Michigan Counties Adopt Water Protection Law

Michigan Counties Adopt Water Protection Law

The Van Buren County Commissioners (Michigan) unanimously adopted a new law that restricts the amount of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers to zero percent. Similar laws have been adopted in five additional counties in Michigan with the shared goal to reduce pollution to lakes and rivers from polluted runoff.

Van Buren’s ordinance is backed up with enforcement by the Drain Commissioner. The Two Rivers Coalition participated in the public process by educating community members and local officials about how the phosphorus bans worked in other counties and the positive results achieved. They relate a story from the Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin, who shared in a presentation that he never receives a call regarding environmental concerns, but that almost every problem the community faced required an environmental solution, and that their phosphorus ban made a tremendous difference in water quality and tourism.

Fertilizers are used on lawns to make the grass healthy, lush and strong. Unfortunately, the nutrients found in the fertilizers also help to make plants found in our lakes and rivers grow healthy and lush too, often causing nuisance levels of algae and aquatic plants. According to the Van Buren County Extension office, over 85% of the lawn and garden soils tested indicated no need for additional phosphorus. The Two Rivers Coalition is proud of the community leaders in Van Buren County for recognizing that through simple actions, such as eliminating phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, we can reduce pollution and help protect our waters.

For more information contact Two Rivers Coalition member, Dave Foerster at foerdog@aol.com.

 

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.