Salmon Safe Soapbox
Photo by Barry Kovish

Driven by cost and conscience, Oregon's golf courses are going green

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Oregonian

It may be that golf's swing mantra -- keep your head down -- keeps players focused on birdies, not birds. But whether golfers notice or not, when the gallery along the ninth fairway at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City includes a dive-bombing kestrel and a redtail hawk, it's apparent that change is making the turn. Specifically, golf is getting greener. Across the United States, but especially in the Pacific Northwest and particularly in the Portland area, golf courses are adopting environmentally sustainable practices... The Portland group Salmon-Safe is developing its own checklist of measurable standards for golf courses. Meeting them would allow a course to boast that it's been certified as a place where the course management practices don't harm fish...

Read the article at the oregonian.

Wildlife corridors border the fairways at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City, recently named among the nation's top 10 environmentally friendly golf courses.

It may be that golf's swing mantra -- keep your head down -- keeps players focused on birdies, not birds. But whether golfers notice or not, when the gallery along the ninth fairway at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City includes a dive-bombing kestrel and a redtail hawk, it's apparent that change is making the turn.

Specifically, golf is getting greener. Across the United States, but especially in the Pacific Northwest and particularly in the Portland area, golf courses are adopting environmentally sustainable practices. They are using far less water, fertilizer and weed-killer than before and employing grass varieties that can thrive without meticulous care.

Superintendent David Phipps adjusts the sprinkler controls at Stone Creek. The 1,200 sprinkler heads can be individually manipulated, allowing crews to irrigate only where water is needed.

It's become par for the course for golf superintendents to leave dead trees for habitat, encourage native pollinators and maintain wildlife corridors. The courses themselves, often veined with creeks and wetlands, have taken on new roles as community protectors by receiving, storing and controlling storm water. Water hazards -- where wayward shots go to drown -- double as homes for ducks, geese, turtles and frogs.

Reasons for the change include money and apprehension about being targeted for lawsuits or government regulation. But many golf course superintendents also say sustainability is an ethos that has taken root in settings once known for entitlement, exclusion and manipulation of the environment.

The turnabout hasn't escaped the notice of environmental groups, which welcome a partnership with properties that often are the largest expanse of green space in urban areas -- and properties that were once a primary target of environmentalists' ire.

Nineteen Oregon golf courses are certified as sanctuaries by Audubon International, based in New York state.The certification process examines wildlife management and habitat, water conservation and quality practices, chemical use and community outreach, among other tests.

"If it's a certified sanctuary, you're looking at a place that has looked at its environmental footprint, made a plan, taken action and documented their results," says program manager Joellen Lampman.

The Portland group Salmon-Safe is developing its own checklist of measurable standards for golf courses. Meeting them would allow a course to boast that it's been certified as a place where the course management practices don't harm fish.

"From the work we've done so far, we've seen some extraordinary stewardship in place," director Dan Kent says.

A killdeer runs across the course at Stone Creek, looking for a meal. The golf course is one of 19 in Oregon that are certified as sanctuaries by Audubon International. Certification requires a review of a course's water and chemical use, wildlife habitat management and community outreach.

 

Cost a big motivator

It wasn't always that way. Golf courses, often 150 acres or larger, are known for prodigious water use. Even the most environmentally conscious courses can use 300,000 gallons a night during the summer. In the past, some courses put blue dye in ponds and lakes to make them look more appealing and poured on the fertilizer and pesticide to create lush, weed-free, uniform playing surfaces.

But management practices have gradually changed over the past 20 years.

"You can see the writing on the wall," says Jesse Goodling, superintendent at Portland's city-owned Heron Lakes Golf Course. "You do need to be proactive and have all your ducks in a row -- and do the right thing, too."

Cost is a big motivator. Water, fertilizer and pesticides are expensive and require labor; reducing their use saves money. Better irrigation technology and less toxic products have helped as well. Heron Lakes has reduced its pesticide use by one-third to one-half over the past five years, Goodling says, and is transitioning to using a blend of bentgrass on its putting surfaces instead of poa annua, which needs more care.

Course workers have planted trees, let the rough grow longer to shelter wildlife, reduced watering on non-playing areas and established buffers around ponds. Nearly 60 heron nests have been counted, and herons literally walk the fairways at the facility's two courses. Osprey, bald eagles, river otters, deer, coyotes, raccoons and other animals co-exist with plaid-panted duffers, Goodling says.

Golf organizations began researching environmental practices in the late 1980s, says Greg Lyman, environmental programs manager with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, based in Lawrence, Kan. The work reflected society's increased questioning of the impact of products we use in our homes, yards and workplaces.

"Where do all the inputs go, how are they managed and what's the best way to handle them in a responsible fashion?" he asks. "It's the same evolution we're seeing in society in general.

"Golf courses understand that being proactive environmentally and pushing the envelope on sustainability is directly linked to the success of the industry and the game," Lyman says. "It's a game played on a plant. We have to do it responsibly, otherwise this is a shrinking business."

