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Golf Courses Need To Go

Some of the largest nitrate polluters are the golf courses. The courses are massive green grass lawns being grown in a semi-arid environment. What makes


Some of the largest nitrate polluters are the golf courses. The courses are massive green grass lawns being grown in a semi-arid environment. What makes plants green? Nitrogen. Therefore, in order to have green golf courses on the edge of the desert one needs massive amounts of polluting nitrogen. Plant nutrient uptake can be significantly altered by the ph of the solution it is being delivered in, meaning the grass might not even be able to use much of the fertilizer being applied. Much of this nitrogen (among many other chemicals in synthetic commercial golf course fertilizer) stays in the ground unused by the grass. Even when used by the grass these chemicals go back into the soil when the plant dies.


At a course like Crosswater that runs along the Upper Deschutes (which is basically an irrigation ditch due to the constant destruction of the banks caused by raising and lowering the water level of the river), the ground water level rises to as little as six inches (below the surface) during the course of a year. This ground water then leaches these fertilizer chemicals, such as nitrates, and other chemicals such as herbicides back into the aquifer and hence into the drinking water supply. Additionally, melting snowpack further pulls the chemicals into the soil.

I propose that the completely unnecessary golf courses are in fact a partial cause of ground water contamination via nitrates in South Deschutes County.

An additional added environmental impact brought on by the golf courses the county has failed to address is one of water depletion in the aquifer. Prior to the building of the Crosswater course, wells along both sides of the Upper Deschutes were artesian. Prior to Crosswater one could hammer a pipe down into the ground several feet and water would come out without a pump. That is not the case anymore as the amount of water it takes to keep the golf course growing in the semi-arid environment is immense. Water must now be pumped.

I recommend that in the course of requiring septic retrofits of existing residents and the installation of nitrogen reducing systems for new construction in South Deschutes County, all of which will create huge profit for the county through permitting, we also bulldoze all the golf courses into oblivion and replace them with native growth to prevent further water contamination and restore the aquifer to a healthy state so that humans and wildlife rather than golf balls have precedence.

It seems imprudent to cause so much damage to such a large area so that a few can chase a small white ball around on some grass for a few months out of the year.

This disparity between public and business policy employed by the county lends credence to calls of south county secession indeed.


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