The Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) is a small portion of the Everglades region, consisting of an artificially drained area of approximately 280 000 ha of organic soils providing a rich environment for the cultivation of primarily sugar cane, vegetables, rice, and sod. Hydroperiods and excessive nutrients in surface water inflows have been identified as potentially disruptive to the natural ecosystem, with phosphorus (P) deemed to be the limiting nutrient. Hence, agricultural drainage water from the EAA, containing higher than background P loads and concentrations, has been targeted as a source of the problem. To reduce P loads and concentrations in the drainage water leaving farms in the EAA, on-farm best management practices (BMPs) can be used. These BMPs have been identified and tested at the large plot scale and are presently being implemented and their efficacy verified at the farm level. It is currently estimated that P loading from the EAA can be reduced by 20% to 60% using BMPs. A 45% reduction should be attainable while keeping within acceptable cost/benefit ratios. The use of BMPs, however, will require higher levels of farm management and more sophisticated tools for decision-making.
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- Best management practices (BMPs)
- Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA)
- water quality