 

On the green

 

Unless you're talking about putting, using "green" and "golf" in the same sentence may be counter-intuitive -- like when the club pro says "swing easy" to hit the ball far. And although golf hasn't been known as especially enlightened when it comes to sustainable practices, that's changing. Course superintendents and environmental groups list ways that courses can become better stewards:

Avoid wasting water by using computer-controlled sprinklers, which allow selective watering of spots that need it rather than drenching the entire course.

Maintain no-spray, no-mow buffer zones around water hazards to help birds, frogs and turtles survive.

Use grass seed blends and native plants that require less fertilizer and pesticide to thrive.

Encourage birds to take up residence by leaving dead trees standing.

Develop unmanaged wildlife corridors between holes and along streams.

Educate golfers with signs that point out habitat and explain management practices.

--Eric Mortenson

 

 

A national model

At Stone Creek, the redtail hawk allows course superintendent David Phipps to approach within 40 feet on a golf cart and snap a few pictures before flapping off for another perch.

Owned by Clackamas County, the course has emerged as an environmental model for courses across the country. Under Phipps, the course won Environmental Leaders in Golf merit and regional awards from Golf Digest magazine from 2004-07, and in 2008 was named the nation's best public course in the same award category.

Stone Creek was named 2004-05 "Cooperator of the Year" by the Clackamas County Soil & Water Conservation District, and is one of Audubon International's certified sanctuaries. In June, Links magazine named Stone Creek to the eighth spot of its top 10 environmentally friendly courses, finishing one spot ahead of California's famed Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Links magazine cited Stone Creek's wildlife corridors, integrated pest management program, limited pesticide use, irrigation practices, pond buffer zones and its twice-annual water testing program. All the work is done voluntarily, Phipps says.

Driving the cart, Phipps points out some of the course's sustainable highlights. To save water, Stone Creek is using fine fescue grass seed blends on its fairways. Its 1,200 sprinkler heads can be individually programmed to put water only where it's needed.

"I think courses can be over-watered pretty easily," Phipps says. Reducing irrigation "makes the roots search for water, they go deeper, and the deeper they go the more drought-resistant they are."

Bubbling aerators, not chemicals, control algae bloom in ponds. Dead trees are left standing to attract insects, which in turn attract birds. On a bare hillside, Phipps points out holes that serve as underground nests for six species of native bees. A nearby sign explains the significance to passing golfers. Each year, Phipps and volunteer experts lead sixth-graders on a birding tour of the course.

When burrowing voles posed a problem, Phipps' crew erected a hawk perch in tall grass. The predators control the rodents. Bass in the ponds control mosquitoes and serve as osprey food. Twenty-two bird boxes are scattered about the course. Wildlife corridors of brush and trees allow larger animals to pass through the course undisturbed.

As if on cue, a doe and fawn rise from tall grass near the fourth-hole tee. The doe trots off warily, but the fawn steps within a few feet of Phipps before realizing he's not family and bounding away.

Phipps is an avid golfer and counts a hole-in-one on Stone Creek's second hole as a personal highlight. But days like this, when golfers share space with hawks and deer, are a bonus.

"I think this is half the beauty of the golf course," he says. "This is the fun part of the job."

--Eric Mortenson; ericmortenson@news.oregonian.com

Share |

Once I thought about things

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it!
cyber monday mattress sale

hollywood movies in hindi

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. hollywood movies in hindi

www.roofrepairatlantaga.net

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts.
Visit this site:http://www.roofrepairatlantaga.net/

greenry

lovellly
good work keep it up

fairlook cream

Great to see

Great to see this blog, really wonderful it's, i am happy to see that. Also Check out our website for Roofing Estimate.

awesome post

wondeful post i hop u get success
no addiction
step up height increaser

beautiful pics

awesome pics treat to the eyes
zero addiction

nice view

i luved this park very good article

Village Pasir Panjang

Very nice post and your website is very useful. I keep learning new things every day from post like these. Good stuff! Village Pasir Panjang

fb gorilla

GOOD http://www.personalinjur

david tian desire system

david tian desire system review Desire System: David Tan (Tian) Reveals The Holy Grail Of Seduction Techniques That Uses Emotional Contagion To Make Any Woman Horny On Command And Compels Her To Work For You, Chase You, And Make The First Move While Thinking Sex Was All "Her Idea" (But You'll Know Better...)...

California unlawful detainer

I wanted to say that it's nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer California unlawful detainer

2014 mercedes s class

Bubbling aerators, not chemicals, control algae bloom in ponds. Dead trees are left standing to attract insects, which in turn attract birds.
http://escaladefans.beep.com

skype invisible detector

skype invisible detector online
detector skype
skype invisible scanner
skype invisible status detector
yahoo id invisible detector
skype online detector
skype detector invisible online
ACCOUNT
invisible yahoo id detector
google invisible detector
yahoo invisible id detector
skype invisible detectors
skype invisible detect
skype detector online status
invisibility detector
find friends on skype
invisible scanner facebook
invisible scanner skype
skype detector online
find people on facebook
yahoo status yahoo invisible detector
invizibile detectore
skype detector status
find friends on yahoo
skype find friends
search friends
invisible detector for skype
detector de yahoo invisible
skype id invisible detector
facebook invisible scanner
fb find friends
invisible detector on yahoo messenger
skype offline detector
detect invisible yahoo users
invisible yahoo status
yahoo detector online
myspace find friends
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyPp4hI4438
skype invi detector
skype status detector invisible

location The Panorama Ang Mo

location The Panorama Ang Mo Kio – Unit Mix. 1 to 5 bedroom apartments with quality finishing. The Panaroma Ang Mo Kio – Superb Location. The Panorama Ang Mo Kio is within 1 km of popular st. Nicholas girls' School at ang mo kio avenue...

