Payment for environmental services water farming & the northern everglades

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Environmental services are the multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. The natural environment also provides, for free, services that we would other- wise have to pay for, in both capital outlay, and operation and maintenance costs. “Environmental Services” refers to a wide range of natural processes that help sustain and fulfill human life, such as:
• Purification of air and water
• Detoxification and decomposition of wastes
• Pollination of crops and natural vegetation
• Cycling and movement of nutrients
• Protection of coastal shores from erosion by waves
• Moderation of weather extremes and their impacts
• Provision of aesthetic beauty and intellectual stimulation
that lift the human spirit (Beever, J. and Walker, T., 2013)

scale of implementation

In August 2013, the SFWMD Governing Board approved the first water farming pilot project to store excess water on fallow citrus land. Under the pilot program, Caulkins Citrus Company will pump water onto 450 acres of its property located along the St. Lucie Canal in Martin County, capturing an average of 6,780 acre-feet of water a year that would otherwise flow along the canal from Lake Okeechobee and surrounding basins into the St. Lucie River and Estuary. The three-year pilot project will provide vital information on the proposed concept of retaining storm water on citrus properties.

The Northern Everglades-Payment for Environmental Services (NE-PES) program is a partnership between water managers and private landowners to achieve water storage, water quality and habitat improvement benefits in the Northern Everglades. The SFWMD Governing Board approved the first eight NE-PES projects in October 2011. These cost-effective projects will collectively provide 4,800 acre-feet of water retention on local ranch- es in the Northern Everglades.

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