Nov 27, 2017

Florida Citrus Grove Becomes Storm Water Reservoir

The storm water reservoir will protect surrounding water bodies from pollutants

Citrus farm turns into storm water reservoir

In Palm City, Fla., Caulkins Citrus Co. has converted their 3,200-acre citrus grove into a storm water reservoir. The reservoir, with funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is 2- by 3-miles long with the potential to store 35 billion gal of water every year.

The reservoir is a direct response to polluted water from Lake Okeechobee resulting in damaging blue-green algal blooms that have spread to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Caloosahatchee River. The reservoir is able to reduce nutrient loadings, increase groundwater recharge, improve habitat and provide higher soil moisture during the dry season, all while protecting surrounding water bodies from pollutants.

The citrus grove had been devastated by greening spread by the Asian citrus psyllid and the property owners were looking for a way to repurpose the land. They had intended to develop the property into ranchettes until the Florida Department of Environmental Protection presented an alternative. The property sits on 150 ft of white sand ideal for filtering storm water runoff.

George Caulkins III, the president of Caulkins Citrus Company said, “We found a way to re-purpose this land … and figure out a way to take lemons and make lemonade, for the citizens of Martin County and the St. Lucie Estuary and the coast. We are happy to be part of the solution.”

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