Stafford Township Mayor and Council passed Ordinance #2009-50 creating Chapter 105 of the Stafford Township Code entitled Fertilizer Application Requirements.
There is no argument that elevated levels of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, in surface water bodies can result in excessive and accelerated growth of algae and aquatic plants. This process is also known as eutrophication. Excessive plant growth can result in extremes in dissolved oxygen and PH, which is detrimental to aquatic life. For that reason this ordinance specifically limits fertilizers containing phosphorus. As per the NJDEP most soils in NJ contain more than sufficient amounts of phosphorus & application of excess amounts cannot be absorbed by the plants and grasses & ends up in our surface & groundwater. The ordinance also sets guidelines for the application of any nitrogen based fertilizers (application process, timing, and use of slow release).
Our focus in Stafford is based on our geographic location, soil types and potential impacts to our lakes, streams, estuaries and bay. In particular, we are concerned over our estuaries which are the most critical part of the eco-system for our saltwater life. Numerous studies have shown that on a per acre basis, the most productive area, having the most diversity of life and greatest quantity of life are our estuaries. These estuaries are the nurseries for almost all life in our ocean and bay and the basis for the entire food chain.
Estuaries are somewhat confined and greatly impacted by the flow of water from our groundwater, watershed and streams. Small amounts of pollutants have a greater impact on our estuaries due to various physical factors, and the very delicate balance that must be maintained to assure their proper function.