In 1994 the Florida legislature, faced with the need to address water quality and conservation issues, mandated the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and charged FDACS with carrying out implementation. The BMPs for container nurseries are developed by consensus and based on scientific research. This proactive rather than punitive approach to protection of water resources benefits the industry and is supported by FNGLA, UF/IFAS, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and water management districts. A good resource for horticultural and agricultural BMP information is this UF website: http://bmp.ifas.ufl.edu/index.shtml.
Enrollment in the BMP program is currently voluntary. The program includes common sense practices for managing nutrient inputs, irrigation and pesticide application. In many cases these practices increase efficiency and reduce some production costs.
More good news is that you are doing many of these already. A checklist in the assessment/application process denotes this as well as practices to be implemented in the future and those that do not apply to your operation or are not economically feasible. Participants are eligible for cost-share monies from federal and state agencies for implementing certain BMPs.
Once a Notice of Intent (NOI) to implement BMPs has been filed with the state, the nursery is assumed to be compliant with state water quality standards and is not liable for costs or damages associated with contamination by certain pollutants.
The 2007 BMP manual for container nurseries is now being updated. For more information, comments, or assistance with applying please contact me at the Extension Service, 941-722-4524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.