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View Full Version : Water quality improves after lawn fertilizer ban, study shows


Mousehound
08-18-2009, 08:08 AM
(PhysOrg.com) -- In an effort to keep lakes and streams clean, municipalities around the country are banning or restricting the use of phosphorus-containing lawn fertilizers, which can kill fish and cause smelly algae blooms and other problems when the phosphorus washes out of the soil and into waterways.

But do the ordinances really help reduce phosphorus pollution? That's been an open question until now, says John Lehman, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan.

"It's one of those things where political organizations take the action because they believe it's the environmentally conscious thing to do, but there's been no evidence offered in peer-reviewed literature that these ordinances actually have a salutary effect," Lehman said.

Now, such evidence exists in a study published by Lehman and students Douglas Bell and Kahli McDonald in the journal Lake and Reservoir Management. The paper, published online Aug. 14, shows that phosphorus levels in the Huron River dropped an average of 28 percent after Ann Arbor adopted an ordinance in 2006 that curtailed the use of phosphorus on lawns. Phosphorus is naturally plentiful in southeast Michigan soils, so fertilizing established lawns with the nutrient is generally unnecessary.

"Right away, we started to see decreases," Lehman said. After the first year of data collection, it was clear that phosphorus concentrations were lower after the ordinance was enacted than before. But did the ordinance cause the drop? Though that explanation seems likely, public education efforts and general increased environmental awareness among Ann Arbor residents also may have entered in.

At any rate, the study already has attracted the attention of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), which invited Lehman to present the study results at a meeting earlier this year, and may well generate interest beyond Michigan's borders.

Please read the full article here:
http://www.physorg.com/news169743896.html

Fiddlerdave
08-21-2009, 09:00 PM
When you see the bright green heavily moss-filled small creeks or pools around urban and farming areas, that generally is the result of heavy fertilizer based pollution.

The resulting ecosystem is very poor or virtually dead except for moss, bad for small animals, frogs, fish etc. and many of the aquatic plants that clean the water and sustain the local life.