The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District will be honored Friday, Oct. 7, with the 2016 Sustainable Landscaping and Bio-solids Beneficial Re-use Award from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD).
Dave Ward, superintendent of golf, will be accepting the award for work done at the park district’s Coyote Run Golf Course. The presentation will be made at the 2016 Sustainability Summit in Chicago hosted by MWRD.
MWRD is giving the award in recognition of the park district’s innovations in sustainable landscaping and beneficial use of bio-solids, a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers.
The extensive work at Coyote Run was cited in the nomination for this award. The 140-acre site includes 15 acres of lakes that serve as retention for rainwater from the golf course and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Coyote Run was one of the test sites for the bio-solid fertilizer study conducted by University of Illinois Professor Tom Voigt in 2006. The testing showed positive results and bio-solids were applied in 2007, according to Ward.
By 2008, the 60 acres of roughs showed dramatic improvement, and helped reduce the weeds. By December 2009, all the fairways were treated with bio-solids and showed excellent results, he explained.
“Prior to incorporating bio-solids into the Coyote Run fertility program, the average yearly expenditure for fertilizer was $27,000 to $29,000,” Ward said. “After incorporating bio-solids, the average yearly expenditure for fertilizer has been $9,000 to $11,000.”
Ward is a noted expert in prairie plants and has been diligent in planting native species on the course that attract wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. Over the past seven years, prairie seeds have been harvested from the prairie flower beds and spread in the tall grass areas.
Old growth trees on the course remained, but Ward has since planted new tree varieties that are native and grown from locally harvested seed.
“This assures that the genetics of the new trees evolved in the same climatic conditions and with the same set of pests that they will have to contend with today,” Ward said.
The course also follows federal wastewater discharge laws at its maintenance facility through a wash-water recycling system.