Phillippi Creek flows through the heart of our neighborhoods and is our most important environmental asset. In addition to its wildlife and aesthetic value, we use it to help control flooding. Many neighborhoods were built before Florida law required stormwater retention onsite. As a result, rainfall that runs off our roofs, yards and driveways flows mostly untreated, down roads, pipes and 100 miles of manmade canals into Phillippi Creek, picking up pollutants along the way. Even small amounts of polluted runoff from each of our homes and businesses add up across the creek’s 56-square mile drainage basin (the Phillippi Creek Watershed), eroding water quality and the health of fish and wildlife.
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from fertilizer runoff is a problem in most urban Florida waterways, including Phillippi Creek. Fertilizer runoff feeds noxious algae blooms, which eventually die and decompose — robbing waters of oxygen necessary to sustain fish and other creek life.
To protect our creek and coastal waters from fertilizer pollution, Sarasota County restricts the application of fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus between June 1 and Sept. 30, when heavy rains can wash it into our waterways. During the rest of the year, only fertilizer containing 50% or greater Slow Release Nitrogen can be used. If you’re lucky enough to live along the creek or one of its many canals, the ordinance further requires a 10-foot wide fertilizer-free buffer zone adjacent to the waterway.
A healthy Creek means more fish and wildlife, higher property values, better recreational opportunities and a stronger economy. Join your Southgate neighbors in keeping Phillippi Creek healthy and safe – spread FUN not fertilizer this summer!