Does my area need a fertilizer ordinance? Yes!
Residential lawn fertilization is estimated to be the 2nd largest source of household nitrogen in the US (Souto et al. 2019). Excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, that come in most fertilizers, can pollute waterways and cause environmental problems such as algae blooms. Algae blooms kill wildlife, are harmful to humans, smother seagrass, and turn our beautiful blue water green. Biscayne Bay is already starting to suffer from algae blooms and seagrass die-offs. Therefore, it’s more critical now than ever to reduce land-based pollution. Reducing the use of residential fertilizer can improve our waterways and will help to keep Biscayne Bay blue!
Miami Waterkeeper has developed a sample fertilizer ordinance specifically for South Florida to protect our waterways. This ordinance would limit location, time, and amount of fertilizer that can be applied on South Florida properties.
A Model Fertilizer Ordinance for South Florida
Miami Waterkeeper staff researched ordinances passed around Florida and developed this sample ordinance specifically for South Florida. Key features include a summer rainy season ban on fertilizer application, mandatory setbacks from water bodies, and required training for landscaping professionals.
An Interactive Map of other Fertilizer Ordinances around Florida
In Florida, 85 municipalities and 32 counties have been passed fertilizer ordinances since 2007. Just over half of municipal ordinances include rainy season bans. Miami-Dade is one of the last regions without an ordinance.
Click around the map to see the Fertilizer Ordinances throughout the state of Florida.
Florida Fertilizer Ordinances
How could a fertilizer ordinance be enforced?
Fertilizer ordinances should be enforced by the implementing municipality as they would other provisions of municipal code. Miami Waterkeeper compiled some key enforcement suggestions in the memo below, and we recommend that all ordinances also include a strong public education component.
Interested in learning more? We've linked some additional resources below. As always, Miami Waterkeeper is happy to help. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can work together to implement this legislation in your community!
From other groups: