker (Trinectes maculata), and a freshwater

pipefish (Syngna~thllinuel sp.) (Carr 1994). It is also reported that Carr enjoyed catching crayfish in

the Ichetucknee throughout the 1940s, and later described the crayfish population as sometimes

being from "wall to wall in the springs" (Ichetucknee Springs Basin Working Group 2006).

Similar to Archie Carr' s accounts are a series of "old-timer" remembrances of the

Ichetucknee River given by Behnke (2003). Crystal clear water, lush vegetation, bountiful fish,

incredibly large concentrations of crayfish, and a wide variety of ducks, reptiles, and amphibians

are all recalled in years spanning from 1925 to 1960. The river was also described as a center for

cultural activities such as baptisms, recreation, and family gatherings (Behnke 2003). Less

wholesome stories such as cars being driven into the river, common use of dynamite to catch

fish, and bulldozing of sediments and other land clearing debris directly into the river are also

recalled (Behnke 2003).









Mass Recreation (1960 1980)

In about 1960, the Ichetucknee was "discovered" by students from the University of

Florida located approximately 40 miles away in Gainesville (Behnke 2003). The river

reportedly was used by a large number of students as a weekend partying retreat throughout the

1960s, and, over time, these unrestricted recreational activities came to be associated with large

amounts of accumulated litter, rampant vandalism, and public drunkenness. There are also

consistent reports that some local people and/or Loncala officials, upset by the impact of the

student crowds, attempted to stop the flow of the river by loading large amounts of cement and

other debris into the Ichetucknee Head Spring area throughout the 1960s (Behnke 2003).

Although the spring was not stopped entirely, the accumulated debris did change the appearance

of the Head Spring area and may have significantly restricted discharge. In recent years, much of

this debris from the Head Spring has been removed through sustained volunteer clean up efforts

sponsored by ISSP.

In 1970, Loncala sold its 2,241 acre tract of land surrounding the upper three miles of the

Ichetucknee River to the State of Florida, which then developed and opened today's ISSP.

Although the advent of state management in the early 1970s quickly curtailed the party

atmosphere and led to the clean up of most accumulated litter, it soon became apparent to

managers and scientists that the throngs of visitors who came to tube and swim in the new park

were severely impacting the river' s aquatic plant community.

DuToit (1979) utilized detailed monitoring and experimental work to quantify the severe

impact of existing recreational activities on aquatic vegetation and faunal communities. This

study represents the first extensive ecological study available on the river, and is important for

several reasons. First, detailed accounts of submersed macrophyte coverage are given for 1977-

1978, with explicit measures for cover and standing crop bio-mass given. Second, a faunal









survey including mollusks, arthropods, and fish was also taken. Although the faunal surveys are

less detailed than the floral studies, they do correlate faunal decline with floral decline related to

recreational overuse. This ecological methodology was then used to determine a recreational

"carrying capacity" approach for both minimizing damage and allowing adequate time for

aquatic plants to recover.

Ecological Recovery (1980 1990)

ISSP quickly followed DuToit' s (1979) recommendations by establishing daily and

seasonal carrying capacities along various sections of the river in the early 1980s. The most

restrictive carrying capacity of 750 daily swimmers and tubers in summer months (between

Memorial Day and Labor Day) and a closed season for the remainder of the year is established

from a launch area immediately down river of the Head Spring to the Mid-Point dock, located

just past Mill Pond Spring. A less restrictive carrying capacity of 3,000 per day and no closed

season is established for the river reach from the Mid-Point dock to another dock referred to as

Dampier' s Landing. No limits are enforced for the river below Dampier' s Landing.

Several individuals interviewed for this dissertation report that the aquatic plant

community quickly recovered after the institution of the recreational carrying capacity -

observations that are supported by bi-annual scientific monitoring studies conducted by ISSP

(Hand 2006) and other accounts (Taylor 2002). Attracted by the river' s natural beauty, many

local artists and hobby naturalists began to visit the Ichetucknee River ecosystem in the early to

mid 1980s, and a popular lore referring to the Ichetucknee as "the most pristine river" in Florida

took hold as images of the river were produced and widely distributed. Time series photographs

of the eel grass community in Devil's Eye Spring run during the 1980s and early 1990s (Figure

3-2A, 3-2B, and 3-2C), provided by Melrose artist Johnny Dame, give an interesting

documentary reference of ecological conditions during this time. According to Dame, and as









indicated in the pictures, the aquatic plant community at Devil's Eye was characterized by dense

growth of submersed eel grass and a changeable fringe of water lettuce interspersed with other

emergent vegetation along the banks of the spring run throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Water Quality Concerns and Springshed Research

Beginning in the early 1990s, indications of ecological change apparently unrelated to

recreational impacts, such as increased coating of submersed plants by large strands of

filamentous algae, were detected by scientists, managers, and other concerned citizens. State

officials indicate that algal accumulations were first noticed within the Mission Springs run and

nearby areas (Ringle 1999). In 1995, mounting concern associated with the algal growth and

suspicion that declining water quality discharged from the springs was responsible for the

observed ecological changes led to the formation of the Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality

Working Group (Working Group), which has spearheaded most conservation and research

efforts in the river and its springshed since that time.

The Working Group is a stakeholder discussion group composed of representatives from

environmental groups, agriculture and business interests, all government agencies with

jurisdiction in the Ichetucknee springshed, elected officials, and other interested citizens. The

stated purposes of the Working Group are essentially five-fold: 1) consolidate all research about

the river and springshed developed by different agencies and scientists; 2) identify gaps in

existing data and knowledge; 3) facilitate and coordinate studies for gathering new knowledge;

4) effectively communicate all gathered knowledge to local policy-makers and other

stakeholders; and 5) foster a sense of community stewardship that encourages citizens,

businesses, and governments to voluntarily adopt land use practices that better protect

groundwater resources. Facilitation and formal meetings of the Working Group are funded

through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), while the research,









monitoring, and outreach activities presented to the Working Group are supported through DEP

and a wide variety of other government agency, non-profit, and private sources.

Significant improvements in the understanding of the Ichetucknee springshed' s hydrology

have been made through research proj ects promoted through the Working Group process. Cave

diving and dye trace studies in sinkholes south of Lake City that serve as the primary outfall for

three creeks Rose Creek, Clay Hole Creek, and Cannon Creek have convincingly shown that

these sinkholes are hydrologically connected to the Ichetucknee River' s maj or springs through

large conduit systems, sometimes described as "underground rivers," in the limestone of the

upper Floridan aquifer (Butt and Murphy 2003). An important implication of these studies is that

the "creek to sink" systems, all of which are plagued by stormwater contamination from urban

and agricultural sources in the Lake City area, directly affect the water quality of both the

Ichetucknee River and domestic drinking wells. A recent state land purchase and retrofit

construction of a stormwater retention pond at Rose Creek sink near Columbia City were

expressly undertaken for the purpose of better protecting the groundwater sources leading into

the Ichetucknee River.

The Working Group has also attracted much public attention to elevated levels of

groundwater nitrate-nitrogen (Ringle 1999; Ritchie 2006), which is widely cited as the primary

suspected cause of increased algae growth and other ecological changes observed in the

Ichetucknee River and other Florida springs (Jones et al. 1996; Florida Springs Task Force

2000). Recent nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in the Ichetucknee River average between 0.5 1.0

mg/L, or approximately 10 20 times over the estimated historic "background" concentrations

of 0.05 0. 1 mg/L (Florida Springs Task Force 2000). Porous overlying soils, lack of clay

confining layers, and large number of sinkholes with direct groundwater connections together









make the upper Floridan aquifer in the Ichetucknee springshed extremely vulnerable to nitrate-

nitrogen contamination (Katz et al. 1999).

Maj or identified sources of nitrate-nitrogen contamination are as follows: fertilizers

applied in agricultural fields and domestic landscapes, disposal of animal and human wastewater

effluents in spray fields and septic tank drain fields, emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and

land-clearing/deforestation that decreases the amount of soluble nitrogen absorbed by plants and

other organisms in surface soil layers (Jones et al. 1996). Efforts to reduce nitrate-nitrogen

loading into the Ichetucknee springshed include pursuit of funds to finance sewage treatment and

process upgrades for Lake City's municipal sewage treatment facility; expansion of sewage

service to areas currently served by septic tank systems; encouragement of stricter septic tank

performance and maintenance standards for homes and businesses located outside of the

municipal service area; and outreach to promote voluntary reductions in fertilizer usage by

homeowners, farmers, and landscaping professionals.

Uncertain Science: Nitrate-Nitrogen and Algae Response in Springs Ecosystems

Despite the attention given to water quality improvement at the Ichetucknee River since

the early 1990s, media reports (Bruno 2004; Ritchie 2006) and scientific data (Hand 2007)

indicate that the problem of nuisance algal growth continues to spread at an increasing rate

throughout the ecosystem. A consistent message given in media reports, suggested by many

members of the Working Group, and reported by most individuals interviewed for this research

is that "rising nitrate-nitrogen" is primarily to blame for these changes. Accompanying this

characterization is an apparent assumption that decreased concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen in

the river would be expected to reduce growth of nuisance algae, thereby leading to the recovery

of desirable submersed plants and aquatic fauna.









These cause-effect characterizations about nitrate-nitrogen contamination and algal growth

are a fundamental driving factor in environmental policy discussions focused heavily on

reducing nitrate-nitrogen loading into springsheds for the purpose of protecting springs

ecosystems (DCA and DEP 2002). While reduction of nitrate-nitrogen loading or any other

human contaminant into groundwater may be inherently worthwhile from the perspective of

improving water quality, an obj ective look at recent data trends and scientific studies for

Ichetucknee and other Florida springs ecosystems suggests two interrelated points: 1) nitrate-

nitrogen may not offer a sufficient explanation for ongoing increases of nuisance algae growth;

and 2) reductions of this nutrient may not necessarily result in a corresponding reduction of

nuisance algae.

A review of water quality data in the Ichetucknee River obtained from the DEP (Hand

2006) helps to introduce these points. While long-term data (Figure 3-4) do clearly show that a

dramatic upward trend in the river's nitrate-nitrogen concentrations historically occurred from

mid 1960s through the mid 1980s, the data in Figure 3-5 suggest that ambient nitrate-nitrogen

concentrations in the river have only slightly increased since the mid 1980s, a time in which

there was little concern about water quality or ecological changes in the river. Furthermore, the

excerpted data shown in Figure 3-6 actually indicate a steady downward trend in nitrate-nitrogen

during the period from 2000 2006, while a t-test comparison between the data from 2000-2006

indicate no significant difference in nitrate-nitrogen levels over this period as compared to levels

measured from 1985-1998 (Table 3-1). If algal growth and biomass accumulation were to have a

simple linear relationship to nitrate-nitrogen concentrations, it seems to follow, based upon

available data, that algal growth and biomass accumulation would have either decreased or









remained stable since 2000. However, available data indicate that the biomass and coverage of

undesirable algae have greatly expanded during this time period (Hand 2007).

One possible explanation for this anomaly is that nitrate-nitrogen measurements at

Ichetucknee Springs have been shown to have extreme variability over very short periods of time

due to the flushing of stored contaminants during storm events and other stochastic processes

(Martin and Gordon 2000). High frequency sampling before and after storm events are

recommended by Martin and Gordon (2000) as a means of detecting important spikes and

"pulsed trends" within nitrate-nitrogen levels a recommendation that is not reflected in the

sampling performed by state agencies. Thus, it is conceivable that undetected pulses within

nitrate-nitrogen levels are occurring within the river and that these nutrient pulses might indeed

be a cause of the observed increases in algal growth. Clearly, this line of reasoning cannot be

dismissed and should be explored in more detail in future research. However, the fact that

extreme nitrate-nitrogen pulses were detected by Martin and Gordon (2000) before rapid

increases in algal growth were observed in many areas of the river also tends to support the

search for additional explanatory variables.

Field observations from 2000 2001 and cursory analysis of water quality data are used by

Evans (2002, 47) to hypothesize that algal growth in the upper Ichetucknee River likely is more

correlated with "elevated phosphorus concentrations than with nitrate." This observational

hypothesis is in agreement with subsequent statistical analyses of algal biomass and water

quality conducted by Stevenson et al. (2004) and Hand (2007), both of whom found that algal

biomass in the Ichetucknee River spatially correlates with phosphorus concentrations and shows

no direct statistical relationship with nitrate-nitrogen. On the one hand, a phosphorus relationship

with algal growth is not surprising given the primary role that phosphorus often plays in cultural









eutrophication of aquatic systems throughout the world. Furthermore, Biggs (2000) found

specific correlations between phosphorus and algal biomass accumulation in field studies of

stream systems in New Zealand, with much of this accumulation accounted for by Vaucheria sp.

similar to those found in the Ichetucknee.

But on the other hand, phosphorus enrichment does not seem to provide a coherent

explanation for observed ecological changes in the Ichetucknee River, largely because

phosphorus concentrations measured within springs are, unlike nitrate-nitrogen, not known to

have increased significantly over time. Geologists have found that phosphorus loaded into

springsheds from fertilizer applications and wastewater disposal is adsorbed to overlying soils

and carbonate rock before groundwater can be contaminated, meaning that differential

phosphorus concentrations among springs generally are a function of the natural phosphate

content of rocks being eroded by groundwater flow in areas of the Floridan aquifer near the

spring outfalls not anthropogenic contamination (Jones et al. 1996). A policy implication of

this geological finding is that reduction of phosphorus concentrations discharged from springs

likely is not a plausible ecosystem management strategy for reducing algal growth in springs

(Joyner and Paerl 2007).

Even if algal accumulation in the Ichetucknee River is phosphorus limited, it can be

coherently hypothesized, however, that algal growth may have been originally triggered by

nitrate-nitrogen contamination, with naturally available phosphorus in the spring water simply

limiting the extent to which the growth reaction can be expressed. While this hypothesis clearly

cannot be dismissed and should be researched in more detail, declines of submersed plants

associated with spread of nuisance algae recently have been recorded in Silver Glen Springs and

Alexander Springs, both of which have undeveloped springsheds contained almost entirely









within the Ocala National Forest and background concentrations of both nitrate-nitrogen (under

0. 1 mg/L) and phosphorus (Joyner and Paerl 2007). The importance of this finding is that

undesirable ecosystem changes associated with algal overgrowth in some cases can be triggered

by disturbance factors apparently unrelated to nitrate-nitrogen contamination.

In addition, Cowell and Dawes (2004) recently found that the biomass accumulation of

Lyngbya wollei, a cyanobacterium species that is increasingly displacing submersed plants at

Ichetucknee and other Florida springs, is only significantly reduced in spring water at nitrate-

nitrogen concentrations as low as 0.07 mg/L, or approximately 10 times lower than what is

currently found in the Ichetucknee. This finding suggests that, even in those cases where nitrate-

nitrogen may be a primary causal factor in triggering increased algal growth, the subsequent

changes in ecosystem function and corresponding autocatalytic feedbacks may represent a

nonlinear shift in ecosystem stability domain (Scheffer et al. 1993). An implication of such a

nonlinear relationship is that even a dramatic reduction of nitrate-nitrogen to levels (e.g., under

0.3 mg/L) historically not associated with high levels of algal biomass accumulation may be

insufficient for abating the continued accumulation and expansion of algal biomass in the future

(Cowell and Dawes 2004).

But even if these findings and suggested relationships are discounted and a simple linear

relationship between nitrate-nitrogen and algal growth is assumed, current management and

restoration strategies still are incomplete in the sense that they do not adequately account for the

long-term entrainment of nitrate-nitrogen in the groundwater from past and ongoing land use

activities. Given current contamination patterns and the travel times of groundwater in the

springshed, even the most successful conservation and/or water quality improvement programs

are not likely to result in significant reduction of the ambient concentration of nitrate-nitrogen










discharged in large springs ecosystems like Ichetucknee for at least two decades (Jones et al.

1996; Katz et al. 1999; Cowell and Dawes 2004). Taken together, all of these analyses suggest

that current ecosystem management and policy development strategies, which are hinged almost

entirely upon reduction of nitrate-nitrogen loading within the springshed, are unlikely to be

sufficient for the achievement of significant reductions in algal growth in the Ichetucknee River

for the foreseeable future.

Water Lettuce Eradication

In June 2000, DEP's Bureau of Invasive Plant Management (BIPM) announced plans to

begin herbicide applications on the Ichetucknee River to control water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes),

a floating aquatic plant found along the banks, snags, and stagnant areas throughout much of the

river at that time. According to aquatic plant control researchers at the University of Florida,

water lettuce is an invasive nonnative3 plant that can significantly reduce biodiversity in

Florida's aquatic ecosystems by shading out native submersed plants, destroying emergent

vegetation, and by "eliminating underwater animals" through oxygen depletion (Ramey 2001).


3 Although the ability of water lettuce to spread rapidly (i.e., invasively) in disturbed and nutrient-enriched aquatic
ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world is well-documented (Sharma 1984), the claim that water
lettuce is not native to Florida is a matter of considerable scientific controversy and inconclusive speculation
(Stuckey and Les 1984: Stoddard 1989: Ramey 2001). A major source of the controversy comes from the fact that
the explorer William Bartram, often used as a historical source for cataloguing the native flora of Florida, commonly
observed and made drawings of water lettuce on the St. John's River, Suwannee River, and several lakes in 1765
(Stuckey and Les 1984). Stuckey and Les (1984) argue that the best biological evidence for presuming that water
lettuce is exotic to Florida (i.e., introduced by human activity in the post-Columbian era) derives from an
assumption, commonly held at the time their paper was written, that water lettuce does not produce seeds in Florida
due to a lack of appropriate pollinators. Based upon this assumption, they speculate that the water lettuce observed
by Bartram may originally have been introduced from South America by 16th century Spanish settlers in St.
Augustine. This speculative introduction theory is, however, undermined to some extent by a later finding that seed
production is, in fact, an important source of reproduction for water lettuce in Florida (Dray and Center 1989). Some
aquatic plant researchers, perhaps through a misunderstanding of Stuckey and Les's (1984) original speculations,
currently suggest that water lettuce's most likely mode of introduction into Florida was through the "ballast water"
of Spanish ships (Ramey 2001). However, Spanish sailing ships in the 16th 18th centuries (and all other sailing
ships before the late 19th century) used non-water stone ballast (Wiley 1995), indicating that ballast water clearly
was not the mode of water lettuce's introduction into Florida before the time of Bartram. The primary source, other
than Bartram, suggesting that water lettuce may be native to Florida is Stoddard (1989), who uses paleofloristic and
ethnobotanical findings to make a speculative argument that water lettuce likely has been present in most tropical
and subtropical regions of the world, including Florida, "throughout antiquity" (Stoddard 1989, 23).









While acknowledging that water lettuce had been documented to create "only minor

problems on the Ichetucknee River," BIPM argued that the new control program was, however,

urgently needed to "help reduce environmental and economic losses" associated with water

lettuce in the tidal creeks of the lower Suwannee River estuary, located approximately 60 miles

downstream (DEP 2000). Likely in response to significant public opposition engendered by the

chemical control proposal, over the next several months BIPM agreed to indefinitely delay

herbicide applications and instead assisted ISSP with the institution of an experimental water

lettuce eradication program based upon hand harvest of the plant. A part-time employment

position at ISSP dedicated solely to removal of water lettuce was funded by BIPM, and plans

were initiated for up to 9 weekend water lettuce "round up" days each year that would utilize

community volunteers.

The water lettuce removal efforts began at the Ichetucknee Head Spring in late 2000, and

have progressively moved down river as the water lettuce in upstream areas is successfully

extirpated (Figure 3-3). The periodic volunteer events are used to quickly remove large water

lettuce concentrations from targeted areas of the river, while the ISSP employee, with periodic

assistance from volunteers, interns, and/or workers from service organizations such as

AmeriCorps, maintains a day to day focus on removing every visible piece of water lettuce from

the river bank and other hard to reach areas. The laborious process of removing even the smallest

fragments of water lettuce in the river is often referred to as "nit-picking." Once removed, the

water lettuce is deposited in disposal sites located along the river' s adj acent flood plain forest

(Figure 3-3).

Several years later, this effort has been a clear success in terms of almost entirely

eradicating water lettuce from significant stretches of the upper Ichetucknee River. The influence









of this management strategy has reached as far as California, where researchers recently cited the

Ichetucknee water lettuce eradication campaign as a primary example of utilizing a "strong sense

of stewardship" among a local community to effectively institute a non-chemical invasive plant

control program (Greenfield et al. 2004, 59). Local media also have given positive coverage to

the volunteer clean up days, with one representative story citing officials and volunteers who

argue that the water lettuce removal helps to "save the river" from an invasive exotic plant that is

"choking life" and reducing biodiversity in the aquatic ecosystem (Sobel 2004).

Observed Ecosystem Response

In January May 2001, I recorded a number of field observations while working as a

volunteer student intern at ISSP. My primary duty throughout this internship was hand removal

of water lettuce, which as discussed above had recently been initiated as a formal control

program. On most days I was the sole assistant to the ISSP employee recently hired for the water

lettuce removal program, although on some days small work crews from AmeriCorps and other

service organizations would also assist with harvesting and nit-picking activities. In addition, I

participated in several of the large volunteer work day events, which generally attracted 50 100

people, held during this time period. As shown in Figure 3-3, the water lettuce eradication

program during 2000 2001 covered the upper Ichetucknee River, with some gaps, from the

Head Spring to Devil's Eye Spring.

A consistent observation made throughout this experience was that, contrary to the

description of the plant' s adverse effects (e.g., oxygen depletion and faunal depopulation) given

by Ramey (2001) and largely adopted in public communications about the eradication campaign

at ISSP (Sobel 2004), water lettuce was being utilized as habitat by a large number of aquatic

fauna in the Ichetucknee River. In particular, I consistently observed that the fibrous roots of

harvested water lettuce plants often contained large populations of aquatic invertebrates such as










spring run crayfish, several types of mollusks and snails, and a wide variety of insects. While

limited effort was made to return some of the larger organisms back into the river, it seems fairly

safe to assume that most of the removed organisms perished.

Although these observations, and similar observations recently reported in a newspaper

editorial by Dame (2006), clearly are anecdotal, they also are consistent with better documented

accounts. For example, field measurements of oxygen levels under water hyacinth, which has

similar ecological functionality to water lettuce, in the spring-fed St. Marks River indicate that

flowing water conditions in spring-fed streams can be expected to prevent the large-scale oxygen

deficits and faunal depopulation commonly attributed to floating plant mats in other ecosystem

contexts (Bartodziej and Leslie 1998). The potential habitat value of water lettuce in spring runs

is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by Thompson' s (1968) description of the dense hydrobe

snail (Aphaostracon pycnum), a species endemic to Alexander Springs in the Ocala National

Forest and reported to be almost exclusively associated with floating mats of water lettuce and

water hyacinth. In addition, internal studies performed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife

Conservation Commission indicate that water lettuce is preferentially utilized as cover habitat by

several small fish species such as the least killifish (Heterandria formosa), pygmy killifish

(Leptolucania ommata), and an endemic topminnow (Fundulus seminolis) (D. Gallagher,

Environmental Specialist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, E-mail

Communication, May 8, 2006). Although somewhat different than springs ecosystem in terms of

water flow rates and chemistry, extensive mats of water lettuce found in the "Lettuce Lakes" of

south Florida' s Corkscrew Swamp are known to be characterized by very large populations of

crayfish, wading birds, turtles, alligators and other native animals (USGS 2007).









Another observation made at Ichetucknee was that eradication of water lettuce from a

section of the river was often followed by a rapid colonization and expansion of filamentous

algae. Although the colonizing algae tended to be most obvious and severe in the same low flow

velocity areas where the water lettuce had previously accumulated, substantial increases of

filamentous algal coverage on beds of submersed vegetation such as eel grass and tape grass

were also observed on several occasions after the eradication of adj acent water lettuce mats.

Such an observational relationship of filamentous algae quickly invading into adj acent

submersed plant communities was specifically recorded in field notes at Blue Hole taken in early

2001. These field notes indicate that the spring run' s eel grass and tape grass community did not

have visible accumulations of filamentous algae in the last week of January, when the water

lettuce was harvested and deposited nearby on the river bank (Figure 3-3). By February 13, it

was observed that the spring run was "being overwhelmed by mats of brown and black algae"

growing amongst and "topped out" over the submersed grasses.

A similar observation about filamentous algae rapidly overtaking submersed plants was

also made following the removal and disposal of water lettuce at Devil's Eye Spring in early

spring of 2001. Although the Devil's Eye field notes are not specifically dated, the two

photographs dated December 2000 (Figure 3-2D) and May 2001 (Figure 3-2E) respectively show

the spring at times soon before and after the eradication of water lettuce. In December 2000, little

accumulation of filamentous is noticeable on submersed plants. By May 2001, after the removal

and disposal of large amounts of water lettuce in an area directly adj acent to the spring boil (see

Figure 3-3), large strands of filamentous algae are clearly apparent. Since May 2001, the eel

grass community in Devil's Eye Spring has almost completely disappeared due to displacement

by filamentous algae (Hand 2007).









Systems Model

Like the observations about faunal utilization of water lettuce, my reports of rapid algal

growth following water lettuce removal are, of course, fundamentally anecdotal. However, a

review of scientific literature can be used to coherently hypothesize a competitive relationship

between water lettuce and algal growth in the Ichetucknee River. The hypothesis, presented in

Figure 3-7 as a systems ecology model using Odum' s (1994) network language, suggests that the

primary form of competition between water lettuce and algae is for sunlight, with water lettuce

having a clear competitive advantage due to its physiology as a floating plant (Attionu 1976).

Nutrients are shown as a secondary source of competition in the model. This competitive

relationship is suggested by a wide variety of scientific studies indicating that water lettuce is

one of the most effective aquatic plants in uptake of nitrate-nitrogen (Nelson et al. 1980; Tripathi

et al. 1991; Panda and Kar 1996; Kao et al. 2000; Lopes-Ferreira 2000; Lin et al. 2002; Sooknah

and Wilkie 2004), phosphorus (Tucker and Debusk 1981; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda and Kar

1996; Kao et al. 2000; Lopes-Ferreira 2000; Kent et al. 2000; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004), and

iron and various other metals (Sharma 1984; Sridhar 1986; Kao et al. 2000) thought to influence

algal growth patterns in the Ichetucknee River and other springs (Stevenson et al. 2004). It is

notable that pond culturalists throughout the world commonly utilize water lettuce for

suppression of algae based upon the sunlight competition and nutrient uptake mechanisms

(Cohen 1993) suggested in this model.

In addition, the model contains an additional feedback mechanism indicating that water

lettuce biomass may serve as a further drain on algal growth beyond the direct competition for

sunlight and nutrients. This relationship is suggested by studies showing that water lettuce

releases allelopathic chemicals that suppress some algae species (Aliotta et al. 1991; Gross

2003), can directly filter and retain a large amount of algal biomass in its fibrous root mass (Kim










et al. 2001), and is utilized as habitat by various bacteria, zooplankton, and other fauna that

consume algae (Attionu 1976). A final relationship shown in the model is that the shoreline

disposal of water lettuce likely resulted in a secondary pulsed release of nutrients back into the

aquatic ecosystem as the biomass decayed, perhaps serving as an additional catalyst for algal

growth. Prevention of secondary nutrient loading through biomass management techniques that

move harvested aquatic plant biomass well away from the shore of a water body is discussed by

Shijun and Jingsong (1989) in relation to harvest and utilization of water hyacinth from a

eutrophic Chinese river.

Stakeholder Responses

Conversational interviews and public communications with twenty-eight stakeholders were

used to gather perceptions of the Ichetucknee River' s ecological conditions, and then, as

described in Chapter 2, to introduce and discuss the water lettuce/algae response hypothesis.

Seven of these stakeholders were scientists and/or managers directly employed by government

agencies with ecosystem management responsibilities at the Ichetucknee River, six were private

or university scientists with research and/or management experience in the Ichetucknee River,

and the remaining fifteen were non-scientists4 who have attended at least one meeting of the

Working Group.

As noted in Chapter 2, all interview informants were asked to describe their understanding

of the problems currently facing the Ichetucknee River system. Not surprisingly given the

association of these stakeholders with the Working Group, the dominant themes discussed in


4 The descriptive term non-scientist is being used as shorthand to identify those stakeholders who are not currently
employed as environmental scientists. This shorthand may, however, be a little misleading in the sense that some of
the stakeholders may have advanced scientific training and/or are professionally employed in scientific professions.
In any case, the distinction being made is between those stakeholders whose participation in the Working Group
primarily is associated with their status as environmental/ecological scientists (both agency and non-agency) with
professional expertise about the Ichetucknee River, and those stakeholders participating solely on the basis of being
concerned citizens.









relation to ecological conditions were concern about increasing algal growth and nitrate-nitrogen

contamination within the river. Almost all stakeholders (twenty-seven) at some point mentioned

that algal growth in the river has, in their view, markedly increased since they first visited the

river, and the unanimous consensus among these was that the problem continues to worsen.

There was also a clear tendency to link this growth with nitrate-nitrogen contamination, with

twenty-two stakeholders and all fourteen non-scientists who noted increased algal growth -

indicating that increased nitrate-nitrogen was the likely cause of the algal growth. However,

three non-agency scientists and two agency scientists suggested that factors other than and/or in

addition to nitrate-nitrogen could be triggering algal growth. Water lettuce was cited by eighteen

stakeholders (ten non-scientists, five agency scientists, and three non-agency scientists) as

another primary concern within the river, although the harvest program was cited by sixteen of

these as being effective in getting the plant under control.

Participants were then presented with information suggesting that management of water

lettuce may be linked to the proliferation of nuisance algae in the Ichetucknee River. Although it

must be cautioned that the non-random selection method prevents traditional statistical analysis,

distinct response patterns were observed among the different informant groups after being

introduced to this information, particularly to the following two questions: 1) Should the idea of

invasive plant management being linked to proliferation of nuisance algae be investigated further

by scientists? 2) Should ecosystem managers consider modifying the ways in which they manage

water lettuce in Ichetucknee Springs?

Twelve out of the fifteen non-scientist respondents (80%) indicated that they both

supported more research into the hypothesized relationship and believed that managers should

consider modifying plant management strategies based upon the results of scientific study. Six of









these twelve additionally indicated that their own observations about ecosystem response in the

Ichetucknee were consistent with the information presented. While there is a danger that such a

response could be an artifact of non-scientist respondents deferring to what they consider to be a

more authoritative opinion, it is notable that, in the preliminary interviews, only one of these six

cited water lettuce as a primary concern within the river. In addition, five out of six (83%) non-

agency scientists a group who would not be expected to uncritically defer also indicated

support for both additional research and consideration of alternative plant management strategies

after being presented with the hypothesis. Among agency scientists and managers the response

pattern was noticeably different, with Hyve out of seven (71%) suggesting that alternative plant

management strategies should not be considered. Interestingly, while three of these Hyve did

suggest it was possible that removal of water lettuce could have resulted in increased growth of

algae, statutory mandates for controlling nonnative species and fears that water lettuce would

quickly grow out of control absent aggressive eradication efforts both were cited in defense of

continuing current management.

Two additional evaluative themes were commonly raised by stakeholders in the interview

process. The first maj or theme suggested by many (twenty-two, or 79%) stakeholders (including

most of those who supported more research into the hypothesized relationship between water

lettuce and algae growth) was that the expansion of native plant species particularly eel grass,

wild rice (Zizania aquatica), and water hemlock (Ciculata maculata) as a result of water

lettuce removal is an important benefit that should also be considered in an overall evaluative

framework. It is notable that two of the three non-scientist stakeholders who argued that there

was no need to reconsider current management strategies justified this stance by suggesting that

nutrient filtration and faunal habitat values provided by the expansion of native plants greatly









exceeded those formerly provided by water lettuce. A second maj or theme suggested by most

stakeholders (twenty-three, or 82%) was preference for the harvest method over management

strategies based upon herbicide usage, largely due to the belief that herbicides would pose a high

threat of non-target damage to aquatic plants and animals.

Adaptive Learning and Institutional Rigidity

Norton (2005, 208) argues that a key component of adaptive management is to "support a

process of social learning in which members of communities, upon seeing the consequences of

acting in pursuit of particular values, may come to question and revise some of the values they

have been acting upon." Using the conversations with stakeholders as a qualitative foundation,

several points relevant to social learning within the management context at Ichetucknee River are

suggested: 1) algal growth is currently viewed as a greater threat to the river' s ecological values

than water lettuce; 2) there is significant willingness among non-scientists and non-agency

scientists to reconsider a commonly held value about water lettuce (i.e., it should be eradicated)

based upon information suggesting that it may help to suppress algae; 3) the spread of native

plants is considered to be a benefit of suppressing water lettuce; and 4) chemical control of water

lettuce is considered to be a highly undesirable management option.

If these qualitative points are combined with both the scientific information suggesting that

reduction of nitrate-nitrogen offers, at best, an uncertain and temporally distant method for

controlling algal growth and the scientific hypotheses elaborated by the systems model, a very

strong foundation for holistically reevaluating the water lettuce eradication policy for the

Ichetucknee River emerges. According to adaptive management theory, integral to this process

of iterative social learning would be detailed monitoring efforts specifically designed to detect

and better understand unintended effects of ongoing management actions (Holling et al. 1998;

Gunderson 1999), along with a discursive environment in which stakeholders have the ability to










openly challenge the "beliefs and evaluative statements that are given to explain and justify

environmental policies" (Norton 2005, 209).

Based upon these prescriptive criteria, it is, however, apparent that the current institutional

framework governing ecosystem management in the Ichetucknee River provides for a rigid, non-

adaptive approach towards the control of water lettuce. In terms of monitoring, the progress of

water lettuce eradication is being documented (Figure 3-2). However, the ecological effects

associated with this eradication have not been rigorously studied either with regard to the

hypothesized algae response relationship suggested above, or to characterize the colonization of

native plant species following the removal of the water lettuce since the program's inception.

Thus, the original eradication policy continues to be justified by two lines of reasoning

conspicuously laden with questionable scientific and moral assumptions: 1) an a priori

attribution of harm to water lettuce associated with its statutory status as an invasive nonnative

species; 2) an accompanying assumption that eradication of the invasive nonnative species brings

unambiguous benefits to the river' s ecological values. Even if questions about the

nonnative/native origins of water lettuce (upon which the primary justifications behind current

management policy are, however, clearly hinged) discussed above in footnote 1 are left aside, the

apparent consensus among stakeholders that the river' s overall ecological condition has, over the

time period of the water lettuce eradication efforts, increasingly deteriorated due to increased

algal growth seems to offer a compelling rationale for a critical reassessment of these

management assumptions and practices through a holistic monitoring program.

In fairness, it could be argued that the lack of monitoring associated with the water lettuce

eradication program was originally an epistemological issue, in the sense that scientific questions

relevant for framing the monitoring program had not yet emerged. However, a secondary effect









of discussing the hypothesis about water lettuce eradication and algal response with stakeholders

was that this idea was introduced into the discursive context of the Working Group. As indicated

above, most agency scientists and managers interviewed for this dissertation expressed

opposition to the idea of reconsidering the current eradication strategy, with this position often

justified by reference to a statutory directive in Chapter 369.22(1)(d) of the Florida Statutes

(2006b) that calls for maintenance of nonnative plants such as water lettuce at the "lowest

feasible level."

While there is little question that the goal of maintaining water lettuce at the lowest

feasible level is standard among state agencies engaged in aquatic plant control activities,

Chapter 369.22(4) contains an additional clause indicating that management of aquatic plants

must also "protect human health, safety, and recreation and, to the greatest degree practicable,

prevent injury to plant, Eish, and animal life" (Florida Statutes 2006b). This latter clause, it would

seem, provides an unambiguous basis for monitoring and reflecting upon the consequences of

aquatic plant management, with the implication that appropriate and iterative adjustments should

be made to both protect consensual public goods and prevent consensual public harms. Thus,

specific aquatic plant management practices associated with the production of algal blooms that

negatively affect public health, safety, recreation, Eish, and/or wildlife presumably would be

subj ect to review under the criteria set forth by the statute.

