Goose Prairie Peat

Harvesting Project!


Frequently Asked Questions



  • Who is C&C Peat?

C&C Peat is a multi-generation Florida family-owned and operated small business, which started in 1981. We employ 15 local employees, including administrative, maintenance, production, harvesting and sales positions. Our production facility is now permanently operated in Okahumpka, FL south of Leesburg. C&C Peat’s current harvesting site is located in Dade City.


  • Can I visit your facilities?

Absolutely! If you would like to visit our current site, former sites, or our production facility then please call our office to set up an appointment. When visiting, please bear in mind that no harvesting is done at our processing facility, and no processing is done at the harvesting site.


  • What do I need to know about C&C Peat’s past peat harvesting operations?

Over the past 30+ years in operation, we have had 5 peat projects of various sizes. In that time period we have not received a complaint lodged against C&C Peat and have never had any regulatory compliance issues. Additionally, one of our former sites was purchased by the state after we finished our reclamation process and made into the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area. Our reclaimed sites provided habitat for a large diversity of wildlife, including endangered species, such as migrating whooping cranes.


  • How is Florida Peat formed?

Florida Peat is created when wetland vegetation fills up an ancient lake bed. Because the environment is wet and anaerobic, the plant fibers do not rot as they would in the surrounding areas. This anaerobic environment acts as a form of preservative for the plant fibers.


  • What is the difference between Florida Peat and other forms of peat?

Florida Peat is formed from reeds and sedges. Other forms of peat, such as Canadian Peat, form from sphagnum moss on massive bogs. Harvesting Florida peat looks very different when compared to the dry, dusty conditions in a Canadian peat bog. 


  • Is peat harvesting dusty?

While peat harvesting in other parts of the world can be dusty (such as Canadian and European operations), the very nature of Florida Peat negates any dust factors. Florida peat is chunky and stringy. When harvested, the peat is first stacked up on site in order to dewater the material. Once the peat has reached a moisture content of around 50%, it will then be moved to our processing facility. Because of this moisture content, no dust is present.


  • What is the size of the Goose Prairie Harvesting Project?

C&C Peat will be operating on a portion of the Goose Prairie, and will harvest peat from a maximum area of ~330 acres. Of the harvest area, only ~20 acres will be active at a time. No harvesting will be done on the uplands and hardwood areas of the Goose Prairie Property.  The entire harvesting area is surrounded by forested areas that buffer the active harvest areas from neighboring properties.


  • What is the environmental benefit of reclaiming Goose Prairie?

Up until the late 1940’s Goose Prairie was a wetland system with significant amounts of open water. Over the years the hydrology has declined, and the system has transitioned into a dry prairie that is more prone to fires as a result of roads and homes being built in the region. By reclaiming Goose Prairie, C&C Peat will return the area to a, more diverse habitat like it was prior to human encroachment and impact. This will benefit the flora and fauna of the area as well as the waterway systems of Lake County.


  • Are there any health concerns with Florida Peat?

While foreign peat harvesting operations can have some respiratory concerns, Florida Peat does not release any particles into the atmosphere that pose any problems. No pathogens or other adverse components have ever been found linked to Florida Peat.


  • What about Sporotrichosis?

No incidence of sporotrichosis has ever been found to have occurred due to exposure to reed sedge (Florida) peat. Two outbreaks in Florida have occurred, one in 1960 and the second in 1994. Both outbreaks were traced to living sphagnum moss, not Florida peat.  Importing sphagnum peat from Canada or Europe (not buying local) would increase the likelihood of a person in Florida contracting the condition.


  • Will sand be harvested at Goose Prairie?

No. C&C Peat is a peat harvesting company, being permitted solely for the harvesting of peat.


  • Is there any smell to Florida Peat, or during the harvesting operation?

When held up to the nose, Florida peat has a slight earthy smell. At arm’s length no odor can be detected.


  • What steps are taken to protect the animal population at Goose Prairie?

