BMPs Paying off Big for Northeast Florida Farmers

BMPs Paying off Big for Northeast Florida Farmers

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Governing Board recently approved the ranking of more than a dozen projects that will share in $1.5 million in Tri-County Agricultural Area (TCAA) Ag Cost-Share Program funds for water conservation and nutrient reduction by farming operations.

drip irrigation line closeup

Burying drip tape 14 inches below the alley has helped Riverdale Potato Farms reduce water use and eliminate runoff from its operation.
Photo by Frank Giles

According to SJRWMD officials, the proposed projects would result in an estimated 266 million gallons of water conserved each year and an estimated reduction of 6,916 pounds per year of total nitrogen and 1,426 pounds per year of total phosphorus.

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SJRWMD District Executive Director Ann Shortelle noted that best management practices (BMPs) are benefiting not only the local environment, but also area growers regarding production efficiency and quality. “The TCAA has —  for the first time —  met its Total Maximum Daily Loads due to nutrient reduction projects such as these,” she stated. “I’m excited to see proactive measures being taken by the agricultural community to increase irrigation efficiency for water conservation and to reduce nutrient loading to the St. Johns River and its tributaries.”

The District received 13 applications as part of the Districtwide Ag Cost-share Program for projects in Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns counties.

Funding for the TCAA Ag Cost-Share Program is provided on a year-to-year basis by the district, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.