Friday, February 6, 2015

Early season bird action


Our birder Lee Pauser was at Cinnabar yesterday doing a preseason check and things were very positive.  For the past few weeks I have noticed a lot of barn owls flying around the course in the pre-dawn hours.  Lee noticed one female in a box and another barn owl flew out of a box as he was approaching.  Lee also had a first for Cinnabar Hills and that was the siting of an American Kestrel on top of a kestrel box.  He has heard them out here many times, but they have never taken up residency here.  Maybe this is the year.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Not The Start We Were Looking For



I found this graphic this morning while I was looking at the long term forecast of rain that just doesn't exist.  I don't know where the .01" in San Jose came from.  Maybe mother nature spit a little when she was looking down at us while chuckling.  Lacking the rainfall to lift the 20% reduction in water usage, the only thing I can predict with some certainty is another trying year for a lot of golf courses.  

Embedded image permalink

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Water in Review

As 2014 has officially come to a close, I thought I'd share how we did for water savings.  Along with the water savings, I also wanted to show the weather differences in 2013 and 2014.

Total ET
2013
2014
% Change
March
3.13
4.06
29.71
April
4.96
3.27
-34.07
May
5.82
6.24
7.22
June
6.19
6.77
9.37
July
6.90
6.86
-0.58
August
5.87
6.02
2.56
September
4.28
4.42
3.27
October
3.15
3.33
5.71
November
2.02
1.92
-4.95
December
1.72
1.06
-38.37
Cumulative
44.04
43.95
-0.02

While the cumulative change in weather shows just slightly less evapotranspiration (ET) in 2014, the year certainly had its challenges.   The hardest months of any year, August - October, were actually significantly more demanding this year compared to 2013 as seen in the table above and in more detail below.  

Temperture
August
September
October
 
2013
2014
2013
2014
2013
2014
Days >80
31
31
13
22
7
15
Days >90
4
8
3
5
0
6
Ave. High
84.5
87.6
80.3
84.4
74.2
80.3
Ave. ET
0.19
0.19
0.14
0.15
0.1
0.11

I am very glad to say that since the Governor's call for a 20% reduction on February 28th of 2014, we have saved a cumulative total of 24.7% water.  It was an extremely difficult challenge and there were certainly hard lessons learned, but lessons that will serve us well going forward.  

Total ET
2013
2014
% Change in ET
% Water Saved
March
3.13
4.06
29.71
-34.8
April
4.96
3.27
-34.07
-40.0
May
5.82
6.24
7.22
-21.1
June
6.19
6.77
9.37
-20.0
July
6.90
6.86
-0.58
-20.0
August
5.87
6.02
2.56
-21.3
September
4.28
4.42
3.27
-22.4
October
3.15
3.33
5.71
-21.2
November
2.02
1.92
-4.95
-28.6
December
1.72
1.06
-38.37
-100
Cumulative
44.04
43.95
-0.02
-24.7

The early rains have helped immensely with the recovery of lost turf, but by no means are we out of a drought situation.  We will continue with our Commitment to Community with our wise use of water as it is our most precious commodity.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter Green on the Range

As some of you may have seen, the range has taken on a rather odd color compared to the summer; It's green.  It's actually green both in color and grass variety.  I chose to seed the range to rye grass and dutch white clover with a ratio of 94% to 6% respectively.  Why dutch white clover?  Clover requires very little water, no nitrogen and no herbicides.  Clover actually use to be in a lot of the seed mixes until Scott's company or whomever came out with the Weed n' Feed fertilizer's.  The reason we had to seed the range was to stabilize the hill during the winter months and prevent the range from becoming a quagmire as to allow for ball picking.

Range in August
Range as of 11/20/14

While there is some clover coming in now, I do expect more to show through in the spring and summer of 2015 as Mother nature cuts back on the moisture and the rye grass dies back.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's Been a While

April 25th of 2014 was the last time we saw rain this year... until today!  While I wouldn't qualify it a rain event per se, it is nonetheless moisture falling from the sky and causing the pavement to smoke in relief.  We probably won't get anything measurable from this, but we may be able to turn the sprinklers off for a day.

Since April 25th, we have been doing a lot of items to best manage this drought.  The highlights are continually punching/ aerating, lots of lime and more to come, continual irrigation audits, and changes to the irrigation programming.

We have solid tined fairways 3 times this summer while roughs and tees have been done twice now.  All three surfaces are getting core aerated as we speak and will be followed up by another application of lime.  The holes allow for better water penetration and the lime (calcium) is helping with sodium which has risen to 12% of the base saturation on fairways.  We were at 9% sodium in May and less than 5% is desirable.

Our irrigation man, Rolando, has been rocking with nozzle adjustments and pressure adjustments which has alleviated 75% of the nozzle issues we've had on the course.  Along with his help, we have made changes to the irrigation programming that have helped maximize efficiency.  Some of those changes were changing the flow set-point from 1800 gpm to 1300 gpm, only allowing 2 sprinklers to run per irrigation program at one time, and changing the priorities on the programs.

With the later, Tom Jackson of Sierra Pacific/ Rainbird has always stressed this and I never put much into it.  The theory is that by changing the sprinklers start time priority, the sprinkler will run at different times every night and the odds of the sprinkler running while windy every night are reduced. I still doesn't make sense to me that it has that big of an impact, but we are seeing the results and I can make sense of that.  

It really has been an exciting year learning how to best manage the drought and we have learned a lot that will have forever lasting impacts to how we manage water going into any irrigation season; drought or no drought.

www.save20gallons.org
www.valleywater.org