Presentation on theme: "Florida Cleaner Water Campaign. July 31, 2008: Fish kills in Old Tampa Bay: Ben T. Davis and Courtney Campbell (60) beaches closed Photo from Bernie Banull."— Presentation transcript:
Florida Cleaner Water Campaign
July 31, 2008: Fish kills in Old Tampa Bay: Ben T. Davis and Courtney Campbell (60) beaches closed Photo from Bernie Banull in Tampa Tribune. The same algae bloom also killed marine wildlife at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor.
2009: Largest Algae Outbreak on Record in Tampa Bay Between Safety Harbor and Weedon Island Devastating impact on aquatic life. Pinellas County Dept. of Environmental Management: "Last year it was just in the upper part of the bay, from about Safety Harbor to the Gandy (Bridge) - an area of a little over three miles long. Now it's 14 miles long, covering about four and a half times the area." Pyrodinium bahamense. Pyrodinium bahamense. “Blooms are triggered by pollutants and other excessive amounts of nutrients, notably phosphates and nitrates found in fertilizers, which wash into the water.” “Blooms are triggered by pollutants and other excessive amounts of nutrients, notably phosphates and nitrates found in fertilizers, which wash into the water.”
Sulphur Springs illustrates the effect of nitrogen runoff “Since the 1970s, scientists have documented increasing levels of nutrients in surface water. Water quality has declined in most springs since the 1970s; in particular, levels of nitrate (a nutrient) have increased.” “Since the 1970s, scientists have documented increasing levels of nutrients in surface water. Water quality has declined in most springs since the 1970s; in particular, levels of nitrate (a nutrient) have increased.”
“Freshwater harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing in frequency, duration, and magnitude and therefore may be a significant threat to surface drinking water resources and recreational areas.”
“ Abundant populations of blue-green algae, some of them potentially toxigenic, have been found statewide in numerous lakes and rivers. In addition, measured concentrations of cyanotoxins—a few of them of above the suggested guideline levels—have been reported in finished water from some drinking water facilities. “
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Environmental Assessment And Restoration Bureau of Watershed Management - Integrated Water Quality Assessment for Florida: (b) Report and 303(d) List Update October 2008: Special State Concerns and Recommendations
Why is more nitrogen running off into waterways? Use on Residential lawns has tripled in last decade.
Since 2007, 13 strong county and municipal-level fertilizer management ordinances have been passed along the Gulf Coast St. Petersburg Gulfport Longboat Key Sarasota County City of Sarasota Venice Northport Lee County Sanibel Ft. Myers Beach Ft. Myers Bonita Springs Naples
All Current Gulf Coast Ordinanes, including St. Pete & Pinellas Co. proposal, include these Exemptions Bona fide farm operations (including nurseries) Golf Courses Specialized (sports fields) turf managers Vegetable gardens Tree trunk injection fertilization done by a certified arborist Yard waste compost, mulches or other similar materials that are primarily organic in nature and are applied to improve the physical condition of the soil Reclaimed water - recommended that reclaimed/reuse water not allowed to flow or spray into surface water bodies - has a high nitrogen and phosphorus content.
St. Pete led the way in Tampa Bay! a complete ban on applying nitrogen fertilizer in the rainy season, June 1-September 30. to safely provide a gradual nitrogen release during the rainy season, all fertilizer will contain half of its nitrogen content in slow release form, with an annual limit on nitrogen fertilizer of 4 lbs per square ft. requirement for deflector shields on broadcast spreaders to keep fertilizer off sidewalks and driveways, elimination of phosphorus from fertilizer except when a deficiency is documented by a soil test, and Florida’s first ban on sale of fertilizer during the rainy season when its use will be prohibited.
Pinellas County is now poised to adopt the same strong ordinance standards county-wide on January 19, 2010.
Each of these ordinances includes a strict rainy season nitrogen and phosphorous application ban. The reason: A rainy season ban is the single most effective way to stop nutrient pollution from making its way from urban neighborhoods to our inland and coastal water bodies.
Why? Because ANY application of nitrogen or phosphorous during the rainy season is subject to being washed away by an afternoon thunderstorm before it can actually feed the turf. The washed away nutrients are: 1. A waste of the applicator’s time and money. 2. A direct threat to water quality.
What are the alternatives to the strict rainy season ban standard? 2009 FDEP Model Ordinance Language: “Prohibited Application Period” means the time period during which a Flood Watch or Warning, or a Tropical Storm Watch or Warning, or a Hurricane Watch or Warning is in effect for any portion of (CITY/COUNTY), issued by the National Weather Service, or if heavy rain is likely.
The “if heavy rain is likely” standard substantiates the need for the rainy season ban. This is because on the central and southwest gulf coast heavy rainfall can be imminent every summer afternoon, June – Sept.
A rainy season ban does not preclude the continued use of turf in our urban landscapes Turf quality and water quality can go hand in hand
1. There is zero science that suggests that turf cannot thrive without a nitrogen application for 4 months – in fact, the Sarasota experience shows that it can! 2. IFAS (Sartain 2007) research on the use of a 6-month controlled-release nitrogen fertilizer produced similar turf quality without any rainy season application. 3. Turf receives nitrogen from rainfall and grass clippings during the summer months. The 2006 FYN Handbook states that decomposed grass clippings are a significant source of nitrogen, reducing the need for nitrogen fertilization by up to 50 percent without a decrease in turf grass quality.
So, how do lawns get nitrogen if no fertilizer with nitrogen is applied for 4 months? Rain fall from atmospheric deposition Lawn clippings Reclaimed water can provide significant amounts – amounts vary by system. 50% slow release nitrogen fertilizer
What would it cost to clean up our water and prevent our river & bay’s harmful algae blooms through mechanical & chemical means? 1.Costs are overwhelming: up to $1,592 per capita*. 2. Grossly insufficient amount of state and/or federal assistance available. 3. Infinitely more efficient and effective to keep pollutants out of waterbodies than to remove pollutants later. * According to the Florida Stormwater Association
Sarasota Educational Brochure
Lee County Educational Bumper Sticker
Again, the Rainy Season Ban is the Backbone of Effective Fertilizer Management Prohibiting nitrogen and phosphorous application during the rainy season is the only pragmatic way to effectively reduce the amount of urban fertilizers in Tampa Bay stormwater. The Sierra Club, and the 90 Tampa Bay businesses and organizations we represent today, urge you to make your ordinance strong enough to actually make a difference in the quality of our water resources.
We can help clean up all our waterways in Hillsborough County, without raising taxes! Education for personal responsibility is the key.
Lower Taxes, Cleaner Water, Better Fishing: A sensible fertilizer ordinance is the way to Fight Harmful Algae Blooms, #1 killer of manatees during rainy years. “We’re counting on YOU to help!”
Thank you Phil Compton, Regional Representative Sierra Club Florida Regional Office 111 2nd Ave. NE, Ste St. Petersburg, FL , ext. 303