By John Montone, 1010 WINS
Grow a lawn, kill a bay.
We have an environmental catastrophe brewing right in our backyard — and front yards. It begins with those nutrients that folks spread over their lawns to turn the grass, golf-course green. Those mats of emerald sure do look beautiful glistening in the morning dew. But every time it rains something insidious occurs right in front of our eyes that we just don’t see. The nutrients run off and eventually end up in bodies of water, one of which is a pretty big body of water known as Barnegat Bay.
Barnegat Bay stretches from Toms River in the north to just west of Long Beach Island fed by many of New Jersey’s beautiful rivers. It is a massive body of salt and brackish water full of shell fish and eel grass and all manner of microscopic marine life that sustain large marine life like striped bass and flounder. And it is croaking. Literally gasping for air because of the nutrients that are running off our streets and pouring out of our storm water sewers.
Unlike BP’s crude oil gusher in the Gulf or even Cleveland’s contaminated Cuyahoga River catching fire, there are no TV news choppers video-taping the demise of Barnegat Bay…for its death is not spectacular. It’s slow and tragic. But we have time before the coroner is called in. Limiting the nitrates in lawn fertilizers would begin to allow the bay to breathe again and it would prevent algae blooms, fed by these nutrients, from blocking the sunlight the microscopic marine life needs to thrive.
Full disclosure; I spend a great deal of time in Barnegat Bay kayaking, canoeing, boating and swimming. If it dies, a part of me will die with it. And I won’t be alone.
It’s not just Barnegat Bay that we are killing, it’s other great bodies of water as well. But Barnegat Bay is my favorite body of water and this is my blog, so if you’d like to learn a little more about this or even pitch in to revive Barnegat Bay, check out savebarnegatbay.org.