Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brevard County Passes Stricter Fertilizer Ordinance

Graphic Credit: SJRMD.  Tropical Storm Fay, Florida Fish and Wildlife Manatee Count, Coldest Winter, Fukushima, and Superbloom added by Brevard Times

VIERA, Florida -- On the Agenda for the March 5, 2014 Brevard County Commission 5 p.m. meeting is a proposal for a tougher fertilizer ordinance that could include a rainy season ban from June 1 through September 30.  The ordinance would also require that fertilizers contain no phosphorous and at least 50% slow release nitrogen.

Last month, the Palm Bay City Council did not pass any fertilizer ordinance because Council members could not agree on whether to include a rainy season ban.  There, the debate was as much science as it was politics.  

One side believed that the lack of fertilizers during the rainy season, when grass is growing the fastest and absorbs the most fertilizers, encourages the leaching of nitrogen and phosphorous into the Indian River Lagoon - because lawns thin if not fertilized - which ultimately allows more fertilizer to runoff.

The other side of the debate believed that the application of fertilizer during the rainy season simply means more nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into the Lagoon.

Last month, Brevard Times took a closer look at potential causes for the seagrass loss and discovered that manatees play a significant role in seagrass destruction and contribute to the nitrogen and phosporous load in the Lagoon. 

As the above graphic shows, there appears to be an inverse relationship with the manatee population counts and seagrass acreage whenever the manatee count exceeds around 1,700 on Florida's East Coast.

UPDATE: The Commission unanimously voted for the stricter fertilizer ordinance.