Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Local Governments Consider Fertilizer Restrictions...And More
Annapolis Enacts Phosphorus BanBy Bay Journal (Md.)
Citing the need to help clean up the Chesapeake, Annapolis, Md., inJanuary became the first municipality in the Bay watershed to ban mostuses of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus. The ban takes effectthis year.
"We're leading the way," said Alderman Julie Stankivic, who proposedthe ordinance, which was unanimously approved by the City Council.
She said the ordinance will help to ensure that homeowners do theirpart to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to the degradationof the Bay.
Urban areas generate a relatively small amount of the nutrientsreaching the Chesapeake, but their contribution is increasing whilethe nutrient load from other sources is generally decreasing.
"The dead zones are growing," Stankivic said. "We have to takeindividual responsibility for what we can do to improve the Bay. It'snot just chicken farmers."
Beginning this year, the ordinance requires residents to have a soiltest taken within the last three years indicating their soil has lowerconcentrations of phosphorus than recommended by lawn care expertsbefore they can use fertilizer with phosphorus.
Newly established lawns are also exempt from the ban-phosphorus isneeded by new lawns to help grass develop roots, but the nutrient israrely needed by established lawns, which primarily use nitrogen togrow.
"Most soils in Maryland have more than enough phosphorus in themalready," Stankivic said. "So if you can pick up something that haszero, it will do no harm."
Too much phosphorus can spur excess algae growth in lakes, freshwaterstreams and rivers, as well as lower salinity portions of theChesapeake Bay. Nitrogen is generally more responsible for algaegrowth in higher salinity water.
Excess algae can block sunlight to underwater grass beds, whichprovide important habitat for crabs and fish. When the algae die, theydecompose in a process that depletes oxygen from the water.
Landowners are still allowed to use compost, which may containphosphorus, and they may continue to use fertilizer containingphosphorus in gardens, on shrubs and trees or on indoor plants.
The handful of stores in Annapolis that sell fertilizer must display aposter alerting customers to the ordinance.
Starting next year, no business can openly display fertilizer thatcontains phosphorus, although they may post signs that it is availableupon request. Store-owners are not required to quiz buyers about howthey intend to use the fertilizer.
"We are not expecting our retailers to act like police," Stankivicsaid.
Such bans are not unique. A number of local governments across thenation have enacted similar bans including Dane County, Wis., andseveral counties in Michigan. Others are considering similar action.
Minnesota enacted a statewide ban in 2005, a year after Minneapolisand St. Paul took action. As with the Annapolis ordinance, theMinnesota law prohibited the use of phosphorus fertilizer unless a newlawn is being established, or a soil test indicates the need forphosphorus.
As a result, the amount of phosphorus used in lawn fertilizer in thestate decreased from 292 tons in 2003 to 151 tons in 2006, accordingto a report by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The reportfound that consumers were largely supportive of the measure. In fact,the major consumer question regarding the measure was how to disposeof leftover fertilizer that contained phosphorus.
The report also said that the reduction was achieved withoutmunicipalities having to take any enforcement actions.
That's good news for Annapolis officials, who acknowledge thatenforcing the law would be difficult. Residents can easily purchasefertilizer outside city limits, and it's hard to know whetherfertilizer is being misused.
Residents who violate the ordinance could face a $100 fine, andbusinesses could pay $500, but officials doubt they will have manyviolations.
"It's not our intention to turn ourselves into fertilizer police,"said Frank Biba, the city's chief of environmental programs. "I wouldexpect people who pay attention to easily be able to comply with this.It is not onerous by any means. I would think if it is not displayedopenly in stores, people would just buy what is there. That's simple."
The ordinance, in a way, is aimed as much at other local governmentsas it is Annapolis residents.
"Obviously, we alone are not going to have a substantial impact on theBay," Stankivic said. "It will be minimal. But if we can get allcounties, at least those that lie along the Chesapeake Bay, to adoptthis policy, I think we will see a much greater impact."
Stankivic said she has urged officials in Anne Arundel County, whereAnnapolis is located, to pass a similar ban, and is hoping the GeneralAssembly will establish a statewide prohibition. The main hesitation,she said, is a reluctance by officials to tell landowners what to do.
"But would you tell someone to take penicillin if they didn't needit?" she asked.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Local Governments Consider Fertilizer RestrictionsBy Tampa Bay Newspapers (Fla.)
Local governments in Florida are considering a proposed ordinance fromthe Tampa Bay Estuary Program that would restrict fertilizer useduring the rainy season.
