Fertilizer ban takes aim at algae blooms

In an effort to address algal blooms in Indian River Lagoon, fertilizer was banned in a five-county region, Health News Florida reports.

The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida up along the Treasure Coast.

0010216A 071505 tc met river el 1 A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline Friday afternoon, July 15, 2005. The South Florida Water Management District held a media briefing and aerial tour of the conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River today, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Witham Field Airport, 2555 SE Dixie Highway, Stuart.  (Erik Lunsford/The Palm Beach Post) NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH, BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA. OUT ORLANDO. OUT TV. OUT MAGAZINES. OUT TABLOIDS. OUT WIDE WORLD. OUT INTERNET USE. NO SALES. ORG XMIT: MER0507151724509064 ORG XMIT: MER0706181400405571
A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows algae blooms.

Algal blooms have been tied to fish kills and now even diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Read the Palm Beach Post’s report on the finding by clicking here.

The fertilizer ban will apply to all of the region’s municipalities and run through September.

The ban comes in the wake of the first worst fish kill in the lagoon’s modern history. Experts said frequent rains wash fertilizers into the lagoon, feeding the blooms.

Duane De Freese of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program told Health News Florida that the bans are aimed at nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients at the heart of the lagoon’s problems.

“It’s a bad time to be fertilizing because it wastes fertilizer. But more importantly it transports those nutrients to the Indian River Lagoon, and we know those nutrients can fuel algal blooms.”


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