Northern Everglades- Payment for Environmental Services (NE-PES) Program

Northern Everglades map

The SFWMD (South Florida Water Management District), an agency of the state of Florida responsible for improving water quality, maintaining flood control and water supply, and Evergladesí restoration, became the buyer of alternative water management services on ranchlands in its new Dispersed Water Management NE-PES program, which grew out of FRESPís success.

In January 2011, the NE-PES program released the first solicitation, which invited eligible cattle ranchers in the Northern Everglades to propose water management alternatives (WMAs) that they would implement on parts of their ranch. Interested ranchers could submit a proposal to provide the environmental services of either acre feet of water retention or pounds of nutrient (phosphorus (P) or nitrogen (N)) removed) over a ten-year contract.

 

Aerial view of water retention on a south Florida ranch.
Aerial view of water retention on a south Florida ranch.

Results of the first solicitation were announced in July 2011, when the SFWMD after evaluating and ranking thirteen proposals entered into eight contracts with ranchers for water retention services. This represents over the ten years life of the contract a roughly $7 million investment which will secure on average 4,800 acre feet of water retention per year. A second solicitation is expected to be released by the SFWMD in the summer of 2012.

The FRESP team is proud to have been instrumental in launching one of the most ambitious operational PES programs in the nation with the chance to be taken to scale in watersheds connected to Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

For more information on the Northern Everglades Payment for Environmental Services Program contact Benita Whalen, Director, Agricultural Water Programs, SFWMD, (561) 682-2957, bwhalen@sfwmd.gov or visit the SFWMDís web site http://www.sfwmd.gov.

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