June 2, 2017

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Environmental Stewardship Division Director Jim Johnson and Gordon Wenk, Chief Deputy Director of the MDARD today recognized the University of Michigan for its efforts to ensure environmental stewardship and enhance wildlife habitat. The University recently achieved campus wide certification in the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP) www.mtesp.org, a nationally recognized program to advance environmental stewardship and increase compliance of Michigan’s turfgrass industry related to environmental risks associated with wellhead protection, pesticide and fertilizer handling, application and record keeping, septic system management, fuel storage, irrigation and water use management areas, and emergency response.

“The University of Michigan 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 Jim 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 83 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.

“We are very pleased that we can now add the University of Michigan as a campus wide certification to our list of 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.

“For a long time, we have approached our work with the idea of ‘leaving it better than we found it.’,” says Corbin Todd, director of the U-M Golf Courses. “The MTESP program seemed like a great way to access expertise and knowledge in the area of environmental stewardship to help us do just that.”

As part of the MTESP certification requirements, an environmental action plan is established during a site visit conducted by program staff and the turfgrass manager or grounds superintendent. 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 the environmental stewardship of 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 Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The Michigan Water Stewardship 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