Driven by the critical need to bring bold clean-water innovation to our nation’s most critical waterways, today, we are proud to announce the first recipients of our Foundation’s new Water Stewardship Grant––The Nature Conservancy’s New York Chapter and The Everglades Foundation. We created The Water Stewardship Grant to advance scientific innovation and solutions related to the reduction of harmful algal blooms (HABs), which affect freshwater and marine waters in over 50% of U.S. states every year.
Our grant will be presented annually to a group or groups of scientific innovators working to reduce the impact of harmful algal blooms, which continue to pollute freshwater in America’s most important waterbodies and threaten drinking water and wildlife. These harmful algal blooms, which are typically caused by excess phosphorus, are estimated to cost the U.S. economy $2.2 billion annually. Our hope is that by providing additional critically needed funding, we will enable nonprofit organizations to advance research and real-life scientific solutions to this problem.
The Nature Conservancy
This year’s recipients were carefully selected, based on their critical work to battle the effects of harmful algae blooms in their communities. Funding for The Nature Conservancy will be used to support the upgrade of residential septic systems on Long Island to diminish nitrogen pollution from sewage and to provide assistance to low-to-moderate income families looking to make septic system improvements. This grant aligns with our company’s broader initiative to educate Long Island homeowners on lawn care practices that protect the Long Island Sound.
“Water is a vital resource on which all life depends. On Long Island, it anchors our local economy, from recreational fishing to tourism. Polluting septic systems are the number one source of nitrogen pollution in the region. We are grateful to be among the first recipients of the Water Stewardship Grant, which will support our work to help homeowners install clean water septic systems––one of the key ways Long Islanders can prevent pollution and protect clean water,” said Kevin McDonald, The Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Policy Advisor. “Addressing nitrogen pollution and its effects on water quality along Long Island’s coastline, ponds, streams, and drinking water is not a one-stop solution. It takes collaboration and the committed participation of Long Islanders, their legislative representatives, and dedicated organizations that can each contribute in their own way.”
The Everglades Foundation
Funding for The Everglades Foundation will further science, advocacy, environmental policy and programming to restore the Everglades in South Florida, one of the world’s largest and most endangered wetlands. Grant funding will support on the ground research as well as public awareness to advance water quality innovation surrounding the economic impact of Everglades restoration. Previously, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation was the presenting sponsor for The Everglades Foundation’s George Barley Water Prize, a $10 million global competition to discover a solution for removing phosphorus from freshwater. Groundbreaking scientific innovations were developed during this competition that are still being researched today.
“Restoring and protecting our water quality is one of the core missions of The Everglades Foundation,” said CEO Eric Eikenberg. “We are grateful for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation’s continued support, both for Everglades restoration and in our joint efforts to reduce the occurrence of harmful algal blooms in fresh waterways all over the globe.”
Our stead-fast commitment to clean water
We are driven by our purpose to GroMoreGood everywhere. Over the last decade, we’ve taken action to prevent local nutrient pollution from lawn and garden activity by removing phosphorus from our traditional lawn maintenance products sold under the Scotts® brand. This move reduced consumer use of phosphorus by 10,000 tons each year. We also increased its use of slow release nitrogen and redesigned spreaders and other application devices to minimize the potential for misuse and runoff. Most recently, we have created custom products for communities with vulnerable waterways, such as the newly launched Scotts® Turf Builder® Long Island Lawn Food. Unfortunately, more than 10 million metric tons of phosphorus continue flowing into freshwater from other sources.
That’s why our Foundation continues to fund the work of leading environmental organizations in critical areas across the United States through its National Partner Network. The addition of the Water Stewardship Grant enables us to prioritize scientific innovation and emerging environmental needs as they are rapidly developing each year.