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Fifth Indian River Lagoon County Stops Nitrogen Pollution

The Volusia County Council has adopted a countywide fertilizer ordinance to protect water quality in the county’s springs, lakes and rivers, including the Indian River Lagoon – the full watershed.

Volusia County followed Brevard County (2014), followed St. Lucie County (2014), followed Indian River (2013) and Martin County (2011).  All counties of Indian River Lagoon have adopted ORI’s 3 step solution.  Thank to all the people and organizations who made this possible.

“A county surrounded by water on three sides has an obligation to do the right thing,” County Councilwoman Pat Northey said. “It would be shameful of us not to adopt the strongest protections we can do.”

Volusia County Council enacted four stronger measures to govern fertilizer use on lawns and turf.  First, do not use phosphorus; second, do not use fertilizer within 15 feet of a waterway; third requires that at least 50 percent of the nitrogen in fertilizer be in a slow release form; and fourth take a holiday (banned) from using fertilizer with nitrogen between June 1 and Sept. 30.

The model ordinance includes such measures as prohibiting applying nitrogen or phosphorus before seeding or sodding a lawn or within 30 days and states that fertilizer should not be washed off or blown off sidewalks or streets into storm drains or waterways. It exempts agriculture operations, home gardens and golf courses, athletic fields and turf managed for active recreation as long as the turf grass managers are following state guidelines for best practices.

“I would like to have it about as restrictive as we can get it,” said Councilman Doug Daniels. “I don’t think there are many people who want to kill the lagoons and kill the St. Johns River. There’s not a big constituency for that. What are we going to tell our grandchildren, that we killed the lagoon system, that we killed the St. Johns River so that we’d have green grass all year round?”

Palm Beach County, bookending Indian River Lagoon to the south opposite Volusia County to the north, remains the last Indian River Lagoon County still fertilizing lawns during the summer months. If not for the waterways and wildlife, stop summer fertilizing for clean beaches and shores.

For responsible stewardship, lawn owners will save money with three applications a year instead of four. The lawns of adjacent Martin County four years after the summer ban went into effect are just as green as are lawns in Palm Beach County.

Please sign ORI’s petition for clean beaches and less harmful algal bloom in Palm Beach County.

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