(June 16, 2016-Suffolk County, NY) – County Executive Bellone announced that of as part of the County’s required Turf Management Classes, the County has contracted with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) to develop an online-based class that landscapers may take in their own home or business to satisfy the requirements of Local Law 41-2007-Local Law to Reduce Nitrogen Pollution by Reducing the Use of Fertilizer in Suffolk County.
“As we continue to prioritize water quality and focus on nitrogen reduction in our water bodies, the creation of an online turf management course for Suffolk County Home Improvement Contractors (Landscapers fall under this license) provides yet another opportunity for landscapers to participate in the required licensing course and also provides flexibility to complement their work schedules,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “The turf management course is a critical component of the County’s Reclaim Our Water Initiative. The inappropriate use of fertilizers can lead to degradation in local water quality and harm groundwater, drinking water, wetlands and surface waters throughout the County.”
As part of the Local Law, all renewals or new applicants for a Suffolk County Home Improvement Contractors License who apply fertilizer must take a Suffolk County approved turf management class. Because of this requirement, the Suffolk County Office of Consumer Affairs must deny landscapers who have not taken a class the ability to apply for or renew their Home Improvement Contractors License. Upon completion of the course, landscapers receive a certificate needed for renewal or application of a license.
During the course, landscapers learn about the prohibition dates on fertilizer application, the environmental consequences of nitrogen runoff, alternatives to turf-grass such as native plantings, proper use and application techniques of fertilizer, and information on soils.
There have been thirty-six classes held since 2009 and over 1,653 contractors have completed the Turf Management Course. The development of the online course will be completed by December 2016.