South Florida continues to become increasingly developed and urbanized. My exploratory study examines connections between land use and water quality. The main objectives of the project were to develop an understanding of how land use has affected water quality in Miami-Dade canals, and an economic optimization model to estimate the costs of best management practices necessary to improve water quality. Results indicate Miami-Dade County land use and water quality are correlated. Through statistical factor and cluster analysis, it is apparent that agricultural areas are associated with higher concentrations of nitrogen, while urban areas commonly have higher levels of phosphorous than agricultural areas.
The economic optimization model shows that urban areas can improve water quality by lowering fertilizer inputs. Agricultural areas can also implement methods to improve water quality although it may be more expensive than urban areas. It is important to keep solutions in mind when looking towards future water quality improvements in South Florida.