13 Door County Groups Endorse Proposed Ban on Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizers

The Partnership for Phosphate Reduction, a coalition of 13 Door County community environmental and homeowner groups, applauded two new bills before the Wisconsin Legislature that could potentially ban phosphorus in most lawn fertilizer sold in the state.

The two bills, Assembly Bill 3 and Senate Bill 5 have been introduced in Madison. Both of Door County’s elected officials, Rep. Gary Bies and Sen. Alan Lasee are cosponsors of both bills.

Peter Sigmann, coordinator of the partnership, is pleased to add, “Phosphorus is not a necessary nutrient for beautiful, green lawns. By themselves, these bills won’t completely solve the nutrient overload in our waters that feeds our cladophora problem, but they are an important step to a final solution.”

Excessive phosphorous in surface waters is blamed as a major cause of the over-abundance of cladophora: the green, stinky, slimy algae that washes up on Door County’s beaches every summer.

“The other important thing to remember,” says Sigmann, “is that there is usually plenty of phosphorus in Wisconsin soils for healthy lawn growth and maintenance. The great majority of lawns will be just fine without additional phosphorus in their fertilizers.”

Both bills provide exceptions for some limited phosphorus use. Farm use will be unaffected. A homeowner’s soil that tests deficient for phosphorus and some new lawn installations could also be exempt, as might milorganite, a by-product of sewage treatment plants.

Other environmental groups have also responded positively. Wisconsin Environment, said in a recent press release: “A growing body of research indicates that restricting the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers can be an effective way to reduce the amount of phosphorus that is washed into our lakes from residential areas.”

Dane County and several villages and towns in Wisconsin already have laws that restrict the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers.

The Partnership for Phosphate Reduction is sponsored chiefly by Door Property Owners, Inc. It includes Bayshore Property Owners, Door County Environmental Council, Door Property Owners, Friends of Toft Point, Glidden Drive Association, Lake Forest Park Association, League of Women Voters of Door County, Little Sturgeon Area Property Owners Association, Sustain Door, The Ridges Sanctuary, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and Whitefish Bay Association.

For more information on the partnership or to receive a copy of their brochure, contact Peter Sigmann at 920.824.5193, or visit the Web site at www.DCPhosphateFree.org.

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