Date: Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Subject: URGENT MESSAGE TO MRC MEMBERS!
Dear MRC Member:
On December 11th the Brevard County Commissioners will be voting on the Fertilizer ordinance we have been working with them to pass. Nutrients from fertilizer runoff is the biggest issue we face in restoring and maintaining a healthy lagoon. Without a healthy lagoon the very base of our local economy is threatened.
We need help to show the county commission that they have the support of the community in getting this ordinance passed. Please plan to attend. This will be a tough one to win, the opposition will be out in force, we need every person who can to show up and speak. The procedure to speak is to fill out a card at the door and request time. We also need Calls and Emails to the commissioners. We need to have a full house, so please come if you can. If you can't (attend) please call or email your commissioners.
Below is the letter the Marine Resources Council sent yesterday to each of the commissioners in support of passing this ordinance. We have also attached a fact sheet with information and references as well as information on the economic value of the Indian River Lagoon you can use when sending your message.
FROM: Marine Resources Council of East Florida
Brevard County Board of County Commissioners
December 4, 2012
Dear Commissioner ________;
The Florida Fertilizer Task Force firmly established the harmful effects on our waterways of fertilizer run off from urban turf. The Indian River Lagoon is receiving about 50% more nutrients than it can safely handle and the result is the loss of our seagrass. Almost everything that lives in the lagoon depends on the seagrass. Even some of our favorite ocean fish, grouper, snapper and spiny lobster, grow in the lagoon grass and migrate to the ocean. One acre of healthy sea grass can produce 10,000 fish and tens of thousands of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs, a year.
Brevard has lost over 30,000 acres of sea grass in the past two years due to brown algae blooms. Scientists are not sure of the exact conditions that triggered the blooms but the underlying cause is clear. Excess algae will grow only when excess nutrients are there to feed it. If we do not act quickly and decisively, we face the loss of our fishery. Dr. Grant Gilmore,considered to be the foremost expert on lagoon biology, recently stated that, if we don't act there may not be a =93next generation=94 of fish. The way we fertilize our yards is a major contributor to nutrient pollution of the lagoon. Test results on Florida=92s west coast show a significant reduction of nutrients in the water as a direct result of a strong fertilizer ordinance which includes, as a minimum
(1) zero phosphorus unless soil tests show a deficiency;
(2) at least 50% slow release nitrogen content;
(3) no application of nutrient content fertilizer during the rainy season;
and (4) a no fertilizer buffer zone at waters edge.
- Estimated (2008) annual impact of the lagoon on Brevard's economy is nearly $1 billion and over 3000 jobs. Over 40% of the recreational use value of the lagoon is related to fishing and a restored fishery will increase significantly the total value. One acre of healthy sea grass is valued at about $5000 annually. (DEP)
- Over 50 Florida local governments have enacted a strong fertilizer ordinance, starting with Sarasota County in 2007. No negative results have been reported. The Tampa Bay NEP reports sea grass expanding at over 600 acres per year and guides state that the fishing is the best ever.
- Testimony in Sarasota County from lawn maintenance professionals and large property managers attests that their yards are healthier. They have made dramatic reductions in the use of fertilizer and the pests and disease that are the result of excessive fertilization such as chinch bugs and fungus.
- There is widespread public acceptance of the ordinance where it is in place. Florida programs such as Best Management Practices, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods and Florida Friendly Yards have, for years, advocated the requirements of the ordinance. These programs have had minimal effect and yard fertilizer continues to pollute. When a strong ordinance is enacted, with attendant public awareness and discussion, the motivation and education process is catalyzed and advances rapidly. Enforcement in the usual sense is not planned or pursued and has not been needed.
- We taxpayers have spent, and are spending, millions of dollars on sewage treatment plant modifications, canal re-diversions and storm water system upgrades for the sole purpose of reducing nutrient pollution in our lagoon. These projects are necessary and important because one pound of nutrient can produce 500 pounds of algae and costs $250 to $1000 to clean from the water. The cost to eliminate nutrient at the source, through a strong fertilizer ordinance, is zero.
The Marine Resources Council of East Central Florida joins others to respectfully urge that you adopt a strong fertilizer ordinance and ensure your legacy of a thriving fishery in the Indian River Lagoon for the economic and quality of life benefit of the people of Brevard County.
20 Marine Resources Council
3275 Dixie Hwy. NE
Palm Bay, FL 32905