Commissioner Eileen Higgins’ legislation to regulate fertilizer use in Miami-Dade County approved by the Board of County Commissioners during Earth Week 2021
MIAMI-DADE – Commissioner Eileen Higgins’ legislation to create the strongest fertilizer ordinance in the state of Florida was approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners today at the April 20 Commission meeting. The adoption of this ordinance was a key recommendation from the 2020 Biscayne Bay Task Force Report and comes just in time to celebrate Earth Week 2021.
“Last year, we were shocked to see thousands of dead fish floating in Biscayne Bay due to warmer temperatures and low oxygen levels, made worse by fertilizer draining into our water,” said Commissioner Higgins. “This ordinance, which I am delighted was approved during Earth Week, is a monumental step toward reducing nutrient pollution, improving the health of marine life, and building a more resilient community for all.”
The ordinance prohibits the use of fertilizer by residents, landscape companies and condominium associations, to name a few, during the rainy season from May 15 to October 31. The ordinance also prohibits the use of fertilizers containing phosphorous year-round, a nutrient identified as harmful to the health of the Bay. Over the next year, Miami-Dade County will create an awareness campaign to educate residents and businesses on the guidelines and how to properly fertilize their lawns.
In addition, the ordinance requires commercial applicators to undergo training, obtain a license in best management practices for the use of fertilizers, and use tools such as deflector shields that ensure fertilizers are used in appropriate amounts and in appropriate places. Finally, the ordinance creates new requirements for golf courses and parks in design, testing and reporting, as well as in creating additional restrictions on County parks.
“Biscayne Bay has felt the impacts of urbanization and land-based sources pollution for decades—fertilizers among them,” said Kelly Cox, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of Miami Waterkeeper. “Today, the County is not only committing to regulate fertilizers, but is setting the bar with one of the most stringent regulations in the entire state of Florida. We are thrilled that Miami-Dade County is now leading the charge to address nutrient pollution in order to protect our waterways and Bay.”
“I am proud to have fought for measures to protect the health of Biscayne Bay as a County Commissioner and now as Miami-Dade Mayor—including this fertilizer ordinance, which is critical to preventing nutrient run-off and improving water quality,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Our environment is our economy, and action that we take over the next five years will be critical for the future of tourism in Miami-Dade and our long-term prosperity.”
To learn more about the fertilizer ordinance, visit bit.ly/mdcfertilizerordinance.
For more information, please contact Francis Izquierdo, Communications Coordinator for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins at [email protected] or 786-498-5003.