There’s a creek that runs through my neighborhood. I walk it frequently. I consider myself the unofficial keeper of this creek, as I uproot invasive mustard plants and pick up dozens of bags of trash along a mile stretch of the creek.
I recently saw a large fish that swam and looked like a trout (I’ve seen trout in rivers in CO). A couple of days later, I saw a similar fish dead in the water.
Algae is caused by excess nitrogen from lawn fertilizers and chokes the oxygen out of our waterways, making it difficult for other marine life to thrive. If you happen to fly into National Airport, take a look down at the Potomac River and you’ll see vast swaths of algae blooms.
As I walk in my neighborhood and drive through others, I am astounded at how many people put chemicals on their lawns, chemicals that are killing our creeks and rivers and hurting the Chesapeake.
I remember years ago almost falling out of my chair when I saw this ad by The Chesapeake Club:
I thought its message was one that would reach the mainstream and at least get people to skip adding chemicals in the spring – and bring attention to the fact that lawn chemicals do indeed hurt the Bay.
Scotts Lawn Care ads have shown up on my facebook page this past month. When I first saw an ad, I shook my head, thinking “here is yet another industry that I’d like to see eliminated.” (Others include coal, bottled water, and to a large extent, petroleum.)
My friend, Matt Logan, is president of a group called Potomac Riverkeeper. I suggested to him early this week that we team up to do something about the lawncare chemical industry’s saturation of chemicals on lawns. I was pleasantly surprised when he sent me an article showing that a law in MD was passed in 2009 that somewhat limits the application of lawn chemicals (the legislation generally copied Annapolis’ existing law).
Regulating the supply is a good start. The next step is to decrease demand by educating consumers and changing their behaviors. Please join this campaign to save the Chesapeake watershed – and take comfort in knowing that there are many on board already.