The citrus water quality/quantity BMP development process in the Indian River area

Brian J. Boman, Chris Wilson, Jack W. Hebb

Abstract


During Dec. 1998, the Production Committee of the Indian River Citrus League (IRCL) in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and UF-IFAS took the initiative to begin the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Indian River Area citrus groves. The objective was to develop BMPs that have the potential to improve water quality and reduce the quantity of runoff water draining into the St. Lucie Estuary (SLE) and the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). By adopting and enacting the BMPs, growers hoped to minimize the effects of regulation, legislation, and litigation concerning the EPA's establishment of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for the estuary and lagoon. The BMP development effort was a voluntary effort that began with growers representing the Indian River Citrus League along with representatives of FDACS and IFAS. Following the identification of BMPs in five areas of concern (water volume, pesticides, nutrients, sediments, and aquatic weeds), the BMP development effort was expanded to include regulatory, and environmental groups. Over the course of 18 months, the BMP process has produced an extensive BMP manual, initiated a series of workshops and on-farm demonstrations, and identified areas where further research is necessary. This paper explains the reasons BMPs are needed, documents the process, and presents some of the lessons learned about developing a consensus among the diverse interests involved in developing the BMPs.

Keywords


water volume; sediment; nutrients; pesticides; aquatic weeds; water quality

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283