Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando looks at fertilizer rules to protect springs

BROOKSVILLE — The County Commission on Tuesday moved toward adopting a fertilizer ordinance that will regulate companies and residents seeking to green up lawns and gardens.

The commission voted unanimously to order staffers to bring back an ordinance that could be considered at a future public hearing.

The ordinance is required by the state because last May the county opted out of another requirement — residential septic tank inspections in counties with a first magnitude spring.

These inspections were designed to ensure that the tanks' nitrogen-rich contents were not leeching into the groundwater.

A working group of government officials formed after the vote in May and recently reported to the board that the Weeki Wachee Springs system is adapted to a very low level of nutrients such as nitrogen. Even a small increase can spark algae growth.

Because of the levels of nutrients present in the Weeki Wachee system, the state has termed the system an "impaired water body.'' Most of the nitrogen found in the system comes from inorganic fertilizer. Septic tanks are a secondary source, staff told commissioners.

The discussion comes just after the publication of a National Geographic story about the global environmental degradation caused by the over-use of nitrogen fertilizers.

One of the accompanying photographs showed a Weeki Wachee mermaid swimming in a spring where algae fed by nitrogen crowds out native springs plants.

The proposed ordinance, which is based on a state model, is designed to accomplish two things, county planner Patricia McNeese told the commissioners: track the applicators and raise awareness of the environmental impact of fertilizer use.

The proposed regulations would prohibit fertilizer applications near bodies of water, before heavy rains, during a "blackout" period — likely January through March — and prior to or immediately after seeding and sodding.

Fertilizer would have to be applied at rates which strictly followed state rules, and commercial applicators would need to be certified after training, McNeese said.

The first year after the establishment of the ordinance would be spent educating people about the rules and the county would not issue citations, she said.

Commission Chairman Dave Russell said that he didn't see the rules as "overbearing or egregious" and he could support them as "a good first step.''

Commissioner Wayne Dukes, who lives on the water, said he wanted to talk further with McNeese on rules that would be workable in waterfront areas.

"I just think we ought to take a look at the big picture,'' said Commissioner Diane Rowden, who supported making the ordinance stricter.

At the other end of the spectrum, Commissioner Nick Nicholson called the measure "a feel good ordinance, but we can't enforce this. … I think the whole thing is absurd.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Forecast: Temperatures hover near record highs across Tampa Bay, with little rain

Forecast: Temperatures hover near record highs across Tampa Bay, with little rain

Warm weather will continue this week across Tampa Bay, with temperatures hanging around the low to mid 80s and a low chance of rain for the first half.Early morning fog is sparse across central Florida with some low visibility inland in places such a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, reported missing in Manatee County

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, reported missing in Manatee County

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the 12-year-old sister of a murder victim who was reported missing on Sunday night.Deputies say Jalyssa Shannon left her Manatee County home around 9 p.m. Her mother, Michelle Mosley, reported her ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Stoneman Douglas students to protest in Tallahassee; ‘We had this monster living under our roof’; Will Rays Ybor move equal more corporate support?; SOCom prepares for Warrior Games

The Daystarter: Stoneman Douglas students to protest in Tallahassee; ‘We had this monster living under our roof’; Will Rays Ybor move equal more corporate support?; SOCom prepares for Warrior Games

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• For the latest legislative coverage from Tallahassee, keep checking The Buzz, which is updated throughout the day by the reporters of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau.• An...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Planning begins for Warrior Games coming to Tampa in 2019

Planning begins for Warrior Games coming to Tampa in 2019

TAMPA — Army Gen. Raymond A. "Tony" Thomas III, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, had a court-side epiphany last July at the United Center in Chicago while watching the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games.So impressed with what...
Updated: 12 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Have Democrats gained 50 seats formerly held by Republicans since Trump was elected?

PolitiFact Florida: Have Democrats gained 50 seats formerly held by Republicans since Trump was elected?

President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager had a prescient message for Republican voters: Get out and vote, or risk losing more seats to Democrats.Corey Lewandowski traveled to Sarasota on Feb. 11, along with former Trump deputy campaign manage...
Published: 02/19/18

Ernest Hooper: Let’s hope post-9/11 generation will stand, engage and act

We’re approaching a new era. Before our eyes, a post-9/11 generation, stunned by mass shootings, roiled by political divides and connected through social media will soon reach the age of majority.They will be able to vote, hold elected officials acco...
Published: 02/19/18
50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

50 years ago, Florida teachers walked off their jobs. Today’s union leaders are inspired

Ulysses Floyd remembers February 1968 all too well.Teachers by the thousands walked off their jobs across Florida. Among their concerns: low pay, poor funding, a lack of planning time, missing materials, and more. "We were at the mercy of the School ...
Published: 02/19/18
Next phase for the Tampa Armature Works: co-working office space

Next phase for the Tampa Armature Works: co-working office space

TAMPA — The mixed-use rebirth of the old Tampa Armature Works warehouse is proceeding in stages. First up: last month’s debut of the new ballroom, followed closely by the opening of more than a dozen vendors in the Heights Public Market food hall.YEA...
Published: 02/19/18
Artistic anarchy reigns in Dali Museum’s Dali/Duchamp exhibition

Artistic anarchy reigns in Dali Museum’s Dali/Duchamp exhibition

ST. PETERSBURGIn Dalí/Duchamp, the world-class exhibition now at St. Petersburg’s Dalí Museum, you’ll meet Salvador Dalí, the publicity hound who claimed his nutty moustache was for receiving signals from outer space. And you’ll meet Marcel Duchamp, ...
Published: 02/19/18