Model Fertilizer Ordinance for South Florida

Does my area need a fertilizer ordinance? Yes!

Residential lawn fertilization is estimated to be the second largest source of household nitrogen in the US (Souto et al. 2019). Excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which 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 the state of 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, 139 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. 

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.

Other Resources

Interested in learning more? We've linked some additional resources below. As always, Miami Waterkeeper is happy to help. Send us an email at [email protected] for more information on how we can work together to implement this legislation in your community!

Common Misconceptions About Fertilizer Ordinances

Scientific Support for Fertilizer Regulation Memo

From other groups:

Be Floridian

Fertilizer - Lagoon Loyal

Clear Choices Clean Water Chesapeake Bay

5E-14.117Application for Department Credentials

5E-1.003 Florida Administrative Code

Recommendations for N, P, K, and Mg for Golf Course and Athletic Field Fertilization Based on Mehlich III Extractant

Best Management Practices for the Enhancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses

Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources

Using Spatial Variability in the Rate of Change of Chlorophyll a to Improve Water Quality Management in a Subtropical Oligotrophic Estuary