Starting June 1, Remember To Go “Fertilizer-Free for Manatees”
Florida - Thursday June 1, 2023: Save the Manatee Club is expanding its “Fertilizer-Free for Manatees” campaign to run throughout Florida’s rainy season, beginning June 1 and ending September 30. The campaign urges Florida residents to pledge to be fertilizer-free by reducing or eliminating their contributions to nutrient pollution in Florida’s waterways.
Such nutrient pollution is a major problem in the state, fueling repeated harmful algal blooms in coastal and inland waters. In the Indian River Lagoon, a critical manatee habitat, harmful algal blooms have decimated native seagrass, resulting in the deaths by starvation of hundreds of imperiled manatees since 2020. In addition, naturally occurring instances of red tide can be exacerbated by large inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus into the ocean from man-made sources including fertilizer and waste water.
In pledging to be Fertilizer-Free for Manatees, Floridians commit to:
- Avoid fertilizer use on lawns and landscapes
- Conserve water by irrigating only when necessary
- Keep grass clippings out of streets, waterbodies, and swales
- Learn about Florida-Friendly Landscaping to protect waterways
The campaign website also expands on the pledge by providing several household tips for protecting manatees at home—from installing rain sensors to mulching grass and yard debris—and directs homeowners to resources for researching fertilizer ordinances in their communities.
“The actions of each Florida resident can make a big difference in the health of our waterways, and in fact there are many areas our state where local government ordinances prohibit fertilizer application during the rainy season,” said Kimberleigh Dinkins, Senior Conservation Associate at Save the Manatee Club. “In any case, being mindful that our actions impact our precious natural resources and taking steps to reduce the amount of human nutrient pollution is a good, sustainable practice. We can all make small changes that will protect manatees and their habitat.”
For more information, visit fertilizerfree.org.
Save the Manatee Club was founded in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat.
For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).