The qualitative interview research indicates that there is significant interest among

stakeholders for further inquiry into the benefits, costs, and effects of aquatic plant management

activities in the Ichetucknee River, and the stakeholder Working Group would seem to provide

an appropriate forum for such discussions. However, public discussion of the management policy

through the auspices of the Working Group so far has been discouraged through an apparent










rigidity associated with the prevailing institutional assumptions used to justify aquatic plant

control. For example, my own request to make a formal presentation to the Working Group

raising questions about water lettuce eradication and algal proliferation was denied in April

2004, with the stated rationale being that such a topic would fall outside of the Working Group's

stated mission of improving water quality in the springshed.5

More recently, a non-scientist stakeholder made independent public comments during a

Working Group meeting held on October 11, 2006, suggesting that potential linkages between

increased algal growth in the river and the water lettuce eradication program should be a focus of

monitoring and research activities. Although, as discussed above, the original scientific

justification for initiating the water lettuce eradication program in 2000 was based upon

downstream impacts to the Suwannee estuary (DEP 2000), the official response given to this

recent stakeholder concern was a pronouncement that agency biologists had come to the

conclusion that water lettuce threatened to "completely overtake the river." Citing dire

consequences such as the complete destruction of submersed plant communities and cessation of

recreational activities that would be associated with water lettuce completely covering the river,

it was then stipulated that the eradication policy was not an appropriate matter for public debate.

This response clearly had the intended effect, contra to what Norton (2005) recommends for

facilitating an effective adaptive management program, of discouraging additional public

challenges to the institutional beliefs being used to justify and explain an ongoing ecosystem

management strategy.


5 Although I do not believe that most Working Group members would make this distinction between the mission of
protecting water quality in the springshed and understanding ecological conditions in the river. I have respected this
request by not publicly raising questions about water lettuce management within the context of Working Group
meetings.

6 This is to clarify that there was no communication or coordination between myself and this stakeholder in relation
to the public comments made at the Working Group meeting.










Management Experimentation: Moving Beyond All or Nothing

As generally suggested by Gunderson (1999), the socio-ecological research presented in

this chapter suggests that two maj or impediments to adaptive learning exist with relation to water

lettuce management in the Ichetucknee River: 1) fear of a non-resilient ecosystem "shifting to an

unwanted stability domain" (i.e., complete coverage of the river by water lettuce); and 2)

inflexibility in the "extant power relations among stakeholders" (i.e., institutional rigidities

organized around defense of current agency policies). Underlying these fears and rigidities are

what philosophers commonly call "all or nothing" thinking, or, more technically, the fallacy of

false alternatives. In other words, a wide variety of alternative scenarios exist between, on the

one hand, current management goals and techniques (eradication and shoreline disposal of water

lettuce) and, on the other hand, a cessation of aquatic plant management that leaves the river

recreationally unusable. For example, a logical reform to the current management strategy could

be pursuit of alternative biomass disposal techniques, perhaps through utilization of bottom-lined

composting facilities and/or mobile dumpsters, to prevent the risk of pulsed nutrient loading into

the river. Another logical reform would be to specifically monitor the successional patterns

observed after the removal of water lettuce.

Leaving aside any ultimate determinations as to whether or not the increasing algal growth

observed in the Ichetucknee River over recent years has any important ecological relationship

with the water lettuce eradication program, there is clear social consensus that increased algal

growth being observed in the river represents a highly undesirable shift in stability domain.

Equally clear, as discussed above, from a scientific perspective is that extant groundwater

contaminant patterns, along with the apparent resilience of the algal stability domain to lowered

nutrient levels, make it highly unlikely that current management strategies are sufficient for

achieving consonance between the socially mediated values and management goals established










for the ecosystem and the clear constraints posed by extant and emergent environmental

conditions.

Gunderson (1999) suggests that a pragmatic antidote for building "resilience and

flexibility" into socio-ecological contexts characterized by institutional rigidity and resource

collapse is through small-scale pilot experiments' designed to bring novel lines of inquiry into

the management context. Ideally, the socio-ecological information developed in this chapter

could be used as the basis for such small scale experiments. For example, one logical

management experiment would be to intentionally grow water lettuce perhaps in polyculture

with native floating aquatic plants, such as water pennywort (Hydrocotyl sp.) in certain areas of

the river (e.g., spring runs) currently characterized by high levels of algal growth. Such

experiments could be used to better understand the effects of water lettuce and other aquatic

plant species on algal production, faunal populations, submersed and emergent plant species, and

various physico-chemical variables (e.g., nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, and dissolved oxygen)

within the specific context of the Ichetucknee River.

Any experiments for better understanding the ecological functions of water lettuce,

however, need not supplant the overall management goal of minimizing the plant in most areas

of the river, both to prevent downstream migration of the plant and encourage growth of more

desirable native plants. In fact, it would be relatively straightforward to coordinate such a pilot

experiment with the existing management infrastructure to test, as suggested by Lopes-Ferreira


SAdmittedly, a key practical barrier to such pilot experiments is suggested in a more recent paper by Gunderson et
al. (2006). These authors pointedly argue that a lack of holistic learning capacity in the Florida Everglades is
systemically perpetuated by a monolithic research funding apparatus, dominated by government agencies, that filters
out "integrative studies" that could question existing policies in favor of those that "reinforce existing dogma."
While such an institutional consideration almost certainly holds for this case, it can be argued that the comparatively
small scale of both the Ichetucknee ecosystem (relative to the Everglades) and studies being called for here leave
open the possibility of non-traditional (e.g., private non-profit, independently funded graduate student, collaboration
with volunteer organizations, etc.) means of supporting the recommended research. Obtaining necessary aquatic
plant permits to conduct the recommended research, however, is another practical barrier that should be considered.









et al. (2000), different water lettuce growth and harvest methods for the purpose of identifying

any specific strategies that may maximize contaminant removal and/or restoration of the overall

ecological community in degraded areas. Information gathered through such studies would not

only make a valuable contribution to overall ecological knowledge, but the process of

communicating and evaluating the results of the experiments in public forums, whether in

coordination with or independently of the Working Group, could help to invigorate and stimulate

the overall process of adaptive learning.





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Figure 3-1. Map of Ichetucknee River and Springs
















80


Ichetucknee River and Springs
















r rA ~C~;L


*C


Figure 3-2. Time series photographs of Devil's Eye Spring A) 1987, photograph by Johnny
Dame. B) 1989, photograph by Johnny Dame. C) 1993, photograph by Johnny Dame.

D) December 2000 (Follman and Buchanan 2004). E) May 2001 (Hand 2006).


rC
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ICHETUCKNTEE SPRINGS
STATE PAR~K
WATERLETTUC E REMOVA-L
PROGRAM
ANNUAL PROGRESS
2000 201
Composite Map



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Figure 3-3. Map of water lettuce removal at ISSP (Hand 2006)














Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 1966 2006


1985 1990 1995 2000 2005

- 2006 (Data from Hand 2006)


0.9-

0.8-

0.7-



0.5-

S0.4-

0.3 -

0.2-

0.1 -

0,
1965 1970 1975 1980


Figure 3-4. Ichetucknee Springs nitrate: 1966


R- = 0.8689


Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 1985 2006

0.0



0.7

S0.6 -



E 0.5*




S0.3

0.2

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0.

1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006


Figure 3-5. Ichetucknee Springs nitrate: 1985-2006 (Data from Hand 2006)





0.82-

i 0.8-

0.78-

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Z

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0.7
2000


R- = 0.7227


2001


2002


2003


2004


2005


2006


2007


Figure 3-6. Ichetucknee River nitrate: 2001


-2006 (Data from Hand 2006)


Table 3-1. T-test comparison of Ichetucknee River nitrate levels, 1985-1998 vs. 2001-2006


Nitrate
(mg/L)
1985-1998
0.6865
0.013961
5
0.007289


Nitrate
(mg/L)
2001-2006
0.775417
0.001951
6


Mean
Variance
Observations
Pooled Variance
Hypothesized Mean
Difference
Df
t Stat
P(T<=t) one-tail
t Critical one-tail
P(T<=t) two-tail
t Critical two-tail


-1.71995
0.059777
1.833113
0.119555
2.2621 57


Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 2001 2006


































Figure 3-7. Systems model of water lettuce and algae competition at Ichetucknee River









CHAPTER 4
KINGS BAY/CRYSTAL RIVER

Site Description

Kings Bay/Crystal River is a freshwater springs and tidally-influenced river system located

in Citrus County on the northwestern coast of the Florida peninsula (Figure 4-1). The headwaters

of Crystal River are formed by Kings Bay, a 600 acre open water area with depths generally

ranging between 3 to 10 feet and containing at least 30 artesian springs (Jones et al. 1998). The

combined discharge of Kings Bay's springs is approximately 630 million gallons per day (mgd),

which comprises the vast maj ority of flow within Crystal River and makes Kings Bay one of the

world's largest known artesian springs complexes (Rosenau et al. 1977). The main channel of

Crystal River emerges from the northwestern section of Kings Bay, and then flows

approximately 6 miles to the west-northwest before discharging into the Gulf of Mexico (Scott et

al. 2002). Due to their position along the gulf coast, both Kings Bay and Crystal River are

subj ect to periodic storm surge-driven inputs of saline water. This chapter focuses specifically on

the Kings Bay headwater portions of the Crystal River ecosystem.

The constant influx of artesian spring water maintains a year round temperature of

approximately 72 degrees Fahrenheit and provides for clear water conditions in many areas of

Kings Bay. These ecological conditions historically have supported the growth of highly

productive submerged aquatic plant communities. This combination of warm spring water and

lush plant growth have also made Kings Bay one of the world' s most important habitats for

endangered West Indian manatees (Trichecus manatus) (Figure 4-2). Manatees are large,

herbivorous marine mammals that take winter refuge in Florida spring ecosystems due to their

inability to survive extended exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and

whose Florida population of approximately 3500 is primarily threatened by fatal collisions with









boats and toxins associated with near shore algal blooms. The recreational desirability of clear

water springs and the unique opportunity to view large numbers of a charismatic endangered

species serve as the foundations for an economically important nature-based tourism industry in

the Kings Bay/Crystal River area.

Over the past two decades there has been increasing concern among government agencies

and local stakeholders about a perceived deterioration of ecosystem conditions within Kings

Bay. Much of this concern stems from increased coverage of filamentous cyanobacteria mats

generally composed ofLyngbya wollei (Figure 4-3), decline of submerged macrophytes such as

native eel grass (Vallisneria amnericana) and nonnative hydrilla, and a decrease in water clarity

throughout Kings Bay (Munson 1999; SWFWMD 2004). The ongoing replacement of

submerged macrophytes with L. wollei is considered problematic by most Kings Bay

stakeholders for several reasons. Primary among these is that manatees feed extensively upon

most aquatic macrophytes, including preferentially upon nonnatives such as hydrilla and

Eurasian milfoil (M~yriophyllum spicatum) (Campbell and Irvine 1977; Silverberg and Morris

1987), but apparently find little to no food value in L. wollei (Anonymous 2005). Therefore, it is

feared that loss of submerged macrophytes in favor of L. wollei may directly threaten an

important winter food source for the endangered manatee population. In addition, loss of

macrophytes is correlated with decreased water clarity in Kings Bay (Munson 1999), a condition

that is thought to adversely affect recreational enj oyment and tourism within the ecosystem. L.

wollei' s general unattractive appearance, foul odor, and emission of toxins that can cause some

individuals to develop severe allergic reactions are other problems often cited by managers and

stakeholders (Gross and Martin 1996).









Due largely to the growing problems associated with the proliferation ofL. wollei, in 1988

the Kings Bay/Crystal River complex was listed by the Southwest Florida Water Management

District (SWFWMD) in its Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) priority list

(SWFWMD 2004). Under the provisions of Chapter 373.451 353.4595 in the Florida Statutes,

the SWIM Plan serves as the operative research and planning document for setting and achieving

ecosystem restoration and protection obj ectives within Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2000). The first

SWIM plan for Kings Bay was developed by SWFWMD in 1989, with extensive updates made

in 2000. The most recent SWIM Plan document establishes the primary restoration goals for

Kings Bay/Crystal River as improved water clarity, reduction of L. wollei, prevention of

sediment resuspension within the water column, re-vegetation of degraded areas with desirable

submerged macrophytes, and protection of the endangered manatee population (SWFWMD

2000). But despite many years of scientific research and management effort associated with the

SWIM Plan, the general consensus among managers and stakeholders is that the Kings Bay

ecosystem continues to steadily decline.

Watershed Context

Contaminant loadings from land use activities and hydrologic alterations within the

watersheds of aquatic systems are widely recognized as two primary factors to consider in

aquatic restoration proj ects. The Kings Bay/Crystal River watershed is characterized by highly

porous sandy soils that directly overlie and drain vertically into the cavernous limestone and

dolomite formations of the upper Floridan aquifer the source of the water that discharges from

the springs within Kings Bay (Jones et al. 1998). Such subsurface drainage catchments that

discharge into artesian springs are often referred to as "springsheds" (Scott et al. 2004). Most

Florida springsheds are known to be quite vulnerable to groundwater contamination from human

land- use activities due to the porosity of surface soils, lack of significant confining layers over









the Floridan aquifer, and the presence of many sinkhole features that can transport contaminated

runoff directly into the groundwater (Florida Springs Task Force 2000; Scott et al. 2004).

Previous studies have found a variety of nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, petrochemical residues,

and other anthropogenic contaminants within Florida springs that have large areas of agricultural

and/or residential land usages within their springshed (Katz and Bohlke 2000; Phelps 2004).

However, nitrate-nitrogen, which can originate from fertilizer applications, discharge of human

and animal wastewater, and atmospheric deposition, is generally regarded as the contaminant of

most concern in many Florida springs, both due to the precipitous increases in nitrate-nitrogen

concentrations observed in springs throughout the state and the known potential of nitrate-

nitrogen to cause rapid eutrophication once it reaches aquatic systems (Jones et al. 1998; Florida

Springs Task Force 2000; Katz and Bohlke 2000; Phelps 2004; Scott et al. 2004).

Most of the current land-use within the Kings Bay springshed is characterized by low-

intensity timber, pasture, and agriculture that generally pose a low to moderate contamination

risk. However, more intensive land usages such as domestic lawns, golf courses, commercial

development, and municipal wastewater spray fields that pose greater contamination risks are

present and quickly increasing throughout the springshed (Jones et al. 1998; SWFWMD 2004).

Very little historic data have been collected for pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemical residues

within Kings Bay's springs, but quarterly nutrient samples for nutrients have been taken by

SWFWMD since June 1989. Nitrate-nitrogen concentrations within Kings Bay's springs

currently range from approximately 0.2 0.5 parts per million (ppm) (SWFWMD 2004). While

relatively low in comparison to several other large Florida springs that often show nitrate-

nitrogen levels well over 1 ppm (Jones et al. 1998; Scott et al. 2004), the nitrate-nitrogen

concentrations within Kings Bay are thought to represent a twenty-fold increase over background









nitrate-nitrogen concentrations found within uncontaminated portions of the Floridan aquifer

(Jones et al. 1998). Unfortunately, nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in Kings Bay's springs are

expected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future due to a known plume of extant

groundwater contamination and anticipated land-use intensification within the Kings Bay

springshed (Jones et al. 1998). Although increased nitrate-nitrogen levels within springs are

rightly viewed with great concern by regulatory agencies, scientific studies to date have shown

surprisingly little spatio-correlation or direct ecological relationship between increased

concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen and the increased L. wollei growth observed within Kings Bay

and other Florida springs (Romie 1990; Hoyer et al. 1997; Munson 1999; SWFWMD 2000;

Stevenson et al. 2004).

Direct surface runoff into Kings Bay is limited to relatively small areas of land adj acent to

the water body and is believed to contribute relatively minor amounts of contaminants on an

annual, mass-balance basis (SWFWMD 2004). However, the relatively high density of

commercial and residential land uses within this surface drainage basin and a drainage

infrastructure that directly loads stormwater from many impervious surfaces directly into Kings

Bay together indicate that localized pulses of heavy metals, petrochemicals, herbicides,

pesticides, and other anthropogenic contaminants from stormwater discharge points may play an

important role in the degradation of the ecosystem (SWFWMD 2004). Other historic hydrologic

alterations such as the dredging of numerous canals, filling and impoundment of fringing

wetlands, and construction of hardened sea walls along many areas of the shore are also thought

to have had deleterious ecological effects (SWFWMD 2004). Although some SWIM Plan

resources are currently being put into restoration proj ects aimed at improving stormwater

infrastructure and replacing some failed sea walls with vegetative buffers, the vast maj ority of









historic hydrologic alterations in Kings Bay are regarded as permanent due to the substantial

residential and commercial developments now located on filled lands as well as the scarcity and

high cost of land that could potentially be used for mitigation proj ects (SWFWMD 2004).

Participatory Methods

The genesis of this research was my participation in a University of Florida Conservation

Clinic (UFCC) proj ect to assist the City of Crystal River' s Kings Bay Water Quality

Subcommittee (KBWQS) in the development of model stormwater and landscaping ordinances.

The UFCC is a non-litigation based law clinic, housed in the Levin College of Law' s Center for

Governmental Responsibility, that utilizes teams of upper-level law and graduate students under

the direction of law faculty mentors to develop policy recommendations for private businesses,

non-profit organizations, and government agencies who are pursuing proj ects that further the

goals of environmental conservation. The KBWQS is a citizen-based group that advises the City

of Crystal River on policies related to improving water quality within Kings Bay, and is funded

through grants provided by the Waterfronts Florida Partnership of the Florida Department of

Community Affairs (DCA).

The model ordinance proj ect necessitated close collaboration with citizen and agency

stakeholders to rapidly develop working knowledge of the issues of concern in Kings Bay.

Stakeholders shared local knowledge about Kings Bay through in-depth conversations, both in

meetings of the KBWQS and through Hield trips into Kings Bay and surrounding areas of the

watershed. This collaborative process revealed that local citizens had a variety of different

concerns and opinions about the overall management of Kings Bay that went well beyond the

specific concerns about stormwater contamination, with many of these concerns focused on

historic and ongoing management of aquatic plants in the ecosystem.









After the completion of the UFCC proj ect in December 2004, I continued to regularly

attend and take detailed Hield notes of meetings held by the WQS. As described in Chapter 2, a

formal qualitative research protocol for in depth stakeholder interviews approved by the

University of Florida' s Institutional Review Board was utilized in the Crystal River area from

April August 2005. Due to the non-random selection methods use, the content of the interviews

is not necessarily expected to be reflective of general beliefs held by the population at large

within the Crystal River area. However, it is expected that the methodology used for this study

did provide a window into the local knowledge of citizens most involved and interested in the

Kings Bay ecosystem, and that better understanding of this local knowledge may provide

important insight into deficiencies within the "expert knowledge" of research and agency

scientists (Fischer 2000; Norton 2005).

Twenty-four stakeholders living in the Crystal River area were interviewed through the

research protocol. As this interview research progressed, it became clear that most local residents

shared similar concerns about the root causes of Kings Bay's degradation as those cited typically

cited by agency managers and research scientists, including springshed contamination, historic

hydrologic alterations, rapid development, and increased boat traffic (SWFWMD 2004).

However, a clear divergence between the perceptions of local residents interviewed and

information presented by management agencies was the suggestion of many residents that past

and present aquatic plant management activities were an important factor in the emergence and

persistence of L. wollei. Interest in better understanding this divergence prompted a review of

scientific literature on both Kings Bay and invasive aquatic plants such as water hyacinth,

hydrilla, and L. wollei. Findings of this literature review were then supplemented by direct









communications, public record e-mails, and conversational exchanges in public meetings with

research and agency scientists, particularly through participation in the KBWG.

The content of these qualitative research findings and subsequent literature review are used

in this chapter to construct an ecological history that focuses largely on aquatic plant

management activities in Kings Bay and the role that these activities may have played in shaping

and perpetuating the currently observed ecosystem state. The interview research presented as

local knowledge in this chapter is constructed through a triangulation method, in the sense that

independent verification of reported events and observations was made through discovery of

supporting documentation, scientific literature, and/or the consistency of multiple stakeholder

accounts. It is also noted in the chapter narrative whenever stakeholder accounts are the sole

source of a given claim.

The combination of local knowledge and supporting scientific literature is used as the

foundation for developing two scientific hypotheses: 1) chemical control of aquatic plants,

particularly through the usage of copper-herbicides in the 1970s and 1980s, may have caused

systemic disruptions of planktonic food chains, thereby contributing to the selection of a resistant

strain of L. wollei to become dominant among the phytoplankton community; and 2) increased

coverage and/or alternative management of nonnative macrophyte species, and particularly

experiments based upon recent advances in water hyacinth phytoremediation, may be more

consistent with the functional restoration of Kings Bay than current management strategies.

As described in Chapter 2, these hypotheses were then communicated in public forums and

public communications with agency stakeholders. Although legitimate concerns and even

cautious support regarding management experiments using nonnative plants were found through

public communications with agency personnel, significant institutional rigidities apparently









associated with non-contextual attributions of harm to nonnative species also were encountered.

The chapter concludes by suggesting that research and agency scientists should work closely

with local citizens to set up controlled experiments in which phytoremediation and alternative

management approaches towards nonnative macrophytes could be obj ectively evaluated as

potentially useful tools in an overall ecological restoration program in Kings Bay.

History of Nuisance Aquatic Plants in Kings Bay: 1950 2005

Management of "nuisance" aquatic plants has been an issue of great controversy and

central importance within the Kings Bay ecosystem for many decades. Although published

literature on Kings Bay largely focuses on the introduction of hydrilla in the early 1960s and

persistent L. wollei blooms that began in the mid-1980s (SWFWMD 2004), four long-time

Crystal River residents gave very similar first hand accounts indicating that aquatic plant

problems actually began in the early 1950s with the proliferation of water hyacinth mats

throughout many areas of Kings Bay and Crystal River.

Water hyacinth is a free-floating macrophyte species native to South America that has

become naturalized throughout many subtropical and tropical regions of the world over the past

100 years, and is commonly known as the "world's worst aquatic weed" due to its ability to

become invasive in waters with high levels of natural or anthropogenic nutrients (Gopal 1987).

Before turning to the specific remembrances of water hyacinth management in Kings Bay, it is

necessary to contextualize this management within the history of this plant and its control in

Florida. Schmitz et al. (1993, 173) note that water hyacinth became the first serious plant "pest"

in Florida soon after its introduction to the St. John's River in 1880s, with its spread greatly

aided by "cattlemen who held the mistaken belief that it made good cattle feed." Large

obstructions caused by hyacinths piling up around bridges were noted as soon as 1895, and

control operations based upon crushing, diversion, and removal of water hyacinth from the St.









Johns River by the USACE began with the passage of the Rivers and Harbors Act in 1899

(Schmitz et al. 1993). By 1902, amendments to the Rivers and Harbors Act allowed for

extermination of water hyacinths using a variety of chemicals such as sodium arsenite, sulfuric

acid, carbolic acid, and kerosene (Schmitz et al. 1993). However, Buker (1982) notes that these

control methods were soon rejected due to toxicity to cows, and mechanical harvest became the

primary method of control throughout most of the early 20th century. The first trials of the

herbicide 2,4-D began in the mid 1940s, and the USACE began to employ 2,4-D against water

hyacinth in Florida by 1948 (Schmitz et al. 1993). This new herbicide was seen as an important

advance in the battle against water hyacinth due to its combination of strong herbicidal properties

and low acute toxicity to cattle and other animals (Joyce 1982). At its peak in the late 1950s,

water hyacinth was estimated to cover more than 50,000 hectares in Florida (Schmitz et al.

1993). Since the late 1950s, water hyacinth has been progressively controlled in Florida over the

past 50 years by federal, state, and local officials through treatment programs based largely upon

2,4-D and other aquatic herbicides.

The water hyacinth growth throughout Kings Bay during the 1950s was described by all

four informants as making navigation through some parts of Kings Bay and Crystal River very

difficult at times. Similar accounts among the informants suggest that these navigational issues

triggered the onset of an aggressive water hyacinth eradication program using broadcast

herbicides in the mid to late 1950s, a control program that all informants described as being

locally popular due to the various problems that came to be associated with hyacinth overgrowth.

While it must be noted that no specific records indicating the extent of the hyacinth coverage or

the types and amounts of chemicals that may have been used at Kings Bay/Crystal River for

hyacinth treatment in the 1950s have been located, common practice for this era indicates that









one acre of water hyacinth would likely have been treated with approximately 2 pounds of acid-

equivalent 2,4-D (Zeiger 1962).

Informants also suggested that water hyacinth had been known in Kings Bay and Crystal

River for many years, but, unlike many other areas of Florida, was not considered a particularly

invasive or nuisance species in Kings Bay before the 1950s. In fact, one of the informants, a

retired fisher, indicated that he had always considered water hyacinth "a very useful plant"

because of his contention that large concentrations of shrimp and other "bait" could reliably be

found in the hyacinth roots (see Tilghman 1962, 1963; Maltby 1963 for similar historical

accounts on the St. Johns River). Even after the water hyacinth mats began to proliferate, the

clear consensus among the four residents with recollection of this period is that the water clarity

of the open water areas of Kings Bay was as high as it had been previously or has ever been

since that time. In addition, all reported that the beginning of water hyacinth control operations

seemed to have undesirable impacts on the ecology of Kings Bay, including a perceived

relationship between the loss of water hyacinth, a decline in water clarity, and the subsequent

proliferation of another nuisance weed hydrilla.

If these remembrances about water hyacinth in Kings Bay/Crystal River circa 1950s are an

accurate representation of the ecological changes that occurred during this time, there would

appear to be a fairly straightforward explanation for the changed growth behavior of the water

hyacinth and the observed effects of its control. It is known that the 1950s marked the beginning

of largescale shoreline and watershed development around Kings Bay, which is thought to have

resulted in substantial increases of nutrient loadings from wastewater and fertilizer sources into

the water body (SWFWMD 2004). As can be visually deduced by comparing an aerial

photograph of Kings Bay taken in 1944 (Figure 4-4) with one taken in 1960 (Figure 4-5), many









shoreline alterations that destroyed fringing wetlands and directly resulted in increased sediment

loading into Kings Bay were associated with this development period (SWFWMD 2004). The

increased input of sediments and nutrients, disturbance of circulation patterns, and destruction of

fringing marshes associated with this development would be expected to provide ideal conditions

for water hyacinth to enter into a period of exponential, or invasive, growth (Gopal 1987; Odum

1994). Although this exponential growth clearly would be expected to cause navigational

problems similar to those reported by interview informants, the ability of water hyacinth to

sequester large amounts of soluble nutrients (Agami and Reddy 1990; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda

and Kar 1996; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004), filter algae and other particulates in its fibrous roots

(Kim et al. 2001), and suppress phytoplankton blooms through allelopathy and other mechanisms

(Jin et al. 2003) may have helped maintain much of the water clarity and submerged aquatic

vegetation in the remaining open water areas (Hu et al. 1998) of Kings Bay.

While herbicides are quite effective in suppressing problem water hyacinth populations,

this control method also is known to release large amounts of nutrients and other contaminants

from the dying plants into the water column and bottom sediments (Reddy and Sacco 1981).

Thus, chemical control of water hyacinth particularly over large areas often can be followed

by large algae blooms (Clugston 1963; Chesnut and Barman 1974; Brower 1980; Grimshaw

2002) and/or explosive growth of highly productive submersed plants such as hydrilla (USACE

1973), both of which may cause problems of a similar or even worse magnitude as those

associated with the original water hyacinth growth.

Such a general relationship appears to have held in Kings Bay as the successful control of

water hyacinth was almost immediately replaced by explosive growth of the submersed hydrilla.

Hydrilla is a submersed macrophyte species native to Africa and Southeast Asia that spread









throughout the world in the latter part of the 20th Century, largely due to its historic popularity

within the aquarium trade and prolific growth capabilities within a wide range of environmental

conditions. The appearance of hydrilla within Kings Bay/Crystal River circa 1960 marks one of

the earliest of this invasive nonnative species within Florida (SWFWMD 2000). Since that time

hydrilla has quickly spread to become a severe nuisance species within many aquatic systems in

Florida and the southeastern United States.

Interview accounts indicate that the rapid growth and great spatial extent of the initial

hydrilla invasion within Kings Bay quickly resulted in a range of environmental and navigation

problems that dwarfed those previously associated with water hyacinth, thereby making hydrilla

control the new aquatic plant management priority within the ecosystem. Although the growth

and spread of hydrilla within Kings Bay perhaps was inevitable after its introduction, work by

Fontaine (1978) suggests that enriched sediments deposited by previously treated water hyacinth

mats would be expected to exacerbate the subsequent problems posed by the growth of the

submersed species. In addition, the extreme hydrologic disturbance and creation of "bare"

aquatic habitat associated with the dredging of numerous canals in Kings Bay in the 1960s and

1970s (Figure 4-6) likely were additional factors that facilitated the rapid spread of hydrilla over

this period.

Early hydrilla control efforts in Kings Bay were varied and largely ineffective, including a

now notorious attempt to control hydrilla through the application of large amounts of sulfuric

acid obtained from a nearby phosphate mine into several areas of Kings Bay. While an initial

report indicated somewhat favorable results from the sulfuric acid treatment method (Phillipy

1966), aquatic plant managers later suggested that this treatment had only temporary effects on

hydrilla and severe detrimental effects on both fish and desirable aquatic vegetation (Friedman









1987). A more long-term hydrilla treatment program using a combination of copper-based and

several other types of herbicide formulations was instituted in the 1970s and continued

throughout much of the 1980s (Haller et al. 1983). However, this program also was considered

by many citizens and managers to be ineffective and counter-productive (Dick 1989), and copper

herbicides eventually were discontinued as a hydrilla control strategy after elevated levels of

copper were detected in Kings Bay's sediments and the organs of deceased manatees (O' Shea et

al. 1984; Facemire 1991; Leslie 1992; SWFWMD 2000). A hydrilla management program based

upon shredding, mechanical harvest in navigational trails, and limited application of non-copper

containing herbicide formulations of diquat, endothall, and flurodine was instituted in the late

1980s (Dick 1989; Cowell and Botts 1994) and remains the foundation of the current hydrilla

management plan within Kings Bay (Anonymous 2005).

Noticeable blooms of filamentous algae such as L. wollei were first recorded in Kings Bay

in the late 1970s and early 1980s (SWFWMD 2004), but, likely due to the continued dominance

of hydrilla, the coverage and persistence of these blooms reportedly remained at low levels for

several years (Dick 1989). Large scale L. wollei blooms throughout Kings Bay were first

reported in September 1985, soon after temporary salinity increases associated with the storm

surge of Hurricane Elena reduced the hydrilla population in Kings Bay by over 90% (Dick 1989;

SWFWMD 2004). Despite the historic problems associated with water hyacinth and hydrilla, the

emergent L. wollei invasion was almost universally regarded as having even more deleterious

effects on wildlife habitat, recreational desirability, and overall aesthetics within Kings Bay

(Dick 1989).

Almost all informants interviewed indicated that hydrilla populations recovered and L.

wollei blooms progressively lessened for several years after the 1985 storm surge (see also









Cowell and Botts 1994). However, ongoing aquatic plant management activities (Cowell and

Botts 1994) and additional storm surges associated with the "Storm of the Century" in March

1993 resulted in further displacement of hydrilla in Kings Bay (Bishop 1995; SWFWMD 2004).

While the 1993 storm surge also reportedly resulted in temporary declines of L. wollei and

increased coverage of more salt-tolerant macrophytes such as Eurasian milfoil and native tape

grass throughout many areas of Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004), L. wollei quickly rebounded to

become an almost complete monoculture throughout the north central, northeastern, and

southeastern portions of Kings Bay (Frazer and Hale 2001). Submersed macrophyte communities

dominated largely by Eurasian milfoil with interspersed hydrilla, tape grass, and small amounts

of several other native species persist in the central, south central, southwestern, and

northwestern sections of Kings Bay (Frazer and Hale 2001). However, almost all interview

informants indicate that these macrophyte communities are increasingly impacted by the effects

of intensive manatee grazing throughout the winter and smothering associated with ecosystem-

wide blooms of L. wollei in the spring and summer.

Factors Related to Lynzgbya wollei Dominance

The underlying factors that resulted in the establishment and persistence of the L. wollei

community currently observed throughout many areas of Kings Bay are not well understood.

While some state agencies suggest that L. wollei is an invasive nonnative species that was

introduced into Kings Bay in the early 1980s (SWFWMD 2004), very little evidence to support

this claim, aside from the invasive behavior exhibited by L. wollei, currently exists. Whitford's

(1956) work in which five specific Lyngbya strains and a general category of undifferentiated

Lyngbya sp. were identified within Florida springs ecosystems, including Kings Bay/Crystal

River, indicates that L. wollei is more likely an indigenous cyanobacteria species that has




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1 ALGAE, EXOTICS, AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSE IN TWO FLORIDA SPRINGS: COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE IN A TIME OF NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT By JASON MICHAEL EVANS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 Copyright 2007 by Jason M. Evans

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3 In memory of Ralph Frank Ashodian (1950 to 2006), beloved mentor and friend.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are many people who made this dissertati on possible. First of al l, I sincerely thank all of my committee members for the unique insi ghts and contributions they provided throughout the dissertation process, as well as my overall academic career at the Un iversity of Florida. Former committee member Dr. Clyde Kiker help ed get me through the proposal process through long, entertaining conversations about interdisciplinary issu es. Dr. Mark Brown provided rigorous courses and excellent mentoring on systems ecology, geographic information systems, and ecological engineering, while also helpi ng me get over ecological bigotry. Dr. Richard Hamann prodded me to join the Conservation Cl inics springshed protection project, which, along with his bonfire parties, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my graduate career. Dr. Richard Haynes served as my advisor throughout my masters thesis project, provided me with the opportunity to work as a graduate teaching assistant in two courses, and, perhaps most rewardingly, has served as my mentor for gard ening in the Paynes Prai rie corridor. Dr. Annie Wilkie, my committee cochair, helped me appreci ate the wonders of aquatic plants, develop a deeper appreciation for the many facets of sust ainability through the BEST society, and get on with the business of writing. Dr. Jeff Burkhardt, my committee chair, gave me the freedom of intellectual and philosophical e xploration, while also patiently reining me in to produce something that, hopefully, turned out to be somewhat coherent. While not on my committee, Conservation Clinic Director Dr. Tom Ankersen played a key role in this dissertation by, among other things, introducing me to the Crystal River area. Next, I thank all of the stakeholders who par ticipated in this research, whose commitment to protecting springs ecosystems is truly an insp iration. Without their gracious help and time, this dissertation certainly would not have been possible.

