Lee County Spreads Word of Fertilizer Rules
NBC2 NEWS ONLINE | JULY 23, 2009
LEE COUNTY: Hoping to keep local waterways clean, Lee County leaders are trying to inform residents about a new fertilizer ordinance in effect this year.
The county is using flyers and billboards as a part of its educational campaign urging residents to do their part to keep one of Southwest Florida’s main attractions clean.
Lee County is one of the first in the state to create fertilizer regulations and educate homeowners about cleaning up local waterways.
“A lot of nutrients are coming to the area that we can’t do anything about,” said Kurt Harclerode with the Lee County Division of Natural Resources “What we can do is something locally in our own backyards.”
That’s why the new ordinance prohibits the use of fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus during rainy season.
The county also prohibits spreading fertilizer within 10 feet of a body of water, and doesn’t allow people to spread excess grass clippings and fertilizer into drains or waterways.
“People don’t realize they’re providing nutrients and they’re creating that potential sink for algae blooms to occur,” said Tom Becker, an extension agent with the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program.
And that could ruin the waterways that are the center of life in Southwest Florida. The county encourages several new practices to control fertilizer runoff, like using mulch or rain gardens.
It’s also important to read the numbers on fertilizer bags before making a purchase.
The first two numbers on the packaging are the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus included in the fertilizer, and the county wants residents to purchase bags in which the first two numbers are zero.