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It’s springtime and you’re just itching to get your garden going and your lawn in tip-top shape. But did you know that what you put on your yard can have a serious impact on streams, rivers, and even far-off coral reef ecosystems?
According to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, excess amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus — ingredients in synthetic fertilizers and pesticides — can leach from lawn and garden soil into groundwater that feeds our rivers and bays. Ultimately, the ocean waters that support coral reefs also become contaminated.
Toxic levels of these nutrients can suffocate creeks, ponds, streams and rivers, killing plants, fish and other vital habitats. Your family and pets also are at risk for exposure.
Before you run to your local garden center, check out safe, natural, and more creative alternatives to traditional lawn/garden chemicals. You can find these environmentally-safe products (except the beer and vinegar) in most garden centers:
Give yourself the gift of a greener, healthier lawn and garden — and help preserve our nation’s natural resources at the same time. Consult with your local nursery or garden centers on organic products available in your area.
To learn more about the effects of chemicals and pesticides on our waterways and marine life, visit NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Pollution Web site.