City of Rockledge concerned over Indian River Lagoon's water quality

Sierra Club says fertilizer could be killing manatees, dolphin, pelicans

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com
Published On: May 01 2013 05:33:23 PM EDT   Updated On: May 02 2013 04:00:39 PM EDT
ROCKLEDGE, Fla. -

Sierra Club is hoping to drive the point home after dozens of manatees have died in the Indian River Lagoon since last year, with the cause for concern is fertilizer.

"This is the most biodiverse lagoon in all of North America and we are literally watching it die right now," Macy Zander with the Sierra Club told Local 6, adding that manatees, dolphins and pelicans are included.

In March, Rockledge city council members put some tough rules on the use of fertilizer, including a blackout season during the rainy months citing that is when the chemicals are more likely to runoff, encouraging algae and other water plants.

"To draw any conclusion to fertilizer or fertilizer application during the summer months and manatee deaths is just flat out wrong," said Todd Josko with Florida Turfgrass Association.

Josko calls the correlation ludicrous.

Now, months after the new ban, they're looking for exemptions for like golf courses, athletic fields.

"All the studies show that fertilizer property applied stays put," said Josko.

Biologists will tell you that they are not sure what exactly is killing off the animals, but, they say, fertilizer is a start.

Zander said, "This is the cheapest thing we can do as taxpayers to actually stop this pollution from happening before we're left with costly clean up measures."

"I'd call it incorrect," said Josko.

Call it what you will but one thing is fore sure, the fight will continue.

"Honestly, if money didn't talk, I think we would've won this battle a long time ago," said Zander.