To become certified, Signature Program members must implement management of the property according to a site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) addressing wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and green building products and procedures. To become re-certified, members must provide an annual update including completion of education and outreach projects, water quality monitoring analyses, and an on-site review.
“The original design of the golf course incorporated many buffer areas of tall native grasses flowing into the hundreds of acres of deciduous trees and wetland areas,” said Rob Giampietro, Certified Golf Course Superintendent and Facilities Manager. “This design keeps the maintenance contained within the playing areas of the golf course and helps keep the cost associated with that maintenance to a minimum. In addition to providing a great golf experience, our community outreach program brings school children to the property where they can see firsthand our various wildlife populations as well as learn about different filtering systems that help ensure water leaving the property is cleaner than when it entered. We have been involved in the Signature Sanctuary Program since our inception over eleven years ago and are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Audubon International.”
Beginning at an elevation of 800 feet, the golf course flows along ridges and drops dramatically into valleys through a wide variety of habitats. The golf holes flanked by hardwood forest stands are intermingled with connected and isolated wetlands throughout the course. The rolling terrain features many natural outcroppings and solitary boulders and an abundance of native vegetation such as mountain laurel, yellow birch, shagbark hickory, oak trees and a preserved sugar maple grove.
Environmental highlights of the project include:
•Water Monitoring – To ensure that on-site wetlands, streams are not degraded from construction or long term use of the property, a water quality monitoring program was implemented before construction and continues today in the operational phase of the project and for adjacent residences.
•Drainage – No drainage from the golf course flows into any water body or wetland area without appropriate filtration before entering or upon exiting the drainage pipe.
•BMPs – Best Management Practice (BMP) ‘Trains’, where separate BMPs are ‘cars’ of the train, are used throughout Bull’s Bridge. This maximizes the filtration and reduces the release of storm water from the property.
•Vegetative Buffers – Tall, native grasses along the edge of the water bodies and wetlands help to filter the water and prevent erosion. A 25-foot “no spray zone” ensures that pesticides will be absorbed before they reach these water bodies.
•Landscaping – Using xeriscaping as a landscaping practice means planting species that are drought tolerant making for efficient irrigation practices and reduced maintenance.
•Wildlife Corridors – Corridors of forested acreage and dense understory surround most of the golf holes providing cover and habitat for species such as deer and wild turkey to move unobserved throughout the property.
•Land Trust Protection – 266 acres of the project are overseen by the Weantiwoge Heritage Land Trust. Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust is the largest land trust in Connecticut, protecting more than nine thousand acres in seventeen communities throughout Northwest Connecticut.
“Bull’s Bridge is representative of a sustainable approach to development with a special focus on water quality protection and wildlife habitat preservation,”
About Audubon International
Audubon International is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization dedicated to providing people with the education and assistance they need to practice responsible management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, properties, new developments, and entire communities. The Signature Program premiered in 1993 and is focused on promoting sound land management practices and appropriate land use changes based on sound scientific research. Signature Sanctuaries are currently located in 29 states and in Puerto Rico, China, Portugal, and Spain.
For more information, contact Nancy Richardson at Audubon International’