From January 2005 to April 2006, Meridian Institute mediated the development of a plan for a project-level application of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) adaptive management strategy, for the Water Conservation Area 3 Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement Project (DECOMP). As part of this effort, Meridian created an interagency leadership team and facilitated multi-agency, multidisciplinary teams to collaboratively develop a conceptual plan for a large-scale field test. The field test would investigate the design of features for restoring sheet flow and removing barriers to habitat connectivity in Water Conservation Area 3, and address key scientific uncertainties.
Meridian also worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service to create a customized process for engaging stakeholders in the design of the field test. The process that was developed balanced the need for transparency, openness, and inclusivity with the need for timely development of the DECOMP Adaptive Management Plan (DAMP). In 2006 and 2007, Meridian provided strategic advice and guidance on how to incorporate DAMP into the Corps’ planning process and the DECOMP Project Implementation Report. In 2009, the Corps released an Environmental Assessment and Design Test Documentation Report for the field test, and in early 2010 there was a finding of no significant impact associated with the test, and a public meeting was conducted to hear comments on the draft operational plan.
In January 2012, the Army Corps received the final permit for the construction and interim operations of one component of the DECOMP Adaptive Management Plan—the DECOMP Physical Model—from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Installation of this field test is tentatively scheduled to begin in May 2012.