By Mike Shelton
For many years, the Chesapeake Bay has been the nation’s tip of the spear in tackling large-scale, system-wide water quality problems. Fouled by excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, since 2010, the Chesapeake Bay has been the site of the largest U.S. EPA program in the nation to reduce nutrient pollution.
There are signs that those efforts, which involve six states and countless municipalities, are beginning to have success, with the region meeting some of its pollution reduction targets for the first time this year – a full decade ahead of schedule. However, much work remains to achieve the goal of restoring the Bay by 2025.
Even before the Chesapeake Bay’s “pollution diet” program was adopted by the U.S. EPA, we took action with regional stakeholders to address the potential for nutrient loss from our products to the impaired waterway. This included a historic agreement with the Chesapeake Bay Program in 2006 to reduce the phosphorus content in our lawn maintenance products – which eventually led to our 2011 decision to fully remove the nutrient from those products.
Given this background, there was some poetic justice when we returned to the Chesapeake Bay in August for the first formal presentation of the recently announced Water Positive Landscapes Initiative. Recognizing the creative approach we are taking with this Initiative to help drive water protection innovation and action, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, one of our new Water Positive partners, invited us to speak at their “Businesses for the Bay” Chesapeake Business Forum outside of Richmond, Virginia.
Brian Herrington from ScottsMiracle-Gro outlined the Initiative to the gathering of approximately 60 environmental NGO’s, interested businesses, and local government leaders operating within the Chesapeake Bay’s boundaries. Participants were excited to hear about advances in nutrient technologies, drought tolerant landscapes, and our collaboration with local groups.
“Brian was a highlight for many attendees, and I know his presentation went over really well,” said Corinne Stephens, Business Partnerships Manager, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “We are thrilled to be partnering with ScottsMiracle-Gro and look forward to working together through the Initiative.”
We will continue to engage key stakeholders across the country about the Water Positive Landscapes Initiative to continue to enhance our work to ensure gardeners have clean, adequate water supplies to grow the plants they love.