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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item King, Kevin
item Balogh, J
item Kohlbry, D

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2007
Publication Date: 9/17/2008
Citation: King, K.W., Balogh, J.C., Kohlbry, D. 2008. Surface losses of nitrogen and phosphorus from a golf course watershed. American Chemical Society Symposium Series. 997:79-91.

Interpretive Summary: Little is currently known about the potential for contamination of surface waters by the plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff and drainage waters coming from managed turfgrass areas including golf courses, turf farms, city parks, residential and institutional lawns, and roadsides. The volume of water and its nitrogen and phosphorus content were quantified from a golf course during a 2.5 year period. Nitrogen concentrations in the water were lower than the minimum level identified to cause degradation of stream water quality. Phosphorus concentrations exceeded the maximum level for acceptable stream water quality. The losses of nutrients from this managed turf system were higher than from native prairies and forests but less than from grain production agriculture. Urban turf managers, planning commissions, regulatory authorities, and individuals or entities involved in water quality assessment including TMDLs, source water protection, or environmental legislation will benefit from the research by having the ability to make scientifically sound decisions regarding environmental policy related to managed turf systems.

Technical Abstract: Golf course turf accounts for approximately 1 million hectares of land in the U.S. and is the most intensively managed system in the urban landscape. Runoff from golf course turf may potentially transport nutrients into surface water. The primary objective of this effort was to assess the small watershed scale hydrologic and water quality impact from a well maintained golf course. The study site was a sub-area of Northland Country Club located in Duluth, MN. Surface water discharge and nutrient (NO3+NO2-N, NH4-N, dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), TN, and TP) concentrations were collected for a 2.5 year period (June 2002-November 2004). The mean measured runoff coefficient during the study period was 0.24. Measured NO3+NO2-N and NH4-N concentrations at the inflow and outflow sites were not significantly (p > 0.05) different; however, concentrations of TN, DRP, and TP at the same locations were significantly (p < 0.05) different. Nutrient load attributed to the course was 0.11 kg ha-1 yr-1 NH4-N, 0.59 kg ha-1 yr-1 NO3-N, 0.14 kg ha-1 yr-1 DRP, 2.79 kg ha-1 yr-1 TN, and 0.27 kg ha-1 yr-1 TP.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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