A number of major water resource ecosystem restoration projects are currently underway in the United States. One is focused on the Everglades, a unique ecosystem in southern Florida. The Everglades restoration project is estimated to cost some $8 billion over a period of about 50 years. It is not only a challenge to scientists attempting to understand the physical and biological processes affecting the unique hydrology and ecology but also to planners and decision makers dealing with the social dynamics of the people living in the area. People impact the Everglades, and the rate of population growth in southern Florida shows no sign of decreasing. The outcome of this ecosystem restoration effort will largely be determined by the land use decisions and social activities of these people over the next several decades. It may also be influenced by political decisions made far outside the region, such as in Washington with respect to sugar subsidies (i.e., our relations with Cuba). It may be influenced by climate change (e.g., sea level rise) as well. In this complex physical and social environment, scientists from private and public agencies are working together with all concerned stakeholders to plan and manage the restoration project. Models are being developed and used to estimate the various impacts that may result from any plan or management policy. As expected, there exist conflicts among various stakeholders. If there was ever a challenge for those involved in building models and associated decision support systems for impact prediction and for communicating information to multiple stakeholders having quite different interests and concerns—all in an effort to obtain some consensus or shared visions of what should be done, and why—this project provides one.

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