USGA establishes environmental program
The United States Golf Association (USGA) has established an environmental program representing golfs first comprehensive investigation of the game’s relationship with wildlife and its habitat.
The Wildlife Links program will fund research, management and education projects needed to provide the game of golf with state-of-the-art information on wildlife management issues. The USGA will contribute 10,000 annually for the next, three years to fund the program and has actively solicited additional funding from other golf organizations.
“Wildlife Links represents another innovative step we’ve taken to underscore the USGA’s commitment to sound environmental stewardship,” says Reg Murphy, the group’s president. “We invite other partners to join us in this effort so that the program will become a golf industry endeavor. We’re delighted that the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the Ladies Professional Golf Association have already committed funds to support this research.”
The Washington, D.C.-based program will be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of natural resources. Its goals include species and habitat protection, environmental education, public policy development, natural resource management, habitat and ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration and leadership training for conservation professionals.
An advisory panel of experts chaired by Peter Stangel, director of NFWF’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation, has been formed to oversee implementation of the USGA program.
The overall goal is to protect and enhance — through proper planning and management — the wildlife, fish and plant resources found on golf courses. “The Wildlife Links Program will provide golf course architects and managers with research information they need to improve and create habitat for wildlife,” Stangel says.
Certain issues will receive research priority. These include determining how golf courses can be maintained as biologically productive sites for wildlife, providing solid recommendations that can be incorporated into long-term management strategies and educating golfers and the general public about these issues.
Examination of individual golf courses within the context of their surrounding landscape will remain a major focus of Wildlife Links. Obviously, an urban golf course may require different strategies than a rural one, while desert courses present a much different landscape for wildlife than do wetlands venues.
Regardless of their climatic orientation, however, the loss or fragmentarity wildlife it at and its effect on wildlife, especially birds, will be a major factor in research projects.
The production of two new publications will be the first Wildlife Links initiative. The first will target golf course superintendents and provide guidance, about how to enhance golf course habitats for bird species. The second publication will be dedicated to wetland issues, namely, how to maintain creeks, streams and ponds as hospitable habitat.
Research proposals for these two publication projects are now being solicited. Qualified researchers who want more information should contact the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1120 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C., or call NFWF at (202) 857-5676.