September 9, 2008

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is launching a new public awareness campaign in the Crystal River/Kings Bay area that will help residents have green lawns, not green water.

The multimedia campaign, which was developed to address increasing nitrate levels in Crystal River and Kings Bay, focuses on teaching Citrus and Marion county residents about proper fertilizer use.

Excess fertilizer applied to public parks, golf courses and lawns can percolate through the ground and enter the groundwater supply or wash off the land and into lakes, rivers and the gulf. Once in our waterways, these fertilizers cause algal blooms, which deplete the oxygen that fish need to survive and shade out beneficial aquatic plants. This pollution of surface and ground water also impacts our drinking water supplies.

The District’s public awareness campaign coincides with the end of the growing season, which is September and October. One of the key points of the campaign includes fertilizing your lawn no more than twice a year and only during the growing season. Another key point is to always read and follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag.

The campaign goal is to teach residents and landscape professionals to:

  • Use slow-release fertilizer.
  • Do not fertilize before a heavy rain.
  • Sweep up any excess fertilizer spilled on paved or the lawn areas as thoroughly as possible and put it back in the bag.
  • Do not fertilize or use pesticides within 10 feet of a water body.

This public awareness campaign includes radio, print and movie theatre advertisements and billboards. Homeowners and landscape professionals will also receive information through the mail.

To receive a free copy of the Fertilizer Facts publication, please visit the District’s web site at

Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

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