Water-Related News

Fertilize wisely to help improve water quality

Most of the discussion about the pollutants in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge waters focuses on the role of big agricultural companies and ranches. Whereas they are major contributors to the pollution of our waters, they are not the only ones - we all contribute and need to increase our focus on reducing that impact.

Adhere to the practices that the city of Sanibel established in its 2007 fertilizer ordinance. Make sure that you, your landscaper, and your home or condo owners association's service follow city recommendations. A number of local communities have similar ordinances in effect. If you live somewhere that does not have a fertilizer ordinance, you can also work with your community to create one.

In December, a bill was filed with the Florida legislature to fund environmental restoration projects and fine wastewater treatment facilities that spill raw or partially treated sewage into our water. The bill also cracks down on the residential use of fertilizers. We will be following this bill closely and will keep you apprised of its progress.

Sarah Ashton is co-chair for the Advocacy Committee for the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. For more information, visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org.