In an effort to bypass new regulations brought on by forthcoming state law, Collier County’s Environmental Advisory Council voted unanimously to recommend a stricter fertilizer law Wednesday.

Florida’s so-called “fertilizer bill,” also known as Senate Bill 606 and House Bill 457, would prohibit local governments from adopting fertilizer laws more restrictive than a state model ordinance. But a recently offered amendment would “keep intact all pre-existing local fertilizer rules,” allowing counties like Collier to grandfather in their respective fertilizer rules, so long as they are adopted before July 1.

Members of the Collier council argue that stricter fertilizer rules are necessary to clean up area waterways, which are often inundated with toxic algal blooms, a symptom of nutrient-laden runoff from fertilized lawns.

According to the Naples Daily News, the proposal would ban homeowners and landscape companies from using fertilizer from June to September, a stipulation that has critics up in arms:

“All I ask is for science,” said horticulturist Mike Barrow, a manager for Greenscapes, a landscape maintenance company.

The Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association and its local chapter also opposed the stricter law Wednesday; the Collier County Audubon Society and Audubon of Florida backed them.

The proposal will next make its way to the Collier County Planning Commission for review and may possibly be voted on by county commissioners come May.

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