The BMP Consensus Challenge

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 University of Florida, IFAS, PO Box 110670 Gainesville, FL 32611

The nursery industry in Broward County, Fla., had to choose between partaking in the resolution needed to achieve 10 ppb total phosphorus discharged to the Everglades or face regulation. The industry decided to pursue the proactive route and implement best management practices (BMPs). Teams of industry personnel were formed to develop the content of the Florida Container Nursery BMP Guide that contained the following chapters: 1) nursery layout, 2) container substrate and planting practices, 3) fertilization management, 4) container substrate nutrient monitoring, 5) irrigation water quality, 6) irrigation application, 7) irrigation uniformity, 8) erosion control and runoff water management, 9) pesticide management, and 10) waste management. Each team was to determine the content of their chapter, based on cultural practices producers were currently using, or could be using, which would minimize or reduce surface water movement of phosphorus from the nursery to adjacent water. Cultural practices, brought forth after a consensus was achieved by each team in concert with governmental agencies, associations, and allied industries, were meshed with research information, or the “best” information available from academic sources to ensure that the resolutions or BMPs that were written would contribute to resolving the confl ict (i.e., elevated total phosphorus in canal waters). Consensus development is a new challenge for most academicians but it is important because unbiased and science-based knowledge is needed to assist in BMP development. Furthermore, consensus of those directly and indirectly involved in the nursery industry helps facilitate the use of BMPs. Once the Florida Container Nursery BMP Guide is adopted by rule under the statutory authority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, nursery operators voluntarily using the BMPs and keeping appropriate records will receive a waiver of liability from cleanup costs associated with contaminated ground or surface water, and be presumed to be in compliance with state water quality standards.

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