Monday, July 13, 2015

Parks and Rec Business Magazine

In the spring, I was asked to write an article for Parks and Rec Business Magazine that would be published in the July issue. Well, July has come and so has my article. I have put together a summary of the article, but I would suggest you check out the whole article and magazine HERE online, so you can see the beautiful layout the editors put together.

Municipal Golf Courses: Assets, not Liabilities

Many municipalities have decided to get out of the golf course business with the idea of saving money however, golf courses are assets to the community beyond just the bottom line. Municipal golf is often much less expensive than other places to play, serving as an entry point to the game. Greenspaces are advantageous in urban areas and studies show the health benefits when people are exposed to a natural environment. They also provide habitat for native plants and animals, while offering storage and filtration for rain runoff. During the off season, the course can also be used in other ways, such as skiing, sledding or snowshoeing.
Making the investment to maintain a quality municipal golf course will not only bring in revenue but will pay dividends to the community and the environment.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 2015 Weather Summary

As I write this, on July 1st, it is raining. This continues a trend from June. The weather station at Leslie Park recorded 7.27 inches of rain for the month. That is the largest monthly total since the weather station was purchased in July of 2010. That is more rain than the golf course received during the summer (May, June, July and August) in 2012. It also comes on the heels of a May that saw nearly 6 inches of rain. Three days in the month had over an inch. The most came on the 23rd (1.98 inches) with the 14th and 27th coming in with 1.84 and 1.26 inches respectively. With that being said, the Ann Arbor area missed some of the heavier rains. Those rain events saw rainfall totals closer to 4 inches north or south of us. Nine days saw more than a tenth of an inch and 14 days had at least a trace of rain.

As a bonus, lots of water makes stream pictures better.

The high temperature for the month was on the 10th at 87.2 degrees. The lowest temperature was 40.6 on the 2nd. The average temperature was 67.0.

The high sustained windspeed was 25.0 mph (June 10.) The average windspeed was just 2.0 mph.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Traver Creek and High Rains

The Traver Creek Project was started back in 2012 with multiple goals in mind. One of these was allowing Traver Creek to take high amounts of precipitation and slow down the time it takes for the water to reach the Huron River. This helps to alleviate flooding and allows some of the sediment to drop out. With almost 3 inches of rain in the past two days, we got a chance to compare how the creek handles high rain events. The following pictures compare current water levels with a storm that happened May 25-26, 2011, when 3.25 inches of rain fell and Nov 22nd, 2011 when 1.75 inches fell.

The bridge near #10 green in May 2011.

The same bridge in 2015.

#10 green (Nov 2011)

#10 green (2015)

Traver Creek from #13 green (Nov 2011)

Traver Creek in 2015.

#11 fairway in Nov 2011 (Now the location of the Arrowood Branch)

The Arrowood Branch in 2015 (Looking in the other direction.

#12 Green (May 2011)

#12 green (2015)

#12 green (May 2011)

#12 green and created wetland (2015)

Bridge to #18 (May 2011)

Bridge to #18 (2015)

#10 Tee (May 2011)

#10 Tee (2015)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Relocating Turtle Nests

When the Traver Creek Project was started, one of the most interesting parts was the turtle stipulation. In order to begin the creek renovation, a permit was submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ.) To satisfy the MDEQ permit of the project, turtles and other herptofauna were relocated from the two inline detention basins (AKA ponds on holes #12 and #17) on Traver Creek to the pond on #8. There are at least four large snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) and numerous painted turtles(Chrysemys picta) in Traver Creek and there was concern over what would happen to these turtles during and after the project was completed. To help them after the project, four sand piles were created for the turtles to use as nesting areas. 

The mother laying her eggs.

Last week, a City employee noticed a painted turtle laying eggs in the lawn area of an apartment complex. These eggs would have had very little chance of hatching and those eggs that hatched would have had a hard time getting to the relative safety of the water. The employee notified Natural Area Preservation (NAP) and the staff herpetologist came out to examine the nest. He determined that the eggs would not survive and removed them. He marked the eggs because they an air bubble grows at the top. If the eggs are inverted, the embryos inside will not develop. 

The eggs in the nest.

Nine eggs were marked and removed. This is a typical amount of eggs per nest.

The eggs were taken to the pond near #12 at Leslie. A shallow hole was excavated and the eggs placed inside. After covering the eggs with soil, a predator exclusion box was placed over the nest. This will keep raccoons and other small animals from eating them until they hatch in September.

One of the turtle nesting mounds.

The predator exclusion box, along with an explanation of what it is and a phone number for questions.

Over the weekend, a golfer noticed a snapping turtle doing the same thing in one of the bunkers at Huron Hills.

The turtles go into a trance when laying eggs and do not respond. Please stay away from them during this process.

These eggs were removed to another location, closer to the south pond of the Huron River.

May 2015 Weather Summary

The highest temperature for the month of May at Leslie Park Golf Course was 85.6 degrees (May 8.) The low temperature for the month was on the 14th, at just 36.2 degrees. That was just a tick below the second lowest temperature of 36.3 degrees, which occurred on the 23rd. This was also the date of the (hopefully) last frost of the season. The last frost in 2013 was on May 26 while in the other years since 2010, the last frost happened during the second week of May. The average temperature for the month was 62.9 degrees.

May had a total of 5.82 inches of rain, with more than half (2.94 inches) coming in the last two days of the month. May 30 had the highest daily total at 1.62 inches with the following day being the only other day that saw over an inch (1.32 inches.) Ten days had over a tenth of an inch of precipitation and 16 had at least a trace of rain. The total rain for the year is 9.53 inches.

The highest sustained wind speed for the month was 29 mph (May 25) and the average wind speed was 2.7 mph.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Subtle Changes

One of the smaller changes we have done over the last few years is to upgrade the tee markers at both Leslie Park and Huron Hills. The old tee markers were plastic spheres with a metal spike to keep it in the ground. There are many different styles of tee marker you can get from a golf supplier, but they can get expensive. If you have 18 holes and four sets of tees, you need 144 tee markers. Add in a couple of spares for the inevitable mower accident or vandalism, you probably need about 160. Even at $12 each, this can add up quickly. ($1,920.00 for the "cheap" ones. I have seen some that can be closer to $40 each.)

That being said, a few years ago, we experimented with making some tee markers out of 4 x 4 lumber. This was much more economical but looked kind of generic. Then I found a website that made custom designed branding irons. I sent them a PDF of the Leslie logo and all of a sudden, we had custom tee markers. This past winter, we included Huron Hills in the redesign, plus special "Tournament" markers that will only be used during special occasions. All told,  we made 280 tee markers for the 2015 golf season. Here are some pictures.

The Tournament markers are made from cedar.

A better view of the logos and different styles.

April 2015 Weather Summary

The high temperature for the month of April came on the 17th. It got up to 76.2 degrees on that day. Just a week later, on the 24th,  the lowest temperature of 25.1 degrees for the month was recorded. Just 5 days had lows below the freezing mark. The average temperature was 48.5 degrees. Compare that to last months average of 33.9. Spring is finally here.

April saw 2.28 inches of precipitation. The highest daily rainfall was 0.63 inches on the 9th. Six days saw over a tenth of an inch while 12 had at least a trace. The total for the year is 3.71 inches. This is pretty close to what we have seen over the last couple of years. May turns out to be much wetter, though. The previous two years have seen over 5 inches of rain during this month.

The high sustained windspeed for April was 33 mph (April 21) while the average was 3.9 mph.