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Everglades Restoration With South Florida Agriculture
August 21, 2003
New computer models to improve water
management in agricultural areas near the Everglades are being developed and
tested by Agricultural Research Service
scientists as part of a program to restore the Everglades.
More than 23,000 people are directly involved with the Comprehensive
Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) under way in south Florida. One of the major
contributors to this restoration initiative is research hydrologist M. Reza
Savabi, who leads the ARS Everglades Agro-Hydrology Project at the agency's
Horticulture Research Station in Miami, Fla.
Supported by both federal and state funding, CERP is now in its third year,
with the South Florida Water Management District and
U.S. Army Corp of
Engineers playing major roles in the effort. Savabi collaborates with these
agencies, as well as with the University of
Florida, Florida International University,
the University of Miami,
Florida A&M University-Tallahassee, the
U.S. Geological Survey and the South Dade
Soil and Water Conservation District. Cooperators provide
agricultural-hydrology data at their respective locations.
Savabi and colleagues at the Miami lab are providing knowledge and
technology needed to improve water management on agricultural areas while
maintaining or improving environmental quality in south Florida. They're
developing a model--called the Everglades Agro-Hydrology Model, or EAGHM--to
simulate soil tillage, irrigation and crop growth. The model is aimed at
helping farmers weigh alternative management or cropping systems to cope with
hydrologic changes that may result from implementation of the Everglades
Savabi has received help with this very detailed model from other
hydrologists and modelers, including ARS scientists from West Lafayette, Ind.;
Tifton, Ga.; and Temple, Texas. EAGHM is being tested in Miami-Dade County,
where farmers provide information on when they plant, fertilize and perform
other agronomic tasks. Once calibrated, it will be used on farms in south
Florida, to evaluate the possible impact of CERP implementation on
sustainability of agriculture and water quantity and quality.
Read more about the CERP initiative in the
August issue of
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's principal scientific research agency.