Par for the course

Environmental award to Sevierville Golf Club well-deserved recognition
Nov. 27, 2012 @ 12:05 AM

When plans were announced to expand the Sevierville public golf course by 18 holes, some were concerned about the stress it might place on the river and wetlands around the facility. Those concerns were shared by the city as well, which took steps to protect the waterways while still making the 36-hole course attractive to golfers. It appears they succeeded.

The Sevierville Golf Club was recently designated as a 2012 Groundwater Guardian Green Site by The Groundwater Foundation. The award recognized the project’s good groundwater and environmental stewardship.

The Green Site status was achieved, the foundation said, as a result of groundwater-friendly practices that include:

- Installation of a state-of-the-art irrigation system that uses water more efficiently and specifically monitors water usage to conserve water

- Soil testing to reduce nutrient inputs and of “no application zones” around wetlands, streams and ponds

- Establishing over 9 acres of protected wetlands and the relocation and restoration of approximately 3,780 feet of stream channels

- Careful selection of native trees and low maintenance shrubs to create buffer zones that require minimal maintenance and prevent fertilizers and pesticides from entering the stream channels and exiting the golf course into Little Pigeon River

- Approximately 50 acres of native grasses have been established to reduce fertilizer and pesticide usage by as much as 80 percent. The native grasses also require none to very minimal irrigation water to conserve water use by as much as 30 percent.

- Installation of a self-contained equipment wash pad system that separates oil and harmful chemicals from the wastewater. To prevent any dangerous spills the area also serves as a pesticide mixing station and is used to refuel equipment.

All of these environmentally friendly practices have helped to conserve water and reduce the impact to groundwater, the foundation said. Groundwater Guardian Green is a program of the Groundwater Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Lincoln, Neb., with a mission to educate and motivate the public to care about and for groundwater. The program began in 2007 to recognize good stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers of highly-managed green spaces to implement, measure, and document their groundwater-friendly practices.

Congratulations to all involved in the design, construction and operation of the golf course. This is a designation of which to be proud.

The designation of a Groundwater Guardian Green Site is important to the club staff, showing its commitment to protecting the bodies of water for future generations.