The impact of golf courses on nutrient dynamics from developed areas
Master of Science
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Proper management strategies aimed at reducing the export of excess nitrogen and phosphorus to water bodies are fundamental for resolving nutrient pollution and eutrophication. Golf courses are more intensely managed than residential expanses of turfgrass, increasing the possibility of their acting as a source of nutrient export to inland water bodies. Experimental turfgrass mesocosms were established and nutrient concentrations of influent, runoff and infiltrate was examined by performing rain and storm simulations. The purpose of this research was to investigate how the variables of two grass species, three seed densities and five fertilizer treatments influence the concentration of phosphate, nitrate, total suspended solids (TSS), total phosphorus and total nitrogen in the infiltrate and runoff. Attempts were made to collect winter snowmelt to examine the effect of seasonality on the concentrations of studied nutrients. Completion of this study did not indicate that grass species, seed density or fertilizer treatment had a significant influence during rain simulations. However during storm simulations significant differences were noticed. Fertilizer treatment significantly influenced infiltrate phosphate concentrations and average runoff phosphate (0.93mg/L) was higher than the infiltrate (0.30mg/L). TSS was the only parameter studied that was lower than the inlet water (78.6mg/L) in both the runoff (16.7mg/L) and infiltrate (5.8mg/L). Winter snowmelt experiments also showed significant differences in phosphate concentrations between grass species with average concentrations of 1.58 mg/L for Creeping bentgrass and 0.85 mg/L for Kentucky bluegrass. Thus, the results of this study suggest that turfgrass can mitigate phosphate exports to inland water bodies.