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Sanibel City Council given 2015 Annual Report Card grades on island golf courses

By Staff | Oct 14, 2015

The 2015 Report Card summary for the golf course nutrient and lake management recommendations were handed out to the three Sanibel golf courses in the Oct. 6, Sanibel City Council meeting.

The presentation was directed by environmental biologist of the Natural Resources Department’s Holly Milbrandt, as all three golf courses improved its scores from 2014.

“We implement an annual report card to the golf courses, but they are all based on voluntarily given data by each of them,” Milbrandt said. “It has been a successful partnership. This is the fifth year we have been doing the report cards and it’s been very beneficial and has been growing.”

The annual report started in 2011 by the Natural Resources Department and staff meets with representatives from each golf course, reviewing each item on the best management practices, inspecting the facilities and evaluating each implementations of their prior year’s goals, when applicable.

The four primary categories when grading the golf courses include education, lake management, fertilizer management and irrigation and fertigation.

The ultimate goal of the project is to focus on protecting water quality on Sanibel.

The Sanctuary Golf Club and The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club remain in full compliance with the City’s recommendations and have consistently made progress in implementing its best management practices.

What that means, that reduction of nutrient loading into the courses’ lakes are likely if they continue their current practices.

The Sanibel Island Golf Club remains in partial compliance with the City’s recommendations.

The Report Card summary for each course includes:

  • The Dunes Golf Course and Tennis Club earned a score of 60.5 out of 65 points, for a 93-percent mark. It is a 30-percent improvement since 2011, but the same as 2014.
  • The Sanctuary Golf Club earned a near perfect 64 out of 65 points for a 98-percent mark, which is the same from 2014.
  • The Sanibel Golf Club earned a 54 out of 65 points, for a mark of 83-percent. It is a 29-percent improvement since 2013, when the new ownership took over. It is the same score as 2014.

“No golf courses reported any algae blooms, either,” Milbrandt added. “But even if there are any smaller algae blooms which are not considered serious, they still should be reported.”

Councilman Marty Harrity praised Milbrandt and the Natural Resources Department for a job well done and that the grade summaries are a good idea.

“I suggest you work with South Seas, as well, with their golf course,” Harrity said.

“I like to see the cooperation by the golf courses with this, it’s good for both parties involved,” said Councilman Chauncey Goss.

The City Council, which was sans Mayor Kevin Ruane who had an excused absence, also voted 4-0 to support the solar energy project effort by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society.

The project includes evaluating and determining the opportunities for implementation of solar technology at the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.

The City will have no financial obligation in the matter, just lending its letter of support.

The work will be funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The City will simply endorse the effort, not provide any funds,” said Vice Mayor Mick Denham.

“It just makes a lot of sense supporting this, it’s a good thing for Sanibel,” Harrity said.

“It’s the Sunshine State after all, it makes sense to pursue solar energy,” Goss added.

The City Council also hard the first reading (which isn’t subject to discussion or public comment) of ordinance which will amend the Sanibel code of ordinances for allowing bicycles not exceeding 47 inches in width to be operated upon any public bicycle path or shared use path.

It was approved to purchase a Ford F-750 Dump Truck through Bartow Ford as a piggyback of Florida State University in the amount of $78,759, which does not increase the adopted 2015 budget.

The City Council also approved grants from the Tourist Development Council (TDC) totaling in the amount of $1,985,880 for improvements, repairs and beach erosion monitoring on the Sanibel beaches, including at the Lighthouse Beach Park.