2014

Farmers South of Lake Okeechobee Achieve Further Success in Everglades Restoration

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In the Everglades restoration effort, farmers south of Lake Okeechobee recorded another year of tremendous success with their eco-friendly farming practices.

Employing Best Management Practices (BMPs), farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) achieved 68 percent phosphorus reductions in the water leaving the region, according to the South Florida Water Management District's annual update on Everglades restoration performance. Under the Everglades Forever plan, farmers are tasked with reducing phosphorus levels by 25 percent each year - a job made increasingly difficult by the rising phosphorus concentrations in the water the farms receive from Lake Okeechobee. The tremendous success of the program has equated to an average of 54 percent phosphorus reduction over the past 14 years.

"At Florida Crystals, we were heartened by the results of the report," said Gaston Cantens, Florida Crystals Vice President. "This is scientific data that shows sustainable agriculture and Everglades restoration go hand in hand."

Even after the approval of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) nearly a decade ago, the only successful restoration effort to date is the EAA farmers' implementation of Best Management Practices and the stormwater treatment areas built on former sugar cane farms, which remove phosphorus in the water flowing from Lake Okeechobee through the EAA to the Everglades.

Unfortunately, without similar projects to clean the increasingly phosphorus-laden water entering Lake Okeechobee from watersheds stretching north of the lake to Orlando, the much-neglected greater Everglades system north of the EAA, the lake and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries will continue to deteriorate.

Florida Crystals is the leading domestic sugar producer and North America's first fully integrated cane sugar company. Florida Crystals produces the only organic sugar 100% made in the USA, grown and harvested on our Florida farms. Florida Crystals(R) Organic and Natural products are the first sugar products certified CarbonFree(R) (carbon neutral)( )by Carbonfund.org. Florida Crystals' renewable energy facility is the largest of its kind in North America and provides clean energy that powers its sugar operations and tens of thousands of homes, reducing America's dependence on fossil fuels by one million barrels of oil each year and displacing hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide annually. For more information, visit www.floridacrystals.com.

Contact: Gaston Cantens, +1-561-366-5100

SOURCE Florida Crystals Corporation



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