Friday, March 25, 2011

Irrigation Water Treatment with FGD Gypsum

Here at The Preserve Golf Club we have a 'sodic' irrigation water source with a Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR) value of 30.  The term sodic is used to describe water sources that have a SAR of over 15.  The SAR is simply a value that is used to evaluate the potential for Sodium (Na) to build up in the soil resulting in the break down of soil structure and reducing water infiltration.

Calcium (Ca) is the counter ion to Sodium and the key to proper soil structure.  Na destroys soil structure while Ca builds soil structure.  Ca counteracts Na from the soil if it is provided in a high enough quantity and in an available form (CaSO4, CaNO3, CaCl2).  The available form of Ca that is the most economical to our location is a material referred to as FGD gypsum (CaSO4).  FGD gypsum is a by product from the newer coal burning plants in Georgia.  This synthetic form of gypsum is produced by new scrubbing systems installed in coal burning power plants to reduce the amount of Sulfur released in to the atmosphere.  The power plants scrubbing system produces a very affordable and pure source of gypsum that is used for the treatment of our water.

The process we use for our lake treatment starts with a monthly water testing program.  This program tracks the changes in our water source and provides data to ensure the water is treated only when needed.  When test results show an SAR value above 5 additional gypsum is added to our irrigation lake.  This material is delivered in 25 ton quantities.  The gypsum is distributed into the lake feed  junction box while our 800 gallons per minute well is running.  This produces a tremendous amount of mixing forces that effectively places the gypsum into solution as it feeds into our lake.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Prescribed Burn South of Hole 14

The Preserve Golf Club is surrounded by environmentally protected habitat that is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The wetlands to the south of our property along holes 14 and 15 has a pine savannah appearance with a diversity of grasses, forbs, and shrubs along with pockets of carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and sundew.  Prior to this region being settled, fire was a frequent occurrence and many of our natural species like the 'long leaf pine' adapted internal mechanisms that depend on fire to trigger certain growth stages during their life cycle. TNC incorporates the use of prescribed burning to manage this habitat and performed a successful burn yesterday.

Fire burning along 14 green being monitored by the fire management team.

Prescribed burning has many benefits to the natural habitat and positively affects our facility. The use of fire as a management tool adds to the beauty of our surroundings by promoting a greater diversity of plant species and improves playability by reducing the growth of woody shrubs.

View from 15 tee looking back to 14 green.

TNC must perform their burns on short notice when the weather conditions are ideal for minimal impact to I-10 and every precaution is taken to try to minimize the impact of smoke to our facility.  But of course mother nature does not always cooperate so please be patient and notify our Pro Shop staff if you happen to be on the course and your golf experience is negatively impacted.

Over the next couple of months I will share before and after photos to show the results from the burns.