We have a problem with over-nutrification of our waters in Florida. This is evident statewide as we witness red tide off our west coast, manatees starving on the east coast and, locally, slime in our precious springs.
Central Florida’s carst geology allows for quick movement of water below grade. During the rainy season, fertilizers can quickly move through sandy topsoil to groundwater levels and on through to the aquifer to which much of our drinking water and many of our springs are connected.
Turf grass, especially Saint Augustine grass, thrives on water. During the rainy season in Central Florida, fertilizers are unnecessary to keep landscapes growing happily. I would venture to say that most of us would like to prevent our grass from growing as fast as it does without fertilizer!
The League of Women Voters supports several aspects of EPD’s updated and strengthened fertilizer ordinance, such as
- increasing the fertilizer-free zone from 10 feet to 25 feet from the edge of water bodies at any time of the year.
- · limiting annual nitrogen application to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet (pause)
- · And of course, a strict, no exemption, application ban on urban fertilizer containing Nitrogen and Phosphorus from June 1st through September 30th.
The League of Women Voters of Orange County wants the commission to lead the state on environmental issues. Volusia County, Brevard County, Seminole County and even Lake County have adopted “strong” fertilizer ordinances that include strict (no exemption) rainy season application bans between June 1 and September 30. If the County Commission is going to lead on the issue of protecting our water, now is the time to step up and do it.
The motion passed.