Lake Okeechobee Business Alliance
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The Everglades Region’s Economic Engine

The Everglades Agricultural Area

 
 

The Everglades Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), is an approximately 1,160 square-mile-area south of Lake Okeechobee of highly productive agricultural land.

The cities that surround Lake Okeechobee depend on agriculture and clean water to maintain vibrant and sustianable local economies.

Aside from providing jobs, the EAA provides food for the nation and in the past two decades, has been a partner in sending clean water to the Everglades.

 
 

Everglades Restoration. Who is Contributing?

 
 

EAA farmers have made a larger contribution towards Everglades restoration than any other group on record.

Over the past two decades farmers have paid $250 million in special taxes + $200 million in research and in cleaning the water heading south to the Everglades.

By implementing BMP’s (Best Management Practices), which are science-based, practical measures that producers take to reduce the amount of pollutants entering our water resources, farmers have been able to drastically improve water quality while maintaining agricultural production.

Examples of BMPs include refined stormwater management practices, onsite farm erosion controls, and more precise fertilizer application methods.

Today, 95 percent of the water in the Everglades is meeting the stringent federal water quality standards of 10 parts per billion. EAA farmers have reduced phosphorus through best management practices by an annual average of 56 percent over the last twenty years and have far exceeded state-mandated goals.

This drastic reduction of phosphorous entering the Everglades is testament that BMP’s used by farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area are working.

 

70%

phosphorous reduction

120,000

acres of land has been SOLD by EAA Farmers for restoration projects

 

120,000

acres of land has been SOLD by EAA Farmers for restoration projects

95%

of the water in Everglades National Park meets water quality standards

 
 
 

¼ of the EAA’s land already in public ownership

 
 

In 1948, Historic Central & Southern Florida 
Flood Control Project set aside portions of Historic Everglades for specific uses:

  • 16% for urban development on the East

  • 37% for Water Conservation Areas (WCA) - aka reservoirs providing excess water to the South Florida metropolitan area, or flushing it into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico 

  • 27% agricultural development 

Today, the agricultural land/EAA is only about 19% Historic Everglades. Approximately a quarter of the land originally allocated to agricultural use has been taken into public ownership. In the past two decades alone, over a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land have been sold by farmers south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration projects. But is the land being used? Unfortunately not.

  • In 1999 Talisman Sugar Corporation was pressured to sell 50,000 acres to the state for creating water storage and treatment facilities to meet Everglades restoration goals

    • A sugar mill is forced to close its doors as result, and several thousand farming jobs are lost

    • Construction of the EAA Reservoir began on the land in 2006

  • In 2008, environmentalist (anti-farmer activist) groups filed a lawsuit that derailed the EAA-A-1 reservoir 

  • In 2010, US Sugar sells 26,000 acres to the state for Everglades restoration water projects

    • 17,000 acres of this land is still un-used

 
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the Historic Central & Southern Florida Flood Control Project designated land use map 

 
 
 

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Help us save the Glades. Save Our Farms.

 
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