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State of the Birds 2013

The fourth State of the Birds report highlights the enormous contributions private landowners make to bird and habitat conservation, and state-of-the-birds-report-coveropportunities for increased contributions. Roughly 60% of the land area in the United States (1.43 billion acres) is privately owned by millions of individuals, families, organizations, and corporations, including 2 million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners. More than 100 species have 50% or more of their U.S. breeding distributions on private lands.

Birds are important indicators of the health of our environment. To assess bird populations and conservation opportunities on private lands across the nation, the State of the Birds report combined the latest eBird distribution data with land ownership data from the Protected Areas Database of the U.S. As in past reports, the report focused on species dependent on a single primary habitat, or habitat obligates.

The results emphasize the high dependence on private lands among grassland, wetland, and eastern forest birds, with important conservation opportunities existing in all habitats. Many conservation programs available to private landowners offer win-win opportunities to implement land management practices that benefit birds and landowners. The success stories highlighted in the report demonstrate that voluntary private landowner efforts can yield real and meaningful bird conservation results.

Working cooperatively with private landowners is a central theme of ISC-Audubon. That is why ISC-Audubon has created the John James Audubon Conservation Network and the Audubon Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary Program for landowners. ISC-Audubon is looking to greatly expand its network of certified bird sanctuaries over the next year.

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

GCSAA Research Examines Nutrient Use on Golf Courses

Golf Swing

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has released the results of a nationwide survey of golf courses examining nutrient use and management on golf facilities. The results indicate that superintendents apply fertilizers at rates that fall within the guidelines recommended by university scientists.

These findings are contained in the article “Golf Course Environmental Profile Measures Nutrient Use and Management and Fertilizer Restrictions, Storage, and Equipment Calibration” published in the December 2009 edition of Applied Turfgrass Science. The article was authored by GCSAA Director of Research Clark Throssell, Ph.D.; Director of Environmental Programs Greg Lyman; Senior Manager of Environmental Programs Mark Johnson; Senior Manager of Market Research and Data Greg Stacey; and National Golf Foundation Director of Research Clark Brown.

“Nutrient use and its impact on water quality is a hot topic across many industries,” Throssell says. “Those who are familiar with golf course management have long felt the industry has been a good steward when it comes to the management of fertilizers. With this study, we now have a much better picture of nutrient use across all regions of the country and how superintendents make application decisions. The report indicates where improvements can be made, but by and large the information is positive.”
Among the key findings:

  • For all golf courses in 2006, a total of 101,096 tons of nitrogen were applied to 1,311,000 acres (154 pounds of nitrogen per acre); 36,810 tons of phosphate were applied to 1,131,000 acres (65 pounds of phosphate per acre); and 99,005 tons of potash were applied to 1,260,000 acres (157 pounds of potash per acre).
  • Of 18-hole golf facilities in the U.S., 49 percent had a written nutrient management plan or written fertilizer program in 2006, but only 6 percent of facilities were required by government or tribal authorities to have such a plan. A higher maintenance budget correlates with the likelihood that a golf facility would use a written nutrient plan or fertilizer program.
  • For 18-hole golf facilities nationally, slow-release nitrogen sources accounted for 64 percent of the nitrogen applied, and quick-release nitrogen sources accounted for 36 percent. Organic nutrient sources were applied to 66 percent of 18-hole golf facilities in 2006. Organic sources of nutrients comprise 24 percent of the total annual amount of nutrients applied on 18-hole golf facilities.
  • In 2006, 43 percent of 18-hole facilities did not use soil amendments. The highest use of soil amendments was in the Southwest, where it's common for soil and irrigation water to have high sodium content. A much larger percentage of respondents, 74 percent, use a turfgrass supplement such as biostimulants, humates and amino acids/proteins.
  • Nationally, only 9 percent of 18-hole golf facilities reported restrictions on fertilizer applications. Restrictions were most likely in the North Central (16 percent) and Pacific (10 percent) agronomic regions. Sixty-two percent of 18-hole golf facilities in the U.S. with restrictions report restrictions on phosphorus either in the total yearly amount applied or the amount per application.
  • Superintendents consider multiple factors when making nutrient application decisions. Integrating many variables into their decisions leads to effective applications for the turfgrass while protecting the environment. The most common factors superintendents used to make decisions about nutrient applications and the percentage of 18-hole golf facilities using that factor were: visual observations of turfgrass (85 percent), previous product performance (84 percent), soils/soil analysis (84 percent), precipitation/temperature/weather (83 percent), turfgrass species (81 percent) and disease pressure (79 percent).
  • From 2002 to 2006, 95 percent of 18-hole golf facilities performed soil testing on greens, 75 percent on tees, 80 percent on fairways and 26 percent on rough.
  • On average, superintendents at 18-hole golf facilities calibrated their fertilizer application equipment before 67 percent of applications, thereby improving the accuracy of their fertilizer applications. Nationally, 91 percent of 18-hole golf facilities stored fertilizer on site for three consecutive calendar days or more in 2006. Half of those golf facilities used a dedicated storage area. 

To see a copy of the full report:
http://www.eifg.org/programs/GCSAAnutrientsurvey_fullreport.pdf


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com
 
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

General Motors
www.gm.com

Toyota
www.toyota.com

Fisker Automotive
www.fiskerautomotive.com

Golfpreserves
www.golfcourseproject.com 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership
www.cmhp.org

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
www.cbf.org 

University of Alaska Fairbanks
www.uaf.edu 

Taylor Properties Group
www.taylorpropertiesgrp.com  

Urbana University
www.urbana.edu 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
www.gcsaa.org 

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

 

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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