The Climate Around Climate Change on Florida's Reefs: In Action or Inaction? A Qualitative Evaluation of the Climate Change Action Plan for the Florida Reef System 2010-2015
This project seeks to evaluate the success and degree of implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan for the Florida Reef System 2010-2015 (CCAPFRS). This Action Plan identifies interdisciplinary actions to be incorporated into reef management plans in order to address a myriad of climatic and non-climatic stressors to the reef system, minimize risks to coral reef dependent people and industries, and target scientific research priorities for strategic management. As we are now in the final year of the Action Plan, the status and degree of implementation of the plan’s 40 recommendations has been unknown until now. A qualitative evaluation was designed due to a lack of monitoring, established benchmarks, and specific measures in the plan. Through stakeholder interviews, surveys, and independent Internet research, this project assessed to what degree the recommended actions had been implemented and developed a scorecard to consolidate information on management strategies underway that contribute to the general success of the Action Plan. The scorecard enhances communication among stakeholder groups and various governmental and state agencies regarding collective progress, and serves as a blueprint for a subsequent plan moving forward. This review process demonstrated the great benefits and value of monitoring and evaluation of action plans with application worldwide. Overall, it was found the plan is in a fairly good degree of implementation, with 80% of the plan’s 40 action items addressed to some degree. The most success was found in research goals, and the area most in need regards fisheries management. Some priorities changed over time. There has been a strong monitoring and reporting network built in the region, with several programs utilizing “eyes and ears on the water”. The capacity to respond and monitor coral bleaching events has also greatly increased.