The Estuary Program is a tri-county organization devoted to restoreand protect Tampa Bay. Its policy board approved the elective modelordinance in November 2008, and now cities including Clearwater andLargo are considering adopting a version of it.
“Nitrogen is a very important nutrient for plant growth, but too muchnitrogen can cause algae blooms in the water that can block thesunlight that the seagrasses need and also cause lower dissolvedoxygen and possible fish kills,” said Holly Greening, executivedirector of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. “Managing the amount ofnitrogen coming into Tampa Bay is very important for the health of thewater itself as well for the fish and other things that live in thewater.”
In its original form, the ordinance would do the following: Ban theapplication of fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphorous on lawn andlandscape plants between June 1 and Sept. 30; prohibit the applicationof such fertilizers within 10 feet of a water body; restrict theretail sale of lawn fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorousduring the summer; establish a licensing and certification program forlawn care professionals; encourage waterfront property owners to plantground covers, shrub or other plants instead of grass in a 6-foot wide“no mow” zone along the water’s edge; and urge local governments toprovide information about the nitrogen content of reclaimed water tocustomers using it for lawn irrigation.
The governments are free to modify the ordinance if they use it atall. Copies were given to county commissions in Pinellas, Hillsboroughand Manatee, as well as the major cities in the counties – Clearwaterand St. Petersburg in Pinellas.
According to the Estuary Program’s Web site, nitrogen is the primarypollutant in Tampa Bay, with residential runoff, including fertilizerresidues, accounting for 32 percent of the nitrogen carried instormwater to the bay. The Program’s research shows that even moderatecompliance with such an ordinance could reduce nitrogen additions tothe bay by 84 tons a year, which would also save millions of dollarsin expensive stormwater treatment projects.
Largo, while not a member of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, is amember of the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium, which isurging its members to adopt a version of this ordinance. Theconsortium is also expected to release numbers on Feb. 5 that wouldtell its members what their upper limits should be on nitrogenreleased back into the environment, said Irvin Kety, director ofenvironmental services for Largo. The Largo City Commission willreview the consortium’s proposed allocation and the Estuary Program’sproposed ordinance at a work session at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10 in thecommunity room of City Hall, Kety said.
Clearwater City Councilman Paul Gibson is the city’s representative onthe Estuary Program’s policy board, and he advocates adopting someversion of the ordinance.
“Nitrogen is a significant source of damage to Tampa Bay, and thefederal government is about to promulgate regulations that wouldrequire the regulation of nitrogen in the water, and we think it’s agood idea to be ahead of any federal mandates,” Gibson said. “Nitrogenfeeds things like algae, and it takes the red tide and exacerbates theproblem. There’s nothing good that can be said about nitrogen beingdischarged into Tampa Bay.”
The proposed ordinance was still with Clearwater’s legal department atpress time, but Gibson said he expects it to come before the councilwithin the next few weeks.
While nitrogen is a natural part of the environment, making up 78percent of the air and is found naturally in bodies of water,increased human population densities often offsets its healthy balancein the environment, Greening said. Plant life is removed fordevelopment, which eliminates a natural filter; people use fertilizerswith nitrogen in it; and cars add more nitrogen to the air, Greeningsaid. In the late 1970s, the nitrogen problem had gotten bad, shesaid.
“At that point, in the area around Tampa, there were big sheets ofalgae on the surface of the bay, and it would die and float ashore,and it was very smelly at that time,” Greening said. “It smelled verybad, and the citizens along the bayfront area called for action. Andthat’s when a lot of the wastewater treatment plants started reducingthe amount of nitrogen they had coming into the bay.”
Kety lived near MacDill Air Force Base at that time, and he remembersthe stench as unbearable.
“We don’t want to go back in that direction,” Kety said. “We want ahealthy bay, and controlling nitrogen is one of the things thatmaintains that water quality ... And so although Tampa Bay’s waterquality has been improving over the last decade, and the Tampa Bayarea has been meeting the water quality goals, it is still animportant component that is regulated by the Florida Department ofEnvironmental Protection and by the EPA. We’re obligated to controlthe amount of nitrogen that’s coming off of the land from stormwaterand how much nitrogen comes out of the wastewater plant and into thebay, and we have permits that limit (the release of nitrogen).”
Tampa Bay is fortunate, Greening said, in that it is one of the fewplaces in the country that has seen some of its undersea seagrassescome back. The area has good rules in place that help to take nitrogenout of wastewater, but this proposed ordinance would take the nextstep by helping to limit how much nitrogen goes into the watershed tobegin with, Greening said.
