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Save the Manatee Club urges no fertilizer during rainy season

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Mother manatee and calf swimming out of the inlet. [Photo by NOAA]

Save the Manatee Club’s Fertilizer-Free for Manatees campaign asks Florida residents to pledge not to use fertilizer through the end of the rainy season Sept. 30 to protect manatees by reducing nutrient pollution in waterways. Nutrient pollution fuels harmful algal blooms in coastal and inland waters. In the Indian River Lagoon, a critical manatee habitat, algal blooms have decimated native seagrass, starving hundreds of manatees since 2020. Naturally occurring red tides in the ocean can be exacerbated by nitrogen and phosphorus from man-made sources such as fertilizer and waste water.

In pledging to be part of the campaign, Floridians commit to:

● Not use fertilizer on lawns and landscapes. Irrigate only when necessary.

● Keep grass clippings out of streets, water bodies and swales.

● Learn about Florida-friendly landscaping to protect waterways.

The campaign website provides household tips for protecting manatees, from installing rain sensors to mulching grass and yard debris, and directs homeowners to resources for researching fertilizer ordinances in their communities.

Many local government ordinances prohibit the use of fertilizers during the rainy season, says Kimberleigh Dinkins, a senior conservation associate at Save the Manatee Club. “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.”


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