Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lake County bans summertime fertilizer to protect its namesake

In November, clean water activists, including Sierra Club members, won a long hard fought battle to protect a county with more than 1,000 lakes.

The Lake County Commission voted 3-2 to ban the use of lawn fertilizer during summer months when rains produce algae blooms in nearby lakes, rivers and streams.

The winning vote was cast by Commission Chair Tim Sullivan who had voted against an earlier ordnance and switched his vote. "Lake County is unique," he said, so he would "err on the side of caution."

Although a Model Urban Fertilizer Ordinance had already been passed last spring, county staff and advocates, including Keep Lakes Beautiful,  Lake County Water Authority, Lake Soil and Water Conservation District and Lake County Planning and Zoning, worked to strengthen it.

They met with other county staff and reviewed other county ordinances that had put in place more protective ordinances that ban summer fertilizer applications entirely.  The committee recommended a 15-foot zone between fertilizer and any water body and a 50 percent slow-release nitrogen fertilizer during non-summer months.

Lake County now joins other 11 counties and 82 cities with strong ordinances.

Said Ron Hart, Director for the Lake County Water Authority, "After all, we are Lake County, not Lawn County. "

17 speakers supported the ordinance.

Representatives of Scotts Miracle-Gro and True Green who were present opposed the ordinance.

The ban will begin in one year and will include an education campaign. It will not apply to flowering plants or vegetable gardens.


Read more: Lake bans fertilizing in summertime, Daily Commercial, Nov. 21, 2017

-- Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Red Tide Organizing Representative