“This is a cost-effective way to manage nitrogen in the bay becauseyou’re addressing the direct source instead of trying to get thenitrogen out of the water once it’s in it,” Greening said. “Andcertainly we’re encouraging all the municipalities to consider this(ordinance) because a collective effort is always more effective thanindividual efforts.”
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Los Angeles Mayor Calls for More Water Restrictions, Rate HikeBy The Los Angeles Times
Even with the recent batch of rainstorms, the ongoing drought hasgrown so severe that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Feb. 9called for increased citywide water restrictions and the adoption of atiered water rate that would punish Department of Water and Powercustomers who fail to conserve.
Sprinkler use would be restricted to two days a week under theproposal and, by summer, could be cut to one day a week if the droughtcontinues, Villaraigosa said. The restrictions -- the first of sixlevels have been in place for more than a year -- and rate changescould be enacted by spring if approved by the City Council and DWP.
"The level of severity of this drought is something we haven't seensince the early 1970s. We have to move quickly to address thisproblem," Villaraigosa said at a news conference at City Hall.
Quick action is necessary, he said, because the Metropolitan WaterDistrict -- a major wholesale water supplier to the city and the restof Southern California -- has warned that it may be forced to cutwater deliveries by 15% to 25%.
At the same time, the Eastern Sierra snowpack, another major source ofwater for Los Angeles, is almost 30% below normal for this time ofyear.
"I know it is raining right now," meteorologist Elissa Lynn, of thestate Department of Water Resources, said later Monday. "That's notgoing to entirely make up for this dry year or the past two dry years.And we don't know: Is it the third year of a three-year drought, orthe third year of a six-year drought?"
Water restrictions are nothing new in California, but since the lastmajor drought in the early 1990s the state's population has grown by 9million. Court rulings to protect the delta smelt in the SacramentoDelta and a prolonged drought along the Colorado Basin also havereduced Southern California's water supplies from Northern Californiaand the Colorado River.
"What is being delivered here today is grim news indeed. What is beingannounced is, in effect, water rationing for the first time in thehistory of the city of Los Angeles," H. David Nahai, DWP's generalmanager, said.
The rationing would be achieved by adopting "shortage-year rates" toencourage conservation by altering the DWP's billing method.
The exact effect on DWP customers is unclear for now. First the DWPboard must decide how much it wants customers to conserve, which willdetermine how to set rates. Villaraigosa said DWP customers probablywould be asked to cut water use "in the double digits and it could beas high as 15 to 20%."
"The vast majority of people will actually save money if they complyto reduce their water use . . . those who don't will be penalized,"Villaraigosa said, adding that the DWP also will expand its financialaid program for low-income families.
Currently, the DWP has a two-tier rate system, a base of $2.92 per 100cubic feet and a Tier II rate of $2.98. Single-family homeowners paythe base rate if their water use stays within 125% of the averageamount of water consumed by homes on similar-sized lots andtemperature zones.
The higher rate kicks in when a customer exceeds that.
For example, an owner of a 1,400-square-foot home in Van Nuys is nowcharged the base rate for the first 5,000 cubic feet of waterconsumed. If the DWP decided to impose shortage-year rates to cutconsumption by 15%, that same homeowner would pay the base rate on4,250 cubic-feet of water, and the Tier II rate on everything thatexceeds it. And the Tier II rate would increase sharply, from $2.98 to$5.01 per 100 cubic feet of water.
The DWP commissioners will consider the proposal Feb. 17, Nahai said.
"We're going to have to do a great deal of outreach and education tothe public. We don't want anybody to be caught unaware and suddenlysee their bill go up," Nahai said. "Remember, the idea here is not toincrease revenue to the department, it's to encourage conservation."
Still, even if the conservation measures are adopted, that might notprevent DWP customers from getting walloped by a separate water-rateincrease later this year if the Metropolitan Water District -- whichsupplies more than half of the city's water -- raises its wholesalerates.
MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the drought and thereduction in water supplies have forced his agency to buy "moreexpensive water" from farmers and other sources.
"We have to charge what it costs, and we have to go out and get thatwater," Kightlinger said.
"We can't say, 'Sorry, we're not going to deliver water for the nextfew months because it's so expensive,' " he said.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
More Canadians saving energy and water at home: StatsCan
An increasing number of Canadians are using energy and water savingdevices at home, but many are not ready to give up pesticides andbottled water, says Statistics Canada.
In 2007, 42 per cent of Canadian households with a thermostat saidthey had a programmable one, and 84 per cent actually programmed it,Statistics Canada said in its household and the environment surveyreleased Tuesday.
