Golf Course Management

JUL 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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58 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.18 disease-causing bacteria or pollutants • Water starting to smell bad, with odors originating from sediment In some cases, simple observation can tell a superintendent that sediment is becoming a problem. A common and cheap method for evaluating sediment buildup is to arm a crew member with a boat and a PVC pole long enough to reach the bottom of the lake or pond. Pushing the pole down into the sedi - ment and pulling it back up will give an indi- cation of what and how much is down there. If muck is plentiful, the pole will come up cov - ered, giving the superintendent an indication of the sediment's depth. If the water feature's bottom is mostly sandy, the observer can expect only the end of the pole to be filled with sediment without much soil adhering to its sides. Often, however, basic observation isn't enough to tell the full story. Before deciding whether sediment removal is necessary, one of the best options is map - ping out the bottom sediment. is is done with a boat-mounted sonar device similar to those used by fishermen. Boating around the body of water with the device turned on al - lows a detailed image of the sediment to be compiled. With the collected data, it's possible to build a profile of the lake or pond bed. is profile shows things like variations in depth and points of severe sediment accumulation. With these numbers, a much clearer picture of the sediment appears, and a more informed decision can be made. Value-added muck If a thorough evaluation shows that sedi- ment removal is the best course of action, then the next step is deciding how to do it. One of the least intrusive methods is vacuum re - moval. ese systems are commonly used and provide an effective alternative to traditional removal equipment. Water can be left in place, and liners are left intact. Mapping further as - sists this process because the vacuum can be applied to specific areas where more work is needed. is saves time and money down the line because the mapping device catches all spots of excess sediment that could cause problems in the future. While a vacuum system is running, the sediment has to go somewhere. One way of handling sediment is by pumping it up to a piece of equipment known as a collection bag. is is a large rectangular bag made of a specialized fabric that captures sediment, but allows water to slowly pass through. e purpose for this filtration is to allow sediment to be collected while allowing the water to be cycled back into the system. As the collection bag sits next to the water feature and returns water, the sediment inside will dry out. e water that comes out of the bag is much clearer, and nearly all of the sedi - ment that was initially mixed with the water will remain in the bag. Once the water has drained out, what is left is a bag full of poten - tially fantastic topsoil, great for grass or other plants. Bottom sediment tends to be rich in organic matter and nutrients, which are both vital to plant growth. Applying this collected sediment to specific areas of the golf course will yield great results and allows material to be beneficially reused instead of being put into a landfill. Removing water also lowers the weight of the sediment by up to 80 percent, making transportation of the dry bag much easier and reducing labor. When the time comes, it's important for the superintendent to research companies that have prior experience with modern sediment removal systems and have an excellent repu - tation for environmental safety. Golf course managers should choose the people and meth - ods that will give their water features the at- tention and care they deserve. Patrick Simmsgeiger is the president of Diversified Water- scapes Inc., an aquatic management services and ecolog- ical products company headquartered in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Collection bags on the shore retain nutrient-rich sediment that has been removed from the water feature and can be reused on the golf course or in the landscaping. environmental impact possible. Traditionally, sediment removal in lakes and ponds involved either draining the area of water or just ripping out the sediment with pumps or claws. Although these procedures did the job, they were by no means sustainable. In more than just a physical sense, sediment is the foundation of aquatic environments. Bot - tom sediment is home to billions upon billions of microorganisms that play vital roles in de - composition. Sediment provides a place for many fish species to lay their eggs and hosts many important invertebrate species. When sediment isn't removed with great care, delicately balanced aquatic habitats are at risk of being destroyed or seriously disrupted. Fortunately, modern technology and more en - vironmentally conscious practices now allow sediment removal to cause as little disturbance as possible. The full story One of the most important considerations before performing sediment removal is decid - ing whether it is even necessary. Sediment ac- cumulation occurs naturally, so when is the right time to remove it? is can be hard to judge because every body of water is unique, as is its importance to people or the land - scape. For example, sediment may become so deep that a lake becomes too shallow for rec - reational or commercial boating. For the golf course superintendent, more common signs that removal is necessary include: • Soil sampling showing hazardous levels of

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