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SWFWMD: Southwest Florida Water Management District Florida Friendly Fertilizing Guide not so Friendly
by Rick Orr
We all should be very concerned about Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). SWFWMD is a powerful non-elected policy making group that appears to be hiding important information from citizens – information that would contradict their policies. A government policy making group that willfully withholds information or deceives innocent citizens in order to justify onerous and restrictive polices has to be confronted, exposed and corrected.
Environmentalism or Deception?
Is SWFWMD guilty of deceiving the public about fertilization of lawns and landscapes to justify onerous and restrictive policies?
Here is a quote from SWFWMD “Intro: Healthy Lawns, Healthy Water”:
“Recent studies have shown that rising nitrate levels in many local water bodies can be traced to fertilizer. Nitrate is a form of nitrogen that is found in inorganic fertilizers.”
SWFWMD fails to reference or link to the studies to allow the independent verification of accuracy or the context. Immediately I question the validly of the statement in relationship to lawns and landscapes. I think SWFWMD has found nitrates in the water and they know fertilizers contain nitrates – so they ban fertilizers.
But the two are unrelated. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:
“University studies throughout the country, including Florida, have shown that properly managed turf grass and landscapes do not significantly contribute to nonpoint source pollution”.
SWFWMD even goes on to contradict their “recent studies” by claiming that “when fertilizer is…applied correctly… the lawn absorbs the nitrogen”.
But the damage is done and most people after reading this guide would believe that fertilizing lawns and landscapes leads to pollution. Without public opinion opposed to fertilizers, fertilizer restrictions and bans would not be possible because current research does not indicate that lawn and landscape fertilization pollutes Florida waters.
 Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industry. Florida Department of Environmental Protection 2008
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ILoveTurf.com - March 19th, 2011
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