The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is educating landscape architects on the importance of practices to conserve and protect water resources with the green industry best management practices training course. Resulting from the expanded capabilities of the Department, the training course is now offered online to make meeting the upcoming deadline and new statutory requirements easier.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in conjunction with University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was required to provide training for all landscape architect license applicants. The legislation requires all existing commercial fertilizer applicators to complete this training and obtain a license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by January 1, 2014. Once the training is completed, they will provide proof of training with the certificate of completion to receive a state fertilizer license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All new applicators will subject to these requirements.
“With as many as 100,000 potentially affected commercial fertilizer applicators in the state, the ability to help conserve and protect Florida’s ground and surface waters through these business practices is significant,” said Tom Frick, Director of DEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Education and access to training is a key component of achieving success of this program as well as meeting the new legal requirements.”
The training program provides key components regarding safe lawn care. The first component is principles of water resources and water quality, which address the main concerns of pesticides and nutrients entering the ground and surface water. The training teaches ways to reduce offsite transport of sediments, nutrients and pesticides through ground and surface water by teaching proper irrigation and matching plant and grass characteristics with that of the site.
The second component elaborates on information regarding landscaping and fertilization. The course teaches about the safety and proper ways to mow, prune, fertilize and irrigate to promote plant health, while also tolerating pest pressures. Matching plants and fertilizers to the needs of the site can create a balance the environment needs without creating excess which ends up in runoff water.
The online training program is available through the University of Florida’s Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program website.