Moving trucks, water rules, and psyllid control were on Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association’s (PRVCGA) to-do list in 2012. The organization’s new office location got literally turned upside down by thieves early in the year. According to Barbara Carlton, executive director of the PRVCGA, it took some time to replace computers and recover records, but now the new office is up and running in Arcadia. “There is room for grower activities inside and out, and we plan on holding luncheons, committee, and board meetings in our new, larger space,” she says.
Water Rises In Importance
Like in all other citrus growing regions, water regulations played a big role in PRVCGA’s work in the past year. Of specific concern was nutrient and dissolved oxygen standards in Prairie Creek and Myrtle Slough in DeSoto County. The two watersheds fall within the area covered by the reasonable assurance (RA) plan.
The RA plan was created to address impairments to waters by chlorides. Actions based on the plan already have had positive effects on impairments. Carlton says PRVCGA has worked with stakeholders to inform EPA of these positive outcomes in hopes of altering its proposed total daily maximum loads for nutrients. “We feel EPA should take into account the positive results of the current RA plan,” she says.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection formally adopted aforementioned RA plan for the Shell, Prairie, and Joshua Creak areas as a means of improving water quality within this basin. “This comes years after the stakeholder group formed and began working on water quality improvements to this watershed,” says Carlton.
Carlton said action was necessary because the watershed feeds the public water supply for the city of Punta Gorda. “The chloride levels [when detected] were above public drinking water standards,” she says.
Working with all parties involved, the RA was created and will provide a roadmap for improving water quality. “Growers in the Shell, Prairie, and Joshua Creek watersheds are encouraged to measure the quality of their irrigation water and make adjustments to assure grove health is not impacted and natural systems are protected.”
Can You Say Manasota?
During 2012, Peace River growers held meetings to establish citrus health management areas (CHMAs) in Manatee and Sarasota counties — also known as the Manasota CHMAs. Three CHMAs have been created for the two counties to coordinate chemical sprays to control psyllids.
The recommended starting point for the CHMAs was two dormant sprays in the November/December and January/February time frames. The third spray should be timed in April post bloom. The fourth application was recommended for the summer flush period in August or September.
Click here to learn more about Florida’s CHMAs.