A Beginner's Guide to Water Management—Muck: Causes and Corrective Actions

Muck from pond at Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Muck is both the popular and the scientific term for the material found on the bottom of ponds and lakes. Its “oozy” feel and rotten egg smell can be offensive, and it provides habitat for problem insects like blind midges. It may seem simple: get rid of the muck; get rid of the problems. However, there is more to this muck-raking story. Excessive amounts of muck in the wrong places certainly can cause problems, but just enough muck in the right places is essential for a healthy lake that supports diverse wildlife and fishing. Learn all about muck and what to do about it in this 13-page fact sheet written by Mark V. Hoyer, Daniel E. Canfield Jr. and Mark Brenner and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa200

Florida Fertilizer Usage Statistics


Nutrient applications are often required to meet Florida’s demand for agricultural and horticultural commodities, but often those applications occur in close proximity to water bodies. In order for scientists, policy makers, and citizens to make decisions regarding nutrient issues in Florida, it is important to first understand which markets contribute to Florida’s fertilizer consumption. This three-page fact sheet explains Florida’s fertilizer usage statistics. Written by T.W.Shaddox and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep541

Calibrating Time Domain Reflectometers for Soil Moisture Measurements in Sandy Soils

Campbell Scientific CS616 Water Content Reflectometer.

The UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit (PSREU) in Citra, FL developed an in-laboratory calibration protocol for CS616 TDR sensors for sandy soils, which are typical of north central Florida. This new 7-page fact sheet discusses the reflectometer, field site, calibration protocol, and calibration coefficients. Written by Tara Bongiovanni, Pang-Wei Liu, Daniel Preston, Johanna Montanez, Courtnay Cardozo, Steven Feagle, and Jasmeet Judge, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, February 2017.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae519

Florida Rainfall Data Sources and Types

Storm rising over a farm.

This new 5-page document introduces the sources, providers, and types of rainfall data available to Florida researchers and residents to promote understanding of the rainfall data and their application in studies and daily life. Written by Meijing Zhang, Young Gu Her, Kati Migliaccio, and Clyde Fraisse, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, January 2017.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae517

Water Conservation and Extension Participants: An Interesting Synergy

Sprinklers watering athletic fields.

The home landscape is a place where there is a great opportunity for people to adopt irrigation practices and technologies that conserve water. However, a large portion of residents lack the required knowledge and skills to adopt some of those practices. This three-page fact sheet discusses using innovative evaluation approaches to demonstrate the impacts of statewide urban water conservation programs. Written by Laura A. Warner, Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez, and Anil Kumar Chaudhary and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc278

Estimating Benefits of Residential Outdoor Water Conservation: A Step-by-Step Guide

This 9-page fact sheet written by Tatiana Borisova, Laura A. Warner, Jennison Searcy, Anil Kumar Chaudhary, and Michael Dukes and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics in February 2017 was developed to help Extension agents, water-conservation managers, and homeowners estimate the economic benefits of residential outdoor water conservation. It provides guidance for reporting benefits, including lowered utility bills for homeowners, reduced water-delivery costs for utilities, and increased water supply. This publication also offers an example of an impact statement.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe1009

Household Water Usage and Irrigation Practices

A coiled water hose awaits use in UF's Fifield Garden. Horticulture, irrigation, water, maintenance, spigot, lawn care. UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones

Water pollution and drought in the United States have made water scarcity a widespread concern. Currently, residential consumers account for most urban water use, and meaningful programs that lead to water conservation rely on a comprehensive understanding of how consumers use water inside and outside their homes. This 5-page fact sheet written by Hayk Khachatryan, Alicia Rihn, and Michael Dukes and published by the Department of Food and Resource Economics outlines University of Florida researchers’ assessments of current US household indoor and outdoor water use to assist policy makers and researchers with creating incentives for homeowners to conserve water.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe996

Natural Climate Variability Can Influence Cyanobacteria Blooms in Florida Lakes and Reservoirs

Figure 1. A photo of Lake Okeechobee, looking out over the western marsh region to the open waters of the large lake. Credit: SFWMD

During the summer, many of Florida's nutrient-enriched lakes and reservoirs experience proliferations of cyanobacteria commonly called “blooms.”. Cyanobacteria are natural in Florida lakes and reservoirs, but when they grow to high levels and bloom, they become a big problem. They look awful, smell bad, and can poison fish and other animals in the water. To help resource managers considering costly remediation projects or evaluating the effectiveness of nutrient reduction strategies to manage the problem, this 7-page fact sheet presents the results from 15 years of studies observing three large, nutrient-rich lakes in Florida (Lake Harris, Lake George, and Lake Okeechobee) to study the relationship between rainfall and cyanobacteria blooms and learn causes of year-to-year bloom variability. Written by Karl E. Havens, Mark V. Hoyer, and Edward J. Phlips and published by the Florida Sea Grant College Program
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/sg142

