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“Non-scientific & Discriminatory” Fertilizer Ordinances Creating Jurisdictional Chaos in State, Jeopardizing Water Quality & Waterways

LAKELAND, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Environmental Research and Education Foundation, Inc. (EREF), today put the City of Naples on notice for its “unconstitutional and discriminatory” fertilizer ordinance. If the City of Naples does not withdraw its fertilizer ordinance within 30 days, EREF will file a lawsuit against the city. To view EREF’s letter to the City of Naples, please click here.

“After making every effort to resolve matters amicably, EREF believes it is in the green industry and the state’s best interest to look to the courts for judicial relief from the unconstitutional and non-scientific fertilizer ordinance put in place by the City of Naples,” said Mac Carraway, executive director of EREF. “Misguided and discriminatory ordinances, like this one, are creating jurisdictional chaos in our state, jeopardizing Florida’s water quality and waterways.”

Over the years, EREF has made every effort to collaborate with local governments across the State of Florida. EREF has been successful in many cases, with some local governments rejecting such restrictive ordinances outright, and others incorporating appropriate exemptions for licensed professionals. But often enough, the science is dismissed or ignored.

“Healthy lawns and landscapes support the well-being of our environment and are an integral piece to solving the statewide problem of nutrient loading,” continued Carraway. “In fact, independent, third-party sources have acknowledged that septic tanks and failed sanitary and stormwater systems are largely responsible for nutrient loading and algae blooms. State agencies charged with environmental protection and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have spoken against these misguided bans because they do not address root causes and, while sounding good, actually have the potential to do more harm to our waterways.”

EREF has long pointed out the big root causes – septic tanks and failed sanitary and stormwater systems – to nutrient loading and water quality issues throughout the state, which is something that has been confirmed by independent and third-party sources. In fact, these independent and third-party sources have identified that the nutrients tied to septic tanks and wastewater are the ones commonly found in areas plagued by blue-green algae, and these root causes are only expected to worsen with Florida’s population growth and sea level rise.

“To remedy this problem, we must seek to have the City of Naples withdraw its discriminatory and harmful ordinance. The green industry has been and remains committed to evidence-based practices that protect water quality throughout the State of Florida,” concluded Carraway.

EREF is a broad-based coalition that includes urban landscape professionals, golf course superintendents, lawn care service providers, sod producers, nursery growers, sports turf managers, club managers, commercial and residential property managers, and municipal and parks groundskeepers. EREF and its members work to protect Florida’s environment and natural resources through the funding of environmental research and the dissemination of sound scientific findings on the environmental and human health benefits of healthy, properly maintained green spaces and urban landscapes. EREF believes in collaboration, education and working with local citizens and elected officials to address real solutions for water conservation and water quality.

To learn more about EREF, please visit, follow @EREFlorida on Twitter and like on Facebook.


Sarah Bascom, [email protected], 850.294.6636

Kelsey Swithers, [email protected], 941.400.8183