Suwannee Democrat

Mayo Free Press

February 25, 2013

Growers to receive cost-share funds for water quality and quantity improvements in the Santa Fe River Basin

Live Oak — Several agricultural producers within the Santa Fe River Basin have been approved to receive a total of $193,750 in cost-share funds for projects to help conserve water and protect water quality. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provided a $900,000 grant to the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) for the program earlier this fiscal year, and this marks the second round of those funds.

 

The cost-share funds for this quarter will help pay for projects that are estimated to save 224 million gallons of water annually or 0.6 million gallons per day and reduce application of about 266,000 pounds of nitrogen per year. Twenty-seven producers received $662,750 as part of the program during the first funding cycle to save about 736 million gallons of water per year or 2.0 million gallons per day and save an estimated 680,000 pounds of nitrogen per year.

 

Through the cost-share program, the District, in coordination with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) and the Suwannee River Partnership, will assist with the implementation of DEP’s Basin Management Action Plan to reduce nutrients in the Santa Fe River.

 

The funds for the second quarter will pay to retrofit 14 irrigation systems and to incorporate the practice of fertigation for 13 systems. Such retrofits will equip irrigation systems to deliver a more uniform and efficient application of water and fertilizer, and they will reduce water use and the potential for nutrients to leach into the water table.

 

“With the help of DEP, the District is pleased to be able to assist farmers in using new technologies to achieve water quality and water conservation benefits in the Santa Fe River Basin,” said District Executive Director Ann Shortelle. “These efforts will provide a significant reduction to nitrogen loading to the river and springs and will significantly reduce groundwater pumping in the Santa Fe Basin.

 

Agricultural producers within the District have until April 5 to apply for cost-share funds for the next funding cycle. Interested parties may apply online through the District’s Agriculture webpage at www.mysuwanneeriver.com/agriculture or apply in person at District Headquarters, 9225 CR 49, Live Oak FL 32060.

 

For more information, contact Kevin Wright at 386.362.1001 or toll free at 1.800.226.1066 (FL only).

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