Stopping Irresponsible Irrigation in Florida

Thousands of trees on the nature Crowley Museum and Nature Center's property and in Flatford Swamp in the upper Myakka River were being killed by the practice of flooding vegetable fields with groundwater for irrigation.



Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

Tomato growers in Florida were using so much irrigation water that it flooded downstream lands and was killing thousands of acres of bottomland hardwoods. Earthjustice sued on behalf of a downstream nature center to force the farmers to contain their irrigation water.

In October 2008, Earthjustice won an appeal of this case, and the growers were forced to reduce their runoff. The Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland decided that a trial court improperly dismissed the case on the theory that the water management district could not be required to stop the flooding.

The sun sets along Myakka River in Florida.
The sun sets along Myakka River in Florida. (Photo courtesy of Jim Liestman)

Case Updates

July 14, 2011 Article

Pictures Of What House Voted To Support

The U.S. House of Representatives was a in a cruel mood, yesterday, when it passed H.R. 2018, a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting our nation’s waterways and drinking supplies—and give that power to the states. But, don’t take my word for why this legislation is so potentially devastating. Just check…

October 31, 2008 Press Release: Victory

Earthjustice Wins Flooding Appeal Against Water Management District

Case aimed at stopping damaging flooding in Southwest Florida

October 16, 2006 Document

Complaint in Crowley Nature Center vs. Southwest Water Management District of Florida

Amended complaint filed in Sarasota County, FL challenging Southwest Florida Water Management District irrigation permits