Golf courses use fertilizers, pesticides, and other landscape management techniques that can lead to impaired surface water and groundwater quality. Audubon International’s Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for Golf Courses can help to address these issues. As part of the ACSP, participating golf courses collect both qualitative and quantitative data about the courses’ water systems. Courses record four baseline measurements per year (for at least one year) when sampling is initiated, and then at least one sample/year thereafter, resulting in a uniquely large data set for water quality and applied best management practices.
The objective of this project is to use these data sets from the ASCP for Golf Courses as a case study for assessing the effectiveness of sustainability actions or practices on surface water quality and, as an end result, provide guidance to other programs on effectiveness assessments and data collection for water quality improvement. This project will identify management strategies that have the most significant and sustained effects on water quality at golf courses. The team will also work with Audubon International to assess the quality and quantity of the current dataset, with an objective of improving their survey methods and relative reporting frequency, so as to prevent barriers to impactful assessment and facilitate future analyses. Research partner: Audubon International.