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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

Seminole Tribe of Florida


Projects on the Brighton and Tampa Reservations

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has requested assistance to develop and implement best management practices on two distinctly different reservations. The Brighton Reservation Project seeks to limit the flow of nutrients in runoff from lands used primarily as pasture for cow-calf cattle ranching. Because the reservation is highly urban, the Tampa Reservation Project seeks to divert runoff from a large parking lot, and collect it to restore a wetlands area that is part of a recreational business.

The Brighton project has entered the monitoring phase; the Tampa project is only now being implemented. Its purpose remains as described, but its design has expanded as other businesses on the reservation become involved.

Pasture management

The Brighton Reservation, approximately 36,000 acres located on the northwest edge of Lake Okeechobee, is sweet cabbage palm flatwoods dominated by palm hammocks and bahia/Pensacola grass pasture lands. It has 25 ranches on 12,000 acres of pasture, which are grazed by approximately 6,500 head of cattle.

The tribe worked with the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office to develop a pasture management plan that would use a four-pasture rotational system with new cross-fences and livestock watering facilities. Autosamplers were placed at the surface water ditches entering and leaving each pasture. A fifth pasture was used as a control, and phosphorus and nitrogen are measured weekly.

Data from the monitoring activity on Brighton Reservation indicate that total phosphorus and nitrogen are still present in the field runoff. However, a longer-term monitoring program is needed to gage the project's overall success. In the meantime, the rainfall, water quality, and surface water pumping quantities are being measured and grazing patterns documented for further remediation.

Managing urban runoff

The Tampa Reservation consists of 45 acres in eastern Hillsborough county between Highways 98 and I-4. It is primarily steeply sloping urban land with a hotel, stores, gaming facility, a cultural village, and community townhouses. It even has a recreational softball field. The Tampa Reservation is about 80 percent paved; runoff from the paved areas at the top of the hill flows to the Village and community homes at the bottom of the hill.

The original plan to route runoff from the Tampa parking lot called for installing a constructed wetlands in the cultural village. More recent plans are to drain more of the parking lot and expand a small detention pond that will actually be the first tier of a multiple floor parking garage.

CONTACT: Craig Tepper
Water Resources Management Seminole Tribe of Florida
(954) 967-3402

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