The What, How, and Why of BMAPs
Acronyms, acronyms! We are always hearing acronyms from the different government entities. Well, here’s one that we’ll be hearing more and more: BMAP (basin management action plan). A BMAP, as described by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), is a “blueprint” for restoring impaired waters by reducing pollutant loadings to meet the allowable loadings established in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). It is a comprehensive set of strategies, including permit limits on wastewater facilities, urban and agricultural best management practices, and others. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
To put it in everyday language, a BMAP is a set of actions designed to reduce the amount of pollutants going into the creeks, rivers, lakes, and even ground water, in a particular watershed. Wherever FDEP has adopted a BMAP, commercial agricultural operations in the basin have the choice of implementing best management practices to help protect water quality or monitoring their water quality at their own expense. If a producer does not either implement FDACS BMPs or conduct water quality monitoring under an approved monitoring plan, the FDEP or the water management district may take enforcement action.
Implementation of FDACS-adopted BMPs provides a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards for pollutants the BMPs address (such as nitrogen and phosphorus). On the other hand, water quality monitoring is very costly, and could show that an operation is not in compliance with standards, possibly leading to fines or other regulatory consequences.
So far, FDEP has adopted 16 BMAPs throughout the state, and more are under development. It’s time for ranchers to make a choice: BMPs, monitoring, or enforcement. It’s pretty clear that participating in FDACS BMPs is the best option, and it’s very simple to enroll. In fact, I would say 85 percent of commercial ranchers have been doing most or all of the applicable BMPs for many years, so recording those and selecting any additional needed practices should not take too much of your time.
We used to be able to hang our hats on the slogan “agriculturalists are the true stewards of the land.” It is now about taking that extra step and showing the public by enrolling that, yes, we are doing our part and participating in BMPs.