All peat sites must go through a strict regulatory process overseen by the local county, state DEP and Water Management districts and the Federal EPA. An aerial survey was done of the Goose Prairie property, to assess the types of birds and other wildlife present. Through the mitigation process, C&C Peat must reclaim the area so that its function is of equal or greater value than before the peat harvesting occurs. Because harvesting will only encompass 20 acres at a time, there will be no measurable impact on the wildlife that uses those areas. The wildlife habitat will greatly improve as the dry prairie is returned to a higher functioning ecosystem via the harvesting and reclamation process.


  • How many employees will work at the site?

Typically C&C Peat will have two full time employees at our harvesting sites, with other employees being present in a temporary capacity to perform maintenance or repairs. The only other personnel present would be truck drivers hauling peat from the site to the processing facility. This site would be restricted to 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday by its permit requirements.


  • What will be the traffic from this site?

C&C Peat is permitted to transport up to 12 truck loads per day from the harvesting site. This is a maximum allowance, and will typically be a much lower number. This will amount to 0.3% of the existing traffic on CR44. Access to the site will be located at the traffic signal at CR44 and Durastress Drive.


  • What happens if the peat harvesting company closes, can the harvesting site be abandoned?

No. As part of the peat harvesting process, companies must post a bond that will ensure that the reclamation process is performed correctly. In the unlikely event that a peat company closes, the bond insures that funds are available for the restoration of the area.


  • Is peat harvesting noisy?

No. Because C&C Peat operates with such a small crew, there will usually be no more than two pieces of equipment in operation at any time. These pieces of equipment are equipped with mufflers that meet EPA guidelines.


  • Will property values increase or decrease as a result of the harvesting process?

At C&C Peat’s former peat sites, as well as those of other companies in Florida, we have routinely seen an increase in the property values of the surrounding homes and land parcels. This is true of land directly adjacent to the site, as well as those nearby. When the site is fully reclaimed, the surrounding land will be considered lake front property


  • What is the hydrological impact on the area when harvesting Goose Prairie?

A surface and Floridan aquifer study found that there would be no hydrological impact on any wells, or any surface water outside of the peat harvest area. Water that is displaced by an active ~20 acre harvesting cell will be stored in another cell onsite.


  • Will Carbon Dioxide (CO2) be released by harvesting Goose Prairie?

No. Peat deposits are carbon sinks under normal conditions and are known to store or sequester carbon; however, under the conditions that Goose Prairie is currently experiencing, they become carbon sources and actually release carbon into the atmosphere.  Additionally, drought conditions make peat deposits particularly susceptible to wildfires which cause the release of high levels of carbon accumulated within the peat into the atmosphere.


  • Are fires a danger by harvesting Goose Prairie?

No. In fact, by leaving Goose Prairie in its currently diminished hydrological state, it is far more prone to fire. Portions of Goose Prairie burned in December of 2000 and most recently in March of 2009. According to the EPA, there is a correlation between peat wildfire smoke and an increased risk of respiratory and cardiovascular malfunctions. Once started, peat fires can be difficult and lengthy to put out because of the build-up of fuel burning underground. Removal of the peat will eliminate health risks associated with potential peat fires.


  • What will happen to golf course runoff when Goose Prairie is harvested?

The areas to the south and east of the golf course are under a conservation easement and will not be harvested. With the sizeable forested buffers that will remain undisturbed, harvesting activities will be no closer than 1000 feet to the golf course property.


  • Will there be any discharge of water from the peat site?

The existing surface water will be recycled within Goose Prairie. A project specific study shows that Goose Prairie is isolated from Lake Eustis by a berm under the power lines along CR44 that prevents a discharge of water to Lake Eustis, even if the site is subject to two successive hurricanes.


  • What will be the end use of Goose Prairie once it is reclaimed?

After C&C Peat has returned the prairie to conditions found in the 1940s, the area will be a permanent green space. This will mean that it would be a prime habitat for wildlife.


  • Where can I get more information?

Representatives will be at the Mid-Florida Lakes clubhouse on June 17th from 6-9pm to discuss the Goose Prairie project, and answer any questions. If you are unable to make it to the meeting, or would like to speak with someone from our company, we can be reached at 352-323-8213 or info@ccpeat.com. Appointments to meet with a representative of C&C Peat can also be arranged.




 



















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