Engaging High Water Users in Water Conservation #3: High Water Users' Opportunities to Learn about Water Conservation

A coiled water hose awaits use in UF's Fifield Garden. Horticulture, irrigation, water, maintenance, spigot, lawn care. UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones

Homeowners who use excessive amounts of water to irrigate their landscapes have specified demographic characteristics and have been identified as high water users. This three-page fact sheet is the third in a series discussing how Extension can improve high water users' engagement in water conservation, focusing on how to effectively communicate with high water users about water conservation education. Written by Pei-wen Huang and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc257

Engaging High Water Users in Water Conservation #2: High Water Users' Water-related Behaviors and Willingness to Act

John Cisar, a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is studying how turfgrass and other landscape plants can help prevent nitrogen from leaching through the soil into groundwater, Wednesday - Aug. 13, 2003. He said three years of research have shown that turfgrass is most effective in reducing nitrogen leaching and should be used in Florida landscapes. Other plants require more time to become established and slow nitrogen leaching through the soil.

Approximately 50% of Floridians’ daily water consumption is used for outdoor purposes, such as landscape irrigation; this is 20% higher than the national average. In order to alleviate the pressure on the precious water resources in Florida from various demands, increased public awareness and engagement in water conservation is needed especially among high water users. This four-page fact sheet is the second in a series discussing how Extension can improve high water users’ engagement in water conservation with a focus on high water users’ water-related behavior and willingness to act. Written by Pei-wen Huang and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc256

Engaging High Water Users in Water Conservation #1: High Water Users' Experiences and Perceptions of Water

A watering tin and gardening gloves at a home garden.

Florida has an abundance of water, but still faces an increased pressure on water resources because of a growing population, prosperous tourism, and an active agricultural industry. This five-page fact sheet is the first in a series discussing how Extension can improve high water users' engagement in water conservation by focusing on high water users' characteristics, experiences with water issues, and perceptions of water. Written by Pei-wen Huang and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc255

Encouraging Landscape Water-Conservation Behaviors #4: Florida Homeowners' Reactions to Messages that Encourage Landscape Water Conservation Practice Adoption

Sprinklers watering athletic fields. UF/IFAS Phto by Tyler Jones.

This is the fourth publication in a series focused on improving and encouraging water conservation among Florida residents who use irrigation in their home landscape. This four-page fact sheet examines the impact of differently framed messages on Florida residents’ attitudes toward good irrigation practices and their perceived ability to implement those practices. Written by Joy Rumble, Laura A. Warner, Courtney Owens, Alexa Lamm, and Randall Cantrell and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc202

Differences in Perceptions of Agricultural Water Use between the General Public and Local Officials

John Cisar, a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is studying how turfgrass and other landscape plants can help prevent nitrogen from leaching through the soil into groundwater, Wednesday - Aug. 13, 2003. He said three years of research have shown that turfgrass is most effective in reducing nitrogen leaching and should be used in Florida landscapes. Other plants require more time to become established and slow nitrogen leaching through the soil.

Due to the scarcity of water resources among states and the influx of people, balancing agriculture and public water needs has become a contentious issue. Therefore, dialogue msut take place to educate and inform the general public and local officials about the reality of agricultural water use. This is the second article in a series describing the differences in perceptions of agricultural water use in Florida between the general public and local officials. This four-page fact sheet identifies the differens among groups for agricultural water use and provides ways to change Extension programming according to these differences. Written by Courtney T. Owens, Alexa J. Lamm, and Ricky W. Telg and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc249

Encouraging Landscape Water-Conservation Behaviors: Applying Audience Segmentation to Water Conservation Activities in the Landscape—Defining Segments of the Florida Homeowner Audience and Implications for Extension Programming

Theresa Ferrari, left, extension youth development specialist in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and Steve Jacob review findings form the citizen survey.

