Collier County commissioners debate a rainy season fertilizer ban

Gardner cuts the grass on the lawn. (WINK News photo)
Gardner cuts the grass on the lawn. (WINK News photo)

Lora Leboeuf of Old Naples is taking a stand for our water quality crisis.

“I’ve been here over 20 years,”¬†Leboeuf said. “I’ve watched the water. I watch the absence of wildlife. I’ve seen you were in fewer fish. I’ve seen the waters get darker.”

Leboeuf is advocating for a fertilizer ban during the rainy season to prevent runoff and pollution. During the Collier County commissioners workshop, they debated that possibility.

“We have rainy season more likelihood the fertilizers will run off into our estuaries and also through the stormwater system right into the bay,”¬†Leboeuf said.

But Mac Carraway, an environmental researcher, said a ban during the rainy season would not help.

“Unfortunately, people want to cling to that idea because it feels like something is being done,”¬†Carraway said. “But what really needs to be done is to address items like septic the large scale problems, like storm-water, make sure we’re properly disposing of reclaimed water.”

Carraway said the healthy lawns need the fertilizer during the rainy season, which is when nutrients stick to the grass better as opposed to the dry season. He said that is when you worry about runoff.

“We believe in fertilizing the grass, feeding our pets, feeding our people when they’re hungry,”¬†Carraway said. “Not when they’re not.”

But there is one thing both Carraway and Leboeuf do agree on.

“If we can have more education more and focus on some of things that are going on to allow these nutrients to go into the water,”¬†Leboeuf said, “that would be very valuable.”

“By creating the one size fits all blackout, you’ve basically lumped the knowledgeable people in with the folks who don’t know what they’re doing,”¬†Carraway said. “In effect are punishing the innocent.”

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