Naples to consider summer fertilizer ban and ordinance at meeting

We remember the consequences of last year’s red tide on our beaches. And most agree it’s crucial to find ways to prevent harmful algae blooms from happening the way they did. So one city in Southwest Florida is looking to bring back a summer fertilizer ban in hopes of avoiding a repeat.

The City of Naples removed the ban two years ago under the theory landscaping companies would over apply fertilizer prior to the wet season, but that just wasn’t the case.

Naples City Council will talk about bringing back a summer fertilizer ban and adding an ordinance at its meeting Wednesday.

“It’s not just a Naples project, but it’s good to start at home,” neighbor Jay Oyer said.

Oyer is giving the green light to the city for strengthening their fertilizer ordinance to improve water quality.

“We as residents of Naples, part of the beauty is the ability to be out and about,” Oyer said.

Kelly McNab, an environmental planning specialist with Conservancy of Southwest Florida, said there are plenty of options for approaching a solution individually in our neighborhoods.

“There’s so many things that can be done to improve water quality that are out of the City Naples’ hands,” McNab said. “So this is something that local residents can get involved in that our local officials can make changes on.”

Under the proposed ban, applying nitrogen-based fertilizer during the rainy season June through September would be prohibited. The conservancy is backing the ban and said there is no evidence banning these types of fertilizers during that stretch of time will impact the health of the turf grass.

We didn’t hear back from fertilizer companies we reached out to recently, but companies have voices concerns over a ban in the past. They say it hurts their business.

“There’s always opposition,” McNab said. “A lot of times from the industry of the people who are applying it daily.”

But the conservancy said 100 other Florida cities and counties already have a similar fertilizer ordinance.

“It is not a cure all. This isn’t going to solve our water quality crisis we’re facing in Southwest Florida,” McNab said. “What it is is it’s a very important piece of the puzzle.”

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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