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Step 4: Fertilize Less


When used excessively or improperly applied, fertilizers can end up in stormwater runoff and pollute local water bodies, including creeks, rivers, and the Barnegat Bay. We can protect water quality in the Barnegat Bay watershed by reducing or eliminating the use of fertilizers.

Why It’s Important 

What are fertilizers? What do they do? How much of them do we need in our landscape? What happens to excess fertilizers? Based on your soil test results, your soil may contain quantities of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Excessive amounts or improperly applied chemical fertilizers run off landscapes during rain events and are carried into local rivers, lakes, and bays. This “nutrient pollution” can lead to algal blooms and eutrophication, a process which can have harmful effects on wildlife, pets, and people. Organic fertilizer alternatives, such as compost, slowly release nutrients into the soil, improve soil structure and water retention, and build soil as they feed plants.

Visit Step 4: Fertilize Less on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website for tips, tools, and resources about the effects of nutrients on land and in our water bodies. 

Standard Actions

4A: Learn about the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers on our water bodies.

Provide a lesson to your students about the effects of fertilizer runoff into our water bodies and the process of eutrophication.

Resources for Lessons about fertilizer impacts on Our Water Bodies 

General Resources about Fertilizers and Eutrophication

Ready to Submit Step 4?  

Upload the Required Documentation to Your Custom Link.

When you enrolled, you received a custom link from us for your action item uploads.

What to Submit for Step 4

  • Copy of your lesson plan about the impacts of fertilizers on our water bodies and the process of eutrophication. (4A)
  • Include samples of student learning outcomes and photos of students engaged in your lessons. (4A) 

Standard Actions for Creek School Certification