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5 I also thank Julie Morris, Jono Miller, and He idi Harley for giving me the opportunity to work as an adjunct professor and environmenta l consultant at New Co llege of Florida during much of my Ph.D. candidacy pe riod. Not only was the experience invaluable in itself, the opportunity to present so me of my preliminary dissertation results to students helped the dissertation evolve in new directions. My parents and other family have provided great love and support throughout my long collegiate career. In particular my wife, Sharon, has selflessly helped support me throughout most of my graduate career. Her love and patience throughout this process are something that I appreciate greatly, and will ne ver forget through the rest of our lives.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........8 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........9 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................... ...12 Floridas Springs.............................................................................................................. .......12 Conservation and Protection Efforts.......................................................................................13 Florida Springs Task Force.............................................................................................13 Water Quality Working Groups......................................................................................14 Model Land Use Codes...................................................................................................15 Other Regulatory Efforts.................................................................................................16 Research Problem............................................................................................................... ....18 2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK...........................................................................................22 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........22 Objectives..................................................................................................................... ..........22 Participatory Research......................................................................................................... ...24 Typologies of Participation.............................................................................................25 Participatory Methods.....................................................................................................29 Problematizing Participation...........................................................................................35 Confronting Wicked Problems........................................................................................39 Systems Ecology................................................................................................................ .....40 Analytic Scales................................................................................................................ 41 Multi-scalar Narratives....................................................................................................42 Adaptive Management............................................................................................................ 44 3 ICHETUCKNEE RIVER.......................................................................................................49 Site Description............................................................................................................... .......49 Socio-Ecological Background................................................................................................51 Pre-History.................................................................................................................... ..51 Spanish Invasion (1539 to 1708).....................................................................................52 Seminole Period (1708 to 1845)......................................................................................52 American Settlement and Development (1845 to 1940).................................................53 Early Socio-Ecological Accounts (1940 to 1960)...........................................................54 Mass Recreation (1960 to 1980)......................................................................................55

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7 Ecological Recovery (1980 to 1990)...............................................................................56 Water Quality Concerns and Springshed Research................................................................57 Uncertain Science: Nitrate-Nitrogen and Algae Response in Springs Ecosystems...............59 Water Lettuce Eradication...................................................................................................... 64 Observed Ecosystem Response.......................................................................................66 Systems Model................................................................................................................69 Stakeholder Responses.......................................................................................................... .70 Adaptive Learning and In stitutional Rigidity.........................................................................73 Management Experimentation: Moving beyond All or Nothing............................................77 4 KINGS BAY/CRYSTAL RIVER..........................................................................................86 Site Description............................................................................................................... .......86 Watershed Context.............................................................................................................. ....88 Participatory Methods.......................................................................................................... ...91 History of Nuisance Aquatic Pl ants in Kings Bay: 1950 to 2005..........................................94 Factors Related to Lyngbya wollei Dominance....................................................................100 Current Restoration and Management Strategies.................................................................104 SWIM Plan....................................................................................................................10 5 Kings Bay Aquatic Plant Management Plan.................................................................106 Maintenance Control vs. Adaptive Management.................................................................108 Adaptive Restoration Opportunities Provi ded by Four Notorious Macrophytes.................111 Hydrilla....................................................................................................................... ...111 Water Hyacinth..............................................................................................................114 Eurasian Milfoil.............................................................................................................11 9 Water Lettuce................................................................................................................12 0 Recommendation: Participatory and Adap tive Management of Aquatic Plants..................121 5 CONCLUSION................................................................................................................. ....130 Research Summary............................................................................................................... 130 Objectives..................................................................................................................... .130 Research Questions.......................................................................................................133 Beyond Ideology in Aquatic Plant Management..................................................................134 Invasion Biology and Ecological Restoration...............................................................135 Alternative Stability Domains.......................................................................................138 Defining Harm...............................................................................................................140 Final Thoughts...............................................................................................................14 3 APPENDIX....................................................................................................................... ...........147 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. 149 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................168

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8 TABLE Table page 3-1 T-test comparison of Ichetucknee River nitrate levels 1985-1998 vs. 2001-2006..........84

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1. Map of Ichetucknee River and Springs.................................................................................80 3-2. Time series photographs of Devils Eye Spring A) 1987 B) 1989 C) 1993 D) December 2000 E) May 2001.............................................................................................................81 3-3. Map of water lettuce removal at ISSP....................................................................................82 3-4. Ichetucknee Spring s nitrate: 1966 2006..............................................................................83 3-5. Ichetucknee Spring s nitrate: 1985-2006.................................................................................83 3-6. Ichetucknee Spring s nitrate: 2001 2006..............................................................................84 3-7. Systems model of water lettuce and algae competition at Ichetucknee River........................85 4-1. Map of Kings Bay/Crystal River..........................................................................................124 4-2. West Indian manatees in Kings Bay, May 2006..................................................................125 4-3. Lyngbya wollei in Kings Bay, May 2005.............................................................................125 4-4. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1944.................................................................................126 4-5. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1960.................................................................................126 4-6. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1974.................................................................................127 4-7. Kings Bay total nitrogen and total phosphorus, 1989-2002.................................................127 4-8. Harvester in Kings Bay, May 2006......................................................................................128 4-9. Contents of harvester in Kings Bay, May 2006....................................................................128 4-10. Tape grass and Lyngbya wollei after harvester pass in Kings Bay, May 2006..................129

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10 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ALGAE, EXOTICS, AND MANAGEMENT RESPONSE IN TWO FLORIDA SPRINGS: COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE IN A TIME OF NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT By Jason Michael Evans May 2007 Chair: Robert J. Burkhardt Cochair: Ann C. Wilkie Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology Interdisciplinary methods based upon principles of participatory act ion research, systems ecology, and adaptive management were used to create multi-scalar narratives of ecological changes associated with nutrient enrichment in two Florida springs ecosystems: Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River. Review of scientific literature presentation of historic water quality data, qualitative interviews with stakeholders, and iterative public engagements with stakeholders about ecosystem management policy are integrated in both of the case studies. Patterns of management pathology, or the tendency of management instituti ons to rigidly adhere to policies that are inappropriate for the mainte nance of desired socio-eco logical values in the face of emergent environmental changes, were identified at both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River in relation to ecosystem management policies narrowly based upon the minimization of nonnative plant species. While management of nonnative plants generally is based upon the laudable goal of maintaining nati ve biodiversity and ecological function, a holistic consideration of histor ical ecology, scientific litera ture, and stake holder accounts indicates that emergent conditi ons associated with nutrient enrichment and other contaminant factors may make aquatic plant management prac tices an important catalyst in shifting springs

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11 ecosystems towards an undesirable stability dom ain characterized by dominance of filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Adaptive management experimentation based upon growth and optimum harvest of nonnative plants, particularly water lettuce in Ichetucknee River and water hyacinth in Kings Bay, is recomm ended as a potential means of facilitating recovery of more desirable stability domains.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Floridas Springs The artesian springs of Flor ida are among the worlds most unique and treasured natural resources. These aquatic ecosystems are known to have served as centers of human culture in Florida for thousands of years, with images su ch as the Fountain of Y outh and biblical Eden commonly used throughout historical times to desc ribe the crystal clear wa ter of springs and the beauty of their surrounding lands capes (Scott et al. 2004). Today Floridas springs continue to serve as beloved oases that prov ide natural respite from the states summer heat, critical habitat for unique ecological associations, and important windows into the states main drinking water source the Floridan aquifer (Flo rida Springs Task Force 2000). Like many of Floridas ecosystems, alarming ch anges are being observed in the ecological condition of springs throughout the state. The most common problems include decreased spring discharge due to groundwater pumping for huma n usage, contamination of groundwater by human land use activities, seve re ecological shifts characte rized by increased growth of undesirable plant and algae species, and physical impacts associated with recreational activities (Florida Springs Task Force 2000). Concern associat ed with such issues has come from a wide variety of citizen stakeholders and public offi cials, with some scientists and policy-makers suggesting that issues related to springs and groundwater conser vation may become as prominent (and difficult) for Florida in the 21st century as Everglades protect ion and restoration became in the latter half of the 20th century. Given the vast ecological co sts associated with years of policy and management failures in the Everglades (Light et al. 1995) and the huge economic costs, uncertainties, and controversies now associ ated with implementing the Comprehensive

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13 Everglades Restoration Program it is hoped that effective conservation and management strategies will help av ert a similar socio-ecological traj ectory for springs and groundwater. Conservation and Protection Efforts Several programs specifically dedicated to th e conservation and protec tion of springs have been initiated by government agen cies in recent years. Some of the more notable programs include 1) the formation of a statewide Florida Springs Task Force that collects information, funds research, and advocates for the protection of springs statewide; 2) the establishment of several local water quality working groups that collect information, facilitate collaboration, and advocate for the better protection of indi vidual springs systems and their associated groundwater basins, or springshe ds, on the local scale; and 3) the development of model springshed protection land use code s that local governments may in corporate within their growth management plans. Florida Springs Task Force In 1999, the Florida Department of Environm ental Protection (DEP) formed the Florida Springs Task Force as a multi-agency entity charged with recommending strategies for the protection and restoration of Florida's springs (DEP 2007b). An initial report produced by the Florida Springs Task Force (2000) has served as the primary foundation for springs protection and restoration over subsequent years. The two major strategies suggest ed by the report for fostering and promoting springs protection ar e education of the public and formation of collaborative springshed working groups, with th e hope being that appr eciation of Floridas springs will bring about cooperation and volun tary compliance with springshed protection efforts (Florida Springs Task Force 2000, 22). Examples of f unded education efforts include production of videos, outreach to public schools and local governments, and placement of signs along highways to denote springshed capture ar eas. Significant research related to springs

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14 hydrogeology and identifying groundwater contamin ant sources has been performed through the auspices of the Florida Springs Task Force a nd other government agency programs (e.g., Jones et al. 1996; Katz et al. 1999; Champion and Starks 2001; Butt and Murphy 2003). Knowledge developed through these studies has been criti cal for identifying ways in which current regulatory programs might be modi fied and/or strengthened to be tter protect water quality in springs. Water Quality Working Groups Formation of water quality working groups is promoted by the Florida Springs Task Force (2000) as a means of expanding upon the educationa l and research missions of springs protection on a local basis. Working groups have been fo rmed for several large springs groups, including Wakulla Springs, Silver Springs, Ichetuckn ee Springs, and the lowe r Santa Fe Springs. Participants in the working group process typi cally include representa tives from government agencies, the local agricultural community, business groups, environmental organizations, university researchers, and other members of the genera l public concerned about springs ecosystems. Working group meetings generally are held on a quarterly or bi-annual basis, with the stated intention of facilitating a vigorous collaborative process for identification and resolution of spring problems through discussion of research findings creation of outreach strategies, and making plans for meeting additional research and outreach needs (Florida Springs Task Force 2000, 24-25). The ideal behind such a co llaborative approach is to build upon local and scientific knowledge to develop appropria te conservation goals, create research and volunteer networks that can mon itor progress towards conservation goals, and maintain a visible political presence that helps to ensure the consis tent pursuit of spring protection into the future.

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15 Model Land Use Codes Soon after the release of the Florida Springs Task Force report, an advisory committee composed of representatives from several st ate agencies, local governments, business groups, and environmental organizations was formed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and DEP. The deliberations and recomme ndations of this committee were used to produce a planning manual that recommends a series of land use policies and practices that can be used by local governments, industries, and the ge neral public to further the goal of protecting water quality in springs ecosystems through the pr ocess of local comprehensive planning (DCA and DEP 2002). Comprehensive planning is the general framework under which local governments in Florida regulate growth and devel opment in their communities, and the statutory rubric of this process gives local communities the power to articulate a vision of the future physical appearance and qualities of its commun ity using a collaborative planning process (Florida Statutes 2006a). Due to both the br oad powers of local government to regulate development and the impact that development can have on the water qual ity of nearby springs, the manual suggests that local comprehensive pl anning represents one of the most powerful instruments for developing long-terms springs protection strategies. General guidelines as to how human impacts on springsheds can be mitigated through site selection and development design are given in the planning manual, as are more specific best management practices (BMPs) for large land usages that can be associated with large nutrient loadings, such as golf courses, silviculture, and agriculture (DCA and DEP 2002). In addition, it is suggested that local governments can utili ze hydrogeologic informa tion to create planning maps that designate appropriate land uses ba sed upon the risks of gr oundwater contamination associated with geologic formations and conn ections with springs. Under these guidelines, highly vulnerable areas geographica lly near and/or with direct hydrogeologic connections to

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16 springs would be designated as primary protect ion zones. Low intensity land usages such as conservation land, open space, unimproved rangela nd, and long rotation silviculture would be considered appropriate for these primary protect ion zones. Secondary protection zones would be established for those areas not as vulnerable as primary zones, but that are still important to protect due to their function as treatment zone s for water moving toward the spring from more intensive land usages. Higher intensity silviculture rangelands, low density rural residential, and any of the primary protection land usages are c onsidered appropriate for secondary protection zones. Tertiary zones appropr iate for more intensive land usages such as high density residential, intensive agriculture, mining, heavy commercial, and golf course would be established for all areas that do not pose a high risk of contaminating springs. While the development and implementation of such planni ng regulations currently are at the complete discretion of local jurisdictions, some commun ities near popular springs have recently begun to adopt some of the recommended planning principles (DEP 2005). Other Regulatory Efforts One of the major regulatory impediments to springs conservation is the use of drinking water quality criteria in the establishment of permitting standards for municipal and agricultural wastewater discharged into groundwater (Evans 2004). Direct discharges of municipal and agricultural wastewater into surface water are di scouraged by DEP as a matter of explicit public policy (DEP 2007d). Advanced wastewater treatment with minimum standards of 3 mg/L of Total Nitrogen (TN) and 1 mg/L of Total Phosph orus (TP) typically is required of municipal facilities that do discharge into stat e waters (Florida Statutes 2006c). However, municipal wastewater facilities that discharge into gr oundwater typically only ar e required to meet a secondary treatment standard of 10 mg/L for TN (Florida Administrati ve Code 1993) and not result in violations of the 10 mg/L drinking wa ter standard for nitrate-nitrogen within the

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17 groundwater (DEP 2007c). In addition, large anim al feeding operations are regulated by DEP through its industrial wastewater program. Recei pt of an industrial wastewater permit is contingent upon determination by DEP that discha rges will not adversel y affect flora, fauna, and/or beneficial uses or result in drinking wa ter violations in the r eceiving water body (Florida Administrative Code 2005). In practice, adverse ecological changes in surface waters occur at nutrient levels well below numeric drinking water quality standards,1 and nutrient management plans designed to prevent such adverse eff ects are required of fac ilities that discharge agricultural wastewater into state water bodi es (Florida Administrative Code 2005). These discrepancies between surface water permitting standards based upon ecological criteria and groundwater permitting standards base d upon less stringent human health criteria likely have had the effect of spurring preferential construction of facilities designed to discharge wastewater directly into groundwater, incl uding springshed areas (Evans 2004). The straightforward economic rationale for choosing groundwater discharge in such a regulatory environment is that secondary treatment is signi ficantly less expensive to achieve than advanced treatment. However, studies increasingly sugge st that permitted wastewater discharges from municipal and agricultural sources may be a significant source of nitrate-nitrogen loading to springs ecosystems such as the Wakulla Rive r, Ichetucknee River (Ritchie 2006), and Wekiva River (DEP 2004a). The process of groundwater di scharges eventually a ffecting surface water resources fed by groundwater, such as springs ec osystems, was not anticipated when current 1 A serious problem with the overall regulatory system is the utilization of drinking water standards designed to protect human health as the default water quality standard for water bodies that have primary ecological usages. For example, Florida establishes no explic it numeric standard for nitrate in Cla ss III surface water resources used for boating, swimming, and fishing, but does state that nutrients must not cause an imbalance in natural populations of aquatic flora or fauna (Florida Administrative Code 2006). Numeric standards for individual water bodies generally are established as a mitigation tool after a water body is de emed impaired, in the sense that an imbalance of flora and fauna as a result of nutrient loading is documented Establishment of numeric criteria for nutrients as a preemptive means of avoiding impairment, while undoubtedly complex, clearly is needed if prevention of impairment is a primary goal of clean water regulations.

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18 regulatory frameworks were crafted (Evans 2004) To address such concerns, the DEP has engaged in a thorough review of how groundwat er quality permitting standards might be modified for springsheds impacted by wastewat er (DEP 2004a), and has also helped broker agreements and secure financing for upgrades to advanced treatment for wastewater facilities that discharge into springshed areas (DEP 2006) Additional measures such as the aggressive development of BMPs for farmers within springsh eds and, in some cases, establishment of total maximum daily loadings (TMDLs) are being pursued for the purpose of reducing nutrient loadings into groundwater from all sources, in cluding wastewater, agriculture, and urban stormwater (DEP 2007a). Research Problem While these education, regulatory, and planni ng efforts undoubtedly represent an important step in springs conservation, li ttle research attention, however has been given to the socioecological complexities associated with managi ng and/or restoring springs ecosystems through a time of long-term nutrient enrichment. The rationa le for such an ecosystem management concern is fairly straightforward. Even if it is assume d that current conservation strategies are highly successful in reducing the loading of contaminants (such as nitrate-nitrogen) into springsheds, groundwater monitoring and hydrogeol ogical research both indicate that extant contamination is likely to take several decades to flush through springs ecosystems (Jones et al. 1996; Katz et al. 1999; Champion and Starks 2001; Cowell and Dawes 2004). Consequently, the grim prognosis is that, despite ongoing conservation efforts, water qu ality is likely to continue declining in many springs ecosyst ems for at least the next two or three decades a condition with profound and far-reaching imp lications that current mana gement practices and policy discussions have yet to reckon with in any holistic manner.

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19 The primary objective of this dissertation resear ch was to directly engage this major gap through case studies of two popular springs ecosystems that ar e both affected by groundwater contamination and have active cooperative re storation programs based upon the working group model: Ichetucknee Springs and Kings Bay/Crysta l River. Interdisciplinary methods based upon principles of participatory action research, sy stems ecology, and adaptive management were used to create multi-scalar narratives that discu ss ecological changes associated with nutrient enrichment in both of these ecosystems, as we ll as the ongoing management responses to these changes. Review of scientific literature about springs and othe r aquatic ecosystems, presentation of historic water quality data, qualitative interviews with stake holders and ecosystem managers, and iterative public engagements with stakehol ders and ecosystem managers about ecosystem management policy are integrated with in both of the case study narratives. What emerges from this broad approach is the identification of what recent natural resource theorists have deemed management pathologies (Holling 1995; Gunderson et al. 2006). Management pathologies have their origin in management in stitutions rigidly adhering to policies that are inappropriate for the maintenan ce of desired socio-ecological values in the face of emergent environmental changes. A typical result of such static management is the precipitation of a complex and nonlinear shift in ec ological function and structure, which often is expressed as the sudden collapse of the socioecological values that management policies originally were designed to protect (Holli ng 1995). The shifts in ecological conditions represented by the sudden collapse are generally referred to as a lternative stable states or stability domains. Sudden switches in stability domain, particularly in aquatic ecosystems, have proven extremely difficult to reverse th rough traditional management, conservation, and restoration approaches (Sche ffer et al. 1993; Gunderson 1999).

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20 Patterns of management pathology were iden tified at both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River in relati on to ecosystem management policies narrowly based upon the minimization of nonnative plant species. While management of nonnative plants generally is based upon the laudable goal of maintaining nati ve biodiversity and ecological function, a holistic consideration of histor ical ecology, scientific litera ture, and stake holder accounts indicates that emergent conditi ons associated with nutrient enrichment and other contaminant factors may make traditional aquatic plant manageme nt practices an important catalyst in shifting springs ecosystems towards an undesirable st ability domain characterized by dominance of filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Following and expanding upon a recent philoso phical argument made by Sagoff (2005), it is argued that the a priori attribution of ecological harm to targeted nonnative plants is a primary factor driving the observed management patholog ies, in regard to both moral and scientific discourse. In terms of moral discourse, it was found that key institutional actors tend to conflate the socio-moral attribution of harm into a tec hnocratic conception of established scientific knowledge, with this conflation then used as a basis for di scouraging open reflection, public debate, and/or experimental modifica tion of current management policies.2 As a result, novel assessments of ecosystem conditions and management activities become stunted at an a priori level, to the detriment of both the advancemen t of scientific knowle dge and the creation of 2 Put another way, the harmfulness of nonnative species is thus mistakenly defined as an undisputable scientific fact, rather than as a highly disputab le socio-moral claim about what constitutes harm. Following Norton (2005) and other pragmatist philosophers of science, the distinction between facts and values implied here can, however, also be called into question. Through a pragmatist conception of trut h, there ultimately are no undisputed f acts. Rather, there are good arguments and ba d arguments that can be used in support of claims, and it is based upon the strength of these arguments whether moral, scientific, or both th at provisional claims of truth emerge. However, all truth claims, including scientific ones, ar e always open for dispute, modification, and/or refutation through the development of strong alternative arguments. The irony of the conflation being described here is that a neopositivistic truth claim, which typically justifies its pr imacy based upon the assumed reliability of knowledge established through scientific discourse, is actually, in th is case, predicated on what appears to be a tautological moral position of defining the presence of nonnative species as an inhere nt form of ecological harm (Sagoff 2005).

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21 adaptive socio-ecological techniques that could be used to confront surprises posed by emergent environmental conditions. For both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay, a likel y implication of maintaining such a rigid management framework towards nonnative species during this time of nutrient enrichment is a continued shift towards stability domains characterized by increasing coverage of filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Qualitative research perf ormed in both of these ecosystems indicates that many stakeholders currently regard such a sh ift in stability domain to be more harmful than increased coverage of nonnative plants. Increas ed monitoring, holistic evaluation of existing aquatic plant control programs, and adaptive ma nagement experiments to better understand the functional effects of alternative aquatic plant approaches are suggested for both ecosystems.

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22 CHAPTER 2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Introduction An increasing amount of natura l resource management and soci al scientist theorists argue that broad, interdisciplinary frameworks pr ovide a means through which the many different factors relevant to complex environmental problems can be methodol ogically explored, effectively integrated, and coherently analyzed (Gunderson et al. 1995; Fi scher 2000; Allen et al. 2003; Norton 2005). Such an integration of pers pectives from both th e natural and social sciences helps bring focus onto the complex wa ys in which human culture interfaces with nonhuman nature, thereby overcoming artificially sharp distincti ons, both epistemological and ontological, that often are made between the real ms of nature and society (Sneddon et al. 2002). Objectives Floridas springs ecosystems provide a clear oppor tunity for such interd isciplinary research due to the wide range of geological, ecological, legal, political, and sociomoral issues associated with their long-term management and conservati on. Based upon this general premise, six specific methodological and analytic obj ectives were established for this dissertation research: 1. To participate actively in two collaborati ve conservation groups: the Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality Working Group and the Kings Bay Water Quality Subcommittee. 2. To represent the targeted na tural systems through basic maps and textual descriptions. 3. To outline the conservation problems facing the natural systems as typically defined in public discourse. 4. To describe past and present ecosystem management actions taken by management agencies within each of the case study systems.

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23 5. To evaluate how conserva tion problems are being appr oached through ecosystem management and policy. 6. To make specific research recommendations for facilitating adaptive management in each of the case study systems. The following research questions were then derived from these objectives: 1. Are the principles of adaptive management being utilized in the conservation and management efforts within each of the case study springs? a. What, if any, management practices may be inadvertently catalyzing observed degradation in the natural systems? b. How open are managers and stakeholders to new hypotheses about the behavior of the natural systems? 2. What research and policy priorities can be identified for facilitating the emergence of adaptive learning? a. What gaps in current research and monitoring efforts can be identified? The conceptual framework utilized for concei ving and addressing these research questions is based upon three complement ary foundations: the methodological principles of participatory research, the analytic theories of systems ecology, and the normative criteria of adaptive management. It was recognized from the outset of this project that th e stated objectives are complicated in scope, fraught with a number of epistemological perils, and unable to address completely the many different geologic, ecologic, legal, and socio-political factors that may be relevant to springs protection. However, such difficulties are commonly associated with interdisciplinary research on complex environm ental problems that cover multiple temporal, spatial, and epistemic scales. Following Sneddon et al. (2002, 666), an integrative approach was

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24 adopted as a means for better understanding the interplay between, on the one hand, physical and ecological processes operating at certain scales and, on the ot her social processes that may be constructed according to an entirely different scalar logic. In this chapter, detailed explanations of the theoretical constructs underlying this conceptual framework are developed. First, prin ciples of participatory research are described, problematized, and justified as an appropr iate primary methodological approach for understanding and confronting wicked problems that resist straightforward solutions based upon existing ecosystem management paradigms (F ischer 2000). Second, principles of systems ecology are presented as a holistic means by wh ich information gathered from disparate epistemological sources can be integrated into multi-scalar models and narratives, thereby avoiding the traps of both crude reductionism and crude relativism. Th ird, it is argued that principles of adaptive management, particular ly as expounded by C.S. Holling, L.H. Gunderson, and in a recent philosophical work by Bryan Norton (2005), provide clear epistemological, discursive, and normative criteria by which eco system management can be both judged and guided. Participatory Research Participatory research has been described as research that goes beyond an effort to come up with research findings through a conscious a ttempt to provide communities with information that is directly relevant to the problems that they face (Fis cher 2000, 180). While there currently are a variety of competing school s and conceptions bundled under th e general term participatory research (Berardi 2002), a unify ing thread is that it offers an alternative to top-down approaches, particularly those carried out within centralized bureaucracies, that tend to privilege expertise from natura l resource sciences and economics over local knowledge (Ferreyra 2006, 577). It is generally argued that such an alternative is needed because the complex, value-

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25 laden, and particularized natures of socio-ecologi cal systems make traditional forms of scientific expertise an insufficient albeit useful and necessary basis for making many natural resource management decisions (Sneddon et al. 2002; No rton 2005). Participatory research is thus fundamentally based upon both understanding and empowering local ecological knowledge, which can be defined as the informal forms of experiential knowledge and narrative accounts developed by members of a community through long-term utilization an d/or observation of a given natural resource. As such, the typical participatory research project is characterized by a bottom up engagement with community members, who are viewed as co-equal partners in identifying, defining, and attempting to iteratively solve co mplex socio-ecological problems (Berardi 2002). As described by Fischer (2000, 179), the ongoing dialogue between researcher and the community creates a dialectical tension betw een formal academic knowledge and the popular knowledge of ordinary citizens, which can then be used to enrich th e standard quantitative analyses of efficient means to given ends with a qualitative discussion of the ends themselves. In other words, participatory research helps pr ovide alternative perspectives on the management techniques employed to achieve established goals, while also giving a holistic means by which evolving opinions about what goa ls should be pursued can be iteratively discussed. Such an approach often implies interaction of divers e methodologies from fields such as geography, anthropology, sociology, philosophy of science, and environmenta l science, with the overall purpose being an integration of informal local knowledge into the form al processes of both analytic research and policy-development. Typologies of Participation In recent years, there has been an accelerat ing trend towards approaches that outwardly encourage public participation in ecosystem management and re search, particularly through the

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26 creation of cooperative waters hed initiatives that utilize communication among stakeholder groups as a key tool for gathering information and managing aquatic ecosystems on a watershed basis (Briassoulis 1989; Norton 2005; Ferreyra 2006). Many cooperative wa tershed initiatives originally arose on a gra ssroots level through coalitions of en vironmental organizations and other community activists unsatisfied with the progress of agency bureaucracies in solving issues such as dwindling water supply, dete riorating water quality, and pres ervation of local landscapes (Wescoat and White 2003). However, agency bureau cracies themselves have also increasingly moved to create collaborative forums, such as watershed working groups, in which a key stated goal is participation among a wide range of stak eholders for the development of more robust ecosystem management plans. Springshed wo rking groups in Florida are examples of collaborative watershed initiatives that are es tablished and institutionally coordinated through government agencies. One result of the increasing utilization of th e collaborative watershed approach has been the buzzword, hence often equivocal, usage of terms such as collaborative, participation, and participatory to describe ecosystem resear ch and management activities. Critics argue that, in some cases, creation of a collaborative wate rshed group and/or labeling of an ecosystem management process as participatory may be little more than a formal statutory requirement, a public relations attempt, or even a cooptation tactic that masks a bureaucracys continued use of traditional expert-based research models and ce ntralized decision-making structures (Sneddon et al. 2002). In other cases, however the turn towards collaborativ e and participatory approaches may, in fact, produce a reworking of power rela tions between the wider stakeholder community and bureaucracies, which is actual ized through the direct utilizat ion of local knowledge in the

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27 production of future expert knowledge and eval uation of management techniques (Berkes and Folke 1998; Fischer 2000). Berardi (2002) helps to clarify these defin itional issues by giving five typologies to describe different ways in which the term partic ipation is currently used, both in terms of the institutional framework in whic h a collaborative watershed group is organized as well as the principles under which local knowledge is employe d within the ecosystem management context. First, manipulative participation is defined as an extreme situ ation in which participation is used primarily as a pretense for manipulati ng or confusing the public with respect to a controversial issue. Second, participation by co nsultation is defined as a condition, commonly encountered within the context of regulatory and/or permitting deliberations, in which citizens are consulted and questions are answered by offici als, but there is no obli gation to accept and/or act upon public comment. Third, functional participa tion is used to desc ribe those situations where participation is seen by agencies as a m eans of achieving pre-determined, but generally non-controversial, goals at reduced cost, of ten through the use of volunteer labor. Fourth, interactive participation describes situations in which local citizen intimately participate in research, development, analysis, and implementa tion of management plans. The fifth typology is self-mobilization, or a condition in which pa rticipation and/or formation of collaborative frameworks is initiated from a grass roots level that is independent of government bureaucracies. While the buzzword process has to some extent muddied the waters of what is meant by participatory research, academic researchers have tended to bring confusion from another direction: overly pedantic distinctions and arguments about what constitutes authentic participatory research. The wide array of acronym s used for approaches such as participatory rural appraisal and participatory rural assessmen t (PRA), participatory action research (PAR),

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28 participatory learning and action (PLA), rapid rural appraisal ( RRA), grass roots environmental management (GREM), participatory forest resour ce assessment (PFRA), participatory analysis and learning methods (PALM), and participan t observation research (POR) underscores the diversity of participatory appr oaches being employed by differe nt researchers and research teams. Although each research methodology has some differences that may be more appropriate for specific situations, Berardi (2002) notes that there has been an unfortunate tendency among some practitioners to turn a style of resear ch originally focused on empowering community change into a technical academic problem char acterized by debates about who is really doing participatory research, or what is the proper brand descripti on of a participatory research project (Argyris and Schon 1989; Bellamy et al. 1999). Chambers (1997), however, sidesteps such academic squabbles by arguing that participatory research ultimately is charac terized by the underlying attitude of engaging community stakeholders in the production and utilization of knowledge rather than through strict, ideological adherence to a given set of favored methods. Development of a relaxed rapport with community members through participation in local activities a nd workshops, conducting conversational interviews with key informants, us e of triangulation in which observations are confirmed from multiple perspectives, and assist ing community members w ith the translation of local knowledge into forms relevant for utilizat ion within the manageme nt policy and research context are cited as key features common to a ll participatory research approaches (Chambers 1997; Fischer 2000; Berardi 2002; Ferreyra 2006). A ge neral use of such guidelines, not strict adherence to any of the acronym approaches, was employed in both the Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River case studies.

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29 Participatory Methods Participatory research for this dissertation wa s conducted by engaging with stakeholders in three collaborative conservati on groups: the Ichetucknee Spri ngs Water Quality Working Group (ISWG), the Kings Bay Water Quality Subcommittee (KBWQS), and the Kings Bay Working Group (KBWG). While the term stakeholder is so metimes used to describe non-scientist, nonagency, or other non-expert participants w ithin a collaborative c onservation process, a stakeholder is more broadly defined in this dissertation to include all those who attended meetings of the collaborative conservation gr oups, including research scientists, agency scientists, and other gove rnment officials. The ISWG is a stakeholder discussion group established in 1995 and funded through the DEP. The major goals of the ISWG are to in tegrate knowledge about the Ichetucknee River, educate the public about threats to the rivers water quality, a nd promote polices and voluntary adoption of land use practices that can increase protection of water qua lity in the Ichetucknee springshed. It includes represen tatives from environmental groups, agriculture and business interests, all government agencies with juri sdiction in the Ichetucknee springshed, elected officials, and other interested citizens. In 2005 and 2006, the ISWG met three times a year. I attended at least some part of meetings held on February 15, 2005; May 24, 2005; October 11, 2005; February 8, 2006; and October 11, 2006. Due to a scheduling conflict, I did not attend a meeting held on May 10, 2006. The KBWQS is a stakeholder discussion group th at advises the City of Crystal River on policies related to improving water quality in Kings Bay, and is funded through grants provided by the Waterfronts Florida Partnership of the DC A. Meetings were held monthly or, in some cases, every other month. I attended ten meeti ngs of the KBWQS from November 2004 through March 2006: November 16, 2004; February 15, 2005; March 15, 2005; April 19, 2005; May 17,

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30 2005; June 21, 2005; July 19, 2005; November 15, 2005; January 26, 2006; and March 15, 2006. Core members of the KBWQS included a lead facili tator, a home builder, a restaurant owner, a commercial fisher, a waterfront homeowner, a re tired scientist from a federal environmental agency, and two local vendors who cater to waterbased tourism. Several meetings were attended by one or more members of the Crystal Rive r City Council, and two meetings included presentations by representatives from government agencies with regulatory and management jurisdiction over the Kings Bay water body. Stak eholder attendance, including myself, ranged from four to sixteen at the mee tings in which I was present. I gave a presentation about issues associated with adopting a local fertilizer ordinance to the KB WQS on November 16, 2004, which I gave as part of a course project. I also gave a presentation showing examples of water hyacinth phytoremediation and ut ilization to the KBWQS on Ja nuary 26, 2006. By invitation of the city manager, I gave a presentation about my work with the KBWQS a nd a review of recent water hyacinth phytoremediation and utilization to the Crystal River City Council on June 26, 2006. The KBWG is a stakeholder discussion group facilitated by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The major purposes of the KBWG are to integrate scientific knowledge about Kings Bay, educate the public about voluntary actions that can be taken to improve water quality, and achieve greater coordination betw een government agencies with management jurisdiction over the water body. I attended KBWG meetings held on July 25, 2005; November 10, 2005; March 16, 2006; September 19, 2006; N ovember 30, 2006; and March 7, 2007. I gave a presentation about water hyacinth phytoremedia tion, utilization, and aquatic plant management in Kings Bay to the KBWG at the meeting on November 10, 2005. I also ga ve a presentation to the KBWG on November 30, 2006 about stormw ater GIS mapping and landscaping outreach

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31 work that I conducted in Sarasota over 20052006 through partnership with New College of Florida, with a focus on benefits that a similar project might have for Kings Bay/Cr ystal River. Experiential knowledge formed through attendance at public meetings was used as a basis for conversational interviews with key info rmants among stakeholders in both case study ecosystems. The conduct of this interview rese arch was based upon a protocol approved by the University of Floridas Institutional Review Bo ard in April 2005. Key informants typically are defined in qualitative research as those peopl e who have intimate knowle dge of the topic of concern (i.e., conservation of the springs ecosystems), including holders of both informal local knowledge and formal scientific knowledge (R oss et al. 1999). The key informants were identified through snowball and opportunist ic techniques, which commonly are used in qualitative research for the purpose of locating members of the public lik ely to have a greater knowledge of the topic of intere st than the general public at large (Miles and Huberman 1994). The snowball technique employed entailed solic iting nominations of knowledgeable individuals from the lead facilitators of the ISWG and th e KBWQS. Nominated indivi duals who participated in the research then were asked for names of ot her knowledgeable individual s, with this process repeated until at least 20 interviews were conduc ted. The opportunistic approach was used to identify new key informants, particularly research and agency scientists met in public meetings, not captured through the nomi nating process. After potential interview informants were identified through e ither the snowball or opportunistic approach, they were contacted by phone and/or e-ma il and asked if they would be willing to be interviewed for the purpose of dissertation research about the case study ecosystem. If the potential informant agreed to be inte rviewed, a time and place was agreed upon for the interview. Upon meeting the informant at the ag reed upon time and place, a brief explanation of

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32 the interview process was given. All informants th en read and signed an informed consent form, a copy of which is contained as an appendix in this dissertation. Field notes were taken during all interviews, and a cassette tape recorder was used to record interviews of those who agreed to be taped. Under the terms of the research protocol all interview informants are kept strictly anonymous in this dissertation. The interview process utilized an open-e nded, conversational a pproach to solicit perceptions and information about conservation issues within the respective case study spring system. All informants in both case studies were asked the following ten questions: 1. Please describe your career. 2. If you work for a government agency, please indicate your job title and the agency for which you work. 3. Approximately what year did you first visit the spring system? 4. How close do you live to the spring system? 5. How often do you visit the spring system? 6. Why are you interested in conservation issues within the springs system? 7. Approximately what year did you become concerned about problems in the springs system? 8. Please describe your understanding of th e problems currently facing the springs system. 9. Where did you learn about problems curre ntly facing the springs system? 10. What do you think are the most important c onservation and management issues within the springs system today?

