Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • April 29, 2009 Mahwah Township adopts outdoor fertilizer regulations by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Council has adopted an ordinance to regulate the outdoor application of fertilizer in the township. This ordinance, mandated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, aims to reduce the overall amount of excess nutrients entering waterways in order to protect and improve surface water quality. The ordinance does not apply to the application of fertilizer on commercial farms, but the ordinance emphasizes that commercial farmers’ stewardship is needed to address this potential source of excess nutrient load to water bodies. The ordinance prohibits anyone from any of the following actions: applying fertilizer when a runoff producing rainfall is occurring, or predicted to occur within 48 hours, and/or when soils are saturated and the potential exists for off-site fertilizer movement; applying fertilizer to an impervious surface and not removing it from that surface or returning it to its original container, or another appropriate container, for reuse; applying fertilizer more than 15 days prior to March 1 or anytime after Nov. 15; and applying phosphorus fertilizer in outdoor areas except where it is demonstrated to be needed for the specific soils and target vegetation in accordance with a soils test and the associated annual fertilizer recommendation issued by Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension. The township’s police department or the township’s property maintenance officer will be responsible for enforcing the ordinance. Any person found to be in violation of Brownie Troop 765 of Mahwah recently sent cards and cookies to the soldiers in Iraq. The troops sold 168 extra boxes of Girl Scout cookies that will be delivered to Army Captain Brian Tuohy of Wyckoff, who is stationed in Baghdad. He is the cousin of troop member Gracie Mariani. Gifts from home the provisions of this ordinance will be subject to a fine not to exceed $2,500. Exceptions to the above restrictions include the application of phosphorus fertilizer needed for establishing vegetation for the first time, such as after land disturbance, provided the application is in accordance with the requirements established under the state’s Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act; the application of phosphorus fertilizer that delivers liquid or granular fertilizer under the soil’s surface directly to the feeder roots; or application of phosphorus fertilizer to residential container plantings, flowerbeds, or vegetable gardens. Councilman Allan Kidd objected to the size of the potential fine, saying, “I think $2,500 is too much. It’s outrageous. Why give John Doe a ticket for fertilizing his lawn -- why not a $50 fine?” But the ordinance was endorsed by all the rest of the members of the governing body. In the ordinance, fertilizer is defined as any substance containing one or more recognized plant nutrients, and which is designed for use, or claimed to have value, in promoting plant growth. The ordinance explains that elevated levels of nutrients in surface water bodies, particularly phosphorus, can result in excessive and accelerated growth of algae and aquatic plants, which can be detrimental to aquatic life. As algae and plant materials die, the ordinance explains, the decay process creates further demand on dissolved oxygen levels and the presence of excessive plant matter can restrict the use of the affected water for recreation and water supply. The ordinance explains that, while healthy vegetated areas protect water quality by stabilizing soil and filtering precipitation, when fertilizers are applied to the land surface improperly, or in excess of the needs of the vegetation, nutrients can be transported by means of storm water to nearby waterways, contributing to the problematic growth of excessive aquatic vegetation. “Most soils in New Jersey contain sufficient amounts of phosphorus to support adequate root growth for established turf,” the ordinance states. “Over time, it is necessary to replenish available phosphorus but generally not at the levels commonly applied. Other vegetation, such as vegetable gardens and agricultural and horticultural plantings, will have a greater need for phosphorus application, as will the repair or establishment of new lawns or cover vegetation.” The ordinance recommends a soil test and a fertilizer application geared to the soil and planting type as the best means to determine the amount of nutrients to apply. The timing and placement of the fertilizer application is also critical to avoid transport of nutrients to waterways through storm water runoff. �� �� ��� � �� HOME HARDWARE Offers More WEBER® Grill Options Than Any Other Store We Carry The Entire Line Of WEBER® Grills From Standard Models To Premium Versions Not Available In Many Stores. 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