Grants and Contracts Details

Description

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY No P on my Lawn! The EPA estimates that bacteria and nutrient pollution are among America’s most challenging environmental problems and leading the list of contaminants are E. coli and phosphorus (P). Research has demonstrated that there are two major contributors to these constituents in urban area stormwater: fertilizer and dog waste. Both of these can be addressed with behavior changes. A 30-year assessment of soil tests collected from Fayette County home lawns and gardens from 1990-2019 through the UK/Fayette County Cooperative Extension Service, revealed that 4 of 5 lawns and/or gardens exceeded the high-risk level of 120 lbs. P/acre. To address this issue, the educational program titled, “No P on my Lawn!” was launched in 2017 to educate the general public and lawn and landscape care businesses about responsible nutrient management and reduction of P fertilizer applications. We built upon this program in 2020 by adding a dog excrement component in an effort to build awareness with pet owners about the environmental hazards of not picking up after your pets. This is particularly important in Kentucky which ranks 3rd in the nation for the number of dogs per capita (45.9% of Kentucky households have 1.9 dogs). Previous work in the LFUCG service area has demonstrated, with education and appropriate delivery of facts, behavior changes have occurred. For example, in 2018, homeowners that were educated about environmental consequences of P over-fertilization and the abundance of natural P in Bluegrass soils. As a result, close to 100% of participants indicated that they will not be applying P fertilizer in the future. In addition, in 2020, 211 people pledged that they would pick up after their dog in public in an effort to protect the environment and reduce P and E. coli inputs to the environment. We anticipate that with additional contact with the general public through social media outlets, face-to-face community discussions and tabling events even more LFUCG service area citizens can be educated about water quality impacts that can be easily remedied by avoiding P fertilizers and picking up after their pets. The proposed project will translate research data on the E. coli content of dog excrement and the P content of both dog excrement and fertilizer into stormwater educational material targeting homeowners, landscape and lawn care companies and pet owners. We will assess current homeowner and pet owner practices and perceptions to measure the understanding and behavior change in response to educational materials. It is our assumption that an informed public will adopt pet waste management practices that will reduce nutrient and E. coli loads to our streams. Although not addressed directly, reducing dog waste in the public environment will have other positive consequences as well.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date3/18/229/18/23

Funding

  • Lexington Fayette Urban County Government: $34,997.00

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