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33 For both case studies, the overa ll purpose of this basic interview questionnaire was to develop a richer historical unde rstanding of changes in the ec ological systems and stakeholder perceptions about these changes. Follow up questions and comment s were added in the flow of conversation, generally to be sure that I adeq uately understood informational points given by the informant and also to encourage informants to go in more detail about their specific remembrances and knowledge. As discussed in more detail in both chapters scientific and policy discussions in springs ecosystems are largely focused on the role of increas ed nutrients, particular ly nitrate-nitrogen, in causing ecological changes observed over time. Ba sed upon this focus, most policy-making and education efforts undertaken by agencies for the purpose of maintain ing and/or restoring ecological communities are hinged largely upon the achievement of significant nutrient load reductions into the spring ecosystems. For the purpose of novel hypothesis development, particular attention was given to those understandings and perc eptions among local knowledge holders found to be qualitatively different from those official accounts high lighted in scientific and agency discourse. In the Ichetucknee case study, an additional interview research component was included. Using my own observations of the ecosystem ta ken while living and working on the river in 2000-2001 and a review of scientif ic data and literature, a hyp othesized relationship between increased algae growth recently observed in the system and manual eradication of water lettuce ( Pistia stratiotes ) was described to informants. After presentation of this information, the following questions were asked:

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34 1. Have you previously been presented with in formation suggesting th at there may be a relationship between invasive plant manageme nt and proliferation of nuisance algae in the springs system? 2. Based upon your knowledge and experience, do you believe that there is any merit to the idea that invasive plant management may be linked to proliferation of nuisance algae? 3. Do you think that the idea of invasive plan t management being linked to proliferation of nuisance algae should be inve stigated further by scientists? 4. Do you believe that ecosystem managers shou ld consider modifying the ways in which they manage invasive plants in the springs system? Because my involvement in the KBWG was s ubsequent to the approval of the interview protocol, informants for interview research we re not selected from this stakeholder group. Instead, my own participati on and subsequent public co mmunications with agency representatives in the KBWG were utilized as a means of more deeply exploring how different conceptions of nature and values affect di alogue in ecosystem management at Kings Bay, particularly in relation to nonna tive plant species. Public comment s from KBWG members to the formal presentation given at the meeting on N ovember 10, 2005 were recorded by field notes, and discussed in more detail on an indivi dual basis through follow up e-mail communications. An additional round of public comments about issu es related to water hyacinth phytoremediation in Kings Bay was solicited from all KBWG me mbers through an e-mail communication sent on April 28, 2006. The solicitation of comments in April 2006 was associated with publication of a front page article and accompanying editorial about my research in the Citrus County Chronicle (Hunter 2006a, 2006b), the major local newspape r for Crystal River and surrounding areas of

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35 Citrus County. The genesis of the Chronicle stories apparently came when I sent draft copies of my findings in Kings Bay/Crystal River to seve ral stakeholders whose interview accounts were relied upon heavily in the construc tion of the ecological change narr ative contained in Chapter 4. The explicit purpose for sending the draft to stakeholders was to ensure that the narrative representations were an accurate reflection of the information they had provided, but an unintended consequence of this confirmation exer cise was that the draft text was leaked to the Chronicle I agreed to do an interview when contacted by the newspaper for further comment on my work. Although the newspaper stories were unplanned and, arguably, premature in terms of disseminating dissertation research findi ngs among the wider public, nine public e-mail responses about water hyacinth phytoremediation among government agencies were recorded as a direct result of this process. These responses were catalogu ed, and excerpts are reported anonymously in Chapter 4. The specific results of the participatory methods described in this section are embedded within and qualitatively discussed in each respective case study. Problematizing Participation A number of questions have been raised by cr itics, and even some practitioners, about the objectivity and efficacy of partic ipatory research methods. Perhaps the most fundamental charge is that the up front commitment to utilize val ue-laden information gained through participatory methods within the policy context can lead the research er into a slippery slope of activism, which, it is charged, inherently prevents the ac quisition and transmission of reliable knowledge. There are, however, two answers to this. Fi rst, some philosophers have noted that the prima facie case against openly value-laden, and even activis t, research can be dismantled through the assertion of a straightforward distinction between objectivity and neutrality (Proctor 1991). Through this distinction, objectivity is defined as the open search for reliable knowledge about the world, while neutrality is defined as ta king no normative position abou t a given condition of

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36 the world. Thus, while the research and results of a participatory resear ch project may not be neutral in the sense that speci fic positions are advanced thro ugh the inherently value-laden discourse of ecosystem management, objectivity can still be maintained so long as any given position is based upon interpretive reasoning that utilizes a transp arent set of facts and defined values (VanDeVeer and Pierce 2003). A second line of defense is to question the very idea of any firm dis tinction between facts and values in the conduct of the scientific enterprise (Norton 2005), particular ly as characterized within the politicized and uncertain context of complex environmental issues. For example, Fischer (2000, 101) found that one of the most important determinants for characterizing the different positions of scientists giving expert advice in the midst of complex environmental issues are the moral commitments and institutional interests of the scientists. Such a relationship appears to provide compelling empirical evid ence of the interdependent, if unconscious, relationship between facts and values in the production of scientific knowledge (Hays 1987). When viewed in this way, it can be argued that participatory methods differ from traditional expert discourse on environmental issues only because they cons ciously and, thereby, more objectively bring this interdep endence into the forefront of the research concern. More problematic, however, are questions about the ultimate efficacy and/or usefulness of participatory approaches in achieving the stat ed aim of producing meaningful and beneficial socio-ecological changes. A nu mber of researchers recently have utilized the rubric of participation to generate models of inclusion a nd collaboration within th e policy-making context, and to identify the effects of these variable s on the development of ecosystem management plans. The results and conclusions of such st udies are mixed, at best. For example, Brody (2003, 412) found that a wider breadth of participation in the develo pment of local Comprehensive

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37 Plans in Florida was not at all correlated with an increase in the protectiveness of ecosystems, likely because the din of competing interests leads to a logic characterized by the lowest common denominator. Although Kellert et al. (2000, 709) did find success in meeting socioeconomic objectives through participatory approach es in both Alaska and Kenya, conservation and biodiversity protection goals were signific antly more difficult to achieve. The work by Duram and Brown (1999) is more ambiguous in that participatory watershe d planning across the United States is not found to re sult in any significant improvement in environmental or social conditions over other types of planning, although facilitators of waters hed planning initiatives generally believe that better par ticipation does result in the produc tion of better watershed plans. However, Suman et al. (2000) concluded that the failure of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to foster public participation in the establishment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary clearly had a negative effect on ecosystem management, largely because the backlash of st akeholders angered at being excluded from the management process eventually led to the weaken ing of regulations critic ally important for the sustainable management of fisheries. What these studies demonstrate is that wh ile public participati on may be increasingly recognized as a necessary political component of successful ecosystem management programs (Lovell et al. 2003), it is erroneous to assume that even the be st implemented strategies of participation and the emerging consensus resulting from participation will be sufficient to achieve successful ecosystem ma nagement (Wescoat and White 2003 ). For example, there is the possibility of consensual mana gement plans emerging that are not consistent with long-term protection and/or restoration of environmental resources simply because the respective users and/or managers of the resource determine that other political or economic values are more

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38 important than environmental conservation. Al ternatively, consensual plans for managing environmental resources may fail because the participatory consensus and eventual plan implementation are based upon fundamental misunde rstanding of the dynami cs of the targeted ecological system. As Fischer (2000, 33) writes, the recognition of such limitations within participatory approaches is often used in support of the trad itional argument that experts alone have the knowledge and skills needed to render the comp etent decisions required for effective social guidance in solving environmental problems. In this view, wider participation, as suggested by Brodys (2003) work, offers little more than simplis tic, self-serving information of little use for tackling inherently complex issues over which th e general public has li ttle, if any, technical competence. But several interrelated answers can be given to this challenge. Firs t, as suggested above, there is the empirical evidence that expert discou rses and scientific expe rts are not immune from getting locked into simplistic, myopic, and ev en self-serving lines of reasoning, particularly when deliberations and decisions about complex eco logical issues are made in an insulated, nontransparent, and/or mechanical fashion. Fo llowing from this is an argument based upon democratic theory, which, as summarized by Grudens-Schuck ( 2000, 82), suggests that participation goes beyond the goal of produci ng smarter outcomes and, instead, finds its ultimate justification in an ethi c of democratically respecting p eoples accounts of the world in the process of open argumentation. A final epis temological justification for participatory research is that, ideally, it helps to facilitate convergence between local expertise and scientific expertise, thereby producing emergent forms of socio-ecological understanding that would not

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39 have been achieved through strict reliance on traditional scientific methods (Fischer 2000; Norton 2005). Confronting Wicked Problems The term wicked problem is often used to describe those problems that defy solution, and often times become measurably worse, through traditional problem-solving tools, particularly those locked within a narrow disciplinary perspec tive. Wicked problems are often contrasted with what are called benign problem s. While benign problems can be exceptionally complex, such as completion of a higher-level mathematical proof or construction of a skyscraper, experience shows that these problems, as defined, can be reliably solved through a given technical method. Environmental problems often are given as archetypal examples of wicked problems, generally because most environm ental issues are associ ated with, and cross, many different boundaries of natural science, economics, politics, and human values. This inherent interdisciplinarity has the effect of preventing resolution of many environmental problems through prescribed technical approaches. Indeed, many environmental issues even defy any sort of consensual statemen t about what the problem actually is due to incomplete information, multiple analytic variables, and cha ngeable, conflicting values. A key virtue of an interdisciplinary, participatory approach is th e explicit focus on both diagnosing those wicked problems that may lie at the heart of a give n environmental problem, and on utilizing the dialectic between local knowledge and expert knowledge to devel op novel lines of analysis that can be used as the basis for experimentally c onfronting some aspects of the wicked problem (Norton 2005). Participatory methods in this di ssertation are utilized in this dialectic spirit, in the sense that local knowledge gained through attendance of public meetings, stakeholder interviews, and direct observation of natural systems is not unc ritically valorized as a panacea for solving the

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40 wicked problems of ecosystem management in the two case studies. Rather, local knowledge obtained through participatory methods is comb ined with expert knowledge obtained through a review of scientific li terature and application of systems ecology princi ples, resulting in the construction of alternative eco logical hypotheses and management scenarios relevant for both further exploring and, ideally, experimentally confronting the wicked problems of ecological change in springs ecosystems. Systems Ecology Environmental science and management can be loosely characterized by two streams of thought and inquiry. The first stream is a reductio nist science of parts in which a narrow enough focus is chosen to pose hypotheses, collect da ta, and design critical tests for the rejection of invalid hypotheses. The other is an interdiscip linary science of the integration of parts that combines historical, comparative, and experiment al approaches at scal es appropriate to the issues (Holling 1995, 12-13). This second stream of thought is commonly referred to as the science of systems. Odum (1994, 4) defines a system as a group of parts that are inte racting according to some kind of process, with n ew properties emerging from the interactive combination of parts. A basic premise behind systems ecology is that the properties that emerge from the interactions of constituent parts in any give n ecological system are more functionally and structurally complex than the simple sum of th e parts. Systems ecology typically utilizes the findings of reductionist science to build models that simulate linkages and identify emergent properties, ultimately attempting to reveal causal processes that underlie the complexity of time and space behavior of complex systems (Ho lling 1995, 13). Computer simulations that track material and energy flows implied by modeled rela tionships are a key tool utilized by systems ecologists for better understanding the behavior of ecosystems. Mo re broadly, the use of systems

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41 thinking can be used to help to facilitate th e identification of knowledge gaps, development of new hypotheses, and institution of integrated evaluative methods for better understanding the effects of human actions on the structure and f unction of environmental systems. By extension, the iterative models and theories of systems ecology provide an important tool by which logical and interpretive reasoning about the interplay between moral values, management choices, and ecological conditions can be deep ened (Lovell et al. 2003). Analytic Scales Scales are defined the spatial and temporal dimensions associated with ecological and social processes. Systems ecologists consider diffe rent scales to have ch aracteristic orders of analytic magnitude in both spatial extent and tu rnover time, or the time it takes for the system to replace itself (Lovell et al. 2003) A basic premise behind systems ecology is that phenomena of the world operate within and among a diverse rang e of analytic scales, and that robust models should therefore include all scales pertinent to the phenomena of inte rest (Odum and Odum 2000, 14). The iterative process of relating the t ranscending concepts that link processes and actors at different levels in time and space is often referred to as s caling (Lovell et al. 2003, 111). One of the biggest challenges in the management of ecosystems is the common tendency of researchers and management agencies to become stuck within one scale of analysis (Holling 1995). As Odum and Odum write, There is a tendency, through l ong habit and the desire to simplify, to concentrate on models of one scale. No scale is more basi c than another, but pe ople concentrating their work think of their scale as special. Ho wever, limiting the scale of view limits understanding, because every scale is part of the scale above and com posed of the smaller scaled items below. We cannot understand one scale without studying its relation to that above and below (2000, 14).

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42 An implication of scalar logic is that the results of a study that focuses on one scale in a particular socio-ecological system will tend to be radically different from another study of that same system that focuses on a different scale of analysis, meaning that choices about what variables and scales are monitored ultimately have profound effects about the ways in which knowledge about an ecosystem is both produced and interpreted (Norton 2005). With these scaling issues in mind, participatory research with stakeholders emerges as having critical linkages with system ecology in that it provides a m eans of both gathering information that transcends scales of analysis normatively established through the oftentimes insular paradigms of management institutions, and focusing new analyses onto those scales in which there is broader social consensus that a problem exists (Gunderson 1999; Fischer 2000; Norton 2003). Multi-scalar Narratives Utilization of a narrative style is often used as a mechanism for integrating and analyzing information collected across multiple scales of analysis (Berardi 2002; Sneddon et al. 2002; Allen et al. 2003; Norton 2003). Th e stylistic approach adopted for both case studies in this dissertation is deemed as multi-scalar narrative. Multi-scalar is a term that denotes that the research traverses a variety of different tempor al, spatial, and ontological scales of analysis, while the narrative form describes the packaging of the various scalar analyses into a unified socio-ecological story interwoven with different empirical, theoretical, and moral interpretations. Most generally, narratives are the means by which humans communicate throughout the bounded limits of language, perception, and imaginati on. Narratives have been said to comprise the quintessential form of customary knowledg e (Lyotard 1984, 19), the banisters of ethical life (Thiele 1999, 9), and the fabric by which be havior, communication, a nd intellectual inquiry are framed within shared discursive commun ities (Roling and Maarleveld 1999). All metaphors,

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43 myths, fictional stories, historical accounts, sc ientific theories, instit utional worldviews, and philosophical axioms are thus narratives in the sense that all of these communicate a particular story and/or account about some aspect of the world (Roling and Maarleveld 1999). Thus, Allen et al. (2003, 232) suggest that narratives about complex envi ronmental problems provide a serial arrangement for events that are very diffe rently scaled in ways that are consonant with both the human experience and the way humans remember and reflect on their experience. From a systems perspective, narratives might be characterized as both an emergent property of language and an organizing principle for epis temological, moral, economic, and political constructs within human societies. Less abstractly, systems ecology principles can provide the framework by which diverse forms of data from hard data, such as wa ter quality, to soft data such as experiential anecdotes can be integrated in to iterative models, which then form the basis of testable hypotheses about ecological behavior In both case studies of th is dissertation, a review of scientific literature, communication with local and scientific experts, water quality data, and personal observations are used to provide the foundation for the creation of aggregated ecological systems diagrams (Odum 1994; Odum and Odum 2000), GIS maps, and rich textual descriptions that generally ch aracterize the hydrogeology and ecosy stem structure. In addition, management and ecological histories of the syst ems are constructed through a review of the natural systems literature, policy literature, and interviews with public officials and long-time local users of the systems. At both Ichetuckn ee and Kings Bay it was found that the ecological dynamic currently commanding most social concern is an apparent shift in stability domain towards increased dominance by filamentous algae and cyanobacteria. Therefore, the multiscalar narratives ultimately are organized around a description of various socio-ecological factors

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44 thought to be driving the shift in stability dom ain, along with a presentation of the various ecological, societal, and institut ional pressures that currently constrain and/or prevent an effective response to the emergent ecological conditions. Adaptive Management The term adaptive management is commonly used to describe the development of systems approaches for the management of natural re sources. The ideas behind adaptive management were initially developed as a means of better managing forests and fisheries through the use of systems ecology models and monitoring regimes th at could be used to facilitate iterative management and policy adjustments (Holling 1978) but have been greatly expanded in scope and applied over a wide variety of ecological, social, and instit utional settings (Wescoat and White 2003). The inherent uncertainty characterizing huma ns ability to understand and predict the behavior of natural re source systems is a key component of adaptive management. From this recognition emerges the following six principles that underlie adaptive management: 1) natural resources always change due to both human mana gement actions and the inherent stochasticity of nature; 2) some of these changes will be qu ite surprising; 3) new management uncertainties are bound to emerge from these surprises; 4) a ll management policies should be treated as experiments from which new observations, hypotheses, and knowledge about the managed resource can be developed; 5) management polic ies should be continuously modified to reflect newly understood realities within the managed resource; and 6) local citizens should be intimately involved as partners in building basic know ledge and future goals for better managing the resource, not just informed passively a bout agency actions th rough public information programs (Holling 1995; Berkes and Folke 1998; Kiker et al. 2001; Nort on 2005). The creation of new ecological, social, and institutional understandings thr ough the application of these

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45 principles is often called adap tive learning, while the socioscientific feedbacks between adaptive learning and the development of ne w management plans to reflect the new understandings are often refe rred to as the adaptive cy cle (Gunderson et al. 1995). Proponents of adaptive management have found th at failure to manage natural resources with the recognition of inherent uncertainty in ecological syst ems and to adjust to this uncertainty through adaptive learning may often be directly responsib le for the destruction of the very resource that managers are attempting to co nserve and control. Situ ations in which static institutional paradigms and assumptions within the applied management of a targeted natural resource lead directly to the collapse of that same system have been termed management pathologies. Hollings (1995) work suggests that management pathologies often result when management institutions achieve initial success in controlling a singl e target variable within an ecosystem. This initial success then generally re sults in a subsequent focus on increasing the operational efficiency of management operations while efforts to monitor the ecosystem for other changes are lessened or even discont inued over time. The result of such narrow management, Holling (1995) argues, is ofte n an unnoticed homogenization of critical components within the ecosystem, which consequen tly results in decreasi ng resilience within the ecological community. This decrease in resilience is suggested to then make the ecosystem much more likely to be unexpectedly flipped into a state of persistent degr adation by the kinds of disturbances that could have been previously absorbed. A major analytic goal of this dissertation was to identify and describe different types of management pathologies that may exist within the two case studies. Ecological hypotheses relevant to ecosystem management were deve loped integrating available scientific data, stakeholder and personal observation s, and scientific literature. While it is believed that these

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46 models do represent important ecological relations hips, it was not intended or proposed that these ecological hypotheses would be tested usin g experimental, statistical, or other formal means for this dissertation research. Such testin g involved time scales a nd resources that were beyond the scope of this project. Instead, the pr ocess of hypothesis development in this project was viewed as a participatory contribution to the adaptive cycle (e.g., Woodhill and Roling 1998), with formal management experimentation contingent upon the inte rest, collaboration, and resources of relevant stakeholder gr oups and/or regulatory agencies. As Holling (1995, 13) argues, in an adaptive ma nagement framework there is considerably more concern that a useful hypothesis might be rejected than that a false one might be accepted. Thus, how ecosystems managers resp ond to hypotheses about ecological behavior suggested by stakeholders becomes a variable of considerable interest when evaluating the social capacity of adaptive learning, particularly wh en such hypotheses directly challenge the assumptions of entrenched institutional and re search paradigms (Dout hwaite et al. 2003). Habermass (1995, 44) influential principle of communicative rationality suggests that a precursor to the emergence of morally and rati onally legitimate solutions to difficult problems involving a multitude of different inte rests is the presence of an i deal speech situation in which all rational stakeholders are able to participate in deliberations that result in agreement through argumentation on practical questions (see also Roling and Maarleveld 1999). Using Habermass (1995) criterion, the rejection of any well-reasoned hypothesis by managers would be socially legitimate so long as it was based upon procedur es of open and rational debate, but would be illegitimate if based upon communica tive restrictions or other m odes of coercion that prevent stakeholders from reaching a truly informed consensus. Under Hollings (1995) stronger

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47 adaptive management criteria, le gitimate rejection would be c ontingent upon scientific studies that clearly disprove a reas onable hypothesis. Norton (2005), through the development of what he calls methodological naturalism, offers a very detailed explication and philosophical de fense of the position that the process of hypothesis development in an adaptive manageme nt framework goes beyond natural science, and enters into social processes of argumentation. Th is implies an ongoing search for coalitions and consensuses by studying actual citizens and stake holder groups that participate in actual processes in actual situations, with adaptive management emer ging out of those deliberative processes that regard no a priori principles, whether scientific or normative, as unchallengeable (Norton 2005, 206). Experiences, valu es, data, and arguments can al l be freely entered into the wider discursive community, and, crucially, it is within those areas in which fundamental disagreements are found between the interpretations of par ticipants that scientific experimentation is squarely aimed. Through this process of shifting towards an active experimental science of management policies become justified or discarded through the validation of shared e xperience, rather than through arguments about the correctness of genera l theories of value (Norton, 208). As facts emerge, Norton (2005, 210) continues, assumptions once comfortably held often are discarded as new and disturbing questions are raised abou t the overall implications of these assumptions. Using the criteria of Norton (2005) and Holling ( 1995), it can thus be deduced that management pathologies may often emerge from an ecosystem management context in which a priori principles stultify the discussion and, ultimat ely, testing of useful hypotheses put forth by members of a discursive community engaged in a collaborative conser vation process. This principle of discourse provide s the foundation for which participatory methods and systems

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48 ecology can be used to make judgments about pr inciples such as flexibility, open evaluation, experimentation, and learning ch aracteristic of an adaptive management process.

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49 CHAPTER 3 ICHETUCKNEE RIVER Site Description Located near the town of Ft. White and forming the southernmost border between Columbia and Suwannee counties, the Ichetuckn ee River is an approximately five mile long spring-fed stream that discharges into the Santa Fe River with an average daily flow of 233 mgd. The upper three miles and all eight major spring groups of the river ar e located within the boundaries of Ichetucknee Springs State Park (I SSP), a designated Nati onal Natural Landmark commonly described as one of the Florida Stat e Park Services crown jewels due to its outstanding natural beauty. ISSP is a highly popular recreational ar ea that annually attracts about 150,000 visitors, almost all of whom engage in river-based activities su ch as tubing, canoeing, snorkeling, and diving. These visito rs are thought to generate approximately $2 million in annual economic activity in the rural area surrounding the park (Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality Working Group 2000). Ecologists, biologists, and other naturalists have long not ed that the Ichetucknee River, similar to other spring-fed rivers in Florida, supports a highly producti ve, diverse, and unique aquatic ecosystem. The rivers clear water histori cally has provided ideal conditions for a rich submersed aquatic plant community composed of tape grass ( Vallisneria americana ), eel grass ( Sagittaria kurziana ), water primrose ( Ludwigia repens ), two-leaf water milfoil ( Myriophyllum heterophyllum ), musk grass ( Chara spp.), and several other less co mmon species. A large variety of aquatic invertebrates, fish, turtles, birds, and mammals ar e also found in the Ichetucknee River, including rare, threatened, and e ndangered species such as wood storks ( Mycteria americana ), limpkins ( Aramus guarauna ), American beavers ( Castor canadensis ), Suwannee sturgeon ( Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi ), and West Indian manatees ( Trichecus manatus ). In

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50 addition, the Ichetucknee River eco system contains at least one endemic species, the Ichetucknee silt snail ( Cincinnatia mica ), which has a range that is entirely restricted to the small Coffee Springs group. In recent years, the ecological condition of the Ichetucknee River has been characterized by increased growth of filamentous green and blue green algae (e.g., Vaucheria sp. Sprirogyra sp., Oscillatoria sp., Lyngbya sp.) (Stevenson et al. 2004). Th e observed expansion of algal biomass is widely regarded by ecosystem mana gers, scientists, and lo cal citizens as having negative impacts on the rivers ec ological communities and recr eational appeal. Some of the more commonly cited effects include smothering a nd even complete displacement of submersed aquatic plants by algae, significant declines of aquatic fauna such as spring run crayfish ( Procambarus sp.) and loggerhead musk turtles ( Sternotherus minor ) (Ritchie 2006), and a general loss of aesthetic beauty associated with the slimy appearance of the algal growth. Highly publicized suggestions that contact with algae may be the cau se of skin rashes and other allergic reactions developed by swimmers at ISSP in the past several years have further heightened the level of con cern (Bruno 2004; Pittman 2006). It is widely suspected that increased concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 -) in discharged spring water are the primary cause of the ecological changes observed in th e Ichetucknee River (Rin gle 1999; Bruno 2004), as well as many other springs ecosystems throughout Florida (Jones et al. 1996; Florida Springs Task Force 2000). In this chapter, a social history and ecol ogical narrative of the Ichetucknee River is developed using published historical and scientif ic literature, scientific monitoring data, and information gathered from communications with local citizens and agency officials. While acknowledging that anthropogenic co ntamination of groundwater is a fundamental driving force

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51 behind recent ecological changes documented in th e river, it is argued th at scientific studies indicate that conserva tion strategies based so lely upon reduction of nitr ate-nitrogen are unlikely to significantly reduce algae growth in the river in the foreseeable. Field note observations and a review of scientific li terature are then utilized to deve lop a systems model suggesting that management activities associated wi th eradication of water lettuce ( Pistia stratiotes ) may have exacerbated the recent shift towards algae dominance a nd loss of aquatic fauna in the ecosystem. Discussions with citizen stakeholders, agency o fficials, and non-agency scientists in formal interviews and public communicatio ns are then used as a means of exploring ways in which normative and scientific disagreements associated with aquatic plant cont rol are handled within the ecosystem management context. Based upon thes e discussions, it is argued that institutional rigidities associated with a priori attribution of harm to targeted plant species currently prevent the types of scientific evaluation and open public discussion of ecosystem management experiments that are necessary for adaptive le arning. A holistic program of ecosystem response monitoring, pilot experiments to te st the effects of reintroducing contained water lettuce mats into some areas of the river currently ch aracterized by algal ove rgrowth, and periodic communication and reevaluation of aquatic plant management techniques in public forums are suggested as ways of introducing principles of adaptive learning into the management of water lettuce in the Ichetuckne e River. Socio-Ecological Background Pre-History The Ichetucknee River has a rich archaeological and historical herita ge dating back over 12,000 years, when the first humans arrived and sett led in Florida. Early human tools made of elephant ivory and high concentrat ions of bones from a large variet y of Pleistocene animals have been found in the Ichetucknee, providing some of the most important archaeological and

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52 paleontological evidence that arrivi ng humans likely played a dete rminate role in the extirpation of North American mega-fauna (Milanich 1998). Despite the pr esumably quite severe socioecological disruptions caused by the extinction of these animals, the archaeological record suggests that the Ichetucknee River area was occupied and utilized by human cultures on an almost continuous basis throughout the subsequent millennia. Spanish Invasion (1539 1708) An account by Milanich and H udson (1993) indicates that Sp anish conquistador Hernando de Soto encountered Aguacaleyquen, a large village of indigenous Timucuan people with bountiful agricultural resources, lo cated near the Ichetucknee Rive r in 1539. It is well-known and documented that the Spanish invasion and subseque nt settlement of Florid a over the next several decades had catastrophic effects on the Timucuan people, including those of Aguacaleygquen. In 1608, a Franciscan mission, San Martin, was founde d at a site near Ichetucknees Mission Springs for the purpose of Christianizing the areas surviving Timucuan people (Milanich 1998). The San Martin site is believed to have been abandoned or destroyed between the years of 1660 1675 due to rebellions by remaining Timu cuan people (Worth 1992). Another mission, called Santa Catalina, was built north of the Sa n Martin site in approximately 1675, but was destroyed by a confederation of Yamassee Indians and English colonial fo rces in 1685 (Milanich and Hudson 1993). By the early 18th century, the Timucuan culture in Florida had effectively vanished due to rampant warfar e and disease (Milanich 1998). Seminole Period (1708 1845) Soon after the disappearance of the Timucua, Creek tribes be gan to permanently migrate into Florida and came to be collectively referr ed to as the Seminoles (Milanich 1998). While little is known about Seminole utilization of the Ic hetucknee area, it is believed that the word Ichetucknee was derived from a series of Cree k words that loosely translate to beaver pond

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53 (Simpson 1956). The American army outpost of Ft. White (located on the banks of the Santa Fe River and several miles to the west of the pr esent town of Ft. White ) was established in 1838 during the initial phases of the second Seminole War (Keuch el 1981). Written records from the second Seminole War period provide the earliest doc umentation of the term Ichetucknee River being used (Simpson 1956). American Settlement and Development (1845 1940) Florida became a state in 1845, soon after th e conclusion of the second Seminole War. Although little is known about the settlement of the Ic hetucknee area from statehood through the American Civil War period, several letters wri tten by Ambrose Hart, an American settler who lived on a plantation near the Ichetucknee, do pr ovide valuable insight into years immediately after the Civil War. Hart describes drying figs, eating fresh peaches at the plantation, and hunting plentiful game in the rich hummock lands surrounding the Ichetuc knee River (Herring 1994). The river and its springs are desc ribed by Hart as being clear as crystal (Herring 1994; 39). More intensive land use activ ities began to occur in th e Ichetucknee area around 1890, with phosphate mining and intens ive logging of virgin timber al ong the river and in surrounding uplands (Behnke 2003). The Dutton Phospha te Company acquired land surrounding the Ichetucknee River around 1900, and used convict la bor to hand extract phosphate rocks from several small mines in the area from 1900 to 1920 (Herring 1994). The base s of cut cypress and several depression features from abandoned phospha te mines in areas along and near the river are obvious artifacts of this logging and mining era. In 1920, Loncala Phosphate Company purchased from Dutton the 2,241 acres that later became ISSP (Behnke 2003). Mining activities ceased soon after the Loncala purchase, largely due to the discovery of more highly concentrated and extensive phosphate deposits in central Floridas Bone Va lley district (Herring 1994).

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54 Early Socio-Ecological Accounts (1940 1960) Perhaps the first detailed descriptions of the Ichetucknee River from an ecological perspective come from the famed Florida-based naturalist, Archie Carr. Carr first visited the Ichetucknee in the 1940s, in a time that he desc ribes as before tubing; before the Crackers starting storming up the spring runs in boats with ten-horse Johnsons; before Cousteau perfected his first scuba regulator a time so far back that the face mask which I saw the things I told of was only a circle of window pane in a headpi ece cut from an inner tube (1994, 60-61). Over several pages in the book A Naturalist in Florida: A Celebration of Eden Carr gives vivid, literary descriptions of biota he observed in the Ichetucknee using this crude diving mask. A colorful underwater landscape formed by aquatic plants such as elodea ( Philotria densa ), musk grass (called stonewort by Carr), and eel grass is described, as are unusual fish such as the endemic Suwannee bass ( Micropterus notius ), hogchoker ( Trinectes maculata ), and a freshwater pipefish ( Syngnathinae sp.) (Carr 1994). It is also reported that Carr enjo yed catching crayfish in the Ichetucknee throughout the 1940s, and later de scribed the crayfish population as sometimes being from wall to wall in the springs (Ichetucknee Springs Basin Working Group 2006). Similar to Archie Carrs accounts are a seri es of old-timer remembrances of the Ichetucknee River given by Behnke (2003). Crystal clear water, lush vegetation, bountiful fish, incredibly large concentrations of crayfish, and a wide variety of ducks, reptiles, and amphibians are all recalled in years spanning from 1925 to 1960. The river was also described as a center for cultural activities such as baptisms, recrea tion, and family gatherings (Behnke 2003). Less wholesome stories such as cars being driven into the river, common use of dynamite to catch fish, and bulldozing of sediments and other land clearing debris dire ctly into the river are also recalled (Behnke 2003).