In 1994, only 16 per cent of households with a thermostat had one thatwas programmable.
We also used more energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs in2007, with 69 per cent of households reporting that they had at leastone. This is up from 56 per cent in 2006 and 19 per cent in 1994.
In 2007, 62 per cent of Canadian households said they had a low-flowshowerhead, up from 54 per cent the year before.
According to government figures, low-flow showerheads use up to 70 percent less water than standard showerheads and can save about 15 percent on the cost of heating the water.
In 2007, 39 per cent of households said they had a low-volume toilet,up from 34 per cent a year earlier. These toilets typically use lessthan six litres of water per flush, compared with older toilets thatcan use more than double that.
The environmental picture was more mixed when it came to use ofpesticides in 2007.
The number of households using any type of pesticide on their lawn orgarden actually increased — from 29 per cent in 2006 to 33 per cent in2007. However, Statistics Canada cautions that 12 per cent ofhouseholds said they used organic pesticides.
Pesticide use was highest in the three Prairie provinces and lowest inthe Atlantic provinces and Quebec. In Quebec, where strict regulationson pesticide use have been imposed, only four per cent of householdsused chemical pesticide on their lawn or garden.
While those in the West used more pesticides than anywhere else, theytended to apply them only as needed, says Statistics Canada. Incontrast, people in Ontario and Quebec were more likely to apply themas part of a regular maintenance program.
And when it comes to bottled water, it would seem wide-rangingcampaigns to convince Canadians that their municipally treated wateris safe have not succeeded.
A full 30 per cent of households with municipally supplied water saidthey drank primarily bottled water in 2007, the same percentage as in2006.
=================================Warning Industry Propaganda Below=================================
Feb 10, 2009
Legislation will disadvantage farmers
Dear Editor - Re: "Pesticide ban will be a boon to theeconomy" (letter to the editor, Feb. 5).
The claim by Gideon Forman, executive director of the CanadianAssociation of Physicians for the Environment, about the effectivenessof non-toxic pest control just doesn't make sense.
Ultimately, if a pest control product "whether organic/naturallyoccurring or synthetic " is to do the job it is intended to do, it hasto be toxic to the pest it is meant to control. It can't be effectiveif it is not toxic and organic or naturally occurring compounds can bejust as toxic if not more so than man-made ones.
Far from being a boon to the economy, the unbalanced regulatoryenvironment that this legislation creates will certainly make itharder for farmers to be competitive with those in other countries.This could negatively impact the price and availability of our food --something that would affect each and every one of us.
That's really a good way to ensure our food is produced in our owncountry by our own farmers.
-- Lilian Schaer, interim executive director, Agricultural GroupsConcerned About Resources and the Environment, Guelph
Get the latest for 2009 at the IPM Symposium.
The 44th IPM Symposium: The Ontario ban has eliminated familiarpesticides but there is still a strong need for your services. The IPMSymposium, a day-long seminar, has been helping green industry prosgrow healthy landscapes since 1965. Get the latest at the 2009 IPMSymposium.
Tuesday, Feb. 24 in OttawaTravelodge Hotel, 1376 Carling Ave.Online registrationTuesday, March 3 in LondonBest Western Lamplighter Inn. 591 Wellignton Rd.Online registrationTuesday, March 10 in BarrieHoliday Inn, 20 Fairview Rd.Online registration
Wednesday, March 11 in TorontoDoubletree Hotel Toronto Airport, 655 Dixon Rd.Online registration
Time:8:30am – 4pm.Registration open at 7:45 amPre-Registration Fee: $65On-site fee: $85 (Lunch not included)
Please click here for registration form to fax or mail.IPM – Providing Professional Solutions
7:45 a.m. Registration Opens8:30-8:35 Welcome and Opening Remarks8:35-9:00 MOE Report - Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008Violet Van Wassenaer, Ministry of the Environment9:00-10:00 Scientific Review of Alternative Pest ControlsEvan Elford, University of Guelph10:00-10:15 Refreshment Break (Compliments of Rittenhouse)10-15-11:15 OMAFRA UpdatePam Charbonneau, Turfgrass Specialist, OMAFRAJennifer Llewellyn, Nursery Crop Specialist, OMAFRA11:15-12:15 Just Below the Surface: Nematodes and White GrubControlAnn-Marie Cooper, Plant Products (London)Jeff Gabric, Becker Underwood (Ottawa, Barrie, Toronto)Stacey Hickman, Natural Insect ControlRichard Reed, Dufferin Lawn Life12:15-1:15 Lunch (Not included)1:15-2:15 Best Overseeding and Top Dressing TechniquesCathy Wall, Quality SeedsKen Pavely, Dol TurfJohn Wright, Wright Lawncare Service2:15-2:45 Successful Turf Nutrient ManagementJoe Uyenaka, Cargill2:45-3:00 Refreshment Break3:00-3:30 Corn Gluten UpdateTammy Lawrence, Turf Revolution3:30-4:00 Organic Dandelion Weed ControlJeff Watson, Sarritor (Ottawa/Toronto)Doug Hubble, Agrium Advanced Technologies (Barrie/London)Net proceeds are donated directly to IPM research.Certificates for pre-registered attendees are available at the end ofthe day.
