Effect of Golf Course Turfgrass Management on Water Quality of Non-tidal Streams in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Wilson, Chantel Marie
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Turfgrass management activities on golf courses have been identified as a possible source of Chesapeake Bay nutrient pollution. Total Maximum Daily Load goals are in place to reduce nutrient amounts entering the Bay. Dissertation investigations include (1) the role of golf course turfgrass management in nutrient deposition or attenuation in local streams, (2) estimations of total nitrogen (N) discharging to the watershed from stream outlet points as a function of land use and watershed area, and (3) other factors potentially affecting water quality on golf courses, including soil characteristics and use of best management practices (BMPs). Total N, nitrate-N, ammonium-N, phosphate-phosphorus (P), streamwater temperature, specific conductance (SpC), pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) were sampled at 12-14 golf course stream sites in the James River and Roanoke River watersheds during baseflow conditions. Discharge was determined at outflow locations. Unit-area loads (UALs) were calculated from monitoring data. These UALs were then compared to UALs from Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model land use acreages and simulated loads for corresponding watershed segments. Virginia golf course superintendents were also surveyed to determine BMP use. No consistent impairment trends were detected for streamwater temperature, SpC, pH, or DO at any of the sites. Outflow NO3-N was below the 10 mg L-1 EPA drinking water standard. However, some sites may be at increased risk for benthic impairment with total N concentrations >2 mg L-1, as suggested by VADEQ. Significant increases in nitrate-N at OUT locations were measured at four sites, whereas decreases were measured at two sites. Ammonium-N significantly decreased at two sites. Golf course N UALs calculated from baseflow monitoring were lower than or similar to UALs estimated for forested areas in the associated watershed segment at seven out of the 12 sites. Golf course UALs ranged from 1.3-87 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Twenty-one of 32 surveyed BMPs had an adoption rate ≥50% among survey respondents. In most cases, presence of golf courses generally does not appear to significantly degrade baseflow water quality of streams in this study. Management level appears to be an influencing factor on water quality and concerns may be heightened in urban areas.
- Doctoral Dissertations