Best Management Practices & Water Resources

Best Management Practices Sessions

Sessions are maintained here for the immediate past five years; for earlier sessions contact Dr. Lang.

Introduction
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.

Background
Background

UF/IFAS researchers at the EREC initiated field lysimeter studies in 1986 that ultimately lead to the development of BMPs for reducing P concentrations and loads in the EAA. From these studies it was determined that fertilizer practices and a combination of improved drainage uniformity and a reduction in drainage pumping could yield significant reductions in P concentrations and loads for all EAA crops. Using the results of these studies, and best professional judgment available at the time, expected reductions in P loading were attached to each BMP. It was hypothesized that P load reductions ranging from 20 to 60% could be realized for individual EAA farms and for the EAA basin as a whole. The BMPs suggested by the UF/IFAS research and others proposed by industry and the SFWMD, were selected by the SFWMD for inclusion into a table of BMP options for EAA growers. The BMP table was part of a regulatory program initiated by the SFWMD to comply with specific requirements of the state mandated Rule 40E-63, F.A.C. Mandatory BMP implementation in the EAA started in January 1995.

In 1992, the UF/IFAS researchers started a wide-scale implementation and BMP efficacy verification project aimed at quantifying the load reductions that could be achieved at the farm level. Ten farms located through out the EAA were selected as being representative of soils, geographic location, crop rotations, and water management philosophies. Best management practice packages were developed for each farm and implemented. Monitoring of farm drainage volumes and total P concentrations of drainage waters began in Water Year 1993 (May 1, 1992 to April 30, 1993). Water quality and BMP implementation data was collected from all ten farms until 2000 when the number of farms monitored by the project was reduced to seven. In January 2002 the number of farms monitored was further reduced to three, however the level of monitoring at these three farms was intensified to collect and analyze hourly drainage water samples for total suspended solids and total, dissolved, and particulate P concentrations.

All indicators of BMP efficacy have shown that consistent and sustained reductions in total P concentrations and loads occurred due to the implementation of BMPs in the EAA. Basin-level numbers presented annually by the SFWMD reinforce the effectiveness of the BMP program, showing a sustained 50% reduction in total P loading from the EAA. In WY 2004, the TP load reduction from the EAA was 64% compared to the pre-BMP baseline period. The three year average load reduction is 55%. Phosphorus concentrations have also been reduced. In WY 2004, P concentrations from the EAA averaged 69 ppb compared to the pre-BMP base period P concentration of 173 ppb. This major and sustainable reduction is directly attributable to the BMP program. Adjusted unit area loads on project farms averaged 0.73 lbs total P/acre after BMP implementation compared to 1.30 lbs total P/acre prior to WY95. This represents a project average reduction in adjusted unit area loads of approximately 44% which approximates the overall EAA basin load reduction.

The implementation of BMPs successfully reduced P loads leaving the EAA, however there were other water quality concerns besides P specified in the The Everglades Forever Act (EFA) of 1994 that required attention of water managers and researchers. The goals of assessing other water quality concerns was to evaluate the constituents that have been previously identified as elements of water quality concern that will likely not be significantly improved by the Storm Water Treatment Areas (STAs) and current Best Management Practices being widely implemented throughout the EAA, and to identify strategies needed to address such parameters. These parameters were identified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) as specific conductance, particulate P, and the pesticides Atrazine and Ametryn. The Everglades Agricultural Area-Environmental Protection District (EAA-EPD) and the SFWMD are responsible for the monitoring of Atrazine and Ametryn in waters leaving the EAA basin. The UF/IFAS implemented a research project to investigate the specific conductance and particulate P issues in the EAA. These two studies were completed in 2004; summaries of Specific Conductance and Particulate phosphorus technical reports are found on the Technical Report Summary page of this website.

Personnel
Personnel

Panel 3. GROUP PHOTO.

  1. Dr. Samira Daroub - Professor
  2. Dr. Timothy Lang - Research Associate
  3. Dr. Jennifer Cooper - Post Doctoral Associate
  4. Viviana Nadal - Chemist III
  5. Irina Ognevich - Sr. Chemist
  6. Pablo Vital - OPS
  7. Johnny Mosley, II - OPS
BMP Sessions

2017

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, September 28, 2017)

2016

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, September 29, 2016)

2016

Best Management Practices training presentations (Spanish session)

(Held on Thursday, September 22, 2016)

2016

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, April 14, 2016)

2015

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, September 24, 2015)

2015

Best Management Practices training presentations (Spanish session)(Held on Thursday, April 23, 2015)

2014

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, September 25, 2014)

2014

Best Management Practices training presentations (Spanish session) (Held on Thursday, April 24, 2014)

2013

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, September 26, 2013)

2013

Best Management Practices training presentations (Held on Thursday, April 11, 2013)