Irrigation and Fertilizer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (PDF 64Kb)
The irrigation ordinances (2008-030) and 2009-360 enact landscape irrigation conservation measures or requirements that are based upon the St. Johns River Water Management District's model ordinance. The landscape irrigation requirements provide for odd/even addresses to irrigate on scheduled days, and prohibit irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Exceptions under certain circumstances are allowed (such as using a hand-held irrigation tool, micro-irrigation systems, maintenance and repair or watering to establish new landscaping). The irrigation conservation requirements may be enforced by the Environmental and Compliance Department, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office or any state law enforcement officer.
To assist in meeting the nutrient total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements for the St. Johns River as set forth for the City of Jacksonville by the Clean Water Act, the Fertilizer ordinances (2008-028) and 2009-360 address fertilizer application and retail storage requirements for retail garden centers, commercial fertilizer applicators and homeowners.
Excessive levels of nutrients result in harmful algal blooms that, in turn, directly impact the health, use and enjoyment of the river and its tributaries. Fertilizers are one source of the nutrients discharged into surface water bodies, so the legislation will help to prevent excess nutrients from reaching waterways and stormwater systems, helping the city to achieve its TMDL allocation in a more cost-effective manner.
Retail facilities that sell fertilizer will be encouraged to have their staff trained in best management practices (BMPs) to assist in educating consumers. In addition, the retail facilities will be required to manage the storage of fertilizer in accordance with appropriate BMPs.
Commercial fertilizer applicators will also undergo training in BMPs covering topics such as environmental issues and protections, plant selection and care, irrigation, fertilization, safety and spill cleanup techniques. Residents will be required to phase in at least a six-foot zone of landscaping or ground cover on their property adjacent to water bodies that does not require intensive fertilizer, watering or mowing.
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, a University of Florida Extension program, partners with national, state and local agencies to teach Florida-friendly landscaping. The program provides educational outreach opportunities to homeowners, landscaping professionals, builders and developers on low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices to enhance landscapes while saving money, time and energy. To learn more or register visit http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/ or call (904) 387-8850.
The implementation of fertilizer and irrigation regulations and best practices is just one part of a comprehensive approach to improving the health of the St. Johns. Work is underway to remove failing septic tanks in Duval County. The Jacksonville Stormwater Utility is a dedicated funding source for reducing the amount of rainwater that flows into the river after storms. Efforts to minimize sedimentation, more efficiently treat wastewater and increase public access to the river are also in progress.