2000 Progress Report: Public Reporting and Dynamic Access: Changing Regional Environmental Health of South Florida's Everglades Ecosystem

EPA Grant Number: R827962
Title: Public Reporting and Dynamic Access: Changing Regional Environmental Health of South Florida's Everglades Ecosystem
Investigators: Turcotte, Brian , Barry, Robert , Berry, Leonard , DeMaio, David , Stutz, Doug , VanArnam, Jon , Zarillo, Kim
Current Investigators: Turcotte, Brian , Pietrucha, Marie
Institution: South Florida Water Management District
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period:    
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2000 through June 6, 2001
Project Amount: $488,598
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


This project will provide a public information and communication network to report the latest environmental information regarding the current changing state of health of the Everglades ecosystem. This communication network will consist of an Internet site and written information digests distributed to 50 ecosite locations, 27 community colleges, and all public library branch locations in south Florida.

The overall project goal is to develop a unified approach among the collaborating agencies for the dissemination of the SFWMD's hydrologic and water quality data to the general public with an EMPACT pilot project focus on reporting changing health indicator information regarding the Everglades ecosystem. We will provide the public with a specialized data mart focused on information critical to the sustainability of the South Florida Everglades ecosystem. Availability of the data to the cooperating stakeholders will enhance educational opportunities in the principles of environmental protection through augmenting existing educational programs throughout south Florida. The cooperating stakeholders will participate in the design of the Web-based implementation, ensuring that the interface will be appropriate for use by the public at large, including elementary through college level students. Critical elements of this objective include data management and maintenance, quality assurance of collected data, Web application development to provide opportunities for public data mining and visualization, other appropriate reporting vehicles, and public outreach and educational opportunities provided by the cooperating stakeholders.

We will provide the public with an understandable and complete spatial and temporal Web-based interface to hydrologic and water quality data.

The SFWMD currently maintains these critical data and other data, employing rigorous quality assurance techniques. The data mart will be afforded the same measure of quality and accuracy. The stated goals will be realized through the following five objectives:

  1. Establish an easy-to-use data mart with essential elements derived from the existing hydrologic and water quality database in a format that will support a Web-based data mining application that integrates the spatial and temporal aspects of the data. Use emerging database technology that is compatible with the Agency's relational database management system to implement a Web-enabled data mart. The SFWMD's Geographic Information System (GIS) will be a component of the data mart. The combination of GIS and environmental data will provide the basis for a graphical user interface (GUI) that captures user input necessary to build a data mart query through spatial visualization (maps), time window selection, and data specifics.

  2. Use the new combined database/Web technology to communicate hydrologic and water quality data through an external Web site and Web-based Java graphical user interface application, which is fully supported by the database technology. Include the cooperating stakeholders in the design and implementation of the interface, providing for optimal public interaction with the Web page at all educational and interest levels. Use the stakeholders' vision to develop a dynamic Web site with future expansion possibilities. Combine spatial and temporal aspects of the data to build an interface that can query the data over space and time.

  3. Establish an environmental reference source on the Web page that details the SFWMD's environmental goals, rationale for action taken, projects in progress, future projects under consideration, and environmental guidelines based on the most current science. Provide a database of SFWMD documents of current and planned projects and water supply plans that can be searched by keyword(s) or phrase.

  4. Provide customized mapping, time series graphics, audio material, and word or phrase search of SFWMD documents in the data mart distributed through the Web site to educate and inform the Web audience on the environmental issues that are impacted by hydrology and water quality?in English and Spanish.

  5. Provide coordinated outreach and training programs on the contents of the data mart, its Web-based interface, and existing educational opportunities for teachers, media professionals, scientists, and the public through the efforts of cooperating stakeholders and the SFWMD.

Progress Summary:

We have accomplished the following:

  • Executed the formal agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. Approval to expend funds was granted at the February 2000 SFWMD Governing Board meeting.

  • Requisitioned, purchased, received, and installed: (1) necessary computing hardware at a cost of $64,425; and (2) the EMPACT Oracle database and related productivity tools software at a cost of $36,224 for the software.

  • Solicited and evaluated proposals and hired a contractor for Objective 1 of 5, "Design and Build the Data Mart," for $98,200. Objective 1 was completed on April 7, 2001.

  • Solicited and evaluated proposals and hired a contractor for Objectives 2 and 4, "Create the Web Site" and "Provide Maps and Graphs," for $89,644.

  • Contracted with the Center for Florida Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University for Objective 5, "Coordinated Outreach," for Years 1 and 2 at a cost of $22,000 per year. A purchase order was issued for Year 1.

  • Conducted two major stakeholders meetings to further detail requirements and provide feedback on Web site prototypes.

Future Activities:

We will perform Objective 3, "Establish an Environmental Reference Source," later in Fiscal Year 2001 by using the SFWMD Qualified Vendor List for Information Systems Services. This environmental reference source will consist of SFWMD and other documents housed in Oracle 8i interMedia, complete with a Web interface. The budget for Objective 3's statement of work is $25,000.

Coordinated public outreach has been postponed due to delays in delivering the data mart and developing the user interface. A project extension of 90 days is anticipated at this time. The initiation of this process is imminent.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ecosystem restoration, Everglades, south Florida, Florida, FL, ecology, EPA Region 4, Atlantic coast., Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Ecology, State, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Risk Assessment, Florida Everglades, EMPACT, digital spatial information, public reporting, regional environmental health, web site development, water quality, ecosystem restoration, environmental monitoring data, Florida, public outreach, FLA, dynamic access environmental data

Relevant Websites:

http://www.sfwmd.gov/ Exit EPA icon
http://www.evergladesplan.org/ Exit EPA icon
http://www.evergladesvillage.org/ Exit EPA icon

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2001
  • Final Report