Ocean River Institute / Sunshine Wildlife Tours working together.
Victory for Dolphins
FL County Commissioners Pass Lawn Fertilizer Ordinance
A big victory for dolphins was had last week when Martin County passed the toughest lawn fertilizer rule in Florida that cracks down on nitrogen, phosphorus and the summer sliming of Indian River Lagoon.
“I, for one, am not willing to delay this. I’ve been trying to get us to pass this for months. I think we are totally within our rights,”said Commissioner Patrick Hayes quoted in the Palm Beach Post. Commissioner Hayes met with Captain Nancy Beaver and Rob Moir in January where he received 9,834 ORI letters. We asked for three actions on lawns: limit usage, mandate at least 30% slow release nitrogen, and ban summer application when the most dolphins are dying.
Despite a request for delay by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the commissioners voted unanimously for the urban turf fertilizer ordinance. They succeeded in doing more than we asked for. Not only was application of fertilizers banned from June 1 through September 30, banned was application of any fertilizer within 10 feet of wetlands. In specifying the usage, no more than a half pound of soluble nitrogen can be applied per 1,000 square feet, the minimum permitted slow release nitrogen was increased to at least 50%, up from a 30% minimum.
Lessening the flow of fertilizers from land to waterways is critical for the health of ocean wildlife and human recreation. Martin County has demonstrated leadership in taking a path-breaking step forward. ORI’s work with local communities is far from done. Please invite others and continue your support and good words. Ordinance by ordinance, watershed by watershed, we are stepping towards a bluer ocean planet.