Empowered with YvonneB

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! Empowered with YvonneB

queen coverband

Ore.-based brewery got started on the idea four years ago when Deschutes brewmaster Larry Sidor began looking for organic barley to meet the company's criteria. " i AGREE queen coverband

Great Blog

It's definitely a Great blog, i will visit this in future for more updates. Thanks for sharing this information.
www.roofingcontractorsmisssissauga.ca

guide to going down on a girl

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! guide to going down on a girl

how can i easily lose fat 4

how can i easily lose fat 4 Cycle Solution: Shaun Hadsall Reveals The "Not Seen Anywhere Else" Macro Patterning And Carb Cycling Strategies For Rapid Fat Loss That Let You Eat All The Carbs You Want And Never Store Them As Fat...

android

If the republicans adopt a strong stance then the fund might experience something better. android

how can i train my dog to

how can i train my dog to come when called Secrets To Dog Training: Daniel Stevens Reveals The Quickest And Easiest Way To End Your Dog's Behavioral Problems And Have A Loving And Enthusiastic Canine Ready To Please You At Every Command...

how do i type up a cover

how do i type up a cover letter Amazing Cover Letters: Jimmy Sweeney Reveals The "Secret Cover Letter Recipe" For Creating Stunning Cover Letters That Grab Attention, Help You Stand Out, And Land You More High Paying Job Interviews And Employment Opportunities...

text your ex back examples

this was a great read and i told a few people about this site so far and then this great and professional boca raton seo company after that one text your ex back examples

michealjohn

When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.
Seo service

www.towingmississauga.net

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. www.towingmississauga.net

john romaniello superhero workout

I like the services that amazingly surprised me that this kind asdou shared.This looks absolutely perfect.I am very much overwhelmed by your thoughts for this particular story. john romaniello superhero workout

soccer training drills

Hello, I like you page. I’m glad Yahoo pointed me to it. I was able to get the know-how I was searching so badly for days now.Thank You very much for your really good web page. Have a good day. soccer training drills

seo service

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
Seo service

Homepage

This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more Homepage

New Homes Orlando

I am glad to find your impressive way of writing the post. Now it become easy for me to understand and implement the concept New Homes Orlando

ultimate candida diet program

It's not a fund, it's a tax. Not a penny of it will be "saved" in any meaningful way. What's one more Gorean "lock box". Democrats will just spend the money. ultimate candida diet program

essays

This is excellent post. Its having good description regarding this topic.It is informative and helpful.I have known many information from this. Thanks for shearing essays

metabolic cooking program

I have been interested in this topic for quite some time. I have been researching it for a couple of hours and found your post to be very interesting.Thanks for sharing!!! metabolic cooking program

Jurong West Condo is also a

Jurong West Condo is also a short drive to Pan Island Expressway(PIE). The development is also near to Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden and many shopping centres and entertainment outlets at Jurong East such as Superbowl Jurong and Snowcity. Jurong West launch

http:// www.roofrepairtampafl.net /

Rust is another major factor that makes roofs, particularly metallic ones, www.roofrepairtampafl.net /"> Roof Repair Tampa to become warped and broken easily.

text your ex back

the best means of doing it is to do exactly what we just did - borrow it all. That way the people who are actually in the middle of the crisis - those would be the ones best able to make proper decisions; not the dead dinosaurs of some forgotten decade text your ex back

You may post on the order

You may post on the order security for the blog. You could depict it's remarkable. The blog comments would extend your buyers. مهاجرت به کانادا

how to attract men with conversation

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. how to attract men with conversation

Likes kaufen

Really your post is really very good and I appreciate it. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it. You write very well which is amazing. I really impressed by your post. Likes kaufen

David V. Prejean

Its really good to know about that some facts and other points given here are quite considerable and to the point as well, would be so far better to have more of that kind.
Field Service Management Software

I called a great post, very

I called a great post, very very cool and awesome. Really I love the Ingredients till its making. Sony DC IN Cable

English Arabic Translation Dubai

Thanks so much with this fantastic new website. I’m very fired up to show it to anyone. It makes me so satisfied your vast understanding and wisdom have a new channel for trying into the world.English Arabic Translation|Arabic English Translation|English to Arabic Translation Dubai|Arabic to English Translation Dubai

Good content. i like it my friends

great articles

pakar seo dan ahli seo google indonesia

info menari mengenai rumah

info menari mengenai rumah minimalis bisa anda dapatkan terlengkap

Took me time to read all the

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article.