With the exception of parks designated for human recreation, there are limited vegetated and open-water areas available to wildlife in developed areas. Golf course fairways offer green space, while water hazards and irrigation ponds provide aquatic habitat; however, we lack basic knowledge of the ecological function of these features in the urban landscape.
The purpose of our study was to investigate the ecological function of a suite of different golf courses in and around the Greater Naples Area. The objectives were to determine the physical characteristics of select golf course ponds, to characterize the vegetation community on the shoreline of each pond, and to compare the community characteristics of aquatic fauna (macro-invertebrates, fish, and anurans [frogs and toads]) inhabiting the ponds.
Two ponds within each of five golf courses were selected as study sites. Each pond was surveyed to measure water depths and these data were used to create bathymetric profiles and designate littoral areas.
Vegetation around the perimeter of each pond was identified and vegetative cover was calculated proportional to the respective perimeter.
Fish and aquatic macro-invertebrates were sampled during the dry (March-April) and wet (August-September) seasons within a 2-year period.
Treefrogs were sampled quarterly with artificial refugia. Anuran breeding calls were recorded following rain events and these vocalizations were used to characterize the aggregation at each pond.
Multivariate statistics and graphical methods were used to compare the floral and faunal communities among golf course ponds.
Communities along the flow way provide a matrix of habitats that combine to form the Upper Gordon River Wildlife Corridor. Grassy areas - like fairways - offer green space, while water hazards and storm water irrigation ponds provide aquatic habitat.
The first study is assessing the current ecological value within the Upper Gordon River Green Zone using a weighted abundance approach to analyzing flora and faunal abundances within three of the communities along the corridor. Once baseline conditions are known, the possibility of incorporating eco-friendly design elements will be explored in an effort to enhance the ecological value of the corridor to wildlife.
This will be followed by an assessment phase that will evaluate whether or not the enhancements are successful. This program will be adaptive to fit the individual needs of the residents, golfers and wildlife.
In order to provide a biological/ecological opinion to stakeholders, components of the baseline study include:
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
Monday - Sunday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (ET)
239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
©2017 Conservancy of Southwest Florida. All Rights Reserved