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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management and Bmp Assessment for Managed Turf

Location: Soil Drainage Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Assess and characterize the environmental aspects of golf course turf, including the development and evaluation of management strategies or technologies to mitigate the potential offsite transport of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides. a) Quantify the fate and transport of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment from a managed turf watershed. b) Determine the processes and management controlling the fate and transport of sediment, nutrients and pesticides on golf course turf. c) Test novel BMPs and management strategies aimed to minimize nutrient, pesticide, and sediment export.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A field approach will be used to assess and characterize the environmental aspects of golf course turf, including the development and evaluation of management strategies and/or technologies. Before – after watershed scale studies will be used to quantify the fate and transport as well as aid in the determination of the processes and management controlling the fate and transport of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment from turf environments. The research site is located at Northland Country Club in Duluth, MN. Four different sites (two surface and two subsurface) are instrumented with automated sampling equipment. Treatments include an end-of-tile cartridge system as well as setbacks from surface inlets, and filter socks around surface inlets.


3.Progress Report:

Progress continues to be made with respect to quantifying the impacts of managed turf and investigating specific best management practices. Ten years of hydrology and water quality data have been collected from a golf course located in Duluth, MN. Transport through both surface and subsurface pathways has been measured. Nitrogen loss from this managed turf system is minimal. However, phosphorus loss on a per unit area basis is comparable to agricultural lands, suggesting that practices and methodologies should be explored and implemented to mitigate those losses. Reducing the rate of application and migrating to an organic source of nutrients significantly reduced the amount of phosphorus exiting the course. At the prompting from industry a study was completed on the transport and exposure of chlorothalonil, a turf fungicide. The findings indicated that low dose exposures could pose significant risk to sensitive organisms. Additionally, we are in the third year of a three year project to determine if placing filter socks around surface inlets and placing a cartridge system at the end of tile will reduce phosphorus transport. The initial findings suggest that neither the filter socks nor cartridge system alone will substantially reduce phosphorus losses. However, when placed in tandem significant phosphorus reductions were noted. The findings from this research have been shared with the turf industry.

The work and progress associated with this project support objective 1 parent project, specifically subobjective 1c: Assess and characterize the environmental aspects of urban and golf course turf.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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