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FL Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes a Blue Green Hero, Cleaner Water for Indian River Lagoon
From:
Dr. Rob Moir -- Ocean River Institute Dr. Rob Moir -- Ocean River Institute
Cambridge , MA
Friday, January 20, 2012

 
Florida Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes is recognized as a Blue Green Hero Acting for Cleaner Coastal Waterways by Reducing Nitrogen Inputs into Indian River Lagoon.

In the epic drama of local governments there are ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary acts of environmental justice that move us incrementally to nothing less than saving the world, a bluer and greener planet Earth.

Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes will be presented a Blue Green Hero Award by Rob Moir, Ph.D. Director of the Ocean River Institute at a dinner to be held at Finz Waterfront Grille on Tuesday January 24th. Commissioner Hayes is a green slime buster. His ordinance has stopped an influx of nitrogen harming Indian River Lagoon of some of the nitrogen that feeds algal blooms and fouls the waters.

One year ago, Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes met with Captain Nancy Beaver of the Sunshine Wildlife Education Programs and Rob Moir, Ph.D., of the Ocean River Institute. The Commissioner was well aware of the problem of increasing algal growths, green slime, in coastal waterways. He had heard complaints from constituents of beach recreation being lessened by slimy waters.

Capt Beaver and Dr. Moir asked Commissioner Hayes to reduce the Indian River Lagoon problems of blooming algae, eutrophication and hypoxia (ocean dead zones) that is harming ocean wildlife including dolphins. They claimed that heavy summer rains are washing nitrogen into Florida's waterways just when the waters are warmest. This is the time when algae blooms are hungriest for nutrients. They proposed a way to have cleaner waters while still keeping lawns green by changing in our practices on land. Agricultural businesses and golf courses were applying fertilizers at nearly the right amounts, while many lawn owners were applying five-times the amount of fertilizer needed.

Mr. Hayes was presented a letter from the Ocean River Institute signed by 12,434 as a bound volume of hundreds of pages of comments and contact information. About 10% added in their own words why they cared about Indian River Lagoon, its diverse marine wildlife and having pleasant beach experiences.

In July, the Martin County Commissioners by unanimous vote met the challenge and enacted Florida's toughest lawn fertilizer ordinance, just before the summer rains arrived. The ordinance calls for respect of setbacks from the water. If one's lawn reaches to the shore, do not spread fertilizer within the fifty foot setback. Second, the ordinance says to use at least 50% slow release nitrogen. Higher slow release percentage will do even more good for your lawn and cause less nitrogen going into waterways. Third, during the warmer water and summer rainy period of June 1 through September 30 take a "Hayes Holiday" from fertilizing the lawn.

"Those who choose to disobey the ordinance by spreading fertilizer during the summer ban," says Rob Moir, "will discover that their time, effort and money spent will result in a lawn no greener than are the lawns of neighbors taking a 'Hayes holiday' from turf fertilizing. That knowledge should be punishment enough. This, along with comments by neighbors, should over time get everyone onboard with responsible lawn care practices. Take Martin County's three steps to green lawn care for cleaner water and healthier wildlife. Become a Green Slime Buster; the dolphins and beach goers of Indian River Lagoon will be glad you did."

For Further Information please contact:

Rob Moir, Ocean River Institute, email: info@oceanriver.org

Captain Nancy Beaver, Sunshine Wildlife Tours, 772 219-0148

Video of Rob talking about changing lawn practices to save Indian River Lagoon, 8.5 minutes


 
Rob Moir
Director
Ocean River Institute
Cambridge, MA
617-661-6647
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