Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BLOG: Laytonsville Golf Course, Gaithersburg, Maryland

This summer, the Groundwater Blog will be profiling participants of the Groundwater Guardian Green Site program. The program recognizes green spaces (golf courses, parks, nature areas, educational and office campuses, etc.) for using groundwater-friendly practices to maintain the site. Find out more.

Site: Laytonsville Golf Course, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Site Manager: Galen Evans, Golf Course Superintendent

Tell us a little about your site and its history. 
Located in almost the center of Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington DC, our golf course was built in 1971 and is an original course to the Montgomery County Revenue Authority. We have always been a public golf course and we are usually busy, as we typically have between 40,000 and 45,000 rounds played each year.

What’s the most unique feature of your site? 
The most unique feature on our property has to be that the spring near our 8th hole is listed as the original headwaters of Rock Creek. Rock Creek leaves our property and meanders all the way through Washington DC where it empties into the Potomac River and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

What groundwater-friendly practices are you most proud of? 
I'm most proud of the amount of native areas and stream buffers we've implemented around the course over the past several years. Native areas, or low-maintenance areas, are left to grow naturally and receive virtually no inputs other than being mowed down once a year. These areas of dense turf with deep, fibrous roots, help to filter sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants out of the runoff before it enters streams and leaves our property. These areas also help to filter runoff as it permeates the soil and moves down to our groundwater.

What would you tell another site manager about being a Green Site? 
I would tell anyone in charge of maintaining a property to consider becoming a Green Site. This program really helped me to validate that the practices we employ at our course are benefiting the local environment, especially our groundwater. During the application process, I was also given a better understanding of other ways wee can improve our environmental impact and groundwater protection.

What’s the best part about your job? 
The best part of my job is that I get to be outside every day. It feels great to be able to balance providing quality course conditions to our golfers and also protecting our natural resources and the environment.


Galen Evans has been the Course Superintendent at Laytonsville Golf Course for six years. Find out more about Laytonsville Golf Course at www.mcggolf.com/Courses/Laytonsville.aspx or gevans@mcggolf.com.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Food Waste Part 3: Upcycled Leftovers}

This is the third part of Frannie’s dive into reducing food waste at home.  Click to read the first and second parts.

Did you know that there are ways to reduce food waste and save water even after you’re done cooking and eating?

If you’re like Frannie, you know that variety is the spice of life. Eating the same thing for several meals each week can get a little boring.  Instead of letting all of those leftovers go to waste, consider freezing them for a few weeks or, depending on the item, up to a few months.

If you have so many leftovers that you can’t possibly eat them all before they good bad, consider donating them.  Even if your food is a little too old for food centers to take it, many farmers accept scrap donations for pig feed or to add to their own compost piles. To find a farm near you that does this, click here.

After your morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea, the used leaves and grounds can be added to your compost pile or simply scooped on top of your houseplants or garden.  If you use coffee pods, consider starting seedlings or small succulents in them instead of heading straight for the garbage bin.  You can find ideas for pod potters, along with other artsy ways to upcycle the pods, here.
And remember, the best way to really reduce food waste is to educate yourself and others about why it's an issue and what you can do about it.

Share with us some of your ways to reduce food and water waste after your meals on our Facebook, Twitter, or E-mail.  Happy Upcycling!

Friday, August 11, 2017

BLOG: 8 Ways to Protect Water During National Water Quality Month

Water covers most of the Earth, exists in the cracks and crevices beneath the earth's surface, makes up most of the human body, and is vital for all living things. Needless to say, clean water is important. During a month when everyone is out enjoying lakes, rivers, oceans and having tall glasses of ice-cold water, it becomes even more apparent how important quality water is. August is National Water Quality Month. How can you have an impact on water quality? Here are some ways you can be part of the solution:

1. Don't flush medications.
Never flush old or unused medications down your toilet or the sink. Pipes can lead back into a general water source which then gets contaminated with your medication. Find a local take-back location (Nebraskans - you can take medications back to a participating pharmacy any time!), or utilize the DEA's take-back days in October and April. 

2. Don’t hose off the driveway.
Always sweep your driveway to keep it clean, rather than using the hose. When washing your car, use a commercial car wash whenever possible rather than doing it yourself at home. When chemicals run down your driveway into the storm drain they flow directly into lakes and streams.

