from the Washington Post, March 28, 2011:
Grassy turf, not farmland, is the most dominant crop in the bay watershed. There were almost 1.3 million acres of planted turf in Maryland in 2009, compared with 1.5 million acres of all other crops, says the study by the Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center.
It’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? Illinois farmers have been closely watching the activity in the Chesapeake Bay, knowing that whatever regulations the EPA plans to minimize hypoxia zones in the bay are headed straight for the Mississippi River next.
And while Illinois farmers are willing to look at their impact to the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico and are willing to adapt Best Management Practices that mitigate the damage to fish and wildlife, they are not willing to accept 100 percent of the blame.
Interesting then, that a new study finally points a finger at other sources. According to the Washington Post article, the study criticized Maryland’s regulation of the state’s turf crop as lax. Tracking fertilizer use on developed land is such a low priority that the state doesn’t keep statistics on it, but Maryland Department of Agriculture records show non-farm-use fertilizers are quickly catching up to farm fertilizer sales.
The article further states that researchers found 56 percent of nutrients in one stream in a watershed in suburban Baltimore came from lawn fertilizer.
Ultimately, Illinois farmers hope to see everyone involved in an environmental solution on the Mississippi River. Just regulating municipalities, farmers, and corporations won’t solve any problems.