Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) has launched its second annual Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week from April 1 to April 8, 2017. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the waterways that comprise the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River watersheds. Last year, MRC spearheaded Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week, partnering with over other 20 environmental organizations to spread the word about lawn fertilizer awareness. These combined social media efforts reached over 10,000 people across Maryland.
This year, MRC is building on this outreach in an effort to reach an even larger audience. The goal of the program remains to educate the public and lawn care professionals and encourage them to reduce or eliminate lawn fertilizer. In addition, the program promotes alternatives to lawns that keep landscapes beautiful. It is vital that we reduce lawn fertilizer use due to its key ingredients—nitrogen and phosphorous. When it rains, excess nutrients are a major source of pollution that washes off the land into storm drains, streams and rivers. Once in our waterways, these nutrients have negative impacts by contributing to the growth of algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, robbing the water of oxygen, and threatening underwater life.
In October 2013, Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law went into effect. The law helps protect the Chesapeake Bay against excess nutrients entering its waters from a wide range of non-agricultural sources, including golf courses, parks, recreation areas, athletic fields, businesses and hundreds of thousands of lawns. The law spells out common sense practices that can reduce the risk of fertilizer runoff while promoting best management practices that support healthy lawns.
Lawn fertilizer accounts for approximately 44 percent of the fertilizer sold in Maryland. There are over 1,300,000 acres of lawns in Maryland and almost 86 million pounds of nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer will be applied to their lawns each year. It is critical that everyone does their part to help Maryland meet the pollution caps established by the “pollution diet” for the Chesapeake Bay.
More information is available at mda.maryland.gov/Pages/fertilizer.aspx. Additional guidance, along with seasonal and yearly fertilizer rates, is available at county extension offices or online at extension.umd.edu.
A Lawn Fertilizer Awareness Week Tool Kit is available on the MRC website at midshoreriverkeeper.org. For more information please contact Tasha at 443.385.0511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.