3. Pick up the poop. 
Yep, it may be gross, but when it rains, that water picks up poop particles from your pet and it may be deposited into lakes, rivers, or streams. Nobody wants that - pick up your pet's poop.

4. Watch out for litter.
We all know to avoid littering, but go a step further and keep an eye out for any litter wherever you go. Whenever possible, pick it up and put it in the proper disposable bin.

5. Follow instructions when using any chemicals.
Pesticides and fertilizers can have a proper use, but avoid overusing them whenever possible. The chemicals can travel through runoff water and soil, thus contaminating ground water. Follow label instructions carefully!

6. Stay phosphate-free.
Help save our lakes and rivers by choosing nontoxic household products, and using phosphate-free items like detergent.

7. Join a cleanup project.
If you want to go a step beyond preventative care, be proactive by joining a local or national clean up project that works on water. This is a great project for a Groundwater Guardian team! No team in your area? Get one started!

8. Educate yourself.
Finally, take some time this month to educate yourself on what’s actually in your water, the quality of your water and how it can further be improved. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledgeable you are, the more you can make a difference.

Water sustains life - it’s vitally important to all of us. This August, celebrate National Water Quality Month by being aware of your water habits and taking steps to ensure clean water for everyone. When we have clean water, we can lead satisfying lives.

Want more ideas? See what else you can do.

Adapted from Firespring.org

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Food Waste Part 2: Save and Reuse}

This is the second part of Frannie’s dive into reducing food waste at home.  To read the first part, click here.
Do you like to cook? Frannie does!

There are ways to reduce food waste and save water even when you’re preparing food and cooking food.

To make sure our food is clean, we should wash our fruits and vegetables even if they come in a bag.  Before turning on the tap, put a bowl in sink to catch the dirty water.  When you are done washing your food, you can use the water on your houseplants or garden instead of letting it run down the sink.  You can also do this with the water you have used to boil fruits, vegetables, and eggs after, of course, you let it cool.

As pointed out last week, you can easily use vegetable peelings to start your own compost pile, but did you know you can also some vegetable food waste to make soup?  Save your carrot and celery ends and freeze them for up to six months and boil them in water to make a delicious vegetable broth.  You can also do this with vegetables that are beginning to get old by simply cutting away any bad parts and chopping them into large chunks.

Want a meat broth instead? Save bones and scraps leftover from your pork chops or chicken and add them to boiling water or the veggie broth.

When your bread goes stale, you can break it into pieces and make homemade croutons or breadcrumbs using recipes like this one.  If you want to try something a bit different, try these cornbread croutons!

Even cheese can be reused.  After cutting away the Parmesan rind, turn it into a nice cheesy broth for a Wisconsin Cheese soup or a creamy pasta sauce for your next Italian night.

Share with us some of your ways to reduce food and water waste while cooking on our Facebook, Twitter, or E-mail.  Bon appetite!

Friday, August 4, 2017

BLOG: Recharging Groundwater Education

Recharging Groundwater Education trains teachers to
further engage students in groundwater education.
The Groundwater Foundation is thrilled to begin work on a new project funded by EPA Region 7.

The Environmental Education grant was awarded in conjunction with EPA’s Office of External Affairs and the Environmental Education Program in Washington, D.C.

The grant project, “Recharging Groundwater Education,” will train teachers to engage students in problem-solving and critical thinking around local environmental threats to the groundwater supply in Nebraska; mentor high school students through outdoor internships and stewardship projects; and promote student exploration and awareness of career opportunities in water-related science and engineering fields.

“This grant helps teach Nebraska students about how to protect their Nebraska groundwater through hands-on experience with nature, and explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career paths,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President said, “We are excited about the opportunity to equip educators to teach about groundwater and to complement the lessons learned in the classroom with mentoring opportunities for students to learn about careers and to get involved in local protection efforts.  With over 30 years of experience our organization has witnessed how education is a catalyst to action. We look forward to working with our partners across the state to foster a new generation of environmental stewards and are grateful EPA makes these efforts possible.” 

The Groundwater Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate the public about the need to conserve and protect groundwater. Surface water or ground water can serve as sources of drinking water. Protecting source water from contamination can reduce treatment costs, and risks to public health from exposures to contaminated water.

For more information about the Recharging Groundwater Education project, contact us at info@groundwater.org or 402-434-2740.