Monday, September 14, 2009

United Waterfowlers and Pollution

Just got this from our friends at United Waterfowlers of Florida:

Some surprising changes have been taking place quietly, and we at United Waterfowlers – Florida (UW-F) have taken notice. Walk into any home center or Wal-Mart, flip a few bags of lawn fertilizer over for yourself, and check the numbers. There are lots of ZEROs…zero middle numbers that is.

As you may know, UW-F authored the No-P Turf Fertilizer language in Senator Pruitt’s bill last spring; language which made it’s way intact into Senator Constantine’s Springs bill.

Our members statewide - have been surveying store retailers, and our surveys of home centers and fertilizer retailers show an average of 60% of all lawn turf fertilizer products are now No-P. Two years ago, only 1 in 15 products were No-P (N-0-K) according to our surveys at that time.

Lowe’s is doing best on average with 70% of Lowe’s lawn fertilizer products being No-P. Some Lowe’s home centers have only 3 products out of 20 with any P at all. Wal-Mart is a close second, and almost all other stores surveyed have at least half of their lawn fertilizer product line’s they carry - are No-P.

Contrary to what’s being touted, none of what is taking place is required by Florida statute, or because of the FDACS’s Turf Rule.

Many thanks to all of the coalition members who have helped with this effort. Coalition members include a unique mix of groups, and include near unanimous support of duck hunters, anglers, surfers, environmental groups, lobbyists, cities and counties, national sporting periodicals, garden clubs…the list goes on.

In particular I would like to thank Dr. Peter Barile. Peter has worked this project with us from day one. I would also like to thank the St. John’s River Water Management District. Their efforts have been priceless.

We will continue our efforts to eliminate P from turf fertilizer products, and we will continue to spread the word about why these changes are necessary - of this we are committed.

A century ago, when duck hunters and other wildfowl hunters, sportsman’s clubs and magazines began lobbying for the elimination of spring shooting, elimination of market hunting, banning the sale of migratory bird parts, and lobbied to the end to the ruthless practice of plume hunting; the results of their efforts saved the birds we all love and share today - they knew darn well they would change many people’s lives, and anger many.

But industry MUST be responsible members of a civil society.

With this in mind, following the traditions of conservation born of our heritage, United Waterfowlers – Florida will continue to be a force for change regarding nutrient pollution in Florida’s waters.

Like the ducks we love, water is migratory. This is a principle duck hunters understand very well.

So that a few can have crispy green grass, we all suffer. This is a priority that must change, and will soon.

Ducks and all of biota, all of humanity need clean, plentiful water.

John Hitchcock
Vice President and Secretary
United Waterfowlers - Florida

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