Deseret was a pioneer in water quality, acting early and proactively to protect the St. Johns River and other water bodies. We have carefully managed surface water by creating systems to reduce the nutrient load of agricultural storm water runoff. To protect St. Johns River water quality, we have voluntarily and at our own expense created retention ponds to improve nutrient quality of storm water before it leaves the property.
Deseret Ranch created a 500-acre wetland, called Jug Island, to treat storm water runoff. The area also serves as fantastic habitat for wading birds.
Our design of one of these reservoirs, the 500-acre Jug Island Reservoir Water Treatment System, was awarded the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture’s Environmental Leadership Award for Water Quality. We created Jug Island to function as a natural wetland. The reservoir receives storm water from parts of the Ranch during periods of heavy rainfall. As a low-intensity operation, storm water runoff leaving Deseret is already of very good quality, but once the water enters the reservoir its designed residence time ensures that wetland plant species uptake additional nutrients. Water discharged from Jug Island is consequently of high quality, exceeding the quality of the receiving waters of the St. Johns River floodplain. In addition, Jug Island and our other reservoirs have created excellent nesting and foraging areas for wading birds. Based on the success of our prior efforts we are in the planning stage for another facility.