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55 Mass Recreation (1960 1980) In about 1960, the Ichetucknee was discove red by students from the University of Florida located approximately 40 miles aw ay in Gainesville (Behnke 2003). The river reportedly was used by a large number of student s as a weekend partying retreat throughout the 1960s, and, over time, these unrestric ted recreational activities came to be associated with large amounts of accumulated litter, rampant vandalis m, and public drunkenness. There are also consistent reports that some lo cal people and/or Loncala officials, upset by the impact of the student crowds, attempted to st op the flow of the river by load ing large amounts of cement and other debris into the Ichetucknee Head Spring area throughout the 1960s (Behnke 2003). Although the spring was not stopped entirely, the accu mulated debris did change the appearance of the Head Spring area and may have significantly restricted discharge. In recent years, much of this debris from the Head Spring has been re moved through sustained vol unteer clean up efforts sponsored by ISSP. In 1970, Loncala sold its 2,241 acre tract of land surrounding the upper three miles of the Ichetucknee River to the State of Florida, which then developed and opened todays ISSP. Although the advent of state management in the early 1970s quickly curtailed the party atmosphere and led to the clean up of most accumulated litter, it soon became apparent to managers and scientists that the throngs of vis itors who came to tube and swim in the new park were severely impacting the ri vers aquatic plant community. DuToit (1979) utilized detailed monitoring a nd experimental work to quantify the severe impact of existing recreational activities on a quatic vegetation and faunal communities. This study represents the first extensive ecological stu dy available on the river, and is important for several reasons. First, detail ed accounts of submersed macrophyte coverage are given for 19771978, with explicit measures for cover and standing crop bio-mass given. Second, a faunal

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56 survey including mollusks, arthropods, and fish was also taken. Although the faunal surveys are less detailed than the floral studies, they do correl ate faunal decline with floral decline related to recreational overuse. This ecological methodology was then used to determine a recreational carrying capacity approach for both minimizing damage and allowing adequate time for aquatic plants to recover. Ecological Recovery (1980 1990) ISSP quickly followed DuToits (1979) recommendations by establishing daily and seasonal carrying capacities along va rious sections of the river in the early 1980s. The most restrictive carrying capacity of 750 daily swimme rs and tubers in summer months (between Memorial Day and Labor Day) and a closed season for the remainder of th e year is established from a launch area immediately down river of th e Head Spring to the Mid-Point dock, located just past Mill Pond Spring. A less restrictive carrying capacity of 3,000 per day and no closed season is established for the river reach from the Mid-Point dock to another dock referred to as Dampiers Landing. No limits are enforced for the river below Dampiers Landing. Several individuals interviewed for this dissertation report that the aquatic plant community quickly recovered after the institu tion of the recreationa l carrying capacity observations that are supported by bi-annual sc ientific monitoring st udies conducted by ISSP (Hand 2006) and other accounts (T aylor 2002). Attracted by the rivers natural beauty, many local artists and hobby naturalists be gan to visit the Ichetucknee Ri ver ecosystem in the early to mid 1980s, and a popular lore referring to the Ichetu cknee as the most pris tine river in Florida took hold as images of the river were produced and widely distributed. Time series photographs of the eel grass community in Devils Eye Sp ring run during the 1980s and early 1990s (Figure 3-2A, 3-2B, and 3-2C), provided by Melrose artist Johnny Dame, give an interesting documentary reference of ecological conditions during this time. According to Dame, and as

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57 indicated in the pictures, the a quatic plant community at Devil s Eye was characterized by dense growth of submersed eel grass and a changeable fr inge of water lettuce interspersed with other emergent vegetation along the banks of the sp ring run throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Water Quality Concerns and Springshed Research Beginning in the early 1990s, indications of ecological change appa rently unrelated to recreational impacts, such as increased coa ting of submersed plants by large strands of filamentous algae, were detected by scientists managers, and other co ncerned citizens. State officials indicate that algal accumulations were fi rst noticed within the Mission Springs run and nearby areas (Ringle 1999). In 1995, mounting concern associated with the algal growth and suspicion that declining water quality discharged from the sp rings was responsible for the observed ecological changes led to the formatio n of the Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality Working Group (Working Group), which has spear headed most conservation and research efforts in the river and its springshed since that time. The Working Group is a stakeholder discussi on group composed of representatives from environmental groups, agriculture and business interests, all government agencies with jurisdiction in the Ichetucknee springshed, electe d officials, and other in terested citizens. The stated purposes of the Working Group are essentially five-fold: 1) consolid ate all research about the river and springshed developed by different agencies and scie ntists; 2) identify gaps in existing data and knowledge; 3) facilitate and coordinate studies for gathering new knowledge; 4) effectively communicate all gathered know ledge to local policy-makers and other stakeholders; and 5) foster a sense of comm unity stewardship that encourages citizens, businesses, and governments to voluntarily ad opt land use practices that better protect groundwater resources. Facilita tion and formal meetings of the Working Group are funded through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), while the research,

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58 monitoring, and outreach activities presented to the Work ing Group are supported through DEP and a wide variety of other government agency, nonprofit, and private sources. Significant improvements in the understanding of the Ichetucknee sp ringsheds hydrology have been made through research projects prom oted through the Working Group process. Cave diving and dye trace studies in sinkholes south of Lake City that serve as the primary outfall for three creeks Rose Creek, Clay Hole Creek, a nd Cannon Creek have convincingly shown that these sinkholes are hydrologically connected to the Ichetucknee Rivers major springs through large conduit systems, sometimes described as underground rivers, in the limestone of the upper Floridan aquifer (Butt and Murphy 2003). An important implicat ion of these studies is that the creek to sink systems, all of which are plagued by stormwater contamination from urban and agricultural sources in the Lake City area directly affect the wa ter quality of both the Ichetucknee River and domestic drinking we lls. A recent state land purchase and retrofit construction of a stormwater retention pond at Rose Creek sink near Columbia City were expressly undertaken for the purpose of better protecting the groundwater sources leading into the Ichetucknee River. The Working Group has also attracted much public attention to elevated levels of groundwater nitrate-nitrogen (Ri ngle 1999; Ritchie 2006), which is widely cited as the primary suspected cause of increased algae growth and other ecologi cal changes observed in the Ichetucknee River and other Florida springs (J ones et al. 1996; Florida Springs Task Force 2000). Recent nitrate-nitrogen conc entrations in the Ichetuckn ee River average between 0.5 1.0 mg/L, or approximately 10 20 times over the es timated historic background concentrations of 0.05 0.1 mg/L (Florida Springs Task For ce 2000). Porous overlying soils, lack of clay confining layers, and large number of sinkholes with direct groundwater connections together

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59 make the upper Floridan aquifer in the Ichetuck nee springshed extremely vulnerable to nitratenitrogen contamination (Katz et al. 1999). Major identified sources of nitrate-nitrogen contamination are as follows: fertilizers applied in agricultural fields and domestic lands capes, disposal of animal and human wastewater effluents in spray fields and se ptic tank drain fields, emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and land-clearing/deforestation that decreases the amount of soluble nitrogen absorbed by plants and other organisms in surface soil layers (Jones et al. 1996). Efforts to reduce nitrate-nitrogen loading into the Ichetucknee spri ngshed include pursuit of funds to finance sewage treatment and process upgrades for Lake Citys municipal sewa ge treatment facility; expansion of sewage service to areas currently served by septic tank systems; encouragement of stricter septic tank performance and maintenance standards for hom es and businesses locat ed outside of the municipal service area; and outreach to promote voluntary re ductions in fertilizer usage by homeowners, farmers, and la ndscaping professionals. Uncertain Science: NitrateNitrogen and Algae Response in Springs Ecosystems Despite the attention given to water quality improvement at the Ichetucknee River since the early 1990s, media reports (Bruno 2004; R itchie 2006) and scientif ic data (Hand 2007) indicate that the problem of nui sance algal growth c ontinues to spread at an increasing rate throughout the ecosystem. A consistent message given in media reports, suggested by many members of the Working Group, and reported by most individuals interviewed for this research is that rising nitrate-nitrogen is primarily to blame for these changes. Accompanying this characterization is an apparent assumption that decreased concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen in the river would be expected to reduce growth of nuisance algae, thereby l eading to the recovery of desirable submersed pl ants and aquatic fauna.

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60 These cause-effect characterizations about nitr ate-nitrogen contamina tion and algal growth are a fundamental driving factor in envir onmental policy discussions focused heavily on reducing nitrate-nitrogen loading into springs heds for the purpose of protecting springs ecosystems (DCA and DEP 2002). While reduction of nitrate-nitrogen load ing or any other human contaminant into groundwater may be inhe rently worthwhile from the perspective of improving water quality, an objecti ve look at recent data trends and scientific studies for Ichetucknee and other Florida sp rings ecosystems suggests two inte rrelated points: 1) nitratenitrogen may not offer a sufficient explanati on for ongoing increases of nuisance algae growth; and 2) reductions of this nutrient may not n ecessarily result in a co rresponding reduction of nuisance algae. A review of water quality data in the Iche tucknee River obtained from the DEP (Hand 2006) helps to introduce these points. While long-term data (Figure 3-4) do clearly show that a dramatic upward trend in the rive rs nitrate-nitrogen concentrati ons historically occurred from mid 1960s through the mid 1980s, the data in Figur e 3-5 suggest that ambient nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in the river have only slightly increased sin ce the mid 1980s, a time in which there was little concern about water quality or eco logical changes in the ri ver. Furthermore, the excerpted data shown in Figure 3-6 actually indi cate a steady downward tr end in nitrate-nitrogen during the period from 2000 2006, while a t-te st comparison between the data from 2000-2006 indicate no significant difference in nitrate-nitrogen levels over this period as compared to levels measured from 1985-1998 (Table 3-1). If algal gr owth and biomass accumulation were to have a simple linear relationship to nitrate-nitrogen concentrations, it seems to follow, based upon available data, that algal grow th and biomass accumulation woul d have either decreased or

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61 remained stable since 2000. Howeve r, available data indicate that the biomass and coverage of undesirable algae have greatly expanded during this time period (Hand 2007). One possible explanation for th is anomaly is that nitrate-nitrogen measurements at Ichetucknee Springs have been shown to have ex treme variability over very short periods of time due to the flushing of stored c ontaminants during storm events and other stochastic processes (Martin and Gordon 2000). High frequency samp ling before and after storm events are recommended by Martin and Gordon (2000) as a means of detecting important spikes and pulsed trends within nitrate-ni trogen levels a recommendation that is not reflected in the sampling performed by state agencies. Thus, it is conceivable that undetected pulses within nitrate-nitrogen levels are occurring within the river and that these nutr ient pulses might indeed be a cause of the observed increases in algal gr owth. Clearly, this line of reasoning cannot be dismissed and should be explored in more detail in future rese arch. However, the fact that extreme nitrate-nitrogen pulses were detected by Martin a nd Gordon (2000) before rapid increases in algal growth were observed in many areas of the ri ver also tends to support the search for additional explanatory variables. Field observations from 2000 2001 and cursory an alysis of water quality data are used by Evans (2002, 47) to hypothesize that algal growth in the upper Iche tucknee River likely is more correlated with elevated phosphorus concentrations than with nitrate. This observational hypothesis is in agreement with subsequent stat istical analyses of algal biomass and water quality conducted by Stevenson et al. (2004) and Hand (2007), both of whom found that algal biomass in the Ichetucknee Rive r spatially correlates with phosphorus concen trations and shows no direct statistical re lationship with nitrate-nitrogen. On the one hand, a phosphorus relationship with algal growth is not surprising given the pr imary role that phosphorus often plays in cultural

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62 eutrophication of aquatic systems throughout the world. Furthermore, Biggs (2000) found specific correlations between phosphorus and al gal biomass accumulation in field studies of stream systems in New Zealand, with mu ch of this accumulation accounted for by Vaucheria sp. similar to those found in the Ichetucknee. But on the other hand, phosphorus enrichment does not seem to provide a coherent explanation for observed ecological changes in the Ichetucknee River, largely because phosphorus concentrations measured within spri ngs are, unlike nitratenitrogen, not known to have increased significantly over time. Geologi sts have found that phosphorus loaded into springsheds from fertilizer applications and wastewater disposal is adsorbed to overlying soils and carbonate rock before groundwater can be contaminated, meaning that differential phosphorus concentrations among springs genera lly are a function of the natural phosphate content of rocks being eroded by groundwater flow in areas of the Floridan aquifer near the spring outfalls not anthropogeni c contamination (Jones et al. 1996). A policy implication of this geological finding is that reduction of phosphorus concentrati ons discharged from springs likely is not a plausible ecosystem management strategy for reducing algal growth in springs (Joyner and Paerl 2007). Even if algal accumulation in the Ichetuc knee River is phosphorus limited, it can be coherently hypothesized, however, that algal gr owth may have been or iginally triggered by nitrate-nitrogen contamination, with naturally available phosphorus in the spring water simply limiting the extent to which the growth reaction can be expressed. While this hypothesis clearly cannot be dismissed and should be researched in more detail, declines of submersed plants associated with spread of nuisance algae recently have been recorded in Silver Glen Springs and Alexander Springs, both of which have undevelo ped springsheds contained almost entirely

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63 within the Ocala National Forest and background concentrations of both nitrate-nitrogen (under 0.1 mg/L) and phosphorus (Joyner a nd Paerl 2007). The importance of this finding is that undesirable ecosystem changes associated with al gal overgrowth in some cases can be triggered by disturbance factors appare ntly unrelated to nitrat e-nitrogen contamination. In addition, Cowell and Dawes (2004) recen tly found that the biomass accumulation of Lyngbya wollei a cyanobacterium species that is increa singly displacing submersed plants at Ichetucknee and other Florida spri ngs, is only significantly redu ced in spring water at nitratenitrogen concentrations as lo w as 0.07 mg/L, or approximately 10 times lower than what is currently found in the Iche tucknee. This finding suggests that, even in those cases where nitratenitrogen may be a primary causal factor in tr iggering increased algal growth, the subsequent changes in ecosystem function and corresponding auto catalytic feedbacks may represent a nonlinear shift in ecosystem stab ility domain (Scheffer et al. 1 993). An implication of such a nonlinear relationship is that even a dramatic re duction of nitrate-nitroge n to levels (e.g., under 0.3 mg/L) historically not associ ated with high levels of al gal biomass accumulation may be insufficient for abating the continued accumulation and expansion of algal biomass in the future (Cowell and Dawes 2004). But even if these findings and suggested rela tionships are discounted and a simple linear relationship between nitrate-ni trogen and algal growth is a ssumed, current management and restoration strategies still are in complete in the sense that they do not adequately account for the long-term entrainment of nitrate-nitrogen in the groundwater from past and ongoing land use activities. Given current contam ination patterns and the travel times of groundwater in the springshed, even the most succe ssful conservation and/or wate r quality improvement programs are not likely to result in signi ficant reduction of the ambient c oncentration of nitrate-nitrogen

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64 discharged in large springs ecosystems like Ichetu cknee for at least two decades (Jones et al. 1996; Katz et al. 1999; Cowell and Dawes 2004). Take n together, all of these analyses suggest that current ecosystem management and policy de velopment strategies, which are hinged almost entirely upon reduction of nitrat e-nitrogen loading within the springshed, are unlikely to be sufficient for the achievement of significant reduc tions in algal growth in the Ichetucknee River for the foreseeable future. Water Lettuce Eradication In June 2000, DEPs Bureau of Invasive Pl ant Management (BIPM) announced plans to begin herbicide applications on the Ichetu cknee River to control water lettuce ( Pistia stratiotes ), a floating aquatic plant found along the banks, snag s, and stagnant areas throughout much of the river at that time. According to aquatic plant control researchers at the University of Florida, water lettuce is an invasive nonnative3 plant that can significan tly reduce biodiversity in Floridas aquatic ecosystems by shading out na tive submersed plants, destroying emergent vegetation, and by eliminating underwater animals through oxyge n depletion (Ramey 2001). 3 Although the ability of water lettuce to spread rapidly (i.e., invasively) in disturbed and nutrient-enriched aquatic ecosystems in tropical and s ub-tropical areas of the world is well-docume nted (Sharma 1984), the claim that water lettuce is not native to Florida is a matter of considerab le scientific controversy and inconclusive speculation (Stuckey and Les 1984; Stoddard 1989; Ramey 2001). A major source of the controversy comes from the fact that the explorer William Bartram, often used as a historical source for cataloguing the native flora of Florida, commonly observed and made drawings of water lettuce on the St. Johns River, Suwannee River, and several lakes in 1765 (Stuckey and Les 1984). Stuckey and Les (1984) argue that the best biological evidence for presuming that water lettuce is exotic to Florida (i.e., introduced by human activity in the post-Columbian era) derives from an assumption, commonly held at the time their paper was written, that water lettuce does not produce seeds in Florida due to a lack of appropriate pollinators. Based upon this assumption, they sp eculate that the water lettuce observed by Bartram may originally have been introduced from South America by 16th century Spanish settlers in St. Augustine. This speculative introduction theory is, however, undermined to some extent by a later finding that seed production is, in fact, an important source of reproduction fo r water lettuce in Florida (Dray and Center 1989). Some aquatic plant researchers, perhaps through a misunderstand ing of Stuckey and Less ( 1984) original speculations, currently suggest that water lettuces most likely mode of introduction into Florida was through the ballast water of Spanish ships (Ramey 2001). However, Spanish sailing ships in the 16th 18th centuries (and all other sailing ships before the late 19th century) used non-water stone ballast (Wiley 1995), indicating that ballast water clearly was not the mode of water lettuces introduction into Florid a before the time of Bartram. The primary source, other than Bartram, suggesting that water lettuce may be native to Florida is Stoddard (1989), who uses paleofloristic and ethnobotanical findings to make a sp eculative argument that water lettuce likel y has been present in most tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Florida, throughout antiquity (Stoddard 1989, 23).

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65 While acknowledging that wate r lettuce had been documented to create only minor problems on the Ichetucknee River, BIPM argued that the new control program was, however, urgently needed to help reduce environmental and economic losses associated with water lettuce in the tidal creeks of the lower Suwannee River estuary, located approximately 60 miles downstream (DEP 2000). Likely in response to significant public opposition engendered by the chemical control proposal, over the next several months BIPM agreed to indefinitely delay herbicide applications an d instead assisted ISSP with the ins titution of an experimental water lettuce eradication program based upon hand ha rvest of the plant. A part-time employment position at ISSP dedicated solely to removal of water lettuce was funded by BIPM, and plans were initiated for up to 9 weekend water lettu ce round up days each year that would utilize community volunteers. The water lettuce removal efforts began at th e Ichetucknee Head Spring in late 2000, and have progressively moved down river as the wa ter lettuce in upstream areas is successfully extirpated (Figure 3-3). The peri odic volunteer events are used to quickly remove large water lettuce concentrations from targeted areas of th e river, while the ISSP em ployee, with periodic assistance from volunteers, interns, and/or wo rkers from service organizations such as AmeriCorps, maintains a day to day focus on rem oving every visible piece of water lettuce from the river bank and other hard to reach areas. The laborious process of removing even the smallest fragments of water lettuce in the river is ofte n referred to as nit-picking. Once removed, the water lettuce is deposited in dis posal sites located along the rive rs adjacent flood plain forest (Figure 3-3). Several years later, this effort has been a clear success in term s of almost entirely eradicating water lettuce from si gnificant stretches of the upper Ic hetucknee River. The influence

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66 of this management strategy has reached as far as California, where resear chers recently cited the Ichetucknee water lettuce eradi cation campaign as a primary exam ple of utilizi ng a strong sense of stewardship among a local co mmunity to effectively institute a non-chemical invasive plant control program (Greenfield et al. 2004, 59). Local media also have given positive coverage to the volunteer clean up days, with one representa tive story citing offici als and volunteers who argue that the water lettuce removal helps to save th e river from an invasive exotic plant that is choking life and reducing biodiversity in the aquatic ecosystem (Sobel 2004). Observed Ecosystem Response In January May 2001, I recorded a number of field observations while working as a volunteer student intern at ISSP. My primary duty throughout this internship was hand removal of water lettuce, which as discussed above ha d recently been initiated as a formal control program. On most days I was the sole assistant to the ISSP employee recen tly hired for the water lettuce removal program, although on some days small work crews from AmeriCorps and other service organizations would also assist with harvesti ng and nit-picking acti vities. In addition, I participated in several of the large volunteer work day events, which generally attracted 50 100 people, held during this time period. As show n in Figure 3-3, the wate r lettuce eradication program during 2000 2001 covered the upper Ichetu cknee River, with some gaps, from the Head Spring to Devils Eye Spring. A consistent observation made throughout th is experience was that contrary to the description of the plants adve rse effects (e.g., oxygen depleti on and faunal depopulation) given by Ramey (2001) and largely adopted in public communications about th e eradication campaign at ISSP (Sobel 2004), water lettu ce was being utilized as habitat by a large number of aquatic fauna in the Ichetucknee River. In particular, I consistently obse rved that the fibrous roots of harvested water lettuce plants often contained la rge populations of aquatic invertebrates such as

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67 spring run crayfish, several types of mollusks and snails, and a wi de variety of insects. While limited effort was made to return some of the larger organisms back into the river, it seems fairly safe to assume that most of the removed organisms perished. Although these observations, and similar obser vations recently reported in a newspaper editorial by Dame (2006), clearly ar e anecdotal, they also are cons istent with better documented accounts. For example, field measurements of oxygen levels under water hyacinth, which has similar ecological functionality to water lettuce, in the spring-fed St. Marks River indicate that flowing water conditions in spring-fed streams can be expected to prev ent the large-scale oxygen deficits and faunal depopulation commonly attributed to floating plant mats in other ecosystem contexts (Bartodziej and Leslie 1998). The potentia l habitat value of water lettuce in spring runs is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by Thom psons (1968) descripti on of the dense hydrobe snail ( Aphaostracon pycnum ), a species endemic to Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest and reported to be almost exclusively associated with fl oating mats of water lettuce and water hyacinth. In addition, inte rnal studies performed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicate that water lettuce is preferenti ally utilized as cover habitat by several small fish species such as the least killifish ( Heterandria formosa ), pygmy killifish ( Leptolucania ommata ), and an endemic topminnow ( Fundulus seminolis ) (D. Gallagher, Environmental Specialist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, E-mail Communication, May 8, 2006). Although somewhat diffe rent than springs ecosystem in terms of water flow rates and chemistry, extensive mats of water lettuce found in the Lettuce Lakes of south Floridas Corkscrew Swamp are known to be characterized by very large populations of crayfish, wading birds, turtles, alligat ors and other native animals (USGS 2007).

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68 Another observation made at Ichetucknee was that eradication of water lettuce from a section of the river was often followed by a ra pid colonization and expansion of filamentous algae. Although the colonizing alg ae tended to be most obvious and severe in the same low flow velocity areas where the water lettuce had pr eviously accumulated, substantial increases of filamentous algal coverage on beds of submerse d vegetation such as eel grass and tape grass were also observed on several occasions after the eradication of adjacent water lettuce mats. Such an observational relationship of filame ntous algae quickly invading into adjacent submersed plant communities was specifically recorded in field notes at Blue Hole taken in early 2001. These field notes indicate that the spring runs eel grass and tape grass community did not have visible accumulations of filamentous algae in the last week of January, when the water lettuce was harvested and deposited nearby on th e river bank (Figure 3-3). By February 13, it was observed that the spring run was being overw helmed by mats of brown and black algae growing amongst and topped out over the submersed grasses. A similar observation about filamentous alg ae rapidly overtaking submersed plants was also made following the removal and disposal of water lettuce at Devi ls Eye Spring in early spring of 2001. Although the Devils Eye field notes are not specifi cally dated, the two photographs dated December 2000 (Figure 3-2D) a nd May 2001 (Figure 3-2E ) respectively show the spring at times soon before and after the erad ication of water lettuce. In December 2000, little accumulation of filamentous is noticeable on su bmersed plants. By May 2001, after the removal and disposal of large amounts of water lettuce in an area directly adjacent to the spring boil (see Figure 3-3), large strands of filamentous alg ae are clearly apparent. Since May 2001, the eel grass community in Devils Eye Spring has almost completely disappeared due to displacement by filamentous algae (Hand 2007).

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69 Systems Model Like the observations about faunal utilization of water lettuce, my reports of rapid algal growth following water lettuce removal are, of course, fundamentally anecdotal. However, a review of scientific li terature can be used to coherent ly hypothesize a competitive relationship between water lettuce and algal growth in the Ic hetucknee River. The hypothesis, presented in Figure 3-7 as a systems ecology model using Odums (1994) network language suggests that the primary form of competition between water lettuce and algae is for sunlight, with water lettuce having a clear competitive advantage due to it s physiology as a floating plant (Attionu 1976). Nutrients are shown as a secondary source of competition in the model. This competitive relationship is suggested by a wide variety of scientific studies indicating that water lettuce is one of the most effective aquatic plants in uptake of nitrate-nitrogen (Nels on et al. 1980; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda and Kar 1996; Kao et al. 2000 ; Lopes-Ferreira 2000; Lin et al. 2002; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004), phosphorus (Tucker and Debusk 1981; Tripathi et al 1991; Panda and Kar 1996; Kao et al. 2000; Lopes-Ferreira 2000; Kent et al. 2000; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004), and iron and various other metals (Sharma 1984; Srid har 1986; Kao et al. 2000) thought to influence algal growth patterns in the Iche tucknee River and other springs (S tevenson et al. 2004). It is notable that pond culturalists throughout the world commonl y utilize water lettuce for suppression of algae based upon the sunlight competition and nutrient uptake mechanisms (Cohen 1993) suggested in this model. In addition, the model contains an additiona l feedback mechanism indicating that water lettuce biomass may serve as a further drain on algal growth beyond the direct competition for sunlight and nutrients. This relationship is s uggested by studies showing that water lettuce releases allelopathic chemical s that suppress some algae speci es (Aliotta et al. 1991; Gross 2003), can directly filter and reta in a large amount of algal bioma ss in its fibrous root mass (Kim

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70 et al. 2001), and is utilized as habitat by various bacteria, zooplankton, and other fauna that consume algae (Attionu 1976). A final relationship shown in the model is that the shoreline disposal of water lettuce likely resulted in a secondary pulsed rel ease of nutrients back into the aquatic ecosystem as the biomass decayed, perhap s serving as an additional catalyst for algal growth. Prevention of secondary nutrient loading through bioma ss management techniques that move harvested aquatic plant biomass well away from the shore of a water body is discussed by Shijun and Jingsong (1989) in relation to harv est and utilization of water hyacinth from a eutrophic Chinese river. Stakeholder Responses Conversational inte rviews and public communications with twenty-eight stakeholders were used to gather perceptions of the Ichetuckn ee Rivers ecological c onditions, and then, as described in Chapter 2, to introduce and disc uss the water lettuce/algae response hypothesis. Seven of these stakeholders were scientists an d/or managers directly employed by government agencies with ecosystem management responsibiliti es at the Ichetucknee River, six were private or university scientists with re search and/or management experi ence in the Ichetucknee River, and the remaining fifteen were non-scientists4 who have attended at least one meeting of the Working Group. As noted in Chapter 2, all interview informants were asked to describe their understanding of the problems currently facing the Ichetuc knee River system. Not surprisingly given the association of these stakeholde rs with the Working Group, the dominant themes discussed in 4 The descriptive term non-scientist is being used as shorthand to identify those stakeholders who are not currently employed as environmental scientists. This shorthand may, however, be a little misleading in the sense that some of the stakeholders may have advanced scientific training and/or are professionally employed in scientific professions. In any case, the distinction being made is between thos e stakeholders whose participation in the Working Group primarily is associated with their stat us as environmental/ecological scientists (both agency and non-agency) with professional expertise about the Ichetucknee River, and those stakeholders participating solely on the basis of being concerned citizens.

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71 relation to ecological conditions were concern about increasing al gal growth and nitrate-nitrogen contamination within the river. Almost all stakeholders (twentyseven) at some point mentioned that algal growth in the river has, in their view markedly increased since they first visited the river, and the unanimous consensus among these was that the problem continues to worsen. There was also a clear tendency to link this grow th with nitrate-nitrogen contamination, with twenty-two stakeholders and all fourteen non -scientists who noted in creased algal growth indicating that increased nitrate-nitrogen was the likely cause of the algal growth. However, three non-agency scientists and two agency scientists suggested that factors other than and/or in addition to nitrate-nitrogen coul d be triggering algal growth. Wa ter lettuce was cited by eighteen stakeholders (ten non-scientists, five agency scientists, and three nonagency scientists) as another primary concern within th e river, although the harvest pr ogram was cited by sixteen of these as being effective in ge tting the plant under control. Participants were then presented with info rmation suggesting that management of water lettuce may be linked to the pro liferation of nuisance algae in the Ichetucknee River. Although it must be cautioned that the non-random selection me thod prevents traditional statistical analysis, distinct response patterns were observed am ong the different informant groups after being introduced to this information, particularly to the following two questions: 1) Should the idea of invasive plant management being linked to proliferation of nuisanc e algae be investigated further by scientists? 2) Should ecosystem managers consider modifying the ways in which they manage water lettuce in Ichetucknee Springs? Twelve out of the fifteen non-scientist re spondents (80%) indicated that they both supported more research into th e hypothesized relationship and believed that managers should consider modifying plant management strategies based upon the results of scientific study. Six of

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72 these twelve additionally indica ted that their own observations about ecosystem response in the Ichetucknee were consistent with the informati on presented. While there is a danger that such a response could be an artifact of non-scientist respondents deferring to what they consider to be a more authoritative opinion, it is no table that, in the preliminary in terviews, only one of these six cited water lettuce as a primary concern within the river. In addition, fi ve out of six (83%) nonagency scientists a group who would not be exp ected to uncritically defer also indicated support for both additional research and consideration of alternativ e plant management strategies after being presented with the hypothesis. Among agency scientists and managers the response pattern was noticeably different, wi th five out of seven (71%) s uggesting that alternative plant management strategies should not be considered. Interestingly, while three of these five did suggest it was possible that removal of water lettu ce could have resulted in increased growth of algae, statutory mandates for controlling nonnative species and fears that water lettuce would quickly grow out of control abse nt aggressive eradication effort s both were cited in defense of continuing current management. Two additional evaluative themes were common ly raised by stakeholders in the interview process. The first major theme suggested by ma ny (twenty-two, or 79%) st akeholders (including most of those who supported more research in to the hypothesized relationship between water lettuce and algae growth) was that the expansion of native plant sp ecies particularly eel grass, wild rice ( Zizania aquatica ), and water hemlock ( Ciculata maculata ) as a result of water lettuce removal is an important benefit that shoul d also be considered in an overall evaluative framework. It is notable that tw o of the three non-scientist stak eholders who argued that there was no need to reconsider current management st rategies justified this stance by suggesting that nutrient filtration and faunal habitat values prov ided by the expansion of native plants greatly

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73 exceeded those formerly provided by water lettuce. A second major theme suggested by most stakeholders (twenty-three, or 82%) was pref erence for the harvest method over management strategies based upon herbicide usage, largely due to the belief that herbicides would pose a high threat of non-target damage to aquatic plants and animals. Adaptive Learning and Institutional Rigidity Norton (2005, 208) argues that a key component of adaptive management is to support a process of social learning in which members of communities, upon seeing the consequences of acting in pursuit of particular va lues, may come to question and re vise some of the values they have been acting upon. Using the conversations with stakeholders as a qualitative foundation, several points relevant to social learning within the management context at Ichetucknee River are suggested: 1) algal growth is currently viewed as a greater threat to the ri vers ecological values than water lettuce; 2) there is significant willingness am ong non-scientists and non-agency scientists to reconsider a comm only held value about water lettu ce (i.e., it should be eradicated) based upon information suggesting that it may help to suppress algae; 3) the spread of native plants is considered to be a benefit of suppressi ng water lettuce; and 4) ch emical control of water lettuce is considered to be a hi ghly undesirable management option. If these qualitative points are combined with both the scientific information suggesting that reduction of nitrate-nitrogen offers, at best, an uncertain and temporally distant method for controlling algal growth and the scientific hypotheses elaborated by the systems model, a very strong foundation for holistically reevaluating th e water lettuce eradic ation policy for the Ichetucknee River emerges. According to adaptive management theory, integral to this process of iterative social learning would be detailed monitoring efforts sp ecifically designed to detect and better understand unintended effects of ongoing management actions (Holling et al. 1998; Gunderson 1999), along with a discursive environmen t in which stakeholders have the ability to

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74 openly challenge the beliefs and evaluative stat ements that are given to explain and justify environmental policies (Norton 2005, 209). Based upon these prescriptive criteria, it is, howev er, apparent that th e current institutional framework governing ecosystem management in the Ichetucknee River provides for a rigid, nonadaptive approach towards the control of water lettuce. In terms of m onitoring, the progress of water lettuce eradication is being documented (Figure 3-2). However, the ecological effects associated with this eradication have not been rigorously studied either with regard to the hypothesized algae response relation ship suggested above, or to ch aracterize the colonization of native plant species following the removal of th e water lettuce since the programs inception. Thus, the original eradication policy continue s to be justified by tw o lines of reasoning conspicuously laden with questionable sc ientific and moral assumptions: 1) an a priori attribution of harm to water lett uce associated with its statutory status as an invasive nonnative species; 2) an accompanying assumption that eradi cation of the invasive nonnative species brings unambiguous benefits to the rivers ecological values. Ev en if questions about the nonnative/native origins of water lettuce (upon which the primary justifications behind current management policy are, however, cl early hinged) discussed above in footnote 1 are left aside, the apparent consensus among stakeholders that the rivers overall ecological condition has, over the time period of the water lettuce eradication effort s, increasingly deteriorated due to increased algal growth seems to offer a compelling ratio nale for a critical reassessment of these management assumptions and practices through a holistic monitoring program. In fairness, it could be argued that the lack of monitoring associated with the water lettuce eradication program was originally an epistemological issue, in the sense that scientific questions relevant for framing the monitoring program had not yet emerged. However, a secondary effect

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75 of discussing the hypothesis about water lettuce eradication and al gal response with stakeholders was that this idea was introduced into the discursive context of the Working Group. As indicated above, most agency scientists and managers interviewed for this dissertation expressed opposition to the idea of reconsidering the curren t eradication strategy, w ith this position often justified by reference to a stat utory directive in Chapter 369.22(1 )(d) of the Florida Statutes (2006b) that calls for maintenance of nonnative pl ants such as water le ttuce at the lowest feasible level. While there is little question that the goal of maintaining water lettuce at the lowest feasible level is standard among state agencies engaged in aquatic pl ant control activities, Chapter 369.22(4) contains an a dditional clause indicat ing that management of aquatic plants must also protect human health, safety, and r ecreation and, to the greate st degree practicable, prevent injury to plant, fish, and animal life (Florida Statutes 2006b). This latter clause, it would seem, provides an unambiguous basis for monito ring and reflecting upon the consequences of aquatic plant management, with the implication th at appropriate and itera tive adjustments should be made to both protect consensual public good s and prevent consensual public harms. Thus, specific aquatic plant management practices associ ated with the production of algal blooms that negatively affect public health, safety, recreation, fish, and/or wildlife presumably would be subject to review under the criteria set forth by the statute. The qualitative interview research indicates that there is signif icant interest among stakeholders for further inquiry into the benefits costs, and effects of aquatic plant management activities in the Ichetucknee Ri ver, and the stakeholder Working Group would seem to provide an appropriate forum for such discussions. Howe ver, public discussion of the management policy through the auspices of the Working Group so fa r has been discouraged through an apparent

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76 rigidity associated with the prevailing institut ional assumptions used to justify aquatic plant control. For example, my own request to ma ke a formal presentation to the Working Group raising questions about water lettuce eradicati on and algal proliferati on was denied in April 2004, with the stated rationale be ing that such a topic would fa ll outside of the Working Groups stated mission of improving water quality in the springshed.5 More recently, a non-scientist stakeholder made independent6 public comments during a Working Group meeting held on October 11, 2006, suggesting that potent ial linkages between increased algal growth in the river and the water lettuce eradication program should be a focus of monitoring and research activities. Although, as discussed above, the origin al scientific justification for initiating the water lettuce erad ication program in 2000 was based upon downstream impacts to the Suwannee estuary (DEP 2000), the official response given to this recent stakeholder concern was a pronouncement that agency biologists had come to the conclusion that water lettuce threatened to completely overtake the river. Citing dire consequences such as the complete destruction of submersed plant communities and cessation of recreational activities that would be associated with water lettuce completely covering the river, it was then stipulated that the eradication polic y was not an appropriate matter for public debate. This response clearly had the in tended effect, contra to what Norton (2005) recommends for facilitating an effective adaptive management program, of discouraging additional public challenges to the institutional beliefs being us ed to justify and explain an ongoing ecosystem management strategy. 5 Although I do not believe that most Working Group members would make this distinction between the mission of protecting water quality in the springshed and understanding ecological conditions in the river, I have respected this request by not publicly raising questions about water lettuce management within the context of Working Group meetings. 6 This is to clarify that there was no communication or coordination between myself and this stakeholder in relation to the public comments made at the Working Group meeting.

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77 Management Experimentation: Moving Beyond All or Nothing As generally suggested by Gunderson (1999), th e socio-ecological rese arch presented in this chapter suggests that two ma jor impediments to adaptive learning exist with relation to water lettuce management in the Ichetucknee River: 1) fear of a non-resilient eco system shifting to an unwanted stability domain (i.e., complete cove rage of the river by wa ter lettuce); and 2) inflexibility in the extant power relations am ong stakeholders (i.e., in stitutional rigidities organized around defense of current agency policie s). Underlying these fear s and rigidities are what philosophers commonly call all or nothing thinking, or, more technically, the fallacy of false alternatives. In other words, a wide vari ety of alternative scenarios exist between, on the one hand, current management goals and techniques (eradication and shoreline disposal of water lettuce) and, on the other hand, a cessation of aq uatic plant management that leaves the river recreationally unusable. For example, a logical re form to the current management strategy could be pursuit of alternative biomass disposal tec hniques, perhaps through utilization of bottom-lined composting facilities and/or mobile dumpsters, to prevent the risk of pulse d nutrient loading into the river. Another logical reform would be to specifically monitor the successional patterns observed after the removal of water lettuce. Leaving aside any ultimate determinations as to whether or not the increasing algal growth observed in the Ichetucknee River over recent years has any important ecological relationship with the water lettuce eradication program, there is clear social consensus that increased algal growth being observed in the river represents a highly undesirable shift in stability domain. Equally clear, as discussed above, from a scien tific perspective is that extant groundwater contaminant patterns, along with the apparent res ilience of the algal stab ility domain to lowered nutrient levels, make it highly unl ikely that current management strategies are sufficient for achieving consonance between the socially mediat ed values and management goals established

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78 for the ecosystem and the clear constraints posed by extant and emergent environmental conditions. Gunderson (1999) suggests that a pragmatic antidote for building resilience and flexibility into socio-ecological contexts char acterized by institutional rigidity and resource collapse is through small-scale pilot experiments7 designed to bring novel lines of inquiry into the management context. Ideall y, the socio-ecological informati on developed in this chapter could be used as the basis for such small scale experiments. For example, one logical management experiment would be to intentionally grow water lettuce perhaps in polyculture with native floating aquatic pl ants, such as water pennywort ( Hydrocotyl sp.) in certain areas of the river (e.g., spring runs) currently characte rized by high levels of algal growth. Such experiments could be used to better understand the effects of water lettuce and other aquatic plant species on algal production, faunal populations submersed and emergent plant species, and various physico-chemical variables (e.g., nitrat e-nitrogen, phosphorus, and dissolved oxygen) within the specific context of the Ichetucknee River. Any experiments for better understanding the ecological functions of water lettuce, however, need not supplant the overall management goal of minimizing the plant in most areas of the river, both to prevent dow nstream migration of the plant and encourage growth of more desirable native plants. In fact, it would be relatively straightforw ard to coordinate such a pilot experiment with the existing management infrastr ucture to test, as sugge sted by Lopes-Ferreira 7 Admittedly, a key practical barrier to such pilot experime nts is suggested in a more recent paper by Gunderson et al. (2006). These authors pointedly argu e that a lack of holistic learning ca pacity in the Florida Everglades is systemically perpetuated by a monolithic research funding apparatus, dominated by government agencies, that filters out integrative studies that could question existing policies in favor of those that reinforce existing dogma. While such an institutional consideration almost certainly hol ds for this case, it can be argued that the comparatively small scale of both the Ichetucknee ecosystem (relative to the Everglades) and studies being called for here leave open the possibility of non-traditional (e.g., private non-profit, independently funded graduate student, collaboration with volunteer organizations, etc.) means of supporting the recommended research. Obtaining necessary aquatic plant permits to conduct the recommended research, however, is another practical barrier that should be considered.

