Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Water Quality

With the recent Lake Erie algae blooms, a lot of people are pointing fingers every which way.  Some feel golf courses are to blame because of their fertilizer applications and the 'green' turf that just can't be good.  With FCC located on the Blanchard River and in the Lake Erie watershed, how we manage our property is very important, just as it is for any property owner in Hancock County and beyond.

Last season, I took two water samples - one from the Blanchard River and one from our drain tile that drains the course.  The water leaving the tile was cleaner and had less nitrogen and phosphorus than the water from the Blanchard.  Because we irrigate with water from the Blanchard, FCC turf is acting as a natural filter - filtering out sediment and nutrients and recycling clean water back into the river.

This year, we have done more testing, this time testing the creek that runs through the course.  We tested (by an independent lab) the creek as it enters the property by #14 and tested the creek as it leaves the property by #18.  What we found is we are reducing the nitrate levels and the phosphorus levels are too low to measure.  Again, FCC is acting as a filter for the water entering the Blanchard that it comes in contact with.

There are a couple ways we make the creek cleaner - 1. Water coming through our drain system has been filtered by the turf.  Turf is a great way to filter sediment and use up nutrients.  If fertilizer is not over-applied, turf will improve water quality, not harm it.  I contend that if all of Northwest Ohio was covered in properly managed turf, the Blanchard and Maumee rivers would run clear.  2. We have aquatic plants that live in our creek, they filter out sediment and use up nutrients.  They act as a wetland that takes contaminants out of the water.

Our soil consultant getting water samples from the Blanchard.