Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

Deseret Cattle and Citrus / Deseret Ranches of Florida

1995 Winner St. Cloud, Florida

Deseret Ranch is a 300,000-acre beef cattle ranch located in Osceola, Orange and Brevard counties and situated on flatwoods adjacent to the St. Johns River. It is a multiple-use operation consisting of 30,000 head of cattle, sod production and forest land. The ranch is considered a model for large-scale environmentally sensitive operations. One of its premier projects is a water conservation system that recycles clean water to the St. Johns River.

Voluntarily, and at its own expense with $711,000 in engineering and construction costs alone, Deseret began a plan that included systematic testing for nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides, maintenance of natural resources, and major construction of storm water retention areas. At present, approximately 70 percent of storm water runoff within the ranch's boundaries is filtered through these areas. The average amount of dissolved oxygen in Deseret waters is 10 parts per million, which is twice the standard established by state regulations.

Deseret has also completed three smaller retention ponds and has obtained permits for the construction of two additional ponds. At the completion of these projects, the majority of Deseret's pumped storm water discharge will be treated in retention ponds before being discharged to the St. Johns River. -- 1995


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