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79 et al. (2000), different water le ttuce growth and harvest methods for the purpose of identifying any specific strategies that may maximize contam inant removal and/or restoration of the overall ecological community in degraded areas. Inform ation gathered through such studies would not only make a valuable contri bution to overall eco logical knowledge, but the process of communicating and evaluating the results of th e experiments in public forums, whether in coordination with or independently of the Work ing Group, could help to invigorate and stimulate the overall process of adaptive learning.

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80 Figure 3-1. Map of Ichetucknee River and Springs

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81 A B C D E Figure 3-2. Time series phot ographs of Devils Eye Sp ring A) 1987, photograph by Johnny Dame. B) 1989, photograph by Johnny Dame. C) 1993, photograph by Johnny Dame. D) December 2000 (Follman and Buchanan 2004). E) May 2001 (Hand 2006).

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82 Figure 3-3. Map of water lettu ce removal at ISSP (Hand 2006)

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83 Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 1966 2006R2 = 0.86890 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 196519701975198019851990199520002005Nitrate (mg/L) Figure 3-4. Ichetucknee Springs nitr ate: 1966 2006 (Data from Hand 2006) Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 1985 2006R2 = 0.13690 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 198419861988199019921994199619982000200220042006Nitrate (mg/L) Figure 3-5. Ichetucknee Springs nitrat e: 1985-2006 (Data from Hand 2006)

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84 Ichetucknee Springs Nitrate: 2001 2006R2 = 0.72270.7 0.72 0.74 0.76 0.78 0.8 0.82 0.84 0.86 20002001200220032004200520062007Nitrate (mg/L) Figure 3-6. Ichetucknee River nitrat e: 2001 2006 (Data from Hand 2006) Table 3-1. T-test comparison of Ichetucknee River nitrate levels, 1985-1998 vs. 2001-2006 Nitrate (mg/L) 1985-1998 Nitrate (mg/L) 2001-2006 Mean 0.68650.775417 Variance 0.0139610.001951 Observations 56 Pooled Variance 0.007289 Hypothesized Mean Difference 0 Df 9 t Stat -1.71995 P(T<=t) one-tail 0.059777 t Critical one-tail 1.833113 P(T<=t) two-tail 0.119555 t Critical two-tail 2.262157

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85 Figure 3-7. Systems model of water lettuce and algae competition at Ichetucknee River

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86 CHAPTER 4 KINGS BAY/CRYSTAL RIVER Site Description Kings Bay/Crystal River is a freshwater springs and tidally-influenced river system located in Citrus County on the northwester n coast of the Florida peninsul a (Figure 4-1). The headwaters of Crystal River are formed by Kings Bay, a 600 acre open water area with depths generally ranging between 3 to 10 feet and containing at l east 30 artesian springs (Jones et al. 1998). The combined discharge of Kings Bays springs is approximately 630 million gallons per day (mgd), which comprises the vast majority of flow with in Crystal River and makes Kings Bay one of the worlds largest known artesian springs complexe s (Rosenau et al. 1977). The main channel of Crystal River emerges from the northwester n section of Kings Bay, and then flows approximately 6 miles to the west-northwest before discharging into the Gu lf of Mexico (Scott et al. 2002). Due to their position along the gulf coast, both Kings Bay and Crystal River are subject to periodic storm surge-dr iven inputs of saline water. This chapter focuses specifically on the Kings Bay headwater portions of the Crystal River ecosystem. The constant influx of artesian spring wa ter maintains a year round temperature of approximately 72 degrees Fahre nheit and provides for clear wate r conditions in many areas of Kings Bay. These ecological condi tions historically have sup ported the growth of highly productive submerged aquatic plant communities. This combination of warm spring water and lush plant growth have also made Kings Bay one of the worlds most important habitats for endangered West Indian manatees ( Trichecus manatus ) (Figure 4-2). Manatees are large, herbivorous marine mammals that take winter refuge in Florid a spring ecosystems due to their inability to survive extended exposure to wate r temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and whose Florida population of approximately 3500 is pr imarily threatened by fatal collisions with

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87 boats and toxins associated with near shore algal blooms. The r ecreational desirability of clear water springs and the unique opportunity to vi ew large numbers of a charismatic endangered species serve as the foundations for an economica lly important nature-based tourism industry in the Kings Bay/Crystal River area. Over the past two decades there has been increasing concern among government agencies and local stakeholders about a perceived deterioration of ecosy stem conditions within Kings Bay. Much of this concern stems from increased coverage of filamentous cyanobacteria mats generally composed of Lyngbya wollei (Figure 4-3), decline of submerged macrophytes such as native eel grass ( Vallisneria americana ) and nonnative hydrilla, and a decrease in water clarity throughout Kings Bay (Munson 1999; SWFWMD 2004). The ongoing replacement of submerged macrophytes with L. wollei is considered problematic by most Kings Bay stakeholders for several reasons. Primary among these is that manatees feed extensively upon most aquatic macrophytes, incl uding preferentially upon nonnativ es such as hydrilla and Eurasian milfoil ( Myriophyllum spicatum ) (Campbell and Irvine 1977; Silverberg and Morris 1987), but apparently find lit tle to no food value in L. wollei (Anonymous 2005). Therefore, it is feared that loss of submerged macrophytes in favor of L. wollei may directly threaten an important winter food source for the endange red manatee population. In addition, loss of macrophytes is correlated with decreased wate r clarity in Kings Bay (Munson 1999), a condition that is thought to adversely a ffect recreational enjoyment and tourism within the ecosystem. L. wollei s general unattractive appearance, foul odor, a nd emission of toxins that can cause some individuals to develop severe a llergic reactions are other probl ems often cited by managers and stakeholders (Gross and Martin 1996).

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88 Due largely to the growing problems a ssociated with the proliferation of L. wollei in 1988 the Kings Bay/Crystal River complex was liste d by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) in its Surface Water Improve ment and Management (SWIM) priority list (SWFWMD 2004). Under the provisions of Ch apter 373.451 353.4595 in the Florida Statutes, the SWIM Plan serves as the operative research and planning document fo r setting and achieving ecosystem restoration and prot ection objectives with in Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2000). The first SWIM plan for Kings Bay was developed by SW FWMD in 1989, with exte nsive updates made in 2000. The most recent SWIM Plan document es tablishes the primary restoration goals for Kings Bay/Crystal River as impr oved water clarity, reduction of L. wollei prevention of sediment resuspension within the water column, re -vegetation of degraded areas with desirable submerged macrophytes, and protection of the endangered manatee population (SWFWMD 2000). But despite many years of scie ntific research and management effort associated with the SWIM Plan, the general consensus among managers and stakeholders is that the Kings Bay ecosystem continues to steadily decline. Watershed Context Contaminant loadings from land use activit ies and hydrologic alte rations within the watersheds of aquatic systems are widely rec ognized as two primary factors to consider in aquatic restoration projects. Th e Kings Bay/Crystal River waters hed is characterized by highly porous sandy soils that directly overlie and drain vert ically into the cavernous limestone and dolomite formations of the upper Floridan aquifer the source of the water that discharges from the springs within Kings Bay (Jones et al. 1998). Such subsurface drainage catchments that discharge into artesian springs are often referred to as sprin gsheds (Scott et al. 2004). Most Florida springsheds are known to be quite vulnerable to groundwater contamination from human landuse activities due to the por osity of surface soils, lack of significant confining layers over

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89 the Floridan aquifer, and the pr esence of many sinkhole features that can transport contaminated runoff directly into the groundw ater (Florida Springs Task Force 2000; Scott et al. 2004). Previous studies have found a variety of nutrients pesticides, herbicides, petrochemical residues, and other anthropogenic contaminants within Florida springs that ha ve large areas of agricultural and/or residential land usages within their spring shed (Katz and Bohlke 2000; Phelps 2004). However, nitrate-nitrogen, which can originate from fertilizer applications, discharge of human and animal wastewater, and atmos pheric deposition, is generally regarded as the contaminant of most concern in many Florida springs, both due to the precipitous increases in nitrate-nitrogen concentrations observed in sp rings throughout the state and the known potential of nitratenitrogen to cause rapid eutrophi cation once it reaches a quatic systems (Jones et al. 1998; Florida Springs Task Force 2000; Katz and Bohlke 2000; Phelps 2004; Scott et al. 2004). Most of the current land-use within the Kings Bay springshed is characterized by lowintensity timber, pasture, and agriculture that generally pose a low to moderate contamination risk. However, more intensive land usages such as domestic lawns, golf courses, commercial development, and municipal wastewater spray fi elds that pose greater contamination risks are present and quickly increasing throughout the springshed (Jones et al. 1998; SWFWMD 2004). Very little historic data have been collected fo r pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemical residues within Kings Bays springs, but quarterly nutrient samples for nutrients have been taken by SWFWMD since June 1989. Nitrat e-nitrogen concentrations within Kings Bays springs currently range from approximately 0.2 0.5 parts per million (ppm) (SWFWMD 2004). While relatively low in comparison to several other la rge Florida springs that often show nitratenitrogen levels well over 1 ppm (Jones et al. 1998; Scott et al. 2004), the nitrate-nitrogen concentrations within Kings Bay are thought to represent a twenty-fold increase over background

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90 nitrate-nitrogen concentrations found within unc ontaminated portions of the Floridan aquifer (Jones et al. 1998). Unfortunately, nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in Kings Bays springs are expected to continue increasing for the fores eeable future due to a known plume of extant groundwater contamination and anticipated landuse intensification within the Kings Bay springshed (Jones et al. 1998). A lthough increased nitrate-nitroge n levels within springs are rightly viewed with great concer n by regulatory agencies, scientif ic studies to date have shown surprisingly little spatio-correlation or dire ct ecological relations hip between increased concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen and the increased L. wollei growth observed within Kings Bay and other Florida springs (Romie 1990; Hoyer et al. 1997; M unson 1999; SWFWMD 2000; Stevenson et al. 2004). Direct surface runoff into Kings Bay is limited to relatively small areas of land adjacent to the water body and is believed to contribute relatively minor amounts of contaminants on an annual, mass-balance basis (SWFWMD 2004). Ho wever, the relatively high density of commercial and residential land uses within this surface drainage basin and a drainage infrastructure that directly loads stormwater fr om many impervious surfaces directly into Kings Bay together indicate that lo calized pulses of heavy metals petrochemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and other anthropogenic contaminants from stormwater discharge points may play an important role in the degradation of the eco system (SWFWMD 2004). Othe r historic hydrologic alterations such as the dredging of numerous canals, filling and impoundment of fringing wetlands, and construction of hardened sea wall s along many areas of the shore are also thought to have had deleterious ecological effect s (SWFWMD 2004). Although some SWIM Plan resources are currently being put into restor ation projects aimed at improving stormwater infrastructure and replacing some failed sea walls with vegetative buffers, the vast majority of

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91 historic hydrologic altera tions in Kings Bay are regarded as permanent due to the substantial residential and commercial developments now located on filled lands as well as the scarcity and high cost of land that could potentially be us ed for mitigation projects (SWFWMD 2004). Participatory Methods The genesis of this research was my particip ation in a University of Florida Conservation Clinic (UFCC) project to assist the City of Crystal Rivers Ki ngs Bay Water Quality Subcommittee (KBWQS) in the de velopment of model stormwater and landscaping ordinances. The UFCC is a non-litigation based law clinic, hous ed in the Levin College of Laws Center for Governmental Responsibility, that utilizes team s of upper-level law and graduate students under the direction of law faculty mentors to devel op policy recommendations for private businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies who are pursuing projects that further the goals of environmental conservation. The KBWQS is a citizen-based group that advises the City of Crystal River on policies rela ted to improving water quality within Kings Bay, and is funded through grants provided by the Waterfronts Florid a Partnership of the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The model ordinance project necessitated cl ose collaboration with citizen and agency stakeholders to rapidly develop working knowle dge of the issues of concern in Kings Bay. Stakeholders shared local knowle dge about Kings Bay through in -depth conversations, both in meetings of the KBWQS and through field trip s into Kings Bay and surrounding areas of the watershed. This collaborative process revealed that local citizens had a variety of different concerns and opinions about the overall manage ment of Kings Bay that went well beyond the specific concerns about stormwater contaminat ion, with many of these concerns focused on historic and ongoing management of a quatic plants in the ecosystem.

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92 After the completion of the UFCC project in December 2004, I continued to regularly attend and take detailed field note s of meetings held by the WQS. As described in Chapter 2, a formal qualitative research protocol for in depth stakeholder interviews approved by the University of Floridas Institutional Review Boar d was utilized in the Crystal River area from April August 2005. Due to the non-random selection methods use, the content of the interviews is not necessarily expected to be reflective of general beliefs held by the population at large within the Crystal River area. However, it is expected that the methodol ogy used for this study did provide a window into the lo cal knowledge of citizens most i nvolved and interested in the Kings Bay ecosystem, and that better understa nding of this local knowledge may provide important insight into deficien cies within the expert knowle dge of research and agency scientists (Fischer 2000; Norton 2005). Twenty-four stakeholders living in the Crys tal River area were in terviewed through the research protocol. As this interview research pr ogressed, it became clear that most local residents shared similar concerns about th e root causes of Kings Bays degr adation as those cited typically cited by agency managers and research scientis ts, including springshed contamination, historic hydrologic alterations, rapid development, and increased boat traffic (SWFWMD 2004). However, a clear divergence between the per ceptions of local resi dents interviewed and information presented by management agencies wa s the suggestion of many residents that past and present aquatic plant manageme nt activities were an important factor in the emergence and persistence of L. wollei Interest in better understanding this divergence prompted a review of scientific literature on both Kings Bay and i nvasive aquatic plants such as water hyacinth, hydrilla, and L. wollei Findings of this literature review were then supplemented by direct

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93 communications, public record e-mails, and conver sational exchanges in p ublic meetings with research and agency scientists, particular ly through participation in the KBWG. The content of these qualitative research findings and subsequent literature re view are used in this chapter to construct an ecological history that focuses largely on aquatic plant management activities in Kings Ba y and the role that these activi ties may have played in shaping and perpetuating the currently observed ecosystem state. The interview research presented as local knowledge in this chapter is constructed through a triangulation method, in the sense that independent verification of reported events a nd observations was made through discovery of supporting documentation, scientific literature, an d/or the consistency of multiple stakeholder accounts. It is also noted in th e chapter narrative whenever st akeholder accounts are the sole source of a given claim. The combination of local knowledge and supporti ng scientific literature is used as the foundation for developing two scientific hypothese s: 1) chemical control of aquatic plants, particularly through the usage of copper-herbi cides in the 1970s and 1980s, may have caused systemic disruptions of planktonic food chains, th ereby contributing to the selection of a resistant strain of L. wollei to become dominant among the phytopl ankton community; and 2) increased coverage and/or alternative management of nonnative macrophyte species, and particularly experiments based upon recent advances in wa ter hyacinth phytoremediation, may be more consistent with the functional re storation of Kings Bay than cu rrent management strategies. As described in Chapter 2, these hypotheses we re then communicated in public forums and public communications with agency stakehol ders. Although legitimate concerns and even cautious support regarding management experi ments using nonnative plants were found through public communications with agency personnel, si gnificant institutional rigidities apparently

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94 associated with non-contextual attributions of harm to nonnative species also were encountered. The chapter concludes by suggesting that resear ch and agency scientists should work closely with local citizens to set up controlled experiments in wh ich phytoremediation and alternative management approaches towards nonnative macr ophytes could be objectively evaluated as potentially useful tools in an overall ecol ogical restoration program in Kings Bay. History of Nuisance Aquatic Pl ants in Kings Bay: 1950 2005 Management of nuisance aquatic plants ha s been an issue of great controversy and central importance within the Kings Bay eco system for many decades. Although published literature on Kings Bay largely focuses on the in troduction of hydrilla in the early 1960s and persistent L. wollei blooms that began in the mid1980s (SWFWMD 2004), four long-time Crystal River residents gave very similar fi rst hand accounts indicati ng that aquatic plant problems actually began in the early 1950s with the proliferation of water hyacinth mats throughout many areas of Kings Bay and Crystal River. Water hyacinth is a free-floating macrophyte sp ecies native to South America that has become naturalized throughout many subtropical a nd tropical regions of the world over the past 100 years, and is commonly known as the worlds worst aquatic weed due to its ability to become invasive in waters with high levels of natural or anthropogenic nutrients (Gopal 1987). Before turning to the specific remembrances of water hyacinth management in Kings Bay, it is necessary to contextualize this management within the history of this plant and its control in Florida. Schmitz et al. (1993, 173) note that wate r hyacinth became the first serious plant pest in Florida soon after its introduc tion to the St. Johns River in 1880s, with its spread greatly aided by cattlemen who held the mistaken belief that it made good cattle feed. Large obstructions caused by hyacinths piling up aroun d bridges were noted as soon as 1895, and control operations based upon crushing, diversion, and removal of water hyacinth from the St.

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95 Johns River by the USACE began with the passa ge of the Rivers and Harbors Act in 1899 (Schmitz et al. 1993). By 1902, amendments to the Rivers and Harbors Act allowed for extermination of water hyacinths using a variety of chemicals such as sodium arsenite, sulfuric acid, carbolic acid, and kerosene (Schmitz et al. 1993). However, Buker (1982) notes that these control methods were soon rejected due to toxici ty to cows, and mechan ical harvest became the primary method of control thr oughout most of the early 20th century. The first trials of the herbicide 2,4-D began in the mid 1940s, and th e USACE began to employ 2,4-D against water hyacinth in Florida by 1948 (Schmitz et al. 1993). This new herbicide was seen as an important advance in the battle against water hyacinth due to its combination of str ong herbicidal properties and low acute toxicity to cattle and other anim als (Joyce 1982). At its peak in the late 1950s, water hyacinth was estimated to cover more th an 50,000 hectares in Florida (Schmitz et al. 1993). Since the late 1950s, water hyacinth has been progressively controlled in Florida over the past 50 years by federal, state, and local offi cials through treatment programs based largely upon 2,4-D and other aquatic herbicides. The water hyacinth growth throughout Kings Bay during the 1950s was described by all four informants as making navigation through so me parts of Kings Bay and Crystal River very difficult at times. Similar accounts among the inform ants suggest that thes e navigational issues triggered the onset of an a ggressive water hyacinth eradic ation program using broadcast herbicides in the mid to late 1950s, a control program that all informants described as being locally popular due to the various problems that came to be associated with hyacinth overgrowth. While it must be noted that no sp ecific records indicati ng the extent of the hyacinth coverage or the types and amounts of chemicals that may have been used at Kings Bay/Crystal River for hyacinth treatment in the 1950s have been locate d, common practice for this era indicates that

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96 one acre of water hyacinth would likely have be en treated with approximately 2 pounds of acidequivalent 2,4-D (Zeiger 1962). Informants also suggested that water hyaci nth had been known in Kings Bay and Crystal River for many years, but, unlike many other areas of Florida, was not considered a particularly invasive or nuisance species in Kings Bay before the 1950s. In fact, one of the informants, a retired fisher, indicated that he had always considered water hy acinth a very useful plant because of his contention that la rge concentrations of shrimp a nd other bait could reliably be found in the hyacinth roots (see Tilghman 1962, 1963; Maltby 1963 for similar historical accounts on the St. Johns River). Even after the wa ter hyacinth mats began to proliferate, the clear consensus among the four resi dents with recollection of this period is that the water clarity of the open water areas of Kings Bay was as high as it had been previously or has ever been since that time. In addition, all reported that the beginning of wa ter hyacinth control operations seemed to have undesirable impacts on the ecology of Kings Bay, including a perceived relationship between the loss of water hyacinth, a decline in wate r clarity, and the subsequent proliferation of another nuisance weed hydrilla. If these remembrances about water hyacinth in Kings Bay/Crystal Ri ver circa 1950s are an accurate representation of the ecological change s that occurred during this time, there would appear to be a fairly straight forward explanation for the change d growth behavior of the water hyacinth and the observed effects of its control. It is known that the 1950s marked the beginning of largescale shoreline and wa tershed development around Kings Bay, which is thought to have resulted in substantial increases of nutrient loadi ngs from wastewater and fertilizer sources into the water body (SWFWMD 2004). As can be visually deduced by comparing an aerial photograph of Kings Bay taken in 1944 (Figure 4-4) with one ta ken in 1960 (Figure 4-5), many

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97 shoreline alterations that destr oyed fringing wetlands and directly resulted in increased sediment loading into Kings Bay were associated with this development pe riod (SWFWMD 2004). The increased input of sediments and nu trients, disturbance of circulat ion patterns, and destruction of fringing marshes associated with this developmen t would be expected to provide ideal conditions for water hyacinth to enter into a period of exponential, or inva sive, growth (Gopal 1987; Odum 1994). Although this exponential growth clearly would be exp ected to cause navigational problems similar to those reported by interview informants, the ability of water hyacinth to sequester large amounts of solubl e nutrients (Agami and Reddy 1990; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda and Kar 1996; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004), filter algae and other particulates in its fibrous roots (Kim et al. 2001), and suppress phytoplankton bloo ms through allelopathy and other mechanisms (Jin et al. 2003) may have helped maintain mu ch of the water clarity and submerged aquatic vegetation in the remaining open water ar eas (Hu et al. 1998) of Kings Bay. While herbicides are quite effective in s uppressing problem water hyacinth populations, this control method also is known to release la rge amounts of nutrients and other contaminants from the dying plants into the water column and bottom sediments (Reddy and Sacco 1981). Thus, chemical control of water hyacinth partic ularly over large areas often can be followed by large algae blooms (Clugston 1963; Chesnut and Barman 1974; Brower 1980; Grimshaw 2002) and/or explosive growth of highly productive submersed plan ts such as hydrilla (USACE 1973), both of which may cause problems of a similar or even worse magnitude as those associated with the original water hyacinth growth. Such a general relationship appears to have he ld in Kings Bay as the successful control of water hyacinth was almost immedi ately replaced by explosive grow th of the submersed hydrilla. Hydrilla is a submersed macrophyte species native to Africa and Southeast Asia that spread

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98 throughout the world in the latter part of the 20th Century, largely due to its historic popularity within the aquarium trade and prolific growth cap abilities within a wide range of environmental conditions. The appearance of hydrilla within Ki ngs Bay/Crystal River circa 1960 marks one of the earliest of this invasive nonnative species within Florida (SWFWM D 2000). Since that time hydrilla has quickly spread to b ecome a severe nuisance species within many aquatic systems in Florida and the southeastern United States. Interview accounts indicate that the rapid grow th and great spatial ex tent of the initial hydrilla invasion within Kings Ba y quickly resulted in a range of environmental and navigation problems that dwarfed those previously associat ed with water hyacinth, thereby making hydrilla control the new aquatic plant management prio rity within the ecosyst em. Although the growth and spread of hydrilla within Kings Bay perhap s was inevitable after its introduction, work by Fontaine (1978) suggests that en riched sediments deposited by pr eviously treated water hyacinth mats would be expected to ex acerbate the subsequent problems posed by the growth of the submersed species. In addition, the extreme hydrologic disturbance and creation of bare aquatic habitat associated with the dredging of numerous canals in Kings Bay in the 1960s and 1970s (Figure 4-6) likely were add itional factors that facilitated th e rapid spread of hydrilla over this period. Early hydrilla control efforts in Kings Bay were varied and largely in effective, including a now notorious attempt to control hydrilla through the application of large amounts of sulfuric acid obtained from a nearby phosphate mine into several areas of Kings Bay. While an initial report indicated somewhat favorab le results from the sulfuric acid treatment method (Phillipy 1966), aquatic plant managers later suggested that this treatment had only temporary effects on hydrilla and severe detrimental effects on both fi sh and desirable aquatic vegetation (Friedman

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99 1987). A more long-term hydrilla treatment program using a combination of copper-based and several other types of herbic ide formulations was institut ed in the 1970s and continued throughout much of the 1980s (Halle r et al. 1983). However, this program also was considered by many citizens and managers to be ineffectiv e and counter-productive (Dick 1989), and copper herbicides eventually were discontinued as a hydr illa control strategy afte r elevated levels of copper were detected in Kings Ba ys sediments and the organs of deceased manatees (OShea et al. 1984; Facemire 1991; Leslie 1992; SWFWMD 2000). A hydrilla management program based upon shredding, mechanical harvest in navigation al trails, and limited application of non-copper containing herbicide formulations of diquat, endoth all, and flurodine was in stituted in the late 1980s (Dick 1989; Cowell and Botts 1994) and rema ins the foundation of the current hydrilla management plan within Kings Bay (Anonymous 2005). Noticeable blooms of filamentous algae such as L. wollei were first recorded in Kings Bay in the late 1970s and early 1980s (SWFWMD 2004) but, likely due to the continued dominance of hydrilla, the coverage and persistence of thes e blooms reportedly remained at low levels for several years (Dick 1989). Large scale L. wollei blooms throughout Kings Bay were first reported in September 1985, soon after temporary sa linity increases associated with the storm surge of Hurricane Elena reduced the hydrilla population in Kings Bay by over 90% (Dick 1989; SWFWMD 2004). Despite the historic problems associated with wa ter hyacinth and hydrilla, the emergent L. wollei invasion was almost universally regard ed as having even more deleterious effects on wildlife habitat, recreational desira bility, and overall aesthe tics within Kings Bay (Dick 1989). Almost all informants interv iewed indicated that hydrilla populations recovered and L. wollei blooms progressively lessened for several years after the 1985 storm surge (see also

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100 Cowell and Botts 1994). However, ongoing aquatic plant management activities (Cowell and Botts 1994) and additional storm su rges associated with the Sto rm of the Century in March 1993 resulted in further displacement of hydril la in Kings Bay (Bishop 1995; SWFWMD 2004). While the 1993 storm surge also reportedl y resulted in temporary declines of L. wollei and increased coverage of more salt-tolerant macrophyt es such as Eurasian milfoil and native tape grass throughout many areas of Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004), L. wollei quickly rebounded to become an almost complete monoculture th roughout the north centr al, northeastern, and southeastern portions of Kings Bay (Frazer and Hale 2001). Submersed macrophyte communities dominated largely by Eurasian m ilfoil with interspers ed hydrilla, tape grass, and small amounts of several other native species persist in the central, south central, southwestern, and northwestern sections of Kings Bay (Frazer a nd Hale 2001). However, almost all interview informants indicate that these macrophyte commun ities are increasingly im pacted by the effects of intensive manatee grazing throughout the wint er and smothering associated with ecosystemwide blooms of L. wollei in the spring and summer. Factors Related to Lyngbya wollei Dominance The underlying factors that resulted in th e establishment and persistence of the L. wollei community currently observed throughout many areas of Ki ngs Bay are not well understood. While some state agencies suggest that L. wollei is an invasive nonna tive species that was introduced into Kings Bay in the early 1980s (S WFWMD 2004), very little evidence to support this claim, aside from the i nvasive behavior exhibited by L. wollei currently exists. Whitfords (1956) work in which five specific Lyngbya strains and a general cate gory of undifferentiated Lyngbya sp. were identified within Florida spring s ecosystems, including Kings Bay/Crystal River, indicates that L. wollei is more likely an indigenous cyanobacteria species that has

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101 mutated and/or become invasive over time due to changing ecologica l conditions (Gross and Martin 1996). Although there has been much speculation that increased nutrient levels, particularly elevated nitrate-nitrogen concen trations, in Kings Bay may be responsible for the growth of L. wollei (Jones et al. 1998), studies attempting to co rrelate nitrogen (inclu ding nitrate-nitrogen) and phosphorus levels at Kings Bay with L. wollei have consistently found no significant relationship (Romie1990; Cowell and Botts 1994; Hoyer et al. 1997; Munson 1999). One exception is Hoyer et al.s (2001) suggestion that nitrogen could frequently be a limiting nutrient in Kings Bay. However, Stevenson et al. (2004) in a comprehensive study of algae within Florida springs ecosystems, found that L. wollei is not significantly correlated with concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen or other nitr ogen forms within spring water, likely because of L. wolleis ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere (Phlips et al. 1992). Cowell and Botts (1994) found that growth of L. wollei cultures was promoted by calcium and limited by phosphorus, and that the concentra tions of both calcium and phosphorus found in Kings Bay provide very favorable conditions for L. wollei to flourish. Substantial loading of anthropogenic phosphorus from the City of Crystal of Rivers wastewater treatment plant into a downstream area of Crystal River did occur throughout the 1970s a nd 1980s (Bishop 1995), and incoming tides are thought to have transported a portion of these nutrien t discharges throughout Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004). Because a paucity of water quality data for Kings Bay before 1989 prevents the detection of any significant up ward trends in phosphorus concentration that may have occurred in Kings Bay in the late 1970s and 1980s, phosphorus loading from municipal waste discharges certa inly cannot be discounted as a contributing factor in the emergence of the L. wollei community. However, while ambient phosphorus and nitrogen

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102 concentrations in Kings Bay do show a slight reduction since the wast ewater effluent was diverted to an upland disposal si te in 1992 (Figure 4-7), these dec lines are not necessarily related to the removal of the downstream effluent (Bis hop 1995) and have not been associated with any significant reduction of L. wollei in the Kings Bay ecosystem (SWFWMD 2004). Variables other than nutrients have, howe ver, been significantly correlated with L. wollei coverage in Kings Bay. Before th e 1993 storm, Romie (1990) found th at relative salinity levels and the presence of hydrilla were significantly correlated (negatively, in both cases) with coverage of L. wollei in Kings Bay. Frazer and Hales (2001) work suggests that the presence of macrophytes such as Eurasian milfoil and tape gr ass may also be negatively associated with L. wollei The findings of both Romie (1990) and Fr azer and Hale (2001) are used by SWFWMD (2004) to suggest that the presen ce of rooted aquatic vegetation a nd increased salinity levels may have the effect of suppressing L. wollei in Kings Bay. While there is additional literature support for the idea that rooted macrophytes reduce L. wollei in Kings Bay and other freshwater ecosystems (Doyle and Smart 1998; Munson 1999), L. wollei s apparent ability to adapt to elevated levels of salinity (Shannon et al. 1992 ; Gross and Martin 1996) raises considerable doubts about salinity acting as a permanent suppressive mechanism in the Kings Bay ecosystem. Twelve informants suggested th at the initial appearance of L. wollei in Kings Bay was correlated with an increased intensity in the hyd rilla herbicide program during the late 1970s and early 1980s an account that is also suggested by Cowell and Botts (1994). All of these twelve, as well as six more informants who moved to Crystal River after 1990 storm, indicated that current herbicide operations also seem to result in increased L. wollei (see also Spivey 2001). With the notable exception of Cowell and Botts (1994) and despite public concern that has been voiced for at least two decades before the onset of this dissertation research (Dick 1989), the

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103 potential linkage between herbic idal treatment of aquatic ma crophytes and the emergence of L. wollei monocultures has received little attention in previous Kings Bay research. A seemingly clear scientific justification for such a concern is that herbicides such as copper and endothall historically used for hydrilla control in Kings Bay are known to have significant control effects on many species of freshwater algae (Whitwor th and Lane 1969; Leland and Carter 1984; DuBose et al. 1997), while one of L. wollei s most distinctive ecological traits is its apparent resistance to endothall and most copper herbic ide formulations (Dyer et al. 1992; Gross and Martin 1996; Spencer and Lembi 200 5). Cooke et al. (2005) report th at negative side effects of copper herbicides typically include the preferentia l selection of copper-resi stant algal strains and severe impairment of benthic and planktonic f ood webs, along with th e type of sediment contamination that has been documented in Kings Bay (Facemire 1991; Leslie 1992). Given Kings Bays ecosystem management history and the kn own resistance of L. wollei to typical herbicidal control methods, a plau sible hypothesis implied by st akeholder accounts is that the ecological conditi ons currently observed in large parts of Kings Bay may be, at least in some part, a legacy of hydrilla treatment methods that secondar ily disrupted the structure of phytoplankton communities and faunal food chains in the aquatic ecosystem. Thus, an unintended consequence of herb icidal disruptions may have been selection of resistant L. wollei strains, much like overuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant bacterial pathogens in human and animal populations. Asid e from the anecdotes given by local citizens and Cowell and Botts (1994) that link L. wollei with herbicidal control, the fact that the first noticeable blooms of L. wollei in the late 1970s and early 1980s (SWFWMD 2004) precisely correspond to the era in which copper herbicides were most extensively used in Kings Bay (Haller et al. 1983; OShea 1984; Leslie 1992) provi des an additional level of support for this

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104 hypothesis. An extension of this hypothesis that is consistent with the observed effects at Kings Bay is that L. wollei s exceptionally fast doubling capacity, which may be as little as 0.8 2 days in ideal conditions (Tubea et al. 1981), would have left this fi lamentous cyanobacteria species well-positioned to become comp letely dominant throughout those areas of the ecosystem in which its macrophyte competitors were subsequently destroyed through management actions, stochastic natural events, or other significant disturbances. As indicated by the apparent resilience of L. wollei to a wide range of nutrient c onditions (Cowell and Dawes 2004), the switch to L. wollei dominance in large areas of Kings Bay al most certainly represented a shift of stability domain from submersed macrophytes to filamentous algae that will prove extremely difficult to reverse through nutrient reductions al one (Blindow et al. 1993; Scheffer et al. 1993; Terrell and Canfield 1996). Current Restoration and Management Strategies The two major management plans currently in place for Kings Bay are the SWIM Plan (SWFWMD 2000) and an annual Aquatic Plant Mana gement Plan (APMP) put together by an Interagency Working Group composed of representa tives from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), United States Fish and Wild life Service (USFWS), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Citrus County Aquatic Services (CCAS) (Anonymous 2005). Many complaints were voiced about the effectiveness of thes e plans throughout the stakeholder interview process, but consistent themes include: 1) SWIM Plan projects have so far resulted in little visible ecosystem improveme nt; 2) management activities are not wellcoordinated between the different agencies and often seem to ofte n be in conflict; and 3) most visible management activity in Kings Bay is associ ated with aquatic plant control activities that are viewed as ineffective and/or counterprodu ctive. The following review of these plans and

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105 associated management activities indicates that there are significant merits to these citizen complaints. SWIM Plan The SWIM Plan is a detailed technical docum ent that focuses the restoration goals for Kings Bay on increasing water clarity, reducing L. wollei and restoring desirable submerged aquatic plant communities (SWFWMD 2000). While the research and monitoring provided by the SWIM Plan have been critical in pr oviding a better understandi ng of the ecological conditions within Kings Bay, specific projects funded by SWFWMD to achieve the desired restoration goals have not, however, resulted in significant improvements in the ecosystem. For example, a dredging project to remove sediments and L. wollei from major springs was undertaken in 1997, but these springs were observed to quickly fill in with sediments and become covered with L. wollei soon after the project was co mpleted (SWFWMD 2004). More recently, a pilot project for replanting native tape grass in some areas of Kings Bay was attempted, but was almost wholly unsuccessful due to the effects of manatee grazing and competition with Eurasian milfoil and L. wollei (Hauxwell et al. 2004). Some improvements in the stormwater infrastructure in areas adjacent to Kings Bay ha ve been completed through joint funding from the SWIM Plan and the City of Crystal River (SWFWMD 2004), but the scarcity and high cost of available land have greatly limited the scope of these projects. SWFWMD has recently made watershed educat ion programs to reduce nutrient inputs into Kings Bay its priority management strategy for achieving goals outlined by the SWIM plan (SWFWMD 2004). While such a program may provide education materials about Kings Bay that are useful and valuable to the interested public, two factors make it doubtful that such a program provides a sufficient foundation for achieving significant water quality or ecosystem improvements. First, the fact that spring discharge is currentl y responsible for more than 94% of

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106 the ambient nitrogen and phosphorus in Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004) is likely to prevent the effects of even the most highly successful watershed nutrient reduction program from being observed for many years, if ever. In the case of nitrogen, a large plume of nitrate-nitrogen contamination is known to be moving through gr oundwater of the springshed and toward the springs of Kings Bay a situation that cannot be mitigated and may take several decades to resolve as the extant groundwater nitrogen is flushed through the ecosyst em (Jones et al. 1998). Reductions of ambient phosphorus levels in Kings Bays springs are even more unlikely because phosphorus that is loaded into sp ring recharge basins through fe rtilizer application or other sources is known to quickly bind to Floridas overlying mi neral soils and the limestone formations within the Floridan aquifer. Th is process generally prevents anthropogenic phosphorus enrichment of groundwat er in Florida, meaning that the phosphorus levels found within Florida springs, including those in Kings Bay, are a general function of the natural phosphorus content found within the hydrogeologic substrate (Jones et al. 1998). Second, and perhaps even more impo rtantly, the ability of L. wollei to persist as a dominant species under low nutrient conditions (Cowell and Dawes 2004; Steven son et al. 2004) and th e lack of any clear relationship between current L. wollei growth and nutrient levels in Kings Bay together suggest that nutrient reductions alone would not provide an effec tive means of achieving desired ecological restoration goals (Bishop 1995; Terrell and Canfield 1996; Munson 1999). Kings Bay Aquatic Plant Management Plan Aquatic plant management activities within Ki ngs Bay and Crystal River are guided by an Aquatic Plant Management Plan (APMP) that is annually updated by the Interagency Working Group. The major goal of the APMP is to balanc e maintenance of navigation throughout Kings Bay with maintenance of an adequate food source for manatees (Anonymous 2005). The APMP specifically calls for selective herbicidal treat ment of hydrilla and immediate herbicidal

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107 treatment of any observed areas of free floating water hyacinth and water lettuce using diquat, endothall, and/or fluridone dur ing the summer period (April 1 September 30) in which manatees are less common within Kings Bay (A nonymous 2005). Mechanical harvest of hydrilla during the summer period is also listed as a management option. Herbicidal treatment or mechanical harvest of macrophytes during the wi nter period (October 1 March 31) must be first approved by USFWS to not significantl y diminish manatee f ood supply or otherwise threaten the manatee popul ation (Anonymous 2005). M echanical harvest of L. wollei however, is permitted and conducted throughout the ye ar (Anonymous 2005). Personal observations, stakeholder comments, and a review of records at CCAS indicate that L. wollei harvesting operations currently constitute the vast majority of the aquatic plant management activity and expenditure at Kings Bay. Figure 4-8 shows a picture of one harv ester machine currently used for control of L. wollei on Kings Bay. Several conspicuous conflicts between the management goals and methods set forth by the APMP and the ecological restoration objectives outlined by the SWIM Plan can be identified. First, the fact that the Interagency Working Group does not include a ny representatives from SWFWMD, the agency responsible for developi ng and implementing restoration efforts under the auspices of the SWIM Plan, seems indicative of an inherent lack of institutional coordination between aquatic plant management and ecologica l restoration activities in Kings Bay. Secondly, while records obtained from CCAS indicate that prescribed herbicides have been used in relatively small areas (approximately 25 acres) of Kings Bay macrophytes over the past several years, this management strategy st ill would be expected to have the general effect, as suggested above and reported by a number of stakeholders, of increasing L. wollei coverage through the direct suppression of targeted macrophytes a nd secondary impacts on herbicide-sensitive

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108 phytoplankton competitors. Several citizens sugges ted that, in their view, the mechanical harvesting methods employed for L. wollei control may at times be counter-productive due to observed decreases in water clarity through sedi ment suspension, the uprooting of submerged macrophytes, and the spread of L. wollei fragments not captured by th e harvester into other areas of the ecosystem. While monitoring efforts by SWFWMD did not support the contention that L. wollei harvesting has a significant impact on nativ e submerged macrophytes, the results did indicate that mechani cal harvesting is an ineffective method of L. wollei control within Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004). Cursory obse rvations of the harvester in May 2006 found that much of the harvested material was largely com posed of bottom sediment mixed with L. wollei and other plant material (Figure 4-9). Observations of significant uprooting of submersed macrophytes, particularly tape grass and Eurasian milf oil, were also recorded (Figure 4-10). Maintenance Control vs. Adaptive Management Aquatic plant management activities at Ki ngs Bay and other Florida waterways are founded in a provision of Florida la w that states that the goal of aquatic plant managers should be the establishment of maintenance control for invasive and nonnative species (Florida Statutes 2006b). The underlying premise behind main tenance control is that populations of these invasive aquatic species should be maintained at the lowes t feasible levels. Although maintenance control can include biological and mechanical manage ment strategies, herbicidal control is generally considered to be the most efficient means of achieving and maintaining low levels of targeted species in Florida (Ramey 2005). Once maintenance control is established within a given water body, the expected result is reduced coverage of targeted invasive plants, reduced usage of herbicides, reduced management costs, a nd restoration of native plant communities (Ramey 2005).

