Picture is of Jackson Creek in Yellowwood State Forest, located in Brown County, IN
As the largest irrigated crop, turfgrass covers approximately40 million acres in U.S. according to the journal Environmental Management.Additionally, tens of millions of pounds of fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides used on our lawns annually (Source: http://oceandoctor.org/want-to-help-the-gulf-of-mexico-kill-your-lawn/).~~Specific details:According to Ecological Engineering, “U.S. lawn maintenance annually consumes about 800 million gallons of gasoline, $5.2 billion of fossil-fuel derived fertilizers, and $700 million in pesticides. Up to two thirds of the drinking water consumed in municipalities goes to watering lawns”. You become the life support for a monoculture of conventional turf grass.
A watershed – an area of land that drains to one location. Land use is directly connected to water quality. As little as 10% impervious surfaces can result in stream degradation. An increase in impervious surfaces, especially in urban areas will compact soil, which restricts plant growth because the roots struggle to reach nutrients.In an area of 75-100% impervious surfaces, water will move through: 30% evapotranspiration, 55% runoff, and 15% infiltration vs. an area of natural ground cover: 40% evapotranspiration, 50% infiltration, 10% runoff (Source: according to USGS in Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices).
There are many sources of nutrient pollution including commercial, industrial discharge, urban (fertilizer use, pet waste, municipal wastewater treatment plants, combined sewer systems, vegetation, chemicals), highways, agricultural (cropland & livestock operations, manure, insecticides), construction work, soil erosion, air pollutants (dust, fossil fuels). Fertilizer use is only one of those sources, but an important way for each individual homeowner and landowner to feel connected in their watershed and actively choose to curb nutrient overloading. The #1 contributor of pollution to water is sediment.~~Sources:Septic system (http://www.bellinspection.com/sitebuilder/images/drainfield-570x379.jpg)Pesticide Plane (Roger Smith, courtesy Flickr,www.betterlivingshow.org)Fertilizer bag (NC State University,ces.ncsu.edu)Construction (http://prairierivers.org/articles/2008/09/construction-monitoring/)Soil Erosion (Lynn Betts, USDA/NRCS, http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/September04/Features/measuringsuccess.htm)Cows (http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=87401.0)Pipe (https://www.wecanlivegreen.com/greenliving/environmentalissues/pollution.html)Geese (http://www.lakecountryjournal.com/node/654)Snow Plow (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210125424.htm)Pet waste (http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-owner-topics/5-Ways-to-Dump-Pet-Poop.aspx)
Eutrophication is a process of nutrient overloading, resulting in excessive growth of algae. Phytoplankton will also thrive with the additional nutrients, providing necessary food to all aquatic life including macroinvertebrates and fish. The problem is encountered when algae covers the surface of lakes and reservoirs, shading the underwater plants. The lack of sunlight inhibits photosynthesis, or the process plants use to create oxygen and convert sunlight into energy for growth. Consequential oxygen depletion adversely affects aquatic life and often results in massive fish kills. Algal blooms also impair water quality and disrupt healthy populations by altering natural food webs, and some algae create toxins that can be dangerous to human and wildlife health.
Bioaccumulation of algal toxins-Toxins like microcystin will accumulate in fish.
Heat islands (localized areas of especially warm temperatures)Benthic macroinvertebrates, such as this stonefly and dragonfly are biological indicators of good water quality. When water is clean, healthy, and free of pollution, species such as stonefly, mayfly, and caddisfly will be present. Species that are moderately intolerant of pollution include damselfly, dragonfly, and clam/mussel. As water quality declines, species that can tolerate pollution will be prevalent. ~~(Source: Stonefly nymph, http://flytying123.com/entomology/stonefly-life-stages/)
US EPA, National Lakes Assessment of Temperate Plains: 45% hypereutrophic based on chlorophyll a (Source: http://water.epa.gov/type/lakes/lakessurvey_index.cfm)
40% of U.S. drains into Gulf of Mexico illustrating the magnitude of the problem.
