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Save the Manatee® Club Launches “Fertilizer-Free For Manatees”

22 FertilizerFree Logo (2)

Campaign encourages Floridians to reduce human sources of pollution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—July 13, 2022
Contact: media@savethemanatee.org, 407-539-0990

MAITLAND, FL—Save the Manatee Club has launched a new campaign urging Florida residents to pledge to be “Fertilizer-Free for Manatees,” thereby reducing or eliminating their contributions to nutrient pollution in Florida’s waterways.

Such nutrient pollution is a critical problem in the state, fueling repeated harmful algal blooms in coastal and inland waters. In the Indian River Lagoon, a critical manatee habitat, such harmful algal blooms have decimated native seagrass, resulting in the deaths by starvation of hundreds of imperiled manatees. An unprecedented 1,100 manatees died in Florida in 2021. Tragically, this Unusual Mortality Event is ongoing, and more than 600 manatees have died statewide in just the first half of this year.

The campaign aims to underscore that while addressing the overall problem requires a multifaceted approach, the actions of each Florida resident can make a big difference for the health of our waterways.

In pledging to be Fertilizer-Free for Manatees, Floridians commit to:

  • Avoid fertilizer use on lawns and landscapes;
  • Conserve water by irrigating only when necessary;
  • Keep grass clippings out of streets, waterbodies, and swales; and
  • Learn about Florida-Friendly Landscaping to protect waterways.

The campaign website also expands on the pledge by providing several household tips for protecting manatees at home—from installing rain sensors to mulching grass and yard debris—and directs homeowners to resources for researching fertilizer ordinances in their communities. The campaign will be publicized online, in print, and on billboard installations on Florida’s east coast.

“Human nutrient pollution from various sources has been a major driver of the harmful algal blooms that have led to a catastrophic number of manatee deaths,” said Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist and Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “The Fertilizer-Free for Manatees campaign aims to educate the public about how their individual actions, which may seem small, can have a cumulative healing effect on the overall health of our Florida waterways. Together, we can all take steps at home to protect manatees and their essential habitat.”

For more information, visit fertilizerfree.org.

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Save the Manatee Club, established in 1981 by the late renowned singer-songwriter, author, and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, along with late former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is dedicated to safeguarding manatees and preserving their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

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