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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.