The City of Miami Beach passed a strong fertilizer ordinance on January 13, 2021 that includes fertilizer-free zones and a prohibited application period. Miami Beach joins the growing number of municipalities taking action against nutrient pollution in the wake of Biscayne Bay’s unprecedented fish kill in the summer of 2020.
While fertilizer can benefit plant growth in some cases, it’s usually overused in South Florida. The excess nutrients can be carried into Biscayne Bay and nearby waterways when it rains. These nutrients can promote the growth of algae that smother seagrass beds and harm fish populations. Miami Waterkeeper applauds Miami Beach as it does its part to improve the water we all share. Fertilizer ordinances such as this one are key legislative tools in the fight to save Biscayne Bay.
Miami Beach included some crucial elements that should be part of any fertilizer ordinance. For example, the City's ordinance prohibits fertilizer application between June 1st and November 1st, Miami’s rainiest months. This will help to ensure that fertilizer does not runoff needlessly into the water or storm drains before it can be absorbed by vegetation. The ordinance also creates fertilizer-free zones everywhere within 20 feet of a waterway, storm drain, or Biscayne Bay. This means, no fertilizer can be applied near those locations where it would be more likely to run off!
We need to take more action across South Florida to address nutrient pollution.