: Protecting the Barnegat Bay - One Manahawkin Yard At a Time!

Protecting the Barnegat Bay - One Manahawkin Yard At a Time!

Protecting the Barnegat Bay - One Manahawkin Yard At A Time!

Stafford Township (Manahawkin, NJ) this week could become the first municipality in New Jersey to adopt an ordinance regulating the use of fertilizers in an effort to stem the tide of pollutants flowing into Barnegat Bay.
stafford township municipal buildingThe Stafford Township Council is considering an ordinance introduced earlier this month that would prohibit certain activities, like applying fertilizers on cement, macadam and other impervious surfaces and applying fertilizer within 25 feet of a waterway.

The ordinance to protect the Barnegat Bay and the Jersey Shore also recommends that residents do not apply fertilizer within a day of substantial rainfall, that they use only nitrogen-based fertilizers in slow-release formulas, and that they limit fertilizer applications to no more than four times per year.
It also advocates the use of drop spreaders, which drop fertilizer on the ground below rather than shooting it horizontally into unintended areas. 

Barnegat BayManahawkin officials are calling the proposed ordinance a first step toward a much larger and comprehensive goal: Protecting the Barnegat Bay and other waterways, which have suffered from rapid development and rampant fertilizer use.

Stafford Township Councilman John Spodofora, who has been studying the effects of development in Manahawkin on the Barnegat Bay, led the effort to draft the ordinance. He has been instrumental in working to correct pollution problems caused by storm-water runoff in Manahawkin since the 1980s.  Curbing storm-water runoff is also essential to protecting the Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Part of the ordinance would require landscaping professionals to complete a one-hour course on how to properly apply fertilizers.  
Homeowner's in Stafford Township would receive three warnings for violating the proposed ordinance before facing a fine of as much as $100, while a landscaper would face a fine of as much as $1,000 for not taking a certification course required by the ordinance.  
The goal is to reduce the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen that seeps into groundwater and runs off into the local bodies of water, where the nutrients cause excessive plant growth, including algae, which depletes water’s oxygen levels and chokes out other life.

Manahawkin has been recognized nationally for its progressive environmental management, specifically its storm-water-runoff controls, and experts have praised the township for leading the way for other municipalities.
While Stafford Township’s ordinance would aim to reduce the impact of fertilizer in one of the largest towns in the county, officials acknowledge it would only be effective if other municipalities follow suit or if the state moves to protect the Barnegat Bay.

More than a half-million people live within the Barnegat Bay watershed, which includes nearly all of Ocean County. Scientists say bay pollution  has been occurring for decades, but has now reached a critical stage.
Welcome to the Jersey ShoreManahawkin has been the fastest-growing municipality in southern Ocean County for the past 20 years, and the area’s rapid development is a major reason for the increased amount of pollutants flowing into the bay, according to researchers at the Rutgers University Institute of Maine and Coastal Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The public hearing on Stafford Township's proposed ordinance is scheduled 7pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at the Municipal Building on Bay Avenue in Manahawkin.


Comment balloon 23 commentsLaura Giannotta • December 13 2009 05:31AM


Yay! Let's here it for native plants and natural (and minimal) fertilizers.

Posted by Jane Jensen (Century 21 New Millennium) over 10 years ago

This is all good.

IF, and it's a big IF, there are not poultry farms upstream and poultry processing plants on the bay that can get exemptions from these regs, as happened in the State of Maryland when the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act was implemented.


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Lenn, that why a statewide or regional approach would be so much better...one step at a time I guess.

I'm with you Jane! 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 10 years ago

  Intentional or unintentional....my guess is that many homeowners and landscapers are clueless as ti what kind of preventative/proactive measures they COULD be taking...great that this pro-active approach will not only raise awareness....but have consequences for not "following the rules."

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago


I did not realize that such toxic fertilizers were still being used to this degree. This is an extremely important issue and I am glad to see that they are on their way to cleaning this up.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 10 years ago

That is really an eye opener, i wonder how many communities nation wide (and world wide) might be suffering from this, thanks for sharing!

Posted by Rob Kelly, Louisville Colorado Realtor (RE/MAX Alliance) over 10 years ago

We're particularly vulnerable here at the Jersey Shore...we have the Pinelands which has very sandy porous soil, so there's no filtering.

Thanks Rob, Claudette, Sally and David!  Spread the word! 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 10 years ago



Having lived in NJ for 45 years and driven through the pines to get to LBI I feel your pain.  The overdeveloping of that area along with much of the state was a major factor in the decision for my wife and I to relocate to south Florida.  I wish you well in your fight as people need to stand up to preserve this beautiful area.



