As part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program certification process, we are required to do water quality sampling and testing. We have our samples tested by AnaLync. They test for such things as calcium, sodium, nitrate, phosphate, chloride as well as other nutrients. We do this for a number of reasons. One of the biggest is that the stream that runs through the golf golf course, Traver Creek, is part of the Huron River watershed and as such, anything that gets into the water at the golf course will, eventually make it's way into the Huron and from there, into the Great Lakes.
Our water tests are taken from the pond on #17, where Traver Creek enters the property and from the pond on #12, where the creek leaves the golf course. These tests, which we have done since 2009, show that the golf course does not add to the nutrients in the creek. In fact, most of the tests show a decrease of the elements that are sampled. This is a very good sign that the fertilizer and chemicals that we use on the golf course are used in a responsible way. We avoid applying fertilizers near water and have buffer strips near the creek that will filter runoff that may occur.
In 2007 the Huron River Watershed Council recommended that phosphorous fertilizers not be used within the watershed. This was in order to cut down on the amount of phosphorous, a major factor in algae blooms, in the Huron River. The City of Ann Arbor adopted this as a city regulation and as such, Leslie Park has not used any phosphorous fertilizers since. In December 2010, Michigan lawmakers passed legislation (HB-5368) that extend this regulation state-wide. The new regulations and limitations will go into effect on January 1, 2012.
We also have the good fortune of working with Dr. Hannah-Maria Jacques and the Peter G. Meier Water Quality Survey. This is a self-funded study that documents the benthic diversity of Traver Creek and has sampled for macroinvertabrates since 2003. According to Dr. Jacques, the amount of insects and other aquatic animals is greater than previously reported by the Huron River Watershed Council.