The wheels of government turn slowly, but a good idea can build momentum. Just a year ago, I wrote about groundbreaking local legislation limiting and regulating fertilizer applications in Manahawkin, NJ. (Protecting the Barnegat Bay - One Manahawkin Yard at a Time)
That local ordinance spurred several local initiatives and finally state legislative action. Today New Jersey has the strictest fertilizer usage regulations in the nation! NJ Governor Christie signed three bills yesterday all aimed at protecting the Barnegat Bay from further run-off pollution.
In addition to the limits on when and where fertilizer can be applied to lawns, another bill requires standards for builders to restore 'optimal soil conditions' after the completion of construction to stem run-off, and another charges the Department of Transportation with maintenance and upkeep of storm water drains and basins.
These bills affect the Barnegat Bay watershed which is 660 square miles in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
The primary bill in the package, inspired by the Manahawkin ordinance, bans the use of phosphorus in fertilizers, requires that at least 20% of all fertilizers used be slow-release, establishes a Barnegat Bay buffer where fertilizer cannot be applied, and prohibits fertilizer use during a heavy rainfall.
This action by the state can be credited to Manahawkin Council Representative John Spodofora. He has been instrumental in working to correct pollution and flooding problems caused by storm-water runoff in Manahawkin since the 1980s.
It just goes to show when you've got a good idea, persistence pays off!
The map of the Barnegat Bay Watershed is from the Press of Atlantic City. The article is available here.