The Red Clay Valley Association awarded the club with the honor, recognizing its work to restore 2,000 feet of a branch of the Red Clay Creek, navigating jurisdictional boundaries while creating an extensive wildlife habitat. The club acknowledged superintendent Paul Stead’s efforts throughout the project, working with governmental and private entities.
The Red Clay Valley Association (RCVA) named Kennett Square (Pa.) Golf and Country Club its “Outstanding Conservationist,” recognizing work done by the private club from November 2011 to May 2012 to restore 2,000 feet of the East Branch of the Red Clay Creek, the Times of Chester County reported.
The work done on the stream that flows through the middle of golf club’s property was not trivial. Its total cost was over $800,000, three-quarters of it borne by the club and one-quarter by a “Growing Greener” grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and administered by RCVA, the Times reported.
When Joe Viscuso, the Kennett Golf Club’s Board of Governors president, accepted the award, he said, “I have high praise for our club’s grounds superintendent, Paul Stead, for his diligent efforts to work effectively with all governmental and private entities involved in the project.”
The project involved reshaping the stream-bed into a main channel flanked by a mini-flood plain, strategically placing nearly one hundred 1,000- to 2,000-pound boulders along the stream walls. After reshaping, the stream’s environs were planted with nearly 1,000 native and ornamental plants and grasses to create not only beauty but extensive wildlife habitat, the Times reported.
In addition to costly, the project was jurisdictionally complex, with approvals needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chester County, and three townships directly involved in the stream’s winding path to the Delaware Bay, the Times reported.
The restored streams’ banks are now stacked with thousands of iconic “Avondale Blend” boulders and multicolored foliage from red-twig dogwoods to purple cone flowers. More impressive than its looks, however, is its new ability to conserve itself and its environment through a scientific and well-thought-out design, the Times reported.
In accepting the award with Viscuso, Stead said the work was not entirely for conservation purposes. “Our hole number 13 on the corner of Walnut and East Locust, a par 3 with lots of visibility from the street, was losing its green to the creek. Same thing for the tee-box on the other side of the creek. Something had to be done to stop the erosion at the site and the silt from flowing downstream.”
In addition to coordinating with multiple layers of local and state government, Stead’s stream restoration project needed to be sensitive to wildlife concerns. A rare and very small Pennsylvania bog turtle (Clemmys mulenbergii) was known to spend its winters in the stream’s bed. Because it emerges early in the spring and lays its eggs streamside a month later, environmental authorities required a May 2012 deadline for completing work in the stream. As project manager, complying with this deadline was Stead’s responsibility, the Times reported.
The RCVA, the second oldest small watershed organization in America, was founded in 1952 by a group of Delaware and Pennsylvania residents for the purpose of protecting and conserving the natural resources in the Red Clay Watershed, the Times reported.