2011: Dr. NancyRabalais and her team from LUMCON documented the size of the dead zone as 6,765 square miles, bigger than the state of Connecticut. It remains the 2nd largest hypoxic zone worldwide. This year, the size was smaller than expected because of tropical storm Don that mixed the waters, but yet still large. (Source: Dead Zone Large But Not Record Size. (2011). Retrieved August 15, 2011, from Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium: http://www.lumcon.edu/UserFiles/File/ DeadZonePressRelease.pdf).2010: Dr. Nancy Rabalais and her team from Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) determined the size of the dead zone – 7,722 square miles, size of Massachusetts, 2nd largest hypoxic zone worldwide only behind Baltic Sea. (Source: Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/named/msbasin/index.cfm)
As of August 2011, 12 states have active legislation restricting phosphorus use in turf fertilizers.~~Specific details:MI - 2006, Ann Arbor, MI adopted a P ban; levels in Huron River dropped 28% (Source: Lehman, Bell, and McDonald, 2009 Lake and Reservoir Management) MN - 2002, MN eliminated P in lawn fertilizer; reduced export into streams by 12-16% (Source: Barten and Johnson, 2007, Lakeline)FL - EPA developed criteria for the amount of nutrients entering FL’s waterways.
In this case, the petitioners were the following: Commissioners of the County of Steuben and Town Council of the Town of Clear Lake. In a county that has 101 lakes, water quality is of utmost importance to residents. The following were reasons that the Office of the State Chemist denied the requests:Insufficient scientific evidence to support that ordinance would improve water condition.Absence of a special case in Steuben that would dictate ordinances as the proper remedy. Education outreach was concluded to be the best approach as opposed to a ban.
~~In Fall 2010, there hadbeen no discussion of phosphorus legislation in the Water Resources Study Committee (WRSC). Although, in the Natural Resources Study Committee (NRSC) and the Environmental Quality Service Council (EQSC), the topic of phosphorus had been discussed as described below:NRSC: report presented from LMWG highlighting phosphorus. EQSC: presentations by IUPUI CEES, IDEM, and HEC.OPPOSED:1. Indiana Corn and Soybean Growers: Main concern is “how will this bill affect agricultural crops in the long run?” This bill will not include fertilizer applied on agricultural lands and will not be a next step.2. Green Industry Alliance & Professional Lawn and Landscape Commission: No manufacturers or distributors have agreed to a ban, but have voluntarily adjusted because of product availability. They do not believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a statewide ban.3. Indiana Professional Lawn & Landscape Association: They have encouraged phosphorus-free education and outreach, but it’s becoming harder to find phosphorus-enriched fertilizer. Therefore, legislation is unnecessary as the movement so far has been voluntary. They do not want soil tests to be required. 4. Golf Courses
Clean and clear water has many economical benefits including the following: reduce flooding risk/ property damage, increase property value, aesthetic value, public space & participation in recreation, and improved quality of life. Low-impact development practices are designed to mimic the natural hydrological cycle. If implemented, they can help manage stormwater runoff. Examples of these practices include pervious pavers, rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, etc.
Reduce your lawn size by planting more native trees, wildflowers, and prairie grasses. By incorporating diversity into your landscape, native bird and wildlife species will benefit from the added food, water, and habitat resources. Besides the advantages for wildlife, there are lower maintenance costs associated with native plants. Redesigning your landscape can reduce the need for fertilizer, water, and mowing.
Phosphorus in Our Lawn Fertilizer: Threatening Indiana's Water from Lawn to Lake
Phosphorus in Our Lawn Fertilizer:<br />Threatening Indiana’s Water and Wildlife from Lawn to Lake<br />indianawildlife.org<br />1<br />
Indiana Wildlife Federation<br /><ul><li>IWF Mission Is to promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.
