The Lahontan Golf Club, located between Truckee and Lake Tahoe, received a 2006 Innovative Pest Management Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The award is the only one that has ever been given in Placer County since the award's inception in 1994.
Lahontan earned the award for its innovative programs that utilize organic maintenance and native vegetation. Course superintendent Kevin Breen has developed a program where composted green waste and chicken manure has replaced synthetic fertilizers, pesticide use is kept to a minimum and 90 percent of weeds are removed by hand. Breen monitors a weather station to assist with course irrigation.
"Our overall philosophy is not how much we can do, but how little we can do," said Breen. "We want to have sustainable practices. Being in the Tahoe area gives us a heightened sensitivity and visibility of golf courses in our area."
The golf club was nominated for the award by a golf industry representative. The DPR conducted an interview process before making its selection.
"Lahontan Golf Club was one of only seven Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovators statewide honored by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for their commitment to reducing synthetic fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide use at the golf course," said Placer County Agriculture Commissioner Christine Turner. "Kevin Breen's leadership in moving golf course maintenance in a new direction is recognized through this prestigious state award."
The course, which is nine years old, uses native plants throughout. Before course construction, seeds of native plants were collected and an effort was made to develop native seed mixes for use after the course was completed. The results are soft lines between the actual course and the surrounding native species.
"This award is a testament to the innovative thinking of the golf club's management," said Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz, in whose 5th District the course is located. "This is an environmentally sensitive area that is under a lot of scrutiny. Kevin Breen and his crew have done an outstanding job in limiting the impacts the course has on the environment."
The course is not only limiting the effects it has on the surrounding environment, but also influences other courses. Six golf courses in the area are now employing the compost topdressing program that Lahontan developed for its own course.
Lahontan has also received other awards for it course practices, including the California Golf Writers Environmental Award in 1998. The course has also twice received the Environmental Leadership in Golf Award, given jointly by the Golf Course Superintendent Association of Americaand Golf Digest magazine.