"No P on My Lawn!" - Educating and Involving the Public to Reduce Nutrient Runoff
Thursday, July 20, 2017
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CDT
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Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most challenging environmental problems. Leading the list of contaminants are nitrogen and phosphorus, common constituents of lawn and garden fertilizers and natural amendments. In Fayette County, 25 years (1990 – 2014) of soils data show that 94% of home lawns and gardens exceed the maximum recommendations for phosphorus fertilizer applications and levels are increasing. Over fertilization and improperly timed nutrient applications increase nutrient loads to stormwater runoff which leads to impaired water quality in the Commonwealth. In response to this, University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service (CES) has implemented a public education program “No P on My Lawn!” to engage with the residential audience about proper nutrient management. The program emphasizes environmental and aesthetic ramifications of over fertilization, demonstrates the benefit and method of soil testing, explains how to interpret soil tests, and identifies appropriate plant nutrient applications utilizing the 5R approach to nutrient management: right source, right time, right rate, right place, right price. The program is being piloted in Fayette County through the CES utilizing Master Gardeners in a “train-the-trainer” model. Their training will fulfill their ongoing CEU requirements and their delivery of the program will count towards their community service hours. With over 8,000 certified Master Gardeners across the Commonwealth, this formula provides program sustainability and a platform to expand the program statewide. Program participants are recruited through neighborhood associations and community organizations that assist with marketing and participation. Program materials are delivered through workshops and include grant supplemented soil tests for participants. Current management practices and behavior change are assessed through pre- and post-workshop surveys. While the program focuses on phosphorus, the proposed strategies will result in a correlated reduced nitrogen load as well. It is our assumption that increased public education will reduce nutrient loads applied by homeowners resulting in reduced contribution to runoff and improved water quality.
Brian Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org