Common Sense Conservation: Continuing with Roosevelt’s idea to enjoy nature, while preserving its resources
Leadership since 1938</li></ul>2<br />indianawildlife.org<br />
Phosphorus OVERLOAD on Land<br /><ul><li>Function: store energy & establish a strong root system
Movement: held by soil; flows into lakes and streams from urban, suburban, and agricultural areas
Surface Runoff<br />indianawildlife.org<br />4<br />As the percent of impervious surfaces increases from natural ground cover to 75% impervious, more water will runoff the surface during storms and less water will infiltrate the ground.<br />Hard, impervious surfaces will compact soil slowing plant growth, deplete groundwater resources, and accelerate stormwater runoff.<br />USDA NRCS<br />
Land Use + Water Quality<br />indianawildlife.org<br />5<br />Chesapeake Ecocheck<br />(http://www.eco-check.org/)<br />
indianawildlife.org<br />6<br />Sources of Nutrient Pollution<br />
Nutrients in Water<br />indianawildlife.org<br />7<br />In this process of eutrophication, nutrient overloading causes excessive algal growth. <br />Algae covers the surface of lakes and reservoirs, shading life underneath and inhibiting photosynthesis. <br />When algae dies, oxygen resources are drained, harming aquatic life.<br />City of Lincoln & Lancaster County, NE<br />
Nutrients in Water<br />indianawildlife.org<br />8<br />For healthy turf, 20ppm P is recommended whereas 25ppb (1,000x less) can contribute to algal blooms. <br />Established lawns do not need P, much of the turfgrass in Indiana has plenty!<br />University Lake<br />Indiana Clean Lakes Program, 2009<br />Palestine Lake<br />
Risks to Wildlife of Excessive Nutrient Pollution<br /><ul><li>Eutrophication – fish kills from reductions in dissolved oxygen, bioaccumulation of algal toxins in fish
Risks to Wildlife<br /><ul><li>Presence of pesticides – amphibian abnormalities, bird and fish kills, pollinator and insect population decline
Heat island effect – slows metabolism, reduces reproduction
Reduced biodiversity from loss of critters and flora more sensitive to pollution</li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />10<br />Stonefly (left) and dragonfly (right) are sensitive to pollution, thereby their presence can indicate good water quality.<br />
Status of Phosphorus in Indiana<br /><ul><li>US EPA NLA, 2010: 68% of Indiana lakes had high levels of microcystin with a national average of 32%.
IDEM draft 303d list, 2010: Number of impaired waters has increased by 200 to 2,882. </li></ul>Impairments: E.coli, impaired biotic communities, nutrients, algae, taste and odor, etc.<br />indianawildlife.org<br />11<br />Depending on the species of algae, different toxins can be produced. Not all algal blooms are evident with a mucky green cover across the surface, but can still be harmful.<br />Microcystin, an algal toxin <br />Indiana Clean Lakes Program, 2009<br />
Status of Phosphorus in Indiana<br /><ul><li>IDEM, 09.02.11: Areas above 100,000 cells/mL of cyanobacteria</li></ul>Hardy Lake State Reservoir<br />Potato Creek State Park<br />Salamonie Reservoir<br />Chain O’Lakes State Park (Long Lake)<br />Monroe Reservoir<br />Cecil M. Hardin Reservoir (Raccoon Lake)<br /><ul><li>IUPUI CEES, 09.02.11: Reservoirs above 100,000 cells/mL of cyanobacteria - Eagle Creek, Geist, Morse, Patoka</li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />12<br />Ocean Shores, WA (osgov.com)<br />World Health Organization ascribes a “high risk for adverse effects” beyond 100,000 cells/mLcyanobacteria.<br />
Nutrients travel downstream…<br />indianawildlife.org<br />13<br />USGS: While the smallest state in the Mississippi River Basin Watershed, Indiana is the 3rd largest contributor of phosphorus to the Gulf of Mexico.<br />USGS<br />
And contribute to an area devoid of life!<br />indianawildlife.org<br />14<br />Oceandoctor.org<br />LUMCON: In 2011, this zone was the 2nd largest in size (6,765 mi2) worldwide after Baltic Sea.<br />blog.nola.com<br />
Indiana: A leader in phosphorus restriction?<br /><ul><li>1972: Indiana led the nation in efforts to reduce the use of P in laundry detergents.
