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.



Alisa Coe

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

January 3, 2012 feature

The Everglades: A National Gem Worth Protecting

Earthjustice has been working to restore the Everglades for decades.

September 29, 2011 feature

Into The Swamp

David Guest and Earthjustice’s Florida office have braved alligator islands and hostile negotiating tables to defend the state’s most precious resource. In more than 30 years of service, Guest and his colleagues have made Florida—and the nation—a better place.

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 out these recent pictures of the toxic green algae epidemic in Florida’s waterways. The slime—caused by unregulated nutrient runoff from agricultural operations and other sources—is…