By Jeff Benoit, Restore America’s Estuaries President & CEO
Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is dedicated to protecting and restoring bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation. Our member organizations restore coastal habitats in 10 estuaries and 16 states nationwide. Because our member groups stretch from New England to California, we have unmatched national reach and effectiveness. Our projects restore coastal wetlands, open fish passages, remove invasive species, build living shorelines, transplant seagrasses, plant saltmarsh, and restore shellfish habitats.
Through extensive projects and community events, RAE has effectively changed the course of the future for our nation’s estuaries. We have advanced, funded, and implemented on-the-ground restoration projects on a national scale, addressed critical emerging issues, including climate change and estuary economics, and united the coastal restoration community, key government decision-makers, and citizens in support of healthy coastal habitats.
We are proud to work with ScottsMiracle-Gro on its efforts to help consumers make sure nutrients from lawn fertilizer products remain on lawns, where they help grass and plants grow, and not get into our waterways. Over the last several years, ScottsMiracle-Gro has taken significant steps towards providing homeowners with effective solutions for their lawn and garden care – solutions homeowners can feel confident are safe for their family and the environment when used as directed.
While RAE and ScottsMiracle-Gro have independently achieved significant water quality milestones, we recognize that water quality issues are challenges much broader than what the two organizations can address alone. Together, through the Water Positive National Partner Network, we’re better positioned to accomplish our shared goals by leveraging and combining our networks and industry expertise.
We first partnered with ScottsMiracle-Gro in 2014, as part of a diverse coalition of partners to launch a coastal management and restoration study in Tampa Bay with the goal of establishing new ways to achieve the habitat, species, and nutrient reduction priorities developed by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. This initial collaboration led to additional work together on efforts to advance regional solutions to abate nutrient loading into Long Island Sound, Narraganset Bay, and Buzzards Bay – known as the “Latitude 41” waters.
Most recently, ScottsMiracle-Gro sponsored and participated in the Latitude 41 nitrogen reduction regional symposium, which focused on nitrogen reduction strategies for Long Island Sound, the Peconic Estuary, and the South Shore bays. Contributing to these strategies is the innovative technologies of ScottsMiracle-Gro, including slow-release nitrogen technology, which allows grass to gradually uptake the nutrient over a longer period of time, preventing it from seeping through the soil into the groundwater.
The Water Positive National Partner Network’s mission to bring water stewardship to the forefront of lawn and gardening is a great fit with RAE’s mission to protect and restore our country’s estuaries. Estuaries are tremendous economic resources providing more than 28 million jobs to coastal communities and contributing $111 billion to the nation’s economy. With support from ScottsMiracle-Gro, we will continue to make progress towards our coastal restoration goals in order to preserve our nation’s estuarine habitats for the enjoyment of future generations to come.