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Two Processes Underway Regarding the Okeechobee Watershed

Published: February 25th, 2013

By: Dennis G. Corrick

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has begun its review of the second of five regions of District lands as part of its Comprehensive Land Assessment process. The District is inviting public comments on its plans for, and use of, its land holdings in the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee regions. The comments process is open until March 18, 2013, and includes two public meetings on the following dates:

1. Friday, March 8th at 10:00 a.m. at the SFWMD Okeechobee Service Center (which has relocated: http://tinyurl.com/ag5ysyu).

2. Tuesday, March 12th at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Cloud Field Station.

* Information about the lands being assessed can be found at: Kissimmee / Okeechobee Assessment Region parcel profiles.

In addition, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has begun the process of developing a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for the Lake Okeechobee watershed. A BMAP is a plan for implementing target nutrient loads across a watershed, and the process of developing a BMAP is intended to involve all affected stakeholders, such as utilities, agricultural interests, residential groups and industry associations. When developed, the BMAP will have the legal weight of an administrative rule and will be enforceable against stakeholders in the region who add nutrients to the system. It will be the basis for development and/or modification of Best Management Practices for agriculture throughout the watershed. Accordingly, agribusiness concerns in this region should monitor the BMAP development process and provide input where appropriate in order to protect their interests. As the process has just begun, no information is available online. However, general information about watershed management is available at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/watersheds/index.htm.

Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team continues to monitor developments in these areas. If you have questions, please contact Dennis Corrick, shareholder in our Fort Pierce office, at DCorrick@deanmead.com.