FRESP Pilot Projects

Water retention on Rafter-T Ranch
Water retention on Rafter-T Ranch.

Employing a "learning by doing" strategy during the FRESP pilot phase partners put water management alternatives (WMAs) into operation at eight ranches in the Northern Everglades. Four were constructed and operational in 2007, and an additional four were constructed and operational by early 2010.

WMAs are combinations of construction and management practices selected and implemented by the landowner within a defined area of a working ranch. They take advantage of and if necessary modify existing water management infrastructure in order to retain instead of drain water from the landscape.

The 8 FRESP ranch WMAs allowed partners to field test PES design elements, encounter and resolve implementation challenges, and provide proof of concept of dispersed water management on ranchlands.

Culvert with riser boards holds back water in a ditch and soils at Buck Island Ranch.
© Steven Hollingsed / MAERC
Culvert with riser boards holds back water in a ditch and soils at Buck Island Ranch.

The learning from the experiences of designing, permitting, construction, operation and maintenance and monitoring of the 8 WMA sites informed the design of the NE-PES program.

With the launch of the NE-PES program in 2011 and the end of FRESP pilot phase in 2012 the 8 pilot projects are in transition. The descriptions of the WMAs found here describe the WMA site as it functioned under FRESP. As they transition out of FRESP this description may no longer be valid.

Ranch Name Ranch size (ac) Water Management Alternative (WMA) type (service area) WMA Design and Operation and Purpose
Alderman-Deloney Ranch 3,353 Wetland water retention of on-site water sources (322) Two culverts with riser structures installed in drainage ditches to retain water at set elevation in two natural depressional wetlands. Maintain water at higher stage than was possible previously.
Buck Island Ranch 10,494 Pasture water retention of on site-water sources (3,748 acres) Thirty-six culverts with riser structures installed in network of drainage ditches to reduce P runoff and retain water in the ditches and subsurface inside 3,703 of agriculturally improved pasture. Maintain water at higher stage than was possible previously.
C. M. Payne and Son Josephine Road Ranch 783 Pasture water retention of on-site and off-site water sources (367 acres) Existing culverts and newly installed culverts and berms to retain water in pastures; water includes both on-site rainfall and runoff from upstream developments. Maintain water at higher stage than was possible previously
Lightsey Cattle Co. XL Ranch 3,230 Pasture water retention of on-site water sources (364 acres) Install culvert-riser board water control structures and several intervening fixed plates with bleed down holes in pasture drainage ditches to attenuate pasture runoff, maintain higher groundwater levels and increase water storage on-site.
Lykes Bros., Inc. 342,247 Nutrient removal from off-site water sources pumped into existing marsh impoundment (2,368 acres) Hydraulic pump to take water from regional public canal (C-41a) into existing 2,368 acre marsh/impoundment with gravity outflow at the downstream end. Nutrient removal from public water.
Rafter T Ranch, Inc. 5,074 Pasture water retention, water impoundment area and wetland water retention of on-site water sources (1624acres) a. Use existing berm along Arbuckle Creek to maintain higher water levels in pastures and drainage ditches; b. constructed impoundment to retain water pumped from adjacent pastures with gravity flow into creek; c. culvert riser board structure installed to retain more water in existing cypress swamp.
Syfrett Ranch 3,062 Pasture water retention of on-site and off-site water sources (2197 acres) Use existing infrastructure of pumps and ditches to retain more water on pastures planted with flood-tolerant grass; pump water from regional canal onto flooded pasture for retention during wet periods.
Williamson Cattle Co. 9,094 Wetland water retention of on-site water sources (659 acres) Install water control structure at discharge of wetland area that was ditched and drained ~40 years ago. Maintain water stage at higher level than was possible previously to provide water retention.

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