Best Management Practices for Reducing Nutrients From Landscaping


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A presentation on best management practices for reducing nutrients from landscaping on Nantucket, Massachusetts. Presented by Cormac Collier, Executive Director of the Nantucket Land Council, during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2013 Decision Makers Workshop series. Learn more at

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Best Management Practices for Reducing Nutrients From Landscaping

  1. 1. Best Management Practices ForReducing Nutrients from Landscaping Buzzards Bay Coalition Decision Makers Workshop March 20, 2013 Cormac Collier Executive Director Nantucket Land Council, Inc
  2. 2. ObjectivesNutrient overloading issues on NantucketCommunity EducationProcess for creating BOH regulationsOverview of Best Management Practices
  3. 3. Nantucket Land Council, Inc.Established in 1974, the Nantucket Land Council is the onlyenvironmental watchdog group on Nantucket. The NLC works toprotect Nantucket’s natural resources in three major areas –planning,protecting, preservingPlanning - The NLC monitors developmentproposals, offers educational programs, grantsand scholarships and makes recommendationto voters on issues which affect the environmentProtecting - The NLC conducts scientificresearch to support the protection of our naturalresources such as native species, wildlife habitat,and water qualityPreserving - The NLC specializes in holdingconservation restrictions.
  4. 4. Plant Communities of Nantucket • Sandplain grasslands • Heathlands • Coastal Shrublands/ scrub oak • Red Maple/tupelo forestsNantucket Soils • Dominated by sands and fine gravels with low organic matter content. • Soils readily allow water to infiltrate and are prone to nutrient leaching. • Pockets of clay in the north with impermeable layers of clay several feet underground.
  5. 5. Sources of Nutrient PollutionAtmospheric Deposition- Direct Rainfall- Stormwater runfoffSepticFertilizer
  6. 6. Water QualityDocumented increase in nutrients in Nantucket’scoastal embayments and freshwater bodiesMassachusetts Estuary ReportRemediation efforts have targeted septicsystems, expansion of sewer, stormwaterinfrastructure and most recently fertilizer.
  7. 7. 45% of the island is protected byvarious conservation organizations
  8. 8. How does a communityreduce inappropriatefertilizer use? Education Regulation
  9. 9. Indicator SpeciesCommunity Symbol
  10. 10. No Eelgrass = No Scallops
  11. 11. Watershed Approach 1990 Water Resources Management Plan by HWW, delineated all the island watersheds Regulations and education directed at watershed land use. Similar to Wellhead Recharge District management
  12. 12. Recent efforts to reduce nutrient leaching from fertilizersCitizen’s Article at 2010 Town Meeting proposed to regulate fertilizer use island wide - Reintroduced the issue back into the community through a direct legislative attempt at control - Language of article was flawed - Proponents did not gather community wide consensus. Lack of input from broad range of individuals and practitioners - Regulations needed to be science based.
  13. 13. Formation of “Article 68” Workgroup Charge:  Develop a comprehensive plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in our harbors.  Develop an implementation plan, budget, and timeframe.
  14. 14. Committee MembersNon-profitsConservation CommissionLandscape professionalsGolf course managersFishermenConcerned CitizensPoliticians
  15. 15. Committee RecommendationsNew Board of Health Regulations & Home RulePetition Type, quantity, timing Island wideCreation of a Best Management PracticesManualEducational initiatives & training for homeownersand landscape professionals
  16. 16. TOWN OF NANTUCKET BOARD OF HEALTH REGULATIONS THE CONTENT AND APPLICATION OF FERTILIZER FOR USE ON NANTUCKET REG 75.00Core standards No fertilizer application between Oct.16 – April 14 No Phosphorus unless a soil test indicates a deficiency No more than a total of 3lbs of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft per year. No more than .25lbs of quick release nitrogen per 1000 sq feet per application and no more than .5lbs total per application Applications two weeks apart. Inspect and monitor
  17. 17. Standards for Commercial ApplicatorsAll Commercial Applicators must receive alicense from Board of Health and followthe Best Management Practices Manual.Enforcement ??? Non-Criminal Disposition $300 per day for each day of violation
  18. 18. Objectives of BMPTo provide landscape professionals and homeowners withinformation for making environmentally sound landscaping decisionsthat take Nantucket’s unique conditions and natural resources intoconsiderationTo promote the protection of water resources while maintaininghealthy and vibrant ornamental landscapesTo reduce the amount of fertilizer use by promoting culturalpractices that help reduce nutrient inputsTo offer site planning guidelines and suggestions for ecologicalrestoration that help reduce island-wide fertilizer dependentlandscapesTo provide science based guidance for nutrient management oflawns and gardens on Nantucket
  19. 19. BMP Site Assessment Identifying Site Conditions Site planning for new construction Site planning for existing landscapes Choosing a management plan
  20. 20. Soil Nutrients & Soil Test Why test your soil? Tips for obtaining a good sample Sample soil test
  21. 21. Fertilizer Types and Sources Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium NPK Nitrogen - Slow Release Water insoluble Coated slow release - Water soluble
  22. 22. The Role of Compost• Provides organic matter• Food source for beneficial bacteria and fungi• Improves moistureretention• Improves nutrient retention• Is considered a fertilizer for the purposes of the BMP Typical percentages of N and P in compost from various sources Compost Type %N %P Leaf litter 0.1 0.05–0.2 Horse manure 0.5–1.5 0.5–1.5 Lawn, garden, and food waste 1.0–1.5 1.0–1.5 Dairy manure 1.0–1.5 1.0–1.5 Feedlot manure 1.0–1.5 1.0–1.5 Poultry manure 1.5–2.0 1.5–2.5
  23. 23. Fertilizer ApplicationSpoon feeding conceptNo fertilizer application between Oct.16 – April 14No Phosphorus unless a soil test indicates a deficiencyNo more than .5lbs of quick release nitrogen per 1000 sq feet perapplication and no more than 1lbs total per application. .5lbs total perapplication is preferred. Business model changeNo more than a total of 3lbs of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft per year.Applications are two weeks apart.Issues to consider Recycling of grass clippings Continued compost applications Foliar feeding Spreader calibration Record Keeping
  24. 24. Sample management plansGuidelines for establishment and renovation of turfgrassNutrient Management of gardens, trees and shrubsRole of irrigationNative PlantsTurf Care Cultural Practices Mowing frequency & height Recycling clippings Core aeration Dethatching Top-dressing
  25. 25. ImplementationEducation & Outreach Landscape Professionals Homeowners RetailLicensingGovernment Follow Through
  26. 26. Questions?