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Starting June 1, Remember To Go “Fertilizer-Free For Manatees”

The Fertilizer-Free For Manatees logo, which features a white silhouette of a manatee over the text "Fertilizer-Free For Manatees"

Save the Manatee® Club campaign encourages Floridians to protect manatees and their habitat by eliminating human sources of pollution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 1, 2023
Contact: media@savethemanatee.org, 407-539-0990

MAITLAND, FL—Save the Manatee Club is expanding its “Fertilizer-Free for Manatees” campaign to run throughout Florida’s rainy season, beginning June 1 and ending September 30. The campaign urges Florida residents to pledge to be fertilizer-free to reduce or eliminate their contributions to nutrient pollution in Florida’s waterways.

Such nutrient pollution is a major problem in the state, fueling repeated harmful algal blooms in coastal and inland waters. In the Indian River Lagoon, a critical manatee habitat, harmful algal blooms have decimated native seagrass, resulting in the deaths by starvation of hundreds of imperiled manatees since 2020. In addition, naturally occurring instances of red tide can be exacerbated by large inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus into the ocean from man-made sources, including fertilizer and waste water.

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;
  • 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 actions of each Florida resident can make a big difference in the health of our waterways, and in fact there are many areas in our state where local government ordinances prohibit fertilizer application during the rainy season,” said Kimberleigh Dinkins, Senior Conservation Associate at Save the Manatee Club, “In any case, being mindful that our actions impact our precious natural resources and taking steps to reduce the amount of human nutrient pollution is a good, sustainable practice. We can all make small changes that will protect manatees and their 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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