Posted by Michael Cantwell, Helping you manage your largest asset. (Highlands Residential Mortgage Ltd., - NMLS ID #134871) over 10 years ago

I do agree with comments above that a big key will be to educate homeowners who might be clueless that the fertilizer they are using is very detrimental to the environment.  I would assume that the cheapest fertilizer's are probably the most popular, so people will have to pay a little more for a cleaner version.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 10 years ago

We're from LBI (a decade ago) and miss Barnegat Bay.  Congrats on the feature!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 10 years ago


Hi Laura:

HEY...congrats on the feature!!!

Let's hope that more and more towns adopt this ordinance...

And let's hope it applies to the golf course there as well...

Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) over 10 years ago

Laura - Yes this is an important issue for all NJ'ians... Good post and hopefully more people will stop using these fertilizers as much as they do... Organic is the way to go... Congrats on the feature..

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

I think it may be hard to enforce. The who and how the checking is to be done and the implementation of fines may be the pandora's box of more government jobs for friends of people who have government jobs.

The street to hell is paved with good intentions.

Good post.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 10 years ago

Hi Laura -- I applaud this effort and totally buy into it.  I do think enforcement will be problematic at best.  I live in a community with creeks that feed a lake we can swim in our own neighborhood and we still have issues keeping owners from dumping grass clippings near the creeks after years of newsletters, one-on-ones, etc.  Human behavior can be notoriously hard to change.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 10 years ago

We have had restrictions for some years now on this type of fertilizer.  Even volunteer guidelines for even longer.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 10 years ago

Excellent post and glad it's a featured one.  We've all got water quality issues to think about and it's good to know folks in your area are taking action to do something about it.  Here in Wine Country, grape production practices are certainly a factor in our water quality.  Some growers are stepping up with efforts to curb use pesticides.  It's going to be a struggle with the economics, though.  Switching from traditionally used chemicals to organics can be costly....and with the current economy that may not be possible for many.

Posted by Kirsten Lindquist, Realtor - Sonoma Wine Country (Pacific Union International) over 10 years ago

It is more costly Not to Switch to environmentally responsible lawn cultivation. Barnaget Bay is one the the 15 most endangered bays in the United States. Thank you, Laura. We all support your efforts.

Posted by zeta cross over 10 years ago

Glad to hear that you guys are trying to take measures towards protecting the environment Laura.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago

I love to hear it whenever an individual or an organization is doing something good for the community.  This seem like a good, well thought out program.

Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis, Metrowest Boston (Fieldstone Historic Research) over 10 years ago

Thanks all for your comments...now spread the word!!  ;}

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 10 years ago

Dear Laura,

Congrats on getting featured! This is great information. I am glad to see they are working to protect the water quality. Pesticide run-off is a problem in most waterfront communities!


Betina Foreman- Austin Realtor

Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY (WJK Realty) over 10 years ago

Your post caught my attention and you have raised an issue that is so important to those of us living in coastal communities..In addition to being a realtor, I am also a gardening coach that uses and teaches natural and organic gardening practices.  I used to work at a nursery, and the battles I would get into with the landscaping crew were legendary...what damage pesticides cause (they disagreed), what natural solutions could be employed (they said they don't work), it's too expensive (not always) etc.  Unfortunately, too many landscape companies still believe the "old line" mindset that maintenance contracts must include pesticides and fertilizer and that organic solutions are "too expensive" (and that if they aren't putting "SOMETHING" on your lawn or garden that they have not "earned" their maintenance fee).  Thankfully, there are progressive companies now that are committed to creating products and services that get the job done at a price point that makes it affordable.  Another interesting trend is the emergence of the "organic lawn maintenance" business.  There is a company in my neck of the woods (not me) doing this and could be good resource for you and your community as people seek out solutions that allow them to be compliant with the new guidelines and still be able to create the landscape they desire.  As consumers we must demand it, ask your lawn guy what he or she is putting on your property.  Ask if there are alternatives.  Get over the belief that your lawn has to look like golf course.  Heck, plant a vegetable garden then you will really give some thought to what you put on your plants!  Thanks for sharing this very important issue with the AR community.


Posted by Liz Donaghy (Garden Goddess by the Sea LLC) over 10 years ago

John Spodofora is a complete fraud and a pathological liar.  Every word is a lie. He has claimed to be a college graduate, and angineer, a Navy SEAL, a Vietnam combat veteran, the co-founder of RonJon Surf Shop.   All of these have been expsoed as lies.    The truth about the fertilzer ordinance is the state was already on the verge of passing the same legislation and had rewritten it several times.  Spodofora actually stole their ideas and happened  to beat them to the punch by several months.  What a hero.      www.johnspodofora.com


Posted by Lincoln Osiris over 6 years ago