3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Matthew Lenhardt
Session Name Posters - Governance Approaches to Nutrient Management
Category Governance approaches to nutrient management
Poster Number 11
Author(s) Matthew Lenhardt,  UF/IFAS Citrus County Extension (Presenting Author)
  Joan Bradshaw,  UF/IFAS Citrus County Extension
  Curt Williams, Florida Farb Bureau
  Balancing Florida’s agricultural future with the proposed numeric nutrient criteria water quality standards
  The state of Florida has one of the nation’s most comprehensive water quality monitoring programs. In fact, Florida already leads the nation in the amount of water quality data collected to preserve the quality of Florida waters. The agricultural community has been a key player in the state’s evaluation process and implementation of ‘Best Management Practices’ or BMPs, which have made a positive impact on Florida’s water quality. In spring of 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed additional water quality standards, (known as Numeric Nutrient Criteria) which will only apply to the State of Florida. While it is important to maintain stringent water quality standards, the proposed EPA criteria may have negative impacts on Florida’s agriculture, putting it at a competitive disadvantage behind states which do not have to comply with these standards. IFAS research has concluded that approximately 10% of agricultural lands will be taken out of production to meet these standards, with a total annual revenue loss of $631 million dollars to Florida agriculture. It has also been estimated that the state of Florida will incur an estimated total cost of 2.8 to 8.1 billion dollars if these new standards are implemented. Four of the five water management districts, FDACS, and FDEP have also expressed concerns with the current EPA’s proposal. Florida agriculture commodity groups continue to work cooperatively with state and industry partners to ensure sound environmental stewardship practices. Agricultural producers need clean water and support science-based efforts to further protect Florida’s waters. Creating a balance between the proposed Numeric Nutrient Criteria and the state’s economic sustainability is an important challenge facing Florida agriculture.