“Spring” into Action for Barnegat Bay

Lavallette, NJ- Barnegat Bay is polluted with an excessive amount of nitrogen, a primary ingredient in lawn-care fertilizers.  As a result, the Bay’s unique ecosystem is dying.  Clean Ocean Action and Save Barnegat Bay urge Ocean County homeowners to take the Barnegat Bay Buddy Challenge, a simple stewardship program in which citizens earn points by taking actions that will reduce the pollution entering the Bay.

“The Barnegat Bay Buddy Challenge helps individuals become better Bay stewards, and will incorporate them into a larger movement for collective citizen action to help Barnegat Bay,” said Tavia Danch, Education Coordinator for Clean Ocean Action.  

“In 2010, NJ passed the nation’s toughest fertilizer law which will reduce the amount of pollution entering the bay, as well as all other waterways in the state. NJ is the first state to limit both the nitrogen and phosphorus content in all lawn-care fertilizer products sold at retail.  In addition, the law will regulate the use of these fertilizers by consumers and professionals,” commented Willie DeCamp, chairman of Save Barnegat Bay. 

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The law also prohibits fertilizer application from November 15- March 1 or any other time the ground is frozen (special restrictions apply to professional applicators).  The law ensures that all lawn care providers applying fertilizers must be certified. Further information about New Jersey’s Fertilizer Law can be found at snyderfarm.rutgers.edu/njfertilizerlawguide.html.

Clean Ocean Action and Save Barnegat Bay applaud the efforts and leadership of NJ’s elected officials that made this law possible.  New Jersey’s law is now a national model and is planting the seeds for many other states in regards to fertilizer laws and regulations. Though all regulations go into effect by 2013, consumers should ALWAYS monitor content labels, follow directions accordingly, ensure their lawn-care providers are certified,  and ultimately consider best management practices on their properties to avoid the use of fertilizer, said Wini Applegate.

By becoming a Barnegat Bay Buddy, individuals will identify and accomplish small steps that will keep their yards healthy without the use of fertilizers.  Barnegat Bay Buddy applications can be filled out online or downloaded at www.CleanOceanAction.org.  Certified Bay Buddies are awarded an attractive yard medallion to highlight your “bay friendly” status.