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109 While maintenance control may be an effective means of controlling invasive plant species and promoting ecological restora tion within some aquatic ecosyst ems, the history and current state of aquatic plant management at Kings Ba y has striking parallels with what Holling (1995) describes as a management pathology. Hollin gs (1995) work suggests that management pathologies often result when management instit utions achieve initial success in controlling a single target variable within an ecosystem. This initial success then generally results in a subsequent focus on increasing the operational efficiency of management operations, while efforts to monitor the ecosystem for other change s are lessened or even discontinued over time. The result of such narrow management, Ho lling (1995) argues, is often an unnoticed homogenization of critical com ponents within the ecosystem, wh ich consequently results in decreasing resilience within the ecological commun ity. This decrease in resilience is suggested to then make the ecosystem much more likely to be unexpectedly fli pped into a state of persistent degradation by the kinds of disturbanc es that could have been previously absorbed (Holling 1995). A condition of management pathology at Kings Bay regarding aquatic plant management appears to have begun with successful efforts to control water hyacinth, was then followed by less successful efforts to control the subsequent h ydrilla invasion; and is now mired in an almost entirely unsuccessful effort to control L. wollei Each flip of ecosystem state observed at Kings Bay over the past 50 years, potentially catalyzed in part by the side effects of previous management action, has been widely regarded as a condition of degradation worse than the one previous to it, leading to substa ntial frustration on the part of some aquatic plant managers (Dick 1989) and much of the local citizenry. Despite these changing ecological conditions, the current aquatic management strategy for Kings Bay indi cates that efficiently maintaining nonnative

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110 macrophytes at the lowest feasible levels conti nues to be one of the primary stated goals of aquatic plant managers within the Kings Bay ecosystem. With the possible exception of the USFWS mandate to maintain sufficient fodder for the wintering manatee population, there is also no apparent strategy for explicit ly monitoring the effects that current aquatic plant control operations may be having on other aspects of the ecosystem incl uding the possible spread of L. wollei and other undesirable algae, or even th e potential recovery of native submerged macrophytes. A first step towards a more adaptive approach to aquatic plant management in Kings Bay likely is the realization that the complete restor ation of pristine ecosystem conditions, including wholesale restoration of nativ e macrophyte coverage and exclus ion of nonnative macrophytes, is not realistically achievable in the near future, if ever. Wh ile many stakeholders, both nonscientist citizens and agency mana gers, with knowledge of the ecosy stem have made this general realization, this has yet to result in any coordinated effort by mana gers to critically evaluate and modify the efficacy of current management strate gies or to openly incorporate the ecological knowledge of local stakeholders for the purposes of establishing new goals and/or strategies based upon what is currently known about and desired for the ecosystem. The reasons for this institutional inertia ar e complex, but a policy discourse among aquatic plant managers that tends to both deny the validi ty of local knowledge which it regards as nonobjective, biased, or mere perception and whic h itself show an inhe rent bias that often prevents balanced consideration of the ecologi cal roles played by targeted plants and the secondary effects of management action is undoubtedly a key culprit (Gobster 2005; Sagoff 2005). If this policy myopia was overcome and stakeholder-suggested management experiments were embraced and considered objectively, it seem s clear that scenarios for utilizing invasive

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111 nonnative macrophyte species to assist in the achievement of desire d ecosystem restoration goals at Kings Bay would quickly come to the forefront. Adaptive Restoration Opportunities Pr ovided by Four Notorious Macrophytes Clearly, the suggestion that an ecological community could be restored through increased coverage by famously invasive specie s is almost completely incongruous with the normative assumptions of most invasion biologists and restoration ecologists. Recent ecological theorists have, however, made the observation th at restoration efforts focused wholly on the establishment of a pristine speci es assemblage are often ineffective and even counterproductive in ecosystems whose degradation is characterized by a qualitative shift in community type (Allen et al. 2003). Because the history of Kings Bay is consistent with this general observation, a more effective approach to ecological restoration for this ecosystem ma y be to identify and utilize feedback mechanisms that would tend to sustai n the desired functional st eady state (clear water macrophyte) and to relax the assumption that thes e feedbacks and functions can only be provided by native taxonomic species. If such a species-neutral approa ch for the restoration of a macrophyte steady state is utilize d, there is significant scientif ic literature to support the suggestion that nonnative macrophyte species cu rrently found and managed within Kings Bay provide functions that are consis tent with the achievement of ge neral ecological restoration goals such as suppression of L. wollei improved water clarity, protec tion of manatee populations, and perhaps even increased coverage by native submerged macrophyte species. Hydrilla As discussed in a previous s ection of this paper, hydrilla was introduced into Kings Bay circa 1960 and quickly became a severe nuisance sp ecies that dominated the ecosystem for well over two decades. Given this history, it may s eem surprising that stakeholders who well remember the problems caused by hydrilla in Ki ngs Bay would advocate increased coverage of

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112 this notoriously invasive nonna tive species. However, we found four consistent rationales offered by informants to justify their support of management efforts that would allow for increased hydrilla coverage w ithin Kings Bay: 1) hydrilla he lps maintain water clarity; 2) hydrilla suppresses the growth of L. wollei ; 3) hydrilla is a prefe rred manatee food; and 4) hydrilla provides good habitat and cover for desirable game fish species. A review of scientific litera ture finds that all of these rationales ar e well-supported and increasingly, if somewhat gr udgingly, acknowledged by management agencies in Kings Bay and throughout Florida. As discussed in a previous secti on, hydrillas role in maintaining water clarity and suppressing the growth of L. wollei within Kings Bay is well-established (Dick 1989; Romie 1990; Cowell and Botts 1994; Munson 1999; SWFWMD 2004). Due to these findings and previous failures to reestablish native macrophyte populations, SWFWMD has adopted a de facto policy of preferring any submerged macrophyte, including hydrilla, over L. wollei for the purposes of the SWIM Plan. Hydrillas importanc e as a preferred and nut ritious fodder for Kings Bay manatees is also well-documented (Campbe ll and Irvine 1977; Silverberg and Morris 1987), and has led the Interagency Working Group to acknowledge that maintenance control mandates to keep hydrilla in Kings Bay at the lowest feas ible level may often be trumped by the need to maintain an adequate winter food supply fo r the endangered manatee population (Anonymous 2005). Findings from a recent Hydrilla Summit that incorporated a wide range of professional expertise and stakeholder opinions throughout Florida are also very relevant to the situation within Kings Bay. An important conclusion fr om the summit is that the body of available research indicates that up to 85% hydrilla c overage in Floridas aquatic ecosystems does not significantly harm, and generally provides significant benefits to, fish and wildlife habitat

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113 (Netherland et al. 2005). In addition, the incr easing expense, difficulties, and negative side effects associated with current hydrilla manage ment techniques led su mmit participants to recommend that aquatic plant managers will of ten need to relax the traditional goals of maintenance control and recogni ze hydrilla as an important component of the remaining submersed plant habitats found w ithin many of Floridas aquatic ecosystems (Netherland et al. 2005). Due to the finding that hydrilla can often clarify water, suppress algae, and facilitate succession into a stability domain characterized by desirable native macrophytes within some aquatic ecosystems, Canfield et al. (2000) recent ly recommended utilizin g contained growth of hydrilla as part of an overall restoration st rategy for central Floridas hypereutrophic Lake Apopka. However, the most potentially far-reachi ng opportunity provided by hydrilla in Kings Bay may be efforts to better understand why this species has in large part ceased to be as invasive as it once so famously was within this ecosystem. While the after-effects of past storm surges, L. wollei smothering, aquatic plant management activ ities, slight increa ses in the ambient salinity of Kings Bay, and manatee grazing are al l potentially important variables to consider (SWFWMD 2004), another important key may lie in the 1992 discovery of Cricotopus lebetis subsequently given the common name hydrilla tip mining midge, within Kings Bay/Crystal River (Epler et al. 2000; Cuda et al. 2002). Biocontrol researcher s have found that the larvae of C. lebetis cause significant damage to the stems of hydrilla, which may have the effect of preventing hydrilla from topping out at the su rface of water bodies (Cuda et al. 2002). Aside from the concerns expressed in this paper about potential linkages between L. wollei and herbicidal control of aq uatic plants at Kings Bay, the recent fi nding that hydrilla itself is capable of developing herbicide resistan ce (Michel et al. 2004; Netherla nd et al. 2005) and the general

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114 difficulties associated with effectively using herbicides on submersed plants within flowing waters (Dick 1989) are also compelling reasons fo r better understanding th e potential role that bio-control agents such as C. lebetis may be able to play in fu ture hydrilla management. With these considerations in mind, we suggest that future hydrilla management plans at Kings Bay should at the very leas t be closely coordinated with biocontrol researchers to better understand the effects that C. lebetis has on hydrilla within field conditions and to ensure that herbicides are not needlessly used on plants being stressed by C. lebetis If C. lebetis is, in fact, effectively preventing Kings Bays hydrilla population from becoming a severe navigational nuisance, it is quite possible that the habitat and func tional benefits provid ed by hydrilla would justify the abandonment of efforts by aquatic plant managers to maintain this nonnative species at maintenance control levels within Kings Bay. Water Hyacinth According to a number of interview info rmants and comments recorded at public meetings, the idea of using increased coverage and harvest of water hyacinth in Kings Bay for the purpose of improving water quality and othe r ecosystem conditions has been advocated by some members of the local community for many years. However, these informants unanimously reported that this suggestion has been repeated ly dismissed by aquatic plant managers. In my own communications with eleven aquatic plant re searchers and ecosystem managers, the specific suggestion that increased amounts and selectiv e harvest of water hy acinth could potentially benefit Kings Bay by displacing L. wollei and providing additional grazing fodder for manatees produced mixed reactions. On the one hand, four agency managers indicated a belief that current management practices are not working, and thus expressed cautious support for experiments with water hyacinths. On the other hand, five agency managers and two aquatic plant scientists indicated categorical opposition to alternative management of water hyacinth. Statutory

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115 mandates and the long history of problems associ ated with water hyacint h in Florida waters typically were used as justific ation for continuing current mana gement practices. The depth of opposition is reflected in public comments8 by different officials th at described alternative management of water hyacinth in Kings Bay as counter-intuitive, shocking, environmentally unacceptable, contrary to science-based knowledge, a sign of desperation, and something that no agency or any scientist with an understanding of water hyacinth attributes would support. While concerns about water hyacinth are serious and understanda ble based upon the long history of problems associated with this nonnati ve species in Florida and other areas of the world, a large body of literature indicates that al ternative aquatic plant management strategies which acknowledge and utilize the functional benefits of water hyaci nth could be consistent with the achievement of ecosystem re storation goals within Kings Ba y. For example, water hyacinth is known to be one of the most effective aquatic plants at sequestering a wide range of pollutants known to be present within Kings Bay, including several types of heavy metals (Jamil et al. 1985; Lee and Hardy 1987; Shrivastava and Rao 2000; Lu et al. 2004), petroleum-based organic contaminants (Hu et al. 1998), and soluble n itrogen and phosphorus (Agami and Reddy 1990; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda a nd Kar 1996; Sooknah and Wilkie 2004). Water hyacinth is also known to greatly inhibit phytoplan kton and cyanobacteria production within waters that it is present, a phenomenon likely resu lting from a combination of th e direct reduction of ambient nutrients and sunlight available to algae (Ma hujchariyawong 2001), the emi ssion of allelopathic compounds that adversely affect algae and cyan obacteria (Gross 2003; Jin et al. 2003), and the ability of fibrous water hyacinth roots to directly filte r large amounts of algae cells from flowing 8 Public comments refers to comments in public m eetings, as well as public r ecord e-mail communications.

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116 waters (Kim et al. 2001). Wate r hyacinth is also known as a preferential food source for manatees (Lomolino and Ewel 1984), meaning that increased availabil ity of water hyacinth could potentially reduce manat ee grazing pressure on native su bmersed macrophyte populations (Lomolino 1977). Detailed ecological models and field-scale pr ojects further indicate that an integrated program of water hyacinth growth and sustaine d harvest in natural water bodies can be an effective tool for removing contaminants, grea tly improving water clar ity, suppressing bluegreen algae blooms, and encouraging re-growth of submerged macrophytes in open water areas (Hu et al. 1998; Mahujchar iyawong 2001; Mahujchariyawong and Ikeda 2001; RodriguezGallego et al. 2004). Utilization of harvested water hyacinth biomass for purposes such as livestock feed, nutrient-rich compost, biogas pr oduction, mushroom cultivation, and as a fiber for weaved furniture products has also been shown to be economically and soci ally beneficial in a growing number of cases (Mbendo and Thomas 1998; Lindsey and Hirt 1999; Schoeb and Singh 2000). While harvested biomass of benthic cyanobacteria such as L. wollei may also have some value for biogas and organic fertilizer producti on (Wilkie and Mulbry 2002), the high cost and ineffectiveness of current L. wollei harvest methods in Kings Bay (SWFWMD 2004) together suggest that harvester resources would be more beneficially sp ent on targeted management of free-floating macrophytes for ecol ogical restoration purposes. Aside from the fact that floating macrophytes can be harvested much more easily and effectively than filamentous algae (Sooknah and Wilkie (2004), Scheffer et al .s (2003) finding that mass harv est of floating macrophytes can be followed by a rapid shift to a steady state of submersed macrophytes gives further support for consideration of such a management program at Kings Bay.

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117 As indicated more generally by Ewel and Putz (2004), efforts to ut ilize a nonnative species such as water hyacinth within any ecosystem rest oration project are, however, not without some risks. Significant risks commonl y identified by managers for incr eased water hyacinth coverage include crowding and/or shading out native submerged species, increased sediment deposition and suppression of dissolved oxygen caused by sene scing water hyacinth l eaves, and restriction of navigation. Although these con cerns cannot be dismissed out of hand and should be closely monitored as part of any altern ative aquatic management plan, sc ientific literature suggests that the potential severity of these problems at Kings Bay may not be nearly as extreme as aquatic plant managers often suggest. For exampl e, improved water clarity and reduction of cyanobacteria populations that can directly result from increased water hyacinth coverage has in some cases been found to substantially benef it submersed macrophyte populations within open water areas (Hu et al. 1998; R odriguez-Gallego et al. 2004). While the effect of reducing dissolved oxygen has been clea rly demonstrated in highly eu trophic conditions where water hyacinth densities are extremely high and cove r very large areas of an affected water body (Gopal 1987), more moderate wate r hyacinth coverage has actual ly been shown to result in increased levels of dissolved oxygen (Furch 1995) The flowing water conditions (Bartodziej and Leslie 1998) and unlikelihood that the low relative nutrient levels in Kings Bay would result in water hyacinth mats quickly overtaking large area s of the water body further suggest that largescale oxygen depletion and seve re navigational restrictions could be avoided with the implementation of a managed growth and sustained harvest program. Joyces (1985) finding that the organic sedi ment deposition rate of untreated water hyacinth mats is 4 times more than the rate of water hyacinth maintained at a 5% level by herbicidal control is ofte n used by Florida aquatic plant managers to justify a strict adherence to

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118 maintenance control strategies for water hyacint h. However, a close r eading of Joyces (1985) study suggests that due caution should be used when extrapolating these resu lts into typical field conditions, particularly in flowi ng water. First, Joyce (1985) give s no nutrient-input values that could be used to comparatively assess productivity and deposition rates of water hyacinths in his tank experiments with productivity and deposition rates of water hyacinths in a water body such as Kings Bay. Second, Bartodziej and Leslie (1 998) found that divers e and highly productive detritivore communities associated with water hyaci nth in the flowing conditions of the springfed St. Marks River prevented sediment accumula tion commonly attributed to water hyacinth in other ecosystem contexts. It is probable that water hyacinth communities in the flowing water conditions of Kings Bay would act more similarly to those describe d in the St. Marks River than in Joyces (1985) tank experime nts in terms of providing habi tat for diverse detritivore communities, with the likely effect being that sediment accumulation would be significantly less than predicted by Joyce (1985). In addition, Joyce (1985) clearly states that much of the deposition in his untreated water hyacinth tanks was the result of sediment measurem ents taken soon after th e historically severe winter freeze of January 1985. These unusual freeze conditions caused the formation of 3-4 inches of ice on the top of the experimental tanks killing most of the untreated water hyacinths outright and resulting in substant ial deposition of dead plant matter. The anomaly of this freeze may explain the discrepancy between Joyces (1 985) finding that untreated water hyacinths produced two times the organic deposition of wate r hyacinths treated by herbicides after 100% coverage was reached, and Browers (1980) finding th at herbicidal control of water hyacinths at a 100% coverage level produced over five times the organic sedimentation of untreated water hyacinths in the context of a highly eutrophic agri cultural pond in north Florida. While severe

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119 frost damage to water hyacinths would be a factor to consider in sedime nt deposition models and aquatic plant harvest schedules, it is safe to say that the icing conditions depicted in Joyces (1985) experiments are unlikely to happen in Ki ngs Bay due to the buffering effects provided by discharged spring water that mainta ins a year round temperature of 72oF. The effect of a mass export of organic matter through a harvest progr am was not evaluated by Joyce (1985), and would present an additional mitigating factor to consider when evaluating alternative water hyacinth management scenarios for Kings Bay. Eurasian Milfoil Eurasian milfoil is a submersed macrophyte nati ve to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa that is often considered one of the worst aquatic weeds within the United States due to its ability to become highly invasive over a wide range of environmental conditions and to create dense canopies at the water surface that can shade out native submerged species (Madsen et al. 1991). Although Eurasian milfoil has histor ically not attracted as much ci tizen or management attention as other nonnative macrophyte species, recent aquatic plant surveys indicate that Eurasian milfoil now maintains the largest coverage of any subm ersed macrophyte in Kings Bay (Frazer and Hale 2001; SWFWMD 2004). While there ar e indications that Eurasian milfoil may be having adverse impacts on native macrophyte populations (Hauxw ell et al. 2004), it may also be providing a buffer against the establishment of L. wollei monocultures in areas wher e it predominates due to its exudation of allelopathic chemicals that are inhibitory toward a wide variety of algal and cyanobacteria species (Gross 2003). Clearly, the poten tial of Eurasian milfoil control methods to have secondary impacts that may resu lt in the further proliferation of L. wollei monocultures that may almost entirely eliminate native macrophytes and the importanc e of Eurasian milfoil as a primary food source for the wintering manatee population (Campbell and Irvine 1977; Silverberg

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120 and Morris 1987) should both be taken into clos e account as future aquatic management and restoration plans are developed for Kings Bay. Water Lettuce Water lettuce is a free-floating macrophyte of pa n-tropical origin that, like water hyacinth, can become a severe nuisance species within subt ropical and tropical water bodies that have high nutrient levels ( Tucker and Debusk 1981; Sharma 1984; Sridhar 1986; Kent et al. 2000 ). Water lettuce is considered a nonnativ e species in Florida, although, as discussed in footnote 1 of Chapter 3, the botanical history of the species raises considerable doubt about this classification. For the purposes of ecological restoration with in Kings Bay, the functions and alternative management opportunities provided by water lettu ce are similar to those listed above for water hyacinth, with the notable exception that Flor ida manatees may not forage extensively upon water lettuce. Like water hyacinth, water lettuce is known to be one of most highly effective vascular plants for uptake of soluble nitrogen and phosphorus (Nelson et al. 1980; Tucker and Debusk 1981; Tripathi et al. 1991; Panda and Ka r 1996; Kao et al. 2000; Lopes-Ferreira 2000; Lin et al. 2002; Wilkie and Sooknah 2004) and heavy metals (Sharma 1984; Sridhar 1986; Kao et al. 2000). Water lettuce may also help to di rectly control algae a nd cyanobacteria growth through allelopathic emissions (Aliotta et al. 1991 ; Gross 2003) and direct f iltration of algal cells in its fibrous roots (Kim et al. 2001). Optimal harvest of water lettuce from an aquatic system can also be expected to remove significant amounts of sequestered contaminants (Lopes-Ferreira 2000), and can potentially be followed by rapi d recovery of a submerged macrophyte steady state (Scheffer et al. 2003). Ideally, water lettu ce biomass harvested fo r ecological restoration purposes within Kings Bay could be utilized to produce benefici al products such as organic fertilizer (Reddy and Rao 1987).

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121 Recommendation: Participatory and Adap tive Management of Aquatic Plants Stakeholder interviews and a revi ew of scientific literature are utilized in this Chapter to suggest that past and current aqua tic plant management efforts may be a significant factor in the establishment of a cyanobacteria steady st ate characterized by filamentous mats of L. wollei throughout many areas of the aquatic ecosystem of Kings Bay. It is also suggested that an adaptive management approach that openly consid ers and attempts to utilize the ecological functions performed by invasive macrophytes such as hydrilla, water hyacint h, Eurasian milfoil, and water lettuce may be more consonant with th e achievement of stated ecological restoration goals, including increased water clarity, reduction of L. wollei restoration of submerged macrophytes, and protection of manatees, than th e current ecological re storation and aquatic plant management strategies be ing employed within Kings Bay. A potentially quite promising mechanism for facilitating adaptive management would be the utilization of partic ipatory methods in conjunction wi th geographic information systems (GIS) technology to create a more sophisticated aquatic plant management plan that is clearly integrated with the overall goals of ecological rest oration. As a preliminary step, a matrix system might be used to create a list of the various benefits and problems as defined through public conversations among agency and loca l citizen stakeholders associ ated with the aquatic plants currently managed in Kings Bay. Through a simila r stakeholder discussion process, maps of Kings Bay could also be used to identify the desired values and uses, as well as the current ecological condition, for different areas of th e water body. Based upon these aquatic plant and water body value maps, it is likely that more ge ographically strategic an d openly participatory decisions could be made about aquatic plan t management activities in Kings Bay (see Bojorquez-Tapia 2001).

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122 To start with one example, it might be dete rmined that manatee grazing is the primary desired use for a particular area. Although native tape grass might be the most desirable plant for overall restoration, hydrilla and Eu rasian milfoil presumably would be considered preferable to L. wollei in manatee grazing areas and, thus, aggressive control of these aquatic plants through chemical and/or mechanical means would not be favored in most circum stances. In other areas where navigation is the primary use, chemical and/ or mechanical control to maintain plants at low levels might be deemed the most appr opriate management st rategy. Areas in which restoration of tape grass or othe r native plants is viewed as the primary goal might, as has been discussed in some public meetings, be managed to prevent manatee grazing of transplants, with appropriate control measures also taken to restrict growth of hydr illa, Eurasian milfoil, and/or L. wollei in these areas. In addition, some isolated and easily contained area s that are currently impacted heavily by L. wollei might, as suggested by several citizens interviewed for this research, be utilized for e xperimental phytoremediation proj ects based upon growth and optimum harvest of water hyacinth, water lettuce and other floating pl ants. In all cases, designated management methods for all use areas should be monitored closely, results discussed among all stakeholders, and goals/methods annu ally reevaluated based upon new conditions associated with management experiments. L. wollei control proposals currently being researched and consid ered by state agencies for utilization in Kings Bay include direct algaecide applications as well emission of ultrasound waves into the water column for the purpose of rupturing algal and cyanobacteria cells. While these methods may prove useful and are dese rving of careful research and management experimentation, it is worth noting that deep co ncern has been publicly voiced by several citizens about programs designed to control L. wollei but that are perceived to lack a clear plan for filling

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123 the ecological void associated with the afterm ath of these control activities. One apparent worry is that the release of nutrients associated with chemical control of L. wollei may precipitate blooms of different types of algae and/ or cyanobacteria, or even mutation of L. wollei into a more resistant strain, making the water body in creasingly dependent upon chemical control methods. Cooke et al. (2005) report that water bodies treated with al gaecides typically will develop resistant cyanobacteria an d/or algal strains over time, indi cating that such concerns are warranted and worthy of close monitoring in Ki ngs Bay. Another potential risk that can be associated with chemical control (and perhaps ultrasound) methods of cyanabacteria is that the chemical stressor and subsequent rupturing of cells can often be associated with large releases of various cyanotoxins into the water body (Sivonen and Jones 1 999). Given emerging information about the potentially damaging effects of cyanotoxins from L. wollei on the endangered manatee population (Bledsoe et al. 2006), i ssues associated with contaminant and toxin release also should be closely monitored as part of all management experiments designed to control L. wollei Clearly, it will require careful researc h, management experimentation, and multistakeholder dialogue to develop a workable program of adaptive ecological restoration for Kings Bay. Ultimately, it is hoped that the informati on presented in this chapter will encourage productive dialogue and novel mana gement experiments that move beyond the stalemates and institutional rigidities that have too often characterized the restoration and management situation at Kings Bay over the past several years.

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124 Figure 4-1. Map of Kings Bay/Crystal River

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125 Figure 4-2. West Indian mana tees in Kings Bay, May 2006 Figure 4-3. Lyngbya wollei in Kings Bay, May 2005

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126 Figure 4-4. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1944 (Tomasko 2005). Figure 4-5. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1960 (Tomasko 2005).

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127 Figure 4-6. Aerial photograph of Kings Bay, 1974 (Tomasko 2005). Figure 4-7. Kings Bay total nitrogen and tota l phosphorus, 1989-2002 (SWFWMD 2004)

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128 Figure 4-8. Harvester in Kings Bay, May 2006 Figure 4-9. Contents of harv ester in Kings Bay, May 2006

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129 Figure 4-10. Tape grass and Lyngbya wollei after harvester pass in Kings Bay, May 2006

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130 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Research Summary The following two sub-sections summarize how the research objectives and questions set forth in Chapter 2 were met and/or answered in this dissertation. Objectives 7. To participate actively in two collaborati ve conservation groups: the Ichetucknee Springs Water Quality Working Group and the Kings Bay Water Quality Subcommittee. Most meetings held by these groups were atte nded over the dissertation research period. In addition, meetings of an additional collabora tive conservation group, the Kings Bay Working Group, were also regularly attended. Specific da tes of meetings attended and a summary of presentation given at thes e and other public meetings are given in Chapter 2. 8. To represent the targeted na tural systems through basic maps and textual descriptions. Basic GIS maps and textual descriptions of both Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River are given in the resp ective case study chapters. 9. To outline the conservation problems facing the natural systems as typically defined in public discourse. In both ecosystems, groundwater contamination from human land uses and shifts in the ecological community characterized by increase d growth of nuisance algae generally are generally acknowledged as fundamental conservati on problems. Exotic plant species are also a concern in both ecosystems. In Ichetucknee, th e major concern is water lettuce. In Kings Bay, hydrilla, Eurasian milfoil, water hyacinth, and water lettuce are all of concern. Historic hydrologic alterations and direct stormwater loading from urbani zed waterfront areas also are

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131 identified as ecologically disruptive in Kings Bay. Government agencies and collaborative conservation groups for both ecosystems are fo cused on reducing nutrient inputs into the springsheds, with particular co ncern related to nitrate-nitr ogen. Ongoing changes to more intensive land use changes associated with popul ation growth in the re spective springsheds are also identified as a serious concer n in both case studies. 10. To describe past and present ecosystem management actions taken by management agencies within each of the case study systems. In the Ichetucknee case study, ecosystem manage ment actions by state agencies began with the purchase of the State Park in 1970. A recrea tional carrying capacity wa s established in the early 1980s to reduce impacts of tubing on aquatic plants. Due to concerns about declining water quality and algae growth, the Ichetucknee Springs Working Group was established in 1995. Water lettuce eradicatio n activities beginning in late 2000 are also described. In the Kings Bay case study, historical and ongoing mana gement of aquatic plants and algae is described in detail. Due to concerns about declining water quality and increasing algae growth, a SWIM plan was established for Kings Bay in 1989. Recent management activities such as dredging of sediments, replanting of eel grass, and harvesti ng of algae also are described. 11. To evaluate how conserva tion problems are being appr oached through ecosystem management and policy. In both case studies, scientific studies ra ise serious doubts about assumptions underlying current ecosystem management and policy. It is argued that the shifts toward increased algae growth may represent shifts in ecosystem stability domain, mean ing that reductions of nutrient loading may not be sufficient to achieve desired c onservation goals. It is al so noted that current entrainment of nitrate-nitrogen in the groundwater at both ecosystems effectively will prevent

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132 even the most successful nutrient reduction program s from being realized in terms of measurable water quality improvement for well over a decade For both ecosystems, it is hypothesized that minimization of nonnative plants may play a signif icant role in catalyzi ng growth of undesirable algae and/or cyanobacteria. 12. To make specific research recommendations for facilitating adaptive management in each of the case study systems. Problems that adaptive management principles are designed to overcome were identified in both case studies. Absence of holistic monitoring and institutional resist ance to open evaluation of aquatic plant management activities are key issues. In addition, management policies are not adjusted to account for emerging science that challenges key assumptions. The obvious example of this latter point is the fi nding by a number of researchers (Terrell et al. 1996; Cowell and Dawes 2004; Stevenson et al. 2004; Joyner and Paer l 2007) that nitrate-ni trogen reduction, while a necessary and important goal, likely is not a su fficient strategy for re ducing algae growth in springs ecosystems. It is argue d that more holistic monitoring and evaluation of aquatic plant management activities are necessary for better un derstanding and confronting changes within the case study ecosystems. At Ichetucknee, experiment al pilot studies that reintroduce contained areas of water lettuce into stretches of the ri ver currently dominated by algae are recommended. These pilot studies ideally w ould include measurement of th e effects of water lettuce reintroduction on faunal populations, contaminant uptake, submersed aquatic plant coverage, and algal biomass. It is also recommended that wa ter lettuce biomass harvested be disposed well away from the river. At Kings Bay, a similar recommendation is made for experimental pilot studies utilizing contained areas of water hyacinth in areas of th e water body currently dominated by cyanobacteria. These pilot studies ideally woul d include measurement of the effects of water

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133 hyacinth treatment areas on aqua tic invertebrate populations, c ontaminant uptake, submersed aquatic plant coverage, and algal biomass. Partic ipatory GIS to establish different zones for aquatic plant management based upon designated us es for theses zones is recommended. It is also argued that aquatic plant management should be explicitly monitored as a key variable in the structuring of the ecosystem. Research Questions 1. Are the principles of adaptive management being utilized in the conservation and management efforts within each of the case study springs? This research question is answered through the above re sponse to objective 6. b. What, if any, management practices may be inadvertently catalyzing observed degradation in the natural systems? It is argued that aquatic plant management ac tivities may be a key variable for catalyzing observed degradation in both of the case study springs. c. How open are managers to new hypotheses about the behavior of the natural systems? This question is complex in the sense that a number of individual managers were found to be very open to new hypotheses, while others te nded to dismiss hypotheses that run counter to prevailing management assumptions. A major fi nding of the dissertation research is that narrowly interpreted statutory directives and noncontextual assumption associated with current aquatic plant management practic es are key sources of instituti onal rigidity in both case study systems. 2. What research and policy priorities can be identified for facilitating the emergence of adaptive learning? This research question is answered in the above response to objective 6.

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134 a. What gaps in current research and monitoring efforts can be identified? Clearly, a key research and monitoring gap is associated with better understanding the secondary ecological effects of aquatic plant management. Other key gaps include detection of rapid pulses of discharged nutrients after st ormwater events (e.g., Ma rtin and Gordon 2000) and understanding the roles th at such pulses may play in ecologi cal change, as well as the possible food chain effects of chemicals such as DEET, atrazine, antibiotics, and potential synergies between contaminats detected in springs (Phelps 2004). Beyond Ideology in Aquatic Plant Management One of the key findings that emerged fr om both the Ichetucknee River and Kings Bay/Crystal River case study is that the manageme nt contexts are charac terized by an apparent a priori attribution of harmfulness to nonnative pl ant species, particularly on the part of management agencies statutorily charged with controlling these speci es. As Norton (2005, ix) writes in a preface titled B eyond Ideology, commitments made on an ideological, a priori basis profoundly influence the way people understand environmental problems, thereby shaping what people experience while addressing those problems. Ultimately, Norton (2005) argues at length, a primary goal of adaptive mana gement is to use participatory discourse and active management experimentation as means of openly challenging all a priori commitments to be sure that these commitments still confor m to the overall goals a community has for its environment. A prominent environmental philosopher, Mark Sagoff (2005), has specifically challenged invasion biologists, or those who study and attempt to mana ge nonnative species, to move beyond a priori attributions of harmfulness to justif y the continued management of nonnative species. Building upon the thoughts of both Sagoff ( 2005) and Norton (2005), what both of the case studies in this dissertation seem to demons trate is that the ideo logical commitment to

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135 minimize and/or eliminate nonnative plant species has led to a condition in which the goals and methods of aquatic plant manageme nt are not evaluated for costs a nd benefits in a participatory, adaptive manner. In essence, th e narrow goal among a quatic plant managers continues to be minimization of targeted plants, even as the expansion of undesi rable algae has clearly emerged as the ecological harm of most concern. Invasion Biology and Ecological Restoration In defense of agency managers and invasion biologists, minimization or elimination of invasive nonnative species for the purpose of recovering native pl ant and animal assemblages is not only implied by statutory directive (Florida Stat utes 2005b), but is also one of the traditional goals of ecological restorati on projects throughout the world (Jordan et al. 1988). Careful research has indeed shown that successful rest oration of native flora and fauna can, in some cases, be achieved through remova l of invasive nonnative species a nd reestablishment of historic abiotic conditions (Suding et al 2004; Gratton and Denno 2005). Furthermore, the empirical harms generally attributed to nonnative species ind eed are quite substantial, both in Florida and throughout the world. The specific ecological effects and manageme nt history of water hyacinth, hydrilla, and water lettuce in Florida are deve loped in great detail by Schmitz et al. (1993), while a broader review of plant and animal invasions throughout the state are explored throughout the lyrically titled volume Strangers in Paradise (Simberloff et al. 1997). More generally, Wilcove et al. (1998) suggest in a highly infl uential paper that nonnative species currently represent the second greatest threat, behind direct ha bitat destruction, to the worl ds endangered species. Another widely cited paper by Pimentel et al. (2000) ca lculates that nonnative species cause over $100 billion of annual economic damages in the United States alone. It is often argued by invasion biologists that such effects will continue to accelerate on a global scale unless strong regulatory

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136 measures to eradicate established invasive nonna tive species and preven t uncontrolled movement of species in the future are quickly enacted a nd strictly enforced (Sim berloff et al. 2004). But as the basic tenets of invasion biology have become normatively adopted by ecosystem managers and widely disseminated to the public through media and education programs, questions regarding the langua ge, assumptions, rationales, and management techniques associated with control of invasive nonnative species are increasingly emerging. For example, several scholars have recently argued that use of rhetoric such as alien invaders, noxious species, and biological pollution to describe invasive exotic species indicates that invasion biology much like the discredi ted field of eugenics is an extension of xenophobic, nationalistic, and even racist fear s of the other into biologic al science (Groning and WoschkeBulmahn 2003; Olwig 2003; Theodoropolous 2003). Theodoropolous (2003), in a controversial book titled Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience further argues that corporations who manufacture herbicides and pesticides are sy stematically nurturi ng a psychology of fear regarding nonnative species as a cynical means of increasing the market base for their products. Although the ecologist Daniel Simb erloff has largely rebutted these more inflammatory charges (2003, 2004), some supporters of nonnative species management recently have argued that the prevalent use of fear-based a nd/or militaristic language to ju stify management practices is unhelpful to the extent that it does both alienate the public an d prevent objective acknowledgement of positive ecological values that can in some circumstances be associated with established invasive nonnative species (Gobster 2005; Larson 2005). It has also been increasingly argued that invasion biologist s are both overly general and strikingly inconsistent in defining terms such as native, exotic, and invasive that are foundational to the sub-discipline (Helmreich 2003; Kirkham 2005), which often has the effect

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137 of preventing objective analysis of ecological relationships asso ciated with targeted nonnative species on a case by case basis (Shrader-F rechette 2001; Gobster 2005; Larson 2005). For example, Sagoff (2005) found that while the vast majority of biotic extinctions linked to nonnative species are associated with introductions (particularly ge neralist animals) into small islands and other isolated habitats populated by inherently extinction-prone endemic species, expensive control activities are most often focused on nonnative speci es (particularly plants in continental land masses) that do no t pose a severe survival threat to native species. Larson (2005) notes that most successful inva sions in continental areas ar e a direct function of nonnative species colonizing areas affect ed by severe habitat disrupti on (e.g., land clearing, nutrient enrichment), suggesting that spec ies invasions are generally a symp tom, not a primary cause, of ecological change. Odum and Odum (2003) go further by noting that introduced plants, including some of the most notorious invasive nonnative species, generally increase species richness and productivity within the highly disturbed areas in which they invade. Sagoff (2005) argues that such values are, however, typically missed because of biased ecological field metrics that include presence of certain nonnative species as an inherent form of ecological damage. As suggested in both case studies of this dissertation, an unfortunate result of such conceptual confusion is that management activities narrowl y focused on minimization and/or eradication of invasive exotic species may often have uni ntended, deleterious e ffects on native wildlife populations, community succession, and other de sirable ecological values (DAntonio and Meyerson 2002; Ewel and Putz 2004). Some restoration ecologists do, however, incr easingly recognize that abiotic and biotic conditions within some areas are so drastically altered from pristine conditions that restoration of native biota and/or elimination of established non native species may be cost-prohibitive or even

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138 impossible (DAntonio and Meyerson 2002; Ewel a nd Putz 2004; Suding et al. 2004). While the prevailing vocabulary of restorat ion ecology indicates that the mo re modest goals of ecosystem rehabilitation, which generally focus on rehab ilitating a highly degrad ed site to a more productive, appealing, and/or useful form, would become operative in these cases (Callicott et al. 1999), an increasing body of ecologi cal literature indica tes that nonnative species, particularly plant species, established within degraded ecosyst ems often provide functi onal services that are remarkably consonant with long-term conser vation and restoration goals (DAntonio and Meyerson 2002; Ewel and Putz 2004). For example, naturalized nonnative pl ants have in some cases been found to facilitate succession of plant communities in to a desired restoration state through mechanisms such as rapid fixation of ni trogen within depleted soils (Parotta 1992), establishment of a protective canopy for fo rest understory development (Lugo 2004), and phytoremediation of highly contaminated sites (Ma et al. 2001). In other cases, naturalized nonnative plants targeted for erad ication by ecosystem managers ha ve been shown to provide the primary feeding and breeding habitat for native fauna that these same managers may be trying to protect (Chen 2001; Shapiro 2002; Thacker 2004). These and other examples have led some ecologists to begin cauti ously suggesting that strict adhere nce to the principle of minimizing nonnative species within ecological restoration pr ojects may at times be unnecessary or even counterproductive (Ewel and Putz 2004; Foster and Sandberg 2004). Alternative Stability Domains Recent research concerning the hypothesis of alternative stability domains in aquatic systems adds further tension to the traditional relationship between invasive plant management and ecological restoration. This hypothesis s uggests that, over a wide range of nutrient conditions, many subtropical and tropical freshwater ecosystems can be equally stable as either a clear water macrophyte community or in a mo re turbid state dominated by algae and

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139 cyanobacteria (Blindow et al. 1993; Scheffer et al. 1993; Bachma nn et al. 1999). At least three important implications of this hypot hesis should be considered by restoration ecologists working in subtropical and tropical aquatic ecosystems, including Florida springs. First, the disruption produced by aquatic plant control activities that target large es tablished populations of exotic and/or invasive macrophyte specie s may in some circumstances be an important catalyst for a catastrophic shift in stability domain from macrophytes to algae. For example, large-scale chemical control of free-floating macrophytes su ch as water hyacinth and water lettuce likely played an important role in the establishment of algal-dominated st ability domains in at least two large Florida lakes: Lake Apopka (Clugst on 1963; Chesnut and Barman 1974) and Lake Okeechobee (Grimshaw 2002). Secondly, because signi ficant energy is generally required to produce a switch from one stability domain to the other, substantial reductions of external nutrient loading into a water body that has shifte d into cyanobacteria dominance often will not result in the straightforward recovery of a submerged macrophyt e community (Scheffer et al. 1993; Bachmann et al. 1999). Thirdly, and perhaps wh erein the largest tens ion between invasive plant management and restoration ecology may lie highly productive macrophytes such as water hyacinth, water lettuce, and hydrilla may in some cases provide tran sitional stability domains and buffering mechanism that can be managed to substa ntially reduce cyanobacter ia and facilitate the restoration of submerged macrophyte communities within subtropical and tropical freshwater ecosystems (Hu et al. 1998; Canfield et al. 2000 ; Scheffer et al. 2003; Ro driguez-Gallego et al. 2004). Three principles recently developed within the adaptive management literature are also implied by the consideration of alternative stability domains: 1) undesirable ecosystem surprises may often result from a management program focused narrowly on one variable (e.g.,

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140 minimizing invasive plants) (Holling 1995); 2) em ergent forms of degradation can potentially make allies out of even the most notorious inva sive plant species in the functional, if not taxonomic, restoration of some aquatic ecosystems (Walker 1992; Canfield et al. 2000; Allen et al. 2003); and 3) local knowledge can play an important role in both the development of new hypotheses of ecological change an d the introduction of eco logical restoration scenarios that may helpfully challenge management orthodoxies that have become dysfunc tional within a local ecosystem context (Fischer 2000; Norton 2005). Evidence that the alg ae communities in both Ichetucknee and Kings Bay are re silient to signific antly lower nutrient concentrations (e.g., Terrell and Canfield 1996; Cowell and Dawes 2004; St evenson et al. 2004) is highly suggestive that qualitative shifts in stability domain have o ccurred, or are in the process of occurring, within these ecosystems, meaning that creative and adaptive management experiments that go beyond calls to reduce springshed nutrient loading likely will be necessary if goals such as reduction of algal growth and recovery of submersed plant communities are to be achieved. It is hoped that the information developed in each of the case studies can help to facilitate the emergence of such adaptive management processes. Defining Harm Sagoffs (2005) diagnosis of invasion biologists tendency to attribute a priori harm to nonnative species clearly is utilized as a central philosophical point of departure throughout this dissertation. However, it should be pointed out that Sagoff (2005) ultimately goes too far in the other direction through his own use of all or no thing logic with regard to management of nonnative species. For example, Sago ff (2005) asserts a claim sugges ting that extinction is one harm of real concern in relation to nonnative spec ies, and then proceeds to argue that empirical evidence showing that extinctions as a result of nonnative species ar e only rarely associated with extreme cases of species invasions undermines the case against managing nonnative species in

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141 all but these most extreme cases But if one follows Norton (2005) in using a pragmatic, adaptive management line of reasoning for defining harm s, Sagoffs (2005) overall argument against the widespread management of nonnative species can be challenged. Under Nortons (2005) criteria, what counts as harm is ultimately a product of what the members of an open, discursive community define as being harmful. Thus, cha nges in ecosystem functi on other than extinction, adverse effects on economic activities, and even aesthetic and/or moral preferences for native landscapes associated with the spread of a nonnative species c ould all be counted as harms by members of the community, with consensual ag reement about these harm s providing a legitimate basis for control activities. It se ems clear that it is societal agr eement about such harms that has led to statutory and regulatory mandates aime d squarely at the cont rol of nonnative species. However, what the hypothesis of alternativ e stability domains, findings about wildlife utilization of nonnative plants, and even public apprehension about use of pesticides for controlling nonnative species all suggest is that th e consensual definition of harm is ultimately changeable and, within the context of a de mocratic society, should always be open for reinterpretation. Where the invasi on biologists go wrong is, as Sago ff (2005) implies, in their all or nothing ideological commitment that the presence of long-e stablished nonnative species is harmful by a fixed, stipulative definition. In terms of aquatic plant management, such a commitment may lead to an insular institutiona l culture that is narrowly focused on minimizing these species independently of the dynamic soci o-ecological contexts in which management is taking place. In both the Ichetucknee and Kings Bay case st udies, this ideological commitment has had the clear effect of subverting le gitimate debate and comparative re evaluation of harms in relation to changing ecological conditions characterized by significant increas es in consensually

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142 undesirable algal species. While continued manage ment of nonnative specie s in both case studies may be perfectly justifiable through any number of criteria, the problem from an adaptive management perspective is that aquatic plant managers are largely unw illing to openly debate and/or test these criteria, c hoosing instead to rely upon non-contextual statements about the assumed harms of targeted species and benefits of current management strategies. Unfortunately, loss of public confidence in management instituti ons is a seemingly inevitable outcome as stated assumptions about the benefits of management ac tivities increasingly bear little resemblance to both the experiences of citizen stakeholders and/or what mi ght be deduced through a more holistic reading of scientific literature. An additional distinction should clearly be made between preventive action to, on the one hand, prevent potential future harm s from newly introduced nonnativ e species, and, on the other hand, management of nonnative species that ha ve long-since invaded regional ecosystems and are permanently naturalized (G obster 2005; Larson 2005). For example, Simberloff et al. (2004) may be perfectly justified, from a precautionary principle of seeking to prevent and minimize potential harms, in both seeking regulation of futu re species transfers and attempting to eradicate potentially invasive nonnative species before wi despread establishment into new areas brings uncertain socio-ecological consequences. Howeve r, it is commonsensical to suggest that different management criteria should apply to no nnative species that are not likely to ever be eradicated entirely from an ecosystem, such as wa ter lettuce in Ichetucknee, or hydrilla and water hyacinth in Kings Bay, particul arly if increased coverage of these species beyond lowest feasible control levels might be associated with increased wildli fe habitat, reduced levels of potentially toxic cyanobacteria, an d/or other ecological effects th at society consensually deems as an improvement over current conditions. Stat utory directives to balance aquatic plant

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143 management with goals such as public welfare and maintenance of fish and wildlife clearly provide guidance for the pursuit of more adaptive aquatic plant ma nagement strategies that go beyond narrowly interpreted mandates to minimi ze nonnative species (Flo rida Statutes 2006b). Final Thoughts In a thought-provoking essay with the subti tle de-militarizing invasion biology, Larson (2005, 499) suggests that invasive species should no longer be c onceptualized as biological enemies to be combated through militaristic means, but rather as co-conspirators with us in our urge to consume, to progress, to spread, and to travel. Su ch a re-conceptualization, Larson (2005, 499) argues, would help further dissolve ill usory separateness from a natural world out there and force a direct confrontation with th e complex ways in which our modern activities have inexorably changed the planet and its ecosystems. Over the course of many long conversations and field visits with citizen stakeholders in Crystal River, the dissonant juxtaposition of modern realities with the romantic assu mptions of nonnative plant management often would come to the forefront. Smokestacks fr om a regional coal-fired power plant clearly visible to the north, sea walls protecting houses with perfectly manicured lawns along linear canals that drained and destroye d forested wetlands many decades ago, large stormwater pipes discharging unknown quantities of heavy metals and petrochemicals from a major highway directly into the water body, pa ssenger jets flying overhead, and, of course, endangered manatees feeding on exotic meals of hydrilla hyacinth, and Eurasian milfo il all of these are among the many reminders that the Kings Bay ecosystem is found squarely within the context of our modern society. In one memorable, and provocativ e, quote obtained from a long-time Crystal River resident during the course of a stakeholder interview, a feeling of profound dissonance is expressed through the knowledge th at, out of all these modern si ghts, it is the manatees food that ecosystem managers most commonly a nd visibly focus their control efforts:

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144 Of course its a dirty world, and Kings Bays a part of it. But where s the logic in how were dealing with it? We spend thousands of dollars using chemical s to kill a beautiful plant (water hyacinth) that cleans up polluti on and the manatees love. Then we spend hundreds of thousands more to stir up the bottom trying to grub (harvest) out muck and slime ( L. wollei ) that wouldnt be there if we hadnt sp rayed the hyacinths in the first place. And then we fret over having enough food to feed the manatees each year. Now theyre talking about spraying some new chemical to ki ll the muck that the other chemicals caused, and tell us that we cant grow more hyacint h to help clean up th e water and feed the manatees because it would be unnatural. As this comment implies, it seems apparent that the conflicts about aquatic plant management encountered in the two case studies are fundamentally rooted in competing, valueladen conceptions about what is meant by nat ural. Does water hyacinths pre-Columbian origin in South America (or wa ter lettuces uncertain origin) make it an unnatural part of Floridas aquatic ecosystems? Conversely, are these plants natural simply because they are able to thrive in todays prevai ling ecological conditions? Are L. wollei and other cyanobacteria natural because they have been present in sp rings throughout antiquity, or should their recent emergence as dominant species be regarded as an unnatural artifact of hu man contamination? Is it natural or unnatural to control plants and al gae using chemical herb icides invented and manufactured by modern humans? How shoul d determinations about unnaturalness and naturalness be weighed against the measurable value of some nonnative plants in providing habitat for native animals, reducing growth of algae, and/or mitigating the effects of anthropogenic contamination? While the measures of science can provide some guidance, the ultimate answers one might give to these and related questions clearly are hinged upon what values one chooses to use when de fining natural and unnatural. Thus, the primary lesson that emerges from the cas e studies in this disse rtation is that war against the invaders is not, as Floridas aquatic plant manage rs and researchers too often suggest, justified by settled scienc e, but, rather, is founded square ly upon the shifting sands of

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145 human values and uncertain science characteris tic of almost all other complex environmental problems. Following from this recognition, I have argued throughout this di ssertation, should be a pragmatic shift and holistic integration of aquatic plant management into an adaptive framework that includes vigorous reevaluation of ecosystem goals active experimentation with alternative management methods, careful mon itoring, open public discussion about what is learned in management experiments, and partic ipatory decisions about what the next round of goals should be. Getting to such a point in Florida will, however require overcoming institutional rigidities associated with nonnative plant management, which, as experiences gained through the participatory research processes of this disserta tion indicate, are often quite extreme. In one somewhat disconcerting personal example, my leg itimacy as a graduate student researcher was openly challenged by an aquatic plant manager in direct reaction to a presentation I gave about aquatic plant management altern atives in a public forum (alt hough, interestingly, the ideas put forth in the presentation were not specifically questioned). Wh ile the confusion behind this incident eventually was settled, a more seri ous and systemic problem was revealed in communications with a variety of ecologists and environmental scientists, several of whom expressed deep skepticism about the utility of current nonnative plant mana gement strategies in Florida, but also noted their unwillingness to make public statements or propose research consistent with this private skepticism due to fears that their professional careers would be harmed. A discursive atmosphere that promotes this kind of personal intellectual censorship, even if only subtly coerced in most cases, undoubtedly poses a severe barrier to the full development of knowledge and creativity nece ssary for confronting tomorrows uncertain environmental issues.

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146 Clearly, as our local, regional, and global ecosystems are increasingly impacted by the pressures of modern human society, it is inevitable that species assemblages will continue to shift in novel and unpredictabl e ways. Climate change, deforestation, eutrophication, soil depletion, species transfers both intentional and unintentiona l through global trade, and countless other human-derived impacts can all be expected to profoundly affect what the biotic communities of the future will look like. No ecosyst em prairies, lakes, rain forest, coral reef, or, as discussed in this dissert ation, Florida springs appears to be immune from reorganization through human-mediated processes, and the comp lex changes encountered will undoubtedly test the limits of socio-ecological adaptability a nd management ingenuity. In the face of such dynamism, classic natural scien ce research to detect and be tter understand changes as they emerge, social science research to better understand the human contexts in which these changes both occur and are confronted, a nd interdisciplinary research to better understand the everevolving interfaces between dynamic ecosystems and the equally dynamic human societies in which we live increasingly will be needed. But just as important in these uncertain times will be a commitment to uphold and continuously rene w the spirit of place -based dialogue and participatory learning, thereby, to paraphrase an old proverb, turn ing people into citizens and even, perhaps, strangers into friends.

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147 APPENDIX Informed Consent Protocol Title : Evaluating Ecosystem Management and Collaborative Conservation at Three First Magnitude Springs in Florida: A Multi-Scalar Narrative Approach Please read this consent document carefully befo re you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to gather and characterize perceptions of conservation and ecosystem management issues among stakeholder groups within the Ichetucknee and Kings Bay springs systems. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to answer a series of questions about your interest in and understanding of the problems facing the springs system in which you ar e a stakeholder. Some of these questions are intended to be open-ended, and will be followed with additional questions to facilitate full understanding of the information you offer. Yo u will also be presented with some new information pertaining to your springs system, a nd asked to respond to several questions related to this new information. You do not have to an swer any question you do not wish to answer. With your permission, the session will be taped usi ng an audio recording device. If you prefer to not be taped, your responses will be recorded by hand in a field notebook. Any responses that you do not wish to be recorded either by tape or through field notes will not be recorded and will not be used in the study. Time required: Approximately 1 hour Risks and Benefits: No more than minimal risk to you is expected fr om this research. No di rect benefits to you are expected through participation in this research. Compensation: You will not be paid for part icipating in this research. Confidentiality:

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148 Your identity will be kept confidential to the ex tent provided by law. No name will be recorded on the audio tape or field notes and all responses will be characterized and reported anonymously in all reports. All audio tapes and field notes asso ciated with this research study will be available only to Jason Evans and R. Jeff Burkhardt. Audi o tapes and field notes will be transcribed by Jason Evans. The audio tapes and fi eld notes will be kept in a lock ed drawer in the home office of Jason Evans. When the responses have been analyzed and study is completed, all audio tapes will be broken with a hammer and discarded. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from th e study at any time without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Jason M. Evans, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Na tural Resources and the Environment, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 466-4549, jevans75@ufl.edu R. Jeff Burkhardt, Ph.D., Food and Resource Economics Department, 1157 McCarty Hall A, University of Florida, Gainesv ille, FL 32611, (352) 392-1826 ext. 314 rburkhardt@ifas.ufl.edu Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in this study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Flor ida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250, (352) 392-0433. Agreement: I have read the procedure described above. I volunt arily agree to pa rticipate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ______________________________________ Date: __________________ Principal Investigat or: ______________________________ Date: __________________

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149 LIST OF REFERENCES Agami, M. and K.R. Reddy. 1990. Competition for space between Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms and Pistia stratiotes L. cultured in nutrient-enriched Water. Aquatic Botany 38:195208. Aliotta G., P. Monaco, G. Pinto, A. Pollio, and L. Previterra. 1991. Potential allelochemicals from Pistia stratiotes L. Journal of Chemical Ecology 17:2223-2234. Allen, T.F.H., J.A. Tainter, and T.W. Hoekstra. 2003. Supply-side sustainability New York: Columbia University Press. Anonymous. 2005. Summer/Winter Aquatic Plant Manage ment Plan for the Crystal and Homosassa Rivers Copy obtained from Mark Edwards, Aquatic Services Director, Citrus County Aquatic Services. Lecanto, Florida. Argyris, C. and D.A. Schn. 1989. Participatory ac tion research and actio n science compared. American Behavioral Scientist 3(5):612-623. Attionu, R.H. 1976. Some effects of water lettuce ( Pistia stratiotes L.) on its habitat. Hydrobiologia 50(3):245-254. Bachmann, R.W., M.V. Hoyer, and D.E. Canfiel d, Jr. 1999. The restoration of Lake Apopka in relation to alternative stable states. Hydrobiologia 394:219-232. Bartodziej, W. and A.J. Leslie. 1998. The aquatic ecology and water quality of the St. Marks River, Wakulla County, Florida, with emphasis on the role of water hyacinth: 1989-1995 studies Bureau of Invasive Plant Management TSS 98-100. Tallahassee: Department of Environmental Protection. Behnke, P.C. 2003. Old timers remember Ichetucknee Springs Tallahassee: Department of Environmental Protection. Bellamy, J.A., G.T. McDonald, G.J. Syme, and J.E. Butterworth. 1999. Evaluating integrated resource management. Society and Natural Resources 12:337-353. Berardi, G. 2002. Commentary on the challenge to change: Participatory research and professional realities. Society and Natural Resources 15:847-852. Berkes, F. and C. Folke. 1998. Linking social and ecological systems for resilience and sustainability. Pages 1-25 in F. Berkes and C. Folke (eds.), Linking social and ecological systems: Management prac tices and social mechanisms for building resilience Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Biggs, B.J.F. 2000. Eutrophication of streams a nd rivers: Dissolved nutrient-chlorophyll relationships for benthic algae. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 19(1): 17-31.

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150 Bishop, J.H. 1995. Evaluation of the removal of treated m unicipal effluent on water chemistry and the abundance of submersed vegetation in Kings Bay Crystal River, Florida M.S. Thesis. Gainesville: University of Florida. Bledsoe, E.L., K.E. Harr, M.F. Cichra, E. J. Phlips, R.K. Bonde, and M. Lowe. 2006. A comparison of biofouling communities associated with free-ranging and captive Florida manatees ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ). Marine Mammal Science 22(4):997-1003. Blindow, I., G. Andersson, A. Hargeby, and S. Johansson. 1993. Long-term pattern of alternative stable states in two shallow eutrophic lakes. Freshwater Biology 30:159-167. Bojorquez-Tapia, L.A., S. Diaz-Mondragon, and E. Ezcurra. 2001. GIS-based approach for participatory decision making and land suitability assessment. International Journal of Geographic Information and Science 15(2):129-151. Briassoulis, H. 1989. Theoretical or ientations in environmental planning: An inquiry into alternative approaches. Environmental Management 13(4):381-392. Brody, S.D. 2003. Measuring the effect of stakeholder participation on the quality of local plans based on the principles of colla borative ecosystem management. Journal of Planning Education and Research 22:407-419. Brower, W.W. 1980. Biological and physical inve stigations of bodies of water beneath dense water hyacinth populations before and after chemical treatment Ph.D. Dissertation. Gainesville: University of Florida. Bruno, G.C. 2004, October 17. Algae in Ichetucknee causing itch. The Gainesville Sun Buker, G.E. 1982. Engineers vs. Floridas green menace. The Florida History Quarterly April: 413-427. Butt, P.L. and G. J. Murphy. 2003. Dyal and Black sinks dye trace, Columbia County, Florida: May September 2003 High Springs, FL: Karst Environmental Services. Callicott, J.B., L.B. Crowder, and K. Mu mford. 1999. Current normative concepts in conservation. Conservation Biology 13(1):22-35. Campbell, H.W. and A.B. Irvine. 1977. Feed ing ecology of the West Indian manatee Trichecus manatus Linnaeus. Aquaculture 12(3):249-251. Canfield, D.E., R.W. Bachmann, and M.V. Hoye r. 2000. A management alternative for Lake Apopka. Lake and Reservoir Management 16(3):205-221. Carr. A. 1994. A naturalist in Florida: A celebration of Eden New Haven: Yale University.

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151 Chambers, R. 1997. Relaxed and participatory appraisal. Notes on practical approaches and methods Brighton, UK: University of Sussex. Champion, K.M. and R. Starks. 2001. The hydrology and water quality of springs in west-central Florida Water Quality Monitoring Program. Br ooksville: Southwest Florida Water Management District. Chen, L.Y. 2001. Cost savings from properl y managing endangered species habitat. Natural Areas Journal 21:197-203. Chesnut, T.L. and E.H. Barman, Jr. 1974. A quatic vascular plants of Lake Apopka. Florida Scientist 37(1):60-64. Clugston, J.P. 1963. Lake Apopka, Florida: A changing lake and its vegetation. Quarterly Journal of the Flori da Academy of Sciences 26(2):169-174. Cohen, M.A. 1993. Pondscaping with aquatic and marginal plants. Tortuga Gazette 29(6):6-7. http://www.tortoise.or g/general/pondplan.html accessed February 2007. Cooke, G.D., E.B. Welch, S.A. Pe terson, and S.A. Nichols. 2005. Restoration and management of lakes and rivers Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis. Cowell, B.C. and P.S. Botts. 1994. Factors in fluencing the distribution, abundance, and growth of Lyngbya wollei in Central Florida. Aquatic Botany 49:1-17. Cowell, B.C. and C.J. Dawes. 2004. Growth and n itrate-nitrogen uptake by the cyanobacterium Lyngbya wollei Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 42:69-71. Cuda, J.P., B.R. Coon, Y.M. Dao, and T.D. Ce nter. 2002. Biology and labor atory rearing of Cricotopus lebetis (Diptera: Chironomidae), a natural enemy of the aqua tic weed hydrilla (Hydrocharitaceae). Arthropod Biology 95(5):587-596. DAntonio, C.D. and L.A. Meyerson. 2002. Exotic plant species as problems and solutions in ecological restoratio n: A synthesis. Restoration Ecology 10(4):703-713. Dame, J. 2006, May 21. Time to addre ss level of nitrates in rivers. Gainesville Sun http://www.gvillesun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20060521/EDITORIALS0101/2052 10331&SearchID=73260152360923 ; accessed February 2007. DCA and DEP. 2002. Protecting Floridas springs: Land use planning and best management practices www.dca.state.fl.us/fdcp/DCP/publications ; accessed January 2007. DEP. 2000, June 27. Water lettuce cleanup. Lette r to Ichetucknee homeowners and interested persons Lake City: Bureau of I nvasive Plant Management. __. 2004a. A strategy for water quality protection: Wast ewater treatment in the Wekiva study

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152 area http://www.dep.state.fl.us /water/wastewater/dom/doc s/WekivaReportDecember2004.pdf ; accessed February 2007. __. 2004b. Domestic wastewater http://www.dep.state.fl.us/s outhwest/water/DomWNar.htm ; accessed April 2007. __. 2005. Marion County awarded for land-use pl anning DEP recognizes county for commitment to the protection of springs http://www.dep.state.fl.us/s ecretary/news/2005/06/0621_02.htm ; accessed February 2007. __. 2006. Agreement reached to upgrade wastewater facilities, protect Wakulla Springs http://www.dep.state.fl.us/s ecretary/news/2006/12/1219_07.htm ; accessed February 2007. __. 2007a. Florida Springs Initiative achievements http://www.dep.state.fl.us/springs/initiative.htm ; accessed February 2007. __. 2007b. Florida Springs Task Force: Developing strategies to prot ect Floridas springs http://www.floridasprings.org/protection/taskforce/ ; accessed February 2007. __. 2007c. Drinking water: Standards for inorganic contaminants http://www.dep.state.fl.us/wat er/drinkingwater/st_inorg.htm ; accessed April 2007. __. 2007d. The antidegradation polic y for reuse projects http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/reuse/antideg.htm ; accessed April 2007. Dick, T.H. 1989. Crystal Rive r: A no-win situation. Aquatics 11(2):10-13. Douthwaite, B., N.C. de Haan, V.M. Manyong, a nd J.D.H. Keatinge. 2003. Blending hard and soft science: The follow-the-technol ogy approach to cata lyzing and evaluating technology change. Pages 15-36 in B.M Campbell and J.A. Sayer, (eds.), Integrated natural resource management Cambridge: CABI. Doyle, R.D. and R.M. Smart. 1998. Competitive reduction of noxious Lyngbya wollei mats by rooted aquatic plants. Aquatic Botany 61: 17-32. Dray, F.A., Jr., and T.D. Center. 1989. Seed production by Pistia stratiotes L. (water lettuce) in the United States. Aquatic Botany 33:155-160. Dubose, C., K. Langeland, and E. Phlips. 1997. Probl em freshwater algae a nd their control in Florida. Aquatics 19(1):4,6,8-11. Duram, L.A. and K.G. Brown. 1999. Assessing public participation in U.S. watershed planning initiatives. Society and Natural Resources 12:455-467.

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153 DuToit, C.H. 1979. The carrying capacity of the Ic hetucknee Springs and River. M.S. Thesis. Gainesville: University of Florida. Dyer, J.R., D. Forgie, B.B. Martin, and D.F. Martin. 1992. Effects of se lected copper (II) chelate compounds on the rates of production of oxygen by filamentous algae. Biomedical Letters 47:363-369. Epler, J.H., J.P. Cuda, and T.D. Center. 2000. Redescription of Cricotopus lebetis (Diptera: Chironomidae), a potential biocontrol ag ent of the aquatic weed hydrilla (Hydrocharitaceae). Florida Entomologist 83(2):171-180. Evans, J. 2002. Precaution to the wind: A local narrative on the permitting of the Ichetucknee cement plant M.S. Thesis. Gainesville: University of Florida. __. 2004. Case study analyses of DEPs wastewater program and associated challenges for groundwater protection in Floridas springsheds Conservation Clinic, Levin College of Law. Gainesville: University of Florida. www.law.ufl.edu/conservation/pdf/wastewater_springs.pdf ; accessed December 2006. Ewel, J.J. and F.E. Putz. 2004. A place for alien species in ecosystem restoration. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2(7):354-360. Facemire, C.F. 1991. Copper and other contaminants in King s Bay and Crystal River, Florida sediments: Implications for im pact on the West Indian manatee Publication Number VB89-4-109A. Arlington, VA: United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Ferreyra, C. 2006. Practicality, positionality, and emancipation: Reflections on participatory action research within a watershed partnership. Systemic Practice and Action Research 19:577-598. Fischer, F. 2000. Citizens, experts, and the environment: The politics of local knowledge Durham: Duke University Press. Florida Administrative Code. 1993. Chapter 62-600. Domestic wastewater facilities http://www.dep.state.fl.us/le gal/Rules/wastewater/62-600.pdf ; accessed April 2007. __. 2005. Chapter 62-670. Feedlot and dairy wastewater treatment and management requirements http://www.dep.state.fl.us/leg al/Rules/wastewater/62-670.pdf ; accessed April 2007. __. 2006. Chapter 62-302.530. Table: Surface Water Quality Criteria https://www.flrules.org/gateway/readF ile.asp?sid=0&type=1 &tid=3295010&file=62302.530.doc ; accessed April 2007. Florida Springs Task Force. 2000. Floridas springs: Strategies for protection and restoration Tallahassee: Department of Environmental Protection.

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168 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jason Michael Evans was born in Orlando, Florida on July 18, 1975, and is a lifelong Florida resident. He graduate d from Orlandos Colonial High School in 1993. He attended Rollins College out of high school, but in 1995 tr ansferred to New College of Florida. He graduated from New College in 1998 with a b achelors degree in philosophy. At New College, he also met his future wife, Sharon Levine, w hom he finally married in March 2004. In August 2000, Jason began graduate school in the Univer sity of Floridas In terdisciplinary Ecology program. He lived on the Santa Fe and Ichetu cknee rivers from August 2000 August 2001, and experiences from this time formed the basis for his masters thesis and, ultimately, some of his doctoral dissertation. In Ma y 2002, Jason obtained his Master of Science through the Interdisciplinary Ecology program, and directly began a Ph.D. program in interdisciplinary ecology. After completing his Ph.D. qualifying exams in early 2005, he taught a course in geographic information systems (GIS) and worked as a GIS consultant for New College of Florida through a grant provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Jason received his Ph.D. in inte rdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida in May 2007.