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Nitrogen runoff, our ocean’s worst pollutant, is turning the coastal waters of Cape Cod brown-green and causing fish kills. Falmouth is acting in response to fish kills caused by too much nitrogen entering their waterways. The Town just wants to protect its waters and prevent more fish kills. Please join with us in support of Falmouth barring excess fertilizer applications.
The fertilizer industry is fighting a bylaw that Falmouth town meeting passed that would limit fertilizer use within 100 feet of an estuary and town-wide reduce application by five times the amount recommended by the Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals.
Many dead striped bass littered the shore of Falmouth’s Little Pond next to Nantucket Sound last July. Death came in the combination of warm weather, the longest daylight periods of the year, and nitrogen-fed algal blooms depleting the oxygen. The year before Little Pond’s demise another fish kill happened on the Buzzard’s Bay side of Falmouth. Falmouth folks, knowing that without the nitrogen local fish kills won’t happen, have had enough. They’ve taken fertilizer application management into their own hands and have acted. The local bylaw may now be in conflict with a law passed in August that gives the state authority to regulate fertilizers.
Fertilizer regulations are not new for our coastal communities. The first fertilizer regulation was passed by the Puritans in 1639. They prohibited the use of cod fish or striped bass for fertilizer. Their concern was less for the detriments of nitrogen run-off and more for the notable population decline of the two best-eating fish at that time.
Today, in opposition to this local responsible stewardship effort are the Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. They know better, but are too addicted to profiting to inform lawn owners of the proper amount of fertilizer to put down. They like it when we use five times the amount needed because they don’t live here.
For the love of fish (and fish consumption) please sign this petition to permit towns to regulate local application of the proper amount of fertilizer at the right time, and away from waterways. Urge the AG not to let the fertilizer profiteers strip management rights from local town folk. Put a stop to legislating state-wide top-down uniform practices of excessive fertilizer spread to fatten their profit margins. This is at the expense of our ponds, inlets, bays and coastal waters. And, it’s killing striped bass.
Falmouth estuaries, located in Nantucket Sound and Buzzard’s Bay, are badly polluted by nitrogen. Nitrogen causes massive algae blooms and indirectly causes red tides by feeding algae species that are the preferred food of red tide zooplankton. Clammers, fishermen and recreational boaters are acting to protect their Falmouth livelihoods by thwarting nitrogen pollution.
The Falmouth bylaw prohibits the application of fertilizer from October 16th to April 14th. During the growing season, from April 15th to October 15th, fertilizer application is banned during heavy rain and banned within a hundred feet of water. Respect the 100 foot buffer. If a lawn extends into it, fertilize the portions beyond the setback buffer zone. Most importantly, apply no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn each year.
Please tell the Attorney General to support citizens’ right to bar nitrogen applications. Falmouth is acting in response to fish kills caused by too much nitrogen entering their waterways. The Town just wants to protect its waters and prevent more fish kills.
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