2008: Statute bans P in dish soap, effective since July 2010.</li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />15<br /><ul><li>Indiana is falling behind…States including FL, IL, ME, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NY, VA, VT, WA, and WI are working on policies or already have an active law in place to restrict use of fertilizers containing phosphorus</li></li></ul><li>Local Fertilizer Ordinance<br /><ul><li>Jan. 2010: OISC denied both. Why?</li></ul>Insufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate an ordinance would improve water conditions.<br />Absence of a special case in Steuben County.<br />indianawildlife.org<br />16<br />kpcnews.net<br /><ul><li>2007: in Steuben County, Clear Lake attempted to restrict the use and sale of P-enriched fertilizer with a local ordinance. A county-wide ordinance was passed. </li></li></ul><li>Topic of Discussion<br />Steps in the right direction…<br /><ul><li>Feb. 2010, House Res.0027 request NRSC and EQSC form a committee to address P in lawn fertilizers
Jan. 2011, Rep. Dodge filed HB1425, restricting use of fertilizer with P. Not heard in the NR Committee nor added to the language of any Senate bills. </li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />17<br />Using P-free fertilizer<br />And many more!<br />Lake County, IL www.lakecountyil.gov<br />
Revised 3B License Certification for Fertilizer Applicators <br /><ul><li>Nov. 2010 from OISC: </li></ul>All commercial applications of fertilizer material for turf maintenance must be applied by a certified or supervised applicator employed by a licensed business (LSA Document #10-565).<br />indianawildlife.org<br />18<br />agriturf.net<br /><ul><li>Includes agricultural fertilizer use by commercial applicators.
Education will include BMPs for fertilizer use, but does not restrict how much P can be applied.
Excludes private landowners.</li></li></ul><li>How can you help?<br /><ul><li>Landscape sustainably
Harvest rainwater</li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />19<br />Let’s turn this murky, slimy green water into…<br />clean, clear, and healthy water!<br />Photo by: Michael Mill<br />Sciencedaily.com<br />
Maintain annually or more frequently as needed</li></ul>Examples<br />Autumn olive Canada thistle Common reed Garlic mustard Japanese honeysuckle Kudzu Oriental bittersweet Purple loosestrife Reed canary grass Spotted knapweed Tree-of-heaven<br />indianawildlife.org<br />22<br />Garlic mustard <br />National Park Service<br />Spotted knapweed<br />Midwest Invasive Plant Network<br />Tree-of-heaven<br />
Select Native Species to Plant!<br /><ul><li>Add diversity by planting a variety of habitats – prairie, forest, wetland
Create a vegetated buffer of wildflowers and grasses near water
Plant a rain garden to reduce lawn size where possible
Certify your property as wildlife friendly!</li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />23<br />National Park Service<br />To date, IWF has certified 500 acres including prairie plantings, wetland enhancements, tree & shrub plantings, invasive species control. More than 300 acres is being managed.<br />
Harvest Rainwater<br />Through conservation, retention, and recycling<br /><ul><li>Water turfgrass early morning, only as needed
Build vegetated bioswales or bioretention features
Use pervious surface </li></ul>indianawildlife.org<br />24<br />sbprojectcleanwater.org<br />
Create an Oasis for Wildlife<br />indianawildlife.org<br />25<br />From wetlands for amphibians, fish, insect pollinators, and birds…<br />
indianawildlife.org<br />26<br />Cornell Lab of Ornithology (allaboutbirds.org)<br />To prairies full of unique native grasses & wildflowers for birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals<br />
Start Today!<br /><ul><li>Pledge to be P-free atwww.indianawildlife.org/phosphorus.htmin the Clear Choices, Clean Water campaign. Consider the additional pledges to clean up pet waste, maintain septic systems, and plant native species.