animation of water quality restoration strategies
Regulatory Source Control Programs and Best Management Practices
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graphic for Map of Source Control Program Watersheds - Learn More

BMP Program Celebrates 20 Years of Success

For a milestone 20th year, water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area achieved phosphorus reductions that significantly exceed those required by Florida's Everglades Forever Act.
Implementation of improved farming techniques under the SFWMD's Source Control Permitting Program have resulted in an overall average annual phosphorus reduction of 56 percent – more than twice the 25 percent required by law.

To improve water quality in South Florida's watersheds, ecosystem restoration strategies generally utilize a series of pollution control technologies in a "treatment train" to meet defined water quality goals (as pictured in the animation above). Source controls are the first step in this process, targeting pollutants – specifically, nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen – at their source to minimize the amount generated and prevent them from entering waterways.

The Florida Legislature has established source control program requirements for the Southern Everglades through the Everglades Forever Act and for the Northern Everglades as part of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Department of Agricultural Services (FDACS) coordinate complementary source control programs in these ecosystems. An extensive description of current source control program implementation and future planning is further described in Chapter 4 of the South Florida Environmental Report.

Cost-Effective Measures

Source control programs implemented in South Florida by the SFWMD include mandatory Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs are practical, cost-effective actions that can be implemented across various land uses – such as agricultural and urban areas – to reduce pollutant levels. Pollutant reductions are accomplished by reducing the volume of water discharged offsite or by reducing the nutrient concentration in the water discharged offsite, or both, depending on the type of BMP implemented. BMP implementation is most effective in reducing nutrients when there is a comprehensive plan made up of BMPs from each type or category below.

Best Management Practices Types »

Like other pollution control technologies, BMPs have a maximum achievable water quality benefit. In most cases, construction of sub-regional and regional stormwater treatment projects is needed downstream to fully meet the water quality goals for an ecosystem. Successful source control programs limit the excess pollutants that must be captured downstream, decreasing the investment required for stormwater treatment projects and improving their effectiveness.

Point vs. Nonpoint Sources

Source control programs are designed to address two different sources of pollution: point sources and nonpoint sources. Point sources discharge pollutants into a watershed from specific single sources, such as pipes. Nonpoint sources are spread over large areas and are transported into waterways by stormwater runoff.

DEP is responsible for regulating point sources throughout Florida, while SFWMD, FDACS and DEP programs address nonpoint sources in the Southern and Northern Everglades.

SFWMD's successful nonpoint source control programs have seven essential components:
Implementation of Regulatory Source Control Programs

As directed by the Everglades Forever Act, the District continues to implement its well-established mandatory nonpoint source controls in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed and the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) and C-139 basins through the regulatory Works of the District BMP permitting programs. As part of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program, the District must also develop regulatory programs for an expanded Lake Okeechobee Watershed and the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River watersheds. These programs will be coordinated with the FDACS statewide voluntary BMP program to leverage resources. More information regarding current regulatory program development may be found in Chapter 4 of the South Florida Environmental Report. Activity related to regulatory rule development or rulemaking will be posted on the District's Rules, Statutes and Criteria website.

The District's Regulatory Source Control BMP programs include performance criteria and BMP implementation verification to ensure that collective source controls are implemented consistently, pollutant reductions are measured accurately and improvements are implemented if water quality goals are not met. Additionally, the programs include research and demonstration projects to improve the selection, design criteria and implementation of BMPs.


Southern Everglades Source Controls
The Southern Everglades Source Control BMP program is one of several strategies to achieve water quality standards in the Everglades Protection Area, which consists of the three Everglades Water Conservation Areas and Everglades National Park. The program includes implementation of phosphorus reduction BMPs and regulatory, voluntary and educational programs as well as integration of state, local and regional water quality projects.
For the EAA and C-139 basins, the Everglades Forever Act mandates a regulatory source control program to implement BMPs to control phosphorus at the source and a monitoring program to assess program effectiveness. It is primarily the source control program's mandated implementation of BMPs in the EAA and C-139 basins that regulates total phosphorus loads in stormwater runoff from these basins prior to inflow to constructed wetlands known as Stormwater Treatment Areas. more »


Northern Everglades Source Controls
The Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (NEEPP) includes a phased, comprehensive and innovative program made up of technologies at various scales: source, local, sub-regional and regional.
The District, DEP and FDACS are directed by the NEEPP to implement a source control program designed to be a multifaceted approach to reducing pollutant loads to the Lake Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River watersheds. The nutrients of concern are phosphorus in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed and both phosphorus and nitrogen in the river watersheds. The source control program includes a water quality monitoring component to assess success in achieving performance goals. more »


BMP Resources
SFWMD Research and Demonstration Documents:
SFWMD Related Resources:
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