ALLANDALE, Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Environmental Stewardship Director Jim Johnson, recognizes Grand Valley State University for its efforts to ensure environmental stewardship and enhance wildlife habitat. The University recently achieved certification in the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP), a nationally recognized program to advance environmental stewardship and increase compliance of Michigan’s turfgrass industry.

"Grand Valley State University has gone above and beyond environmental compliance requirements to prevent pollution, protect water resources and conserve energy that collectively benefits the environment. By reducing maintained areas on the campus, implementing best management practices, and conducting energy audits, they are saving money, protecting natural resources, and reducing their carbon footprint,” said Johnson. “MDARD is proud to be associated with this unique partnership among state agencies, Michigan State University, and industry stakeholders that provide a solid foundation for success as additional properties work to attain certification."

To date, 230 properties statewide have begun to voluntarily participate in the MTESP and only 82 have met the criteria for certification. MTESP certification requires regulatory compliance and implementation of practices that prevent pollution, reduce energy and waste, and protect water resources. As part of the program, an environmental action plan is established during a site visit conducted by program staff and the turfgrass manager or grounds superintendent.

“We are very pleased that we can now add Grand Valley State University to our list of certified facilities. The University should be proud of the commitment the management team has made to protecting and preserving the environment.” said Adam Ikamas MTESP Program Director.

Ken Stanton, CGM, Grounds Supervisor at Grand Valley, explained that several construction projects around the Facilities Services building were undertaken to complete the modules. “All of the improvements that were undertaken as part of the certification program, will complement the sustainable practices and programs, already taking place at Grand Valley”.

The action plan is used as a management tool to prevent potential threats from negatively affecting natural resources with a special focus placed upon the protection of groundwater, which is often the source for irrigation and drinking water.

This program is intended to organize efforts of state agencies, Michigan State University (MSU), and environmental advocacy groups to advance environmental stewardship with in the Turfgrass industry and to recognize environmental achievements. The program was developed at MSU with support from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF), Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MiGCSA), Golf Association of Michigan (GAM), Michigan Golf Course Owners Association (MGCOA), Michigan PGA Section (PGA), Michigan Sports Turf Managers (MiSTMA), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program provides the base funding to develop and operate the program.

For more information on the MTESP visit www.mtesp.org, Twitter @MTESP and Facebook.com/MTESP or contact Adam Ikamas at 231-714-7365 or e-mail at adam@mtesp.org.