Program Sponsor - Turf Revolution
For further information,please contact Kathy McLean @ 1-800-265-5656 ext 306 email@example.com.
11 February 2009
Lawncare conference to examine future for pesticide use
by Jez Abbott
The annual spring conference of the UK Lawn Care Network has beenrescheduled to tomorrow (Thursday 12 February) as a result of lastweek's severe weather.
Independent lawn-care companies will discuss the threat of the EUpesticide ban and look at business issues in the sector. The network'snew website will also be unveiled.
Guest speaker at the event in Buckden, Cambridgeshire will be JoeKucik, who will look at customer retention and targeting market spend.Kucik owns Real Green Systems and built up his first lawn-care companyto 10,000 customers with over $3 million (£2.1m) annual revenue.
The conference is the only UK event specific to the lawn-care sectorand is open to independent lawn-care companies.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01480 819045.
Project Evergreen, TOCA want to 'Buck It Up'Feb 9, 2009LM Direct!
NEW PRAGUE, MN — The Green Industry is doubling its efforts to assistdeserving military families — and all Americans are invited to help.Project EverGreen and the Turf Ornamental Communicators Association(TOCA) have announced the "Buck it Up for Military Families" program.The joint effort is designed to raise $1 each from potentiallymillions of consumers to expand Project EverGreen's GreenCare forTroops (GCFT) program and begin offering scholarships to collegestudents of military families.
GreenCare for Troops is a national program administered by ProjectEverGreen to provide free lawn and landscape care for militaryfamilies where the major breadwinner is serving in the Middle East.Currently there are more than 7,000 families and 2,000 volunteerssigned up for the three-year-old program. The "Buck It Up" programis designed to allow consumers to donate $1 to GCFT online atwww.projectevergreen.com or www.toca.org. The program will begin bymid-March and conclude on May 16, Armed Forces Day in the U.S.
Many TOCA members, a national professional development association forGreen Industry communications professionals, are already involved withProject EverGreen in a variety of ways. This collaboration is anextension of that relationship.
"TOCA members (media companies and marketing agencies) have donatedmore than $1 million in ad space and communications expertise in thepast four years for Project EverGreen," says Den Gardner, executivedirector of both organizations. "The 'Buck it Up' program is a chancefor TOCA and Project EverGreen to combine forces to reach the multipleand varied consumer audiences it reaches through publications,associations and service providers throughout the country."
Project EverGreen and TOCA are asking others in the Green Industry tohelp spread the word to their colleagues, customers and families.Those interested in helping can contact Den Gardner, executivedirector, at email@example.com.
Project EverGreen Board President Chris Kujawa, owner of KujawaEnterprises, Inc. (KEI, Inc.), a landscape company in Milwaukee, saysthe collaboration will help the organization take GCFT to the nextlevel and extend Project EverGreen's reach to more consumers: "OurEverGreen Zone in Akron (OH) last year proved that consistentmessaging about the importance of managed green spaces resonated withconsumers. We will continue the EverGreen Zone concept in Milwaukeethis year. We see 'Buck it Up' as a way to focus our energies withconsumers on our most visible program — GreenCare for Troops. Doingthis will allow us to extend our program to children of militaryfamilies to further their education."
Ed Hiscock, board president of TOCA and editorial chief of Golf CourseManagement magazine, encourages all companies and publications to getinvolved in this program. "TOCA and Project EverGreen have beencollaborating for years," he says. "This program has the potential toprovide the biggest impact yet to Project EverGreen and all itsefforts to educate and inform consumers about the benefits of greenspaces. We are celebrating 20 years as an organization in 2009. Thisis our moment to send a message to all in the Green Industry that wecan do something tangible to assist military families in the wareffort."
For more information about "Buck It Up," please contact ElizabethNeiderhiser (firstname.lastname@example.org, phone877-427-0627), director of strategic partnerships for ProjectEverGreen.
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