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Limits on Fertilizer Application

A bill in the Legislature would limit the nitrogen in turf fertilizers to a level exceeded by nearly every product on the market. It also would regulate when and where fertilizer could be used.

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The New Jersey Senate is considering a bill to regulate the rate at which fertilizers are applied by both the public and professional applicators. SB 1411 would set new standards for applying fertilizers as well as providing for increased training and certification of professional fertilizer applicators. It also would regulate the sale of certain fertilizers with the aim of limiting use of phosphorous and nitrogen.

This bill is a cornerstone of a package of legislation aimed at preserving Barnegat Bay. The Bay is behind a barrier island along the New Jersey shoreline near Toms River. The Bay is threatened by eutrophication, a condition caused by high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. Similar conditions are causing water quality problems in the Chesapeake Bay. The condition, which results in wide variations in dissolved oxygen and pH levels, is detrimental to aquatic life.

Ranking just behind the Chesapeake Bay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has listed the Barnegat Bay as having the second worst eutrophication problem in the country. Eutrophication, an excessive amount of nutrients, spurs extreme growth of aquatic plants and algae, reducing oxygen levels for fish. Scientists have blamed high nutrient levels for the explosion of invasive sea nettles in the bay.

The bill seeks to protect the Bay and other New Jersey waters by prohibiting the application of fertilizer within 25 feet of any body of water and the use of fertilizer before March 1 or after November 15, among other things.

Source: PLNA

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June 18, 2019, 6:39 pm PDT

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