University of Florida

Best Management Practices & Water Resources

For more information contact Samira Daroub.

Introduction

The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences P concentration and load reduction agricultural BMP research and education program began in 1986. At that time, it was alleged that P in agricultural drainage water leaving farms in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) was negatively impacting downstream and surrounding ecosystems. Furthermore, P in fertilizer applied to sugarcane crops was believed by many to be the primary source of the elevated P concentrations and loads. It was hypothesized that agricultural BMPs could contribute significantly to alleviating the problem. Prior to developing BMPs, it was necessary to provide a working definition of a BMP which would properly constrain the breadth of potential practices. That definition, pertinent to the EAA is:

"an alternative management practice that is technically feasible, economically viable, socially acceptable, and scientifically sound, and when implemented, will lead to reduced P concentrations and loads leaving farms in the EAA, while not threatening the viability of the agricultural production system".

Since full-scale BMP implementation began in 1995, collectively the growers of the EAA basin have achieved more than a 50% P load reduction in water leaving the basin. This reduction is double that required by state law (Everglades Forever Act, 1994). Researchers continue to work with growers to develop and implement BMPs that are both effective in lowering P loads and economically viable.

- Sessions and documents