While submersed in the walls of a golf course, you couldn't feel further away from the concrete jungle when you witness a Blue Heron strike a small fish and watch as it gulps down lunch. While supporting habitat needs has become a secondary function of our golf courses (along with carbon sequestering, heat-island sinks, storm water management, etc...) maintaining these functions has become a primary focuses. One of the basic elements that contributes to overall ecosystem health is of course water quality. Once superintendents have employed techniques to protect, preserve and improve water quality, the next step is to encourage wildlife.
Whether a golf course is located on a stream, large lake or dotted with small ponds, aquatic life is essential to the local food chain. I've compiled a few resources explaining what golf courses are doing to increase the effectiveness of our water features for aquatic life and some basic "how to" links that can provide guidance.
Links to improving fish habitat on the golf courses from The Environmental Institute for Golf:
- Little Deschutes River Restoration and Fish Habitat Enhancement at Crosswater
- Seasonal Wetlands on the Golf Course
- Pond Improvements to Provide Better Habitat for Aquatic Life
- Eastmoreland Golf Course and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council: A Case Study in Cooperative Problem Solving
Here are a few links to the regulations of restoring and protecting fish habitat and the process of stocking your pond or stream:
Why Protect Fish Habitat? Here is some great starting info from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This site begins to outline the regulations surrounding interactions with fish habitat. Here are few regional links, I recommend you review them all, but be sure to contact your local government body responsible for enforcing fish habitat related regulations.
- The fish and Habitat Primer, Ontario Edition
- Ontario's Fish Stocking Program (Funding Assistance and Guidelines)
- Trout and Walleye Pond Stocking Tips - Very good Q & A
- Protecting Integrity of Fish Habitat, Quebec Presentation
- BC guide to the Fish Protection Act (General Streams, Sensitive Streams, Managing Debris, Riparian)
- Alberta - Fish and Wildlife - Habitat on Public Lands, Integrated Management