Soil Supports Recreational Activities

(Jared) Soils really support recreation, especially in turf grass systems. On these recreational areas that turf is grown on, includes sports fields, recreation fields, parks and golf courses. On athletic fields we see a wide range of soil types. There’s manufactured soil bases, where there will be sand capped to help water move through so that way we do not have high compaction areas. With heavy clay soil and especially if there’s any rainfall around, we tend to see that compaction will start to occur. And when compaction occurs we do different management practices to try to relieve that compaction like aerification. And our main goal with it is not to only supply…help supply nutrients and air flow and water to the root system, but it’s also to provide a safe playing surface for all the athletes that are playing on it. Well soil and turf kind of have a symbiotic relationship. Soils provide the media, the nutrients, the water for the turf to grow in. But turf also does some beneficial things, not 100 percent for the soil, but for the environment. (Dan) Well soil has a tremendous impact on water quality and recreational water quality. From soils we think about the things that harm recreation or soil quality, one of those would be sediments, where soil erosion coming off of…is really what we think about is soils from the upland or even the riverbanks getting into our lakes and recreational waters. And then along with those, would come some of the nutrients. Some other things to think about when we think about soils, would be algae blooms for example that we see in some of our…that occur, seems like with fairly frequent occurrences now, in some of our major reservoirs and if we can reduce soil erosion or the nutrient losses we can improve our recreational waters.

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