A draft study released in September 2013 found that nearly 6 million pounds of fertilizer and 1.3 million pounds of pesticides are applied across Cape Cod annually, with residential use representing the largest portion in each case. The “Cape Cod Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Inventory” study was prepared by the Horsley Witten Group (Sandwich, MA) for the Cape Cod Commission. Funding for the study was provided through a $35,000 appropriation from the Barnstable County FY12 budget.
The draft report provides additional data about sources and amounts of nitrogen that contribute excess nutrients to the groundwater and eventually coastal waterways. The study takes a comprehensive look at fertilizer and pesticide use on different land uses across Cape Cod and concludes:
The findings are based on a compilation of data from a variety of sources including parcel-based land use classification, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and Recreation pesticide use reports, discussions with Cape-based landscaping, golf course, and agriculture professionals, an inventory of local retailers, and existing literature on the topic.
Many Cape Cod municipalities, organizations, and individuals have raised concerns during the past five years or so about the potential impacts of herbicide spraying on Cape Cod's environment and on public health in the region, expressing particular concern about its potential impacts on the quality of drinking water.
CCC Releases DRAFT Cape Cod Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Inventory Report - 9/17/13 press release
Cape Cod Commission Proposes Four-point Plan to Pursue Pesticide Concerns - 3/9/11 press release
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