Letter to the Editor: The browning of Marco Island

Remember when Marco Island was synonymous with lush green lawns and manicured shrubbery? If you have not noticed the change in the scenery here I suggest that you take a quick tour of the island. The high cost of water to single family residences has forced many of us to forgo our regular watering routines.

The current water rates structure has necessitated a rethinking of our priorities. Prior to our hook up to the STRP our monthly water bill never exceeded $85. Post STRP monthly water bills average about $195.

Those of us on a fixed income are lucky if we can turn on the sprinklers once a week. Many single family home owners have been forced to cover their lawns with rocks as they can no longer afford the high water bills.

Most of the single family rental properties here on the island have been moon scaped as the absentee land lords seek to reduce overhead.

Our city leaders don’t seem to mind this new desert look. The only apparent concern is that the water rate subsidized condos and hotels are as green as the 18th hole on Pebble Beach.

Tony Ccostantino

Marco Island

Already most beautiful

I mailed your recent article about Marco Island being in the running for the Most Beautiful Town to my friend in Hinterbruhl, Austria and I share with you his response:

Marco Island gets the crown, as nationwide the nicest town; If you can live there then I guess, your life has been a great success.

Jay Polson

Marco Island

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Comments » 3

marcofriend writes:

You don't understand. The City needs you to use water and a lot of it. With your philosophy they will have to raise rates substantially before this new increase is in place. This oversized, overbuilt, water/wastewater facility needs a lot of water usage and like your letter says, doubling and tripling your water bill will only cause people to find ways to use less.
There is no "right" answer, but the best thing the City Council can do charge equally to each and every water/wastewater user on the island equally for debt service as the base charge and then charge equally for what you use.
Everyone on Marco Island needs to contact the City Council and let them know this is the only right way to deal with the staggering debt that they pushed on us. Class warfare just masks the problem and keeps the real problem from surfacing--and that is poor decisions by current and past City Councils and continuing to spend money we don't have.

BeingRealistic1 writes:

Almost everyone overwaters there lawn in SWFla. the grass is drought tolerant, trust me I only spot water my lawn once a month. You need to notice when your lawn needs water, it will look weak,wilted and blue grey.

You will have hot spots in your lawn, you can use a hose to water that area only to take away the stress of the heat.

Growing grass on Marco is very easy, just worry about the WEST side of your home, keep it fertilized, and watch for hot spots, you can treat the hot spots with wetting agents. ( Hotspots are caused by poor soil conditions, Hydrophobic conditions, and Compaction). You can call the extension center for more details, Everyone should shut off there irrigation for the rainy season.

Irrigating on an “as-needed” basis is the best way to water any established, mature grass, as long as the proper amount of water is applied when needed. Irrigation is needed when leaf blades begin to fold up, wilt, or turn a blue-gray color, or when footprints remain visible after walking on the grass (Figure 8). Apply ½–¾ inch of water per application. This applies water to roughly the top 8 inches of soil where the majority of the roots are. Be sure to follow any local watering restrictions.

To determine the amount of irrigation supplied by a sprinkler system, place several straight-sided cans (e.g., tuna fish or cat food) throughout each irrigation zone and run each zone to determine how long it takes to fill the cans to the ½- or ¾-inch level, then record the time. Each zone will likely take different amounts of time to give the same quantity of water. The recorded run times for each zone should then be programmed into the irrigation clock for automated systems. If the variation in the catch cans is great, a more thorough audit of the irrigation system is needed. Refer to ENH61, How to Calibrate Your Sprinkler System (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh026).

The frequency of irrigating should change seasonally, with less water needed in the fall and winter. The amount applied should not be adjusted—only the frequency. For further information about recommended watering practices, refer to ENH9, Watering Your Florida Lawn (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh025), and ENH63, Let Your Lawn Tell You When to Water (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep054).

Proper watering practices help maintain a lawn that requires less mowing and has little thatch buildup. Proper watering also helps develop a deep root system and makes the lawn less susceptible to damage by pests and environmental stresses. If large (brown) patch or gray leaf spot diseases are a continuous problem, excessive watering and nitrogen fertilization may be responsible. Certain weeds, such as dollar-weed and sedges, also thrive in soils that are continuously wet.

Hope this Helps ..................

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

As long as we trusted in the decisions by the likes of Tucker, Trotter, Minozzi, Popoff, Moss, Arceri and Joel we got what we deserved. The home owners of this island got shot down and ignored by these characters at every turn, and now who is paying for their spending spree, not the condo or hotels but us homeowners. This very costly foolishness has to cease. You can not keep spending what you do not have or in some cases are not even contributing to.

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