This is the second publication in a series focusing on encouraging water conservation among Florida residents who use irrigation in their home landscapes. This six-page fact sheet examines one approach to segmenting Florida residents who use irrigation in the home landscape. It also describes how segmentation can be used to encourage water conservation practices. Written by Laura A. Warner, Emmett Martin, Alexa J. Lamm, Joy N. Rumble, and Esen Momol and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc200

Attitudes and Perceptions of Agricultural Water Use in Florida Expressed by the General Public and Local Officials

Lemon trees with micro irrigation system.  Photo Credits:  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

The use of water has become increasingly contentious because an increased population is sharing a decreasing amount of water. Water remains Florida’s most plentiful natural resource but is at risk as the agriculture industry and Floridians demand more water for a variety of uses. This four-page fact sheet discusses the media’s influence on perceptions of agricultural water use, the measurement of attitudes and perception towards agricultural water use, and ways to educate the general public and local officials on this issue. Written by Courtney T. Owens, Alexa J. Lamm, and Ricky W. Telg, and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc248

How the General Public and Local Officials Prefer to Learn about Agricultural Water Use in Florida

Sprinklers watering athletic fields. UF/IFAS Phto by Tyler Jones.
Water is a precious resource that is invaluable to the state of Florida. The amount of water being used daily in the state is estimated at 14.3 million gallons. Part of a series dedicated to describing the preferred ways of learning about agricultural water use in Florida, this study can be used to assist Extension educators and the agricultural industry at large in the development of strategies meant to inform people about the realities of water use. This three-page fact sheet helps Extension educators understand preferred learning mediums so they can provide useful information about agricultural water use. Written by Courtney T. Owens, Alexa J. Lamm, and Ricky W. Telg and published by the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc247

Nitrogen Fertilizer Recommendations for Sugarcane Production for Sugar on Florida Sand Soils

Rosa Muchovej, assistant professor with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, takes notes on growth of sugarcane near Clewiston. While most sugarcane is now grown on the area's organic muck soils, Muchovej and other UF researchers are developing new management practices to grow cane on less desirable sandy soil, thereby minimizing the environmental impact of sugarcane farming on the Florida Everglades.
Sands used in sugarcane production in Florida have low levels of organic matter, silt, and clay, and they provide little N through mineralization of organic matter and possess a low capacity for N retention as a result. Because these soils are highly leachable, N must be managed well to ensure adequate nutrition for the crop as well as protection of groundwater. This new 4-page fact sheet is part of the Sugarcane Handbook, and it discusses sand soils used in sugarcane production, sugar yield response to nitrogen, and revised nitrogen recommendations. Written by J. Mabry McCray, Kelly T. Morgan, and Les Baucum, and published by the UF Agronomy Department, February 2016.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/sc101

Basics of Quantifying N Sources and Fates on the University of Florida Campus

John Cisar, a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is studying how turfgrass and other landscape plants can help prevent nitrogen from leaching through the soil into groundwater, Wednesday - Aug. 13, 2003. He said three years of research have shown that turfgrass is most effective in reducing nitrogen leaching and should be used in Florida landscapes. Other plants require more time to become established and slow nitrogen leaching through the soil.Landscapes, recreational areas, and sports fields are important parts of the University of Florida campus that receive nitrogen (N) fertilization to maintain the health and quality of their plants. However, nitrogen can be lost from the landscape through runoff in storm water or leaching into groundwater, both fates leading to pollution of the receiving water bodies. Human activities can also cause losses of nitrogen. Therefore, educating people about nitrogen cycling in the urban environment is critical for the development of solutions to the environmental problems caused by nitrogen loss. This 5-page fact sheet discusses nitrogen mass budgets, land uses in a major university, and nitrogen sources and fates associated with different land uses on campus. Written by Jiexuan Luo and George Hochmuth, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss641

School Garden: Plastic Wading Pool Hydroponics

Wading pool floating garden.School gardens are a great way to get youth interested in where their food comes from. Hydroponics, or the cultivation of plants in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil, is a fascinating way to teach students about food systems. This 4-page fact sheet lists the materials, tools, and construction steps needed to grow a variety of crops in a wading pool hydroponic garden. Written by Edmund L. Thralls, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep525

Arrow Arum: Peltandra virginica

Spathe and spadix inflorescence of arrow arum.Arrow arum is a native aquatic and wetland plant that is a welcome addition to water gardens, aquatic ponds, and wetland restoration and mitigation sites. The species is broadly adapted and extremely common throughout Florida, and its perennial nature assures a stellar performance year after year. This new 3-page fact sheet provides an overview of this plant and discusses its distribution, habitat, propagation, and other uses. Written by Kimberly A. Moore, Luci E. Fisher, Carl J. Della Torre III, and Lyn A. Gettys, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, October 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag400