Dolphins are dying at alarmingly high rates in Florida's Indian River Lagoon, a shallow estuary closed off from the Atlantic Ocean by barrier beaches. This place of white sands, seagrasses, and abundant wildlife has become over-saturated by harmful nitrogen pollutants, with a black, mucky bottom, choked by algal blooms.
In 2008, 43 dolphins died in the Indian River Lagoon. In 2009, 48 dolphins died. Dolphins are getting sick, exhibiting skin-eating fungal infections, and they're dying. Their waters have become a toxic soup. To save the dolphins, we can easily lessen the amount of nitrogen pollution entering the Lagoon. To do this, county ordinances are needed.
Nitrogen is the worst pollutant of oceans in the world. Dolphin deaths are greatest when chlorophyll and nitrogen levels are highest in the water. The EPA estimates that the Lagoon gets three million pounds of nitrogen per year from the land. This is 1 million pounds of nitrogen over the ecosystem's sustainable threshold. Excessive nitrogen creates toxic algae blooms, ocean dead zones, fish die-offs, harms wildlife, and greatly threatens biodiversity, as well as lessening recreational beach and water experiences.
We have had success in Martin County, one of the six counties on Indian River Lagoon. Rob Moir and Capt Nan Beaver met with the County Commissioners and delivered 10,000 Stop Nitrogen Pollution letters. Martin County responded by passing a new fertilizer rule banning the application of lawn fertilizers during the summer rainy months, a time period when fertilizer does the least good for lawns and causes the most harmful algal blooms. We call this a lawn-fertilizer holiday because it saves lawn-owners time, effort and money. Every dollar in lost fertilizer sales during the holiday is a dollar saved in the pocket of a lawn-owner.
An effective lawn fertilizer ordinance is required to reduce nitrogen pollution and protect dolphins. Your signature will help. We will organize, print, and deliver your letters to each individual chairperson.
Act Now to Protect the Dolphins of Florida's Indian River Lagoon from Nitrogen Pollution. We will hand deliver your letters with personal comments to the decision-makers. Your voices mean much to local school students and their families who have been calling for responsible lawn care. Thank you.
Warning the video shows green slime clogging waterways, skin-eating fungal infection on live dolphin, and a dead dolphin.