Council approves new fertilizer ordinance
Cape Coral City Council Unanimously approved a new fertilizer ordinance Monday, bringing the city in line with, and in some instances beyond, the same ordinance already in place for both Lee County and the state of Florida.
Oliver Clarke from the city’s Public Works Department said a fertilizer ordinance was ready to go as early as the beginning of the North Spreader Ecosystem Management Agreement process, but the ordinance was held, in part, to create a more stringent set of rules than required by the state or the county.
Clarke added that a few of those stricter requirements of the ordinance includes a four-month blackout period during the rainy season, and does not allow any fertilization within 30 days of new plantings, among others.
Mayor John Sullivan said his concerns for water quality extend beyond the boundaries of the city.
“My main concern right now is for what’s happening up-stream from Cape Coral,” Sullivan said. “We’re taking the brunt of this … I hope the state or the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) will get involved.”
Approval of the ordinance met with almost universal praise, as representatives from environmental agencies, including the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Charlotte Harbour Estuary Program, came out to show support of adopting the ordinance.
Carl Veaux, a local activist and member of Audubon Society, said the council is saving tax dollars in the long run by adopting the ordinance because it would be protecting local waters from potential pollution and algae blooms.
“I feel they’re protecting the fish for the fishermen and saving the water so we can swim in it,” Veaux said.
City Biologist Connie Jarvis said the information contained within the new ordinance will be made available through the city’s website and via public service announcements.
Warren Bush, a long-time Cape resident as well as a master gardener, applauded the city’s efforts to enact the ordinance, even if it took a while.
“I’m a little disappointed it took us this long to get to it, but it doesn’t lessen the impact of it,” Bush said.