Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program

Here at Turfhugger, when we talk about "Environmental Stewardship Programs" we tend to concentrate on the big guys: Audubon International, Golf Environment Organisation and Audubon Lifestyles Program. It's easy to forget there are other programs developed on a regional level, some of which continue to be successful today despite the huge PR campaigns and industry exception of the big guys. The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program is a great example of this.

Watch the video, then there's a lot of great info and resources about the program after the jump.

The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program is intended to organize efforts of the turfgrass industry, state agencies, Michigan State University (MSU), and environmental advocacy groups to advance the environmental stewardship of the turfgrass industry and to recognize environmental achievements. The program was developed at MSU with support from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, Golf Association of Michigan, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Department of Agriculture. Over the past seven years, the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program has provided the base funding to develop the program.

The mission of the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program is:

To advance the environmental stewardship of Michigan's golf industry by increasing the awareness an understanding of Michigan's environmental resources, the potential impacts of golf turf management, and elevate the level of pollution protection;

  • To enhance fish and wildlife habitat, indigenous vegetation, and protect water resources with buffer zones on golf course properties; 
  • To clearly identify environmental laws and regulations and advance the compliance of the golf turf industry; 
  • To engage the golf industry, regulatory agencies, MSU, and environmental citizen groups in productive communication; and 
  • To recognize, promote, and award environmental stewardship achievements.

The mission of the program will be achieved through a series of educational workshops, self-assessments exercises and implementation of environmental action plans. As part of a participant's commitment to environmental stewardship, they will sign a statement supporting the Mission and the following Principles of the program.

The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program Principles are to:
  • Promote and communicate best management practices to control potential sources of pollution 
  • Comply with environmental laws and regulations, adopt pollution prevention practices, and reduce waste 
  • Minimize inputs to the environment 
  • Commit to the protection of the natural resources on the property
  • Protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and native vegetation
Within the golf industry, environmental sensitivity has long been recognized as a key to the future of the sport. During the last decade, the philosophy of golf course design and construction has changed. Architects have moved toward working with the existing landscape to preserve the natural features rather than making stark changes to the land. This philosophy of environmental sensitivity is particularly evident in Michigan. Many courses have focused on the environmental resources of their properties and have taken measures to protect them from negative impact. In recent years, significant contributions have been made in environmentally based researched to investigate the impact of turf maintenance and it has provided a basis for enhancing the environmental sensitivity of golf course operations.

Program Resources:
The full electronic versions of the program modules are now available for download.
If you do not have the freely available Acrobat PDF reader, please click here to download and install it before continuing.