Board approves cost-share project ranking to protect Silver Springs

To participate in the Silver Springs Ag BMP Cost-Share Program, projects must be located primarily within the boundaries of the Silver Springs springshed.

To participate in the Silver Springs Ag BMP Cost-Share Program, projects must be located primarily within the boundaries of the Silver Springs springshed.

VIERA, Fla., April 10, 2018 ― Six projects will share in $699,245 in cost-share funding from the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for agricultural projects that promote water conservation and improve water quality in the Silver Springs springshed. The district’s Governing Board approved the project ranking at Tuesday’s meeting. Proposed projects are anticipated to collectively conserve an estimated 36,274 gallons of water each day and reduce total nitrogen by an estimated 2,480 pounds per year.

“This program promotes water conservation and nutrient reduction in the agricultural community in the Silver Springs springshed and the protection of one of our most iconic Outstanding Florida Springs,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This funding will support projects that reduce the use of groundwater and reduce nutrient runoff to Silver Springs, but also will support best management practices (BMPs) that provide long-lasting benefits to growers and ranchers.”

The program aims to engage farmers, growers and ranchers in the Silver Springs springshed in implementing agricultural BMPs that result in more efficient water use and reduce agricultural nutrient runoff.

With $706,000 in matching funds from the district and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the program will provide a total of $1.4 million, with eligible projects able to receive up to 75 percent of cooperative funding toward implementing technologies to improve water efficiencies and protect natural systems.

Funding recipients are Roy Brown Farms, Lochloosa Farm, MacKay Farm, North Caledonia Farm LLC, Yancey’s Blueberry Farm and Southern Grace Farm.

Eligible projects include irrigation system retrofits, conversion from overhead irrigation to micro-irrigation and fertigation, soil moisture sensor technology, tailwater recovery and reuse, precision agriculture equipment and more.

For more information about district cost-share programs, visit www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding/.