Dear Editor Simon:
Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island was founded in 1982, a time when there were fewer than 6,000 residents on Marco Island. One of Calusa Garden Club’s founding principles in 1982 was the protection of the environment. Now, in 2020, with Marco Island’s population of over 17,000 permanent residents, plus part–time residents and vacationers, the stress on our island’s natural habitat had increased exponentially.
In February, one of our club members and past presidents, Sue Oldershaw, spoke to Marco Island City Council about our city’s water quality report. Our waterways are polluted with high nutrient levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and chlorophyll. We, the Marco Island residents, are to blame—and we can start now to change this water emergency.
A major cause of the water problem is the existence of many, many home and condominium landscapes with grass lawns and non-Florida friendly plants that need fertilizer. That fertilizer is washed directly into our waterways from our seawalls and through our stormwater drainage system. If our home and condominium landscapes were planted with Florida-friendly, regionally appropriate plants, fertilizer would not be necessary and as an added bonus, the need for irrigation would be drastically reduced.
Our City of Marco Island fertilizer ordinance prohibits fertilizer application between June 1 and September 30 and prohibits all fertilizer application within 10 feet of a waterway at all times of the year. Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island wishes to wake up our landowners by reminding them that this fertilizer ban is fast approaching, and to educate our citizens about the need for change in our landscaping practices.
Yours very truly,
President Sara Wolf
Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island