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June 13, 2008

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Golf Courses Good For Birdies—And Other Wildlife

From San Diego’s The Union-Tribune:
[A] growing body of research . . . suggests that . . . [w]ith thoughtful, sometimes remarkably simple planning and modification, [golf] courses can feature not just birds (the feathered kind), but mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects . . . .

“In some places, they can play a critical role in preserving some species[, said Peter Stangel, director of science for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation]. Obviously, they're not going to benefit every kind of wildlife. You're not going to see pronghorn antelope on greens. But a golf course can look a lot like a prairie to a burrowing owl if you provide some suitable nesting habitat.”

Comments

jstreet

Geez....Any greenspace can provide habitat for some animals and insects.

The problem is if the space attracts too much wildlife and insects they people start whining about it.

Not unlike people who move to the country and complain about cow crap and bugs.

Jim


SilverArrow

Just keep that whacko from a few months back off the courses! The so called pro who tried umpteen times until he hit and killed the raptor! Better yet make the ponds bigger and plant some millet, sedge and corn and call it a wildlife management area; keep all the Tiger Woods wannabees the bleep away!
SA

Ed Whisler

The Wildhorse Golf Course in Davis, CA now has 10 pairs of burrowing owls on the golf course along with 5 unpaired individuals. The key to the success of the golf course for wildlife habitat is that the City of Davis created a open space buffer between the course and the adjacent agricultural land. The buffer was planted with native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbes. Many of the birds and other wildlife on the golf course also use the the buffer for cover and foraging habitat also a movement corridor. A designated greens-keeper is responsible for keeping track of the owls and protecting them from golfers. Ed

Matt

This is the lesser of two evils. A golf course is better habitat than a parking lot, but it would be better to leave it natural habitat to begin with.

Phillip

oh jumpin' geez please! A bunch of Father's Day fluff to justify the existence of an environmental blight.

How much did the golf lobby pay to get that statement put together?

Yeah, a golf course is slightly better than a parking lot, but not by much. Unless you can have a course without displacing the woodlands and wetlands, and without pumping the ground and water full of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides... unless your course doesn't call for all of that, then whatever benefits it may bring a few select species is totally offset by the damage to others.

I'm sure there may be some environmentally friendly courses out there, but that sure isn't the norm.

Andrew

It really depends on the area. In most climates golf courses are designed in a responsible manner. The protect steams and wet lands and use the natural landscape as much as possible. They also build golf resorts in some of the driest places on earth- like Vegas.

Phillip

Sorry, but after watching the development of the "Emerald Belt," that string of golf courses that runs almost uninterrupted from southern Virginia all the way to Florida, I can say without hesitation that "responsible" does NOT describe the manner in which most golf courses are designed or implemented. (And yes, I am aware of some exceptions... but they are just that... exceptions.)

The "protection" of streams and wetlands is a joke... mostly conceived and perpetrated by PR folks because they know that the public really doesn't want to know or care. Acres and acres of nearly impermeable surface (precipitation runs off instead of being absorbed) fertilized and treated to maintain that unnaturally green luster all year round... that comes at a high, environmental price. When you have mass fish die-offs in estuaries, shellfishing closures due to chemical concentrations, or algae blooms along formerly pristine creeks and streams... it's not hard to see that something's wrong.

And as far as building golf courses in the "driest places on earth", doesn't something seem a little wrong with turning a desert into a lush, greenscape? Is that supposed to come across as natural, diverting millions of gallons of water to irrigate a bloody playground, when downstream rivers are drying up?

There are a lot of environmental threats out there, and in the big picture, golf courses are probably a fairly minor one... but it's got to be one of the most unnecessary, and an indication of the contempt with which most of use appear to view the little bit of natural habitat left in this country. I think it's an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person for anyone to suggest that golf courses represent some kind of "boon" to wildlife or the ecosystem.

Matt

Phillip,

I'm with you! The Phoenix metro area has around 200 at least, and Arizona's native fish are all endangered.




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