The Home River Ocean behaviour change program is aimed at reducing the amount of nutrients entering waterways from urban gardens in the South West. Using a partnership approach with key stakeholders, SWCC has embarked on the first campaign of the Home River Ocean program: ‘Save the Crabs, Then eat Them’. The campaign’s key message encourages urban residents not to fertilise their lawns and gardens in winter, using the iconic Blue Swimmer Crab to highlight the impact nutrient runoff can have on the marine environment.
The use of lawn and garden fertilisers in urban areas is a significant source of nutrient pollution to groundwater, rivers, drains, waterways and the ocean. Excess nutrients in waterways cause algal blooms. When algae decays it leads to low levels or depletion of oxygen in water, threatening wildlife and fish communities. Urban development now contributes more nutrients per hectare than agriculture in many coastal regions, and this is increasing as urban development continues to expand.
The key message of the winter campaign, hold off on the fertiliser till spring, was delivered through a series of television commercials, radio and newspaper advertising, a website, postcards, fridge magnets and drink coasters. The campaign material uses humour to make the link between fertilising wisely and being able to enjoy seafood, including eating crabs, into the future.
The autumn campaign is currently being developed and will be launched 1 March 2015.