Horse Creek Stewardship Program

Horse Creek Stewardship Program

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Having adequate volumes of clean water has always been important in Florida — especially for residents of fast-growing Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. To ensure that Mosaic is acting consistently with that need we launched the Horse Creek Stewardship Program in 2003. This important initiative provides added assurance that mining will not adversely impact Horse Creek, a major tributary of the Peace River, serving the population of these four Florida counties.

The Horse Creek Stewardship Program, funded and managed by Mosaic, unites Mosaic with the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority as stewards of Horse Creek. Monitoring and assessment — water quality, water quantity, fish and macroinvertebrates — is evaluated by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) which includes a representative of each of the four member county governments.

The program's monitoring efforts are more inclusive and extensive than normally required and are designed to flag potential problems — regardless of source — in the watershed. The collected information is evaluated to closely identify and analyze significant trends in the Horse Creek watershed.

Beyond that, the program provides mechanisms for corrective action if harmful changes in the stream's condition are found. The Horse Creek Stewardship Program is unique in that it does not rely solely upon the exceedance of a standard or threshold to bring about further investigation and corrective actions. Rather, the presence of one or more significant temporal trends alone is sufficient to trigger proactive, and if necessary, remedial steps.

The detailed findings are assembled in an annual report which is available to all stakeholders in the watershed. Each year, this report is reviewed and discussed by the TAG. This data collection, analysis and TAG review provides the added value of offering regional water managers a unique opportunity to understand the natural variabilities of the Horse Creek basin.

"The Horse Creek Stewardship Program is a good example of how public/private partnerships can result in a high quality and sustainable environmental monitoring program," said Sam Stone, Environmental Affairs Coordinator of the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority. "This program is expected upon completion to provide one of the largest most long term and consistent monitoring data sets to be found downstream of phosphate mining activities. With this monitoring data, downstream stakeholders will gain greater knowledge about Horse Creek's water resource quality and quantity and how that resource relates to area land use changes. This increased knowledge is expected to provide greater assurance that Horse Creek will be preserved for generations to come."