New Castle’s Fertilizer Education Efforts

The Town of New Castle has recently adopted a wonderful public education program called Lawns to Lobsters which is aimed at reducing pollution from fertilizers and pesticides running off of neighborhood lawns.

Lawns to LobstersThe program is part of a larger effort by the New Castle Conservation Commission to curb water pollution into the Great Bay Estuary from the island community. Being an island community and sitting at the mouth of the estuary, the town of New Castle understands its responsibility in reducing runoff pollution and has made education and outreach a top priority for the Commission’s efforts over the next three years.

The Lawns to Lobsters concept started in 2009 by the Kennebunkport Conservation Commission in partnership with the University of New England, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and others. Following a study about water quality decline and proper lawn maintenance the group developed the campaign and promoted 10 steps that a homeowner can take that make up the Lawns to Lobsters pledge. Since then the program has spread up and down the southern Maine coast. Using the iconic New England symbol of a lobster and the language “to” helps make the connection for residents that their lawns flow to the ocean.

The New Castle Conservation Commission is just launching the campaign with some educational articles in the town newsletter and posters around town. They intend to ramp up the effort come spring time when fertilizing is popular. They are having small yard signs made that residents can proudly display once they’ve taken the Lawns To Lobsters pledge and they will have outreach materials and information at Town Meeting in May and at Green Waste Days this spring.  In addition, in order to help residents more easily adopt the 10 tenets of Lawns to Lobsters, the Commission is developing an affordable soil testing program in conjunction with the local school because the best thing you can do for your lawn is to understand what it needs before applying anything. New Castle should be commended for their great efforts on addressing a major source of pollution to the Great Bay estuary!

For more information about New Castle’s efforts email

For more information about Lawns to Lobsters click here.

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.