Thursday, April 14, 2011

What do Washington, Michigan and Minnesota all have in common?

The answer is that as of today, all three of these states have passed legislation limiting phosphorous in lawn fertilizer in order to reduce phosphorous loading into rivers, lakes and streams.

This morning, Governor Gregoire signed HB 1489, which was sponsored by Rep. Andy Billig of Spokane. It will remove phosphorous from most brands of fertilizer, but allows exceptions for situations where phosphorous is needed, such as when seeding a new lawn or for agricultural purposes.

Why is phosphorous so bad for our waterways? Because it's an important nutrient that algae need in order to grow and multiply into nasty toxic algae blooms. These algae blooms are having a detrimental effect on Lake Spokane, the Spokane River, and Lake Whatcom, among others. Because of the damage to marine life and water quality, the environmental community made HB 1489 a top priority for 2011.

You can read Rep. Billig's press release here, which includes a great quote from Bart Mihailovich of Spokane Riverkeeper that reminds us we are One Washington when it comes to clean water.