Since famed architect Donald Ross designed Ponkapoag Golf Course in 1936, the course has seen better days. Some golfers still love its low cost and have fond memories of learning to golf on this historic course. But over the past two decades, funds for proper maintenance have been scarce storm water management structures have deteriorated and storm water has flooded the course from adjacent properties. As a result, the course has fallen into disrepair, several holes are regularly underwater and large holes scar the fairways.
But help is on the way. The Department of Conservation has invested $2.6 million to restore the golf course, including the two holes that are currently underwater. As part of the restoration, the DCR will address the impacts from storm water that flows from off-site, (including Blue Hills Regional Vocational School, Massasoit Community College and residential properties). Mitigation and restoration efforts also include planting approximately 2 acres of “wet meadow” areas with native wetland species and allowing 38,880 square feet of the fairway to revert to a natural state. Here’s a full list of the mitigation measures that DCR has already or plans to undertake:
- The rehabilitation of the Ponkapoag Dam that was completed in 2009 to protect the Ponkapoag Bog, the Atlantic White Cedars and habitat for rare and endangered species for a total cost of $1,550,000.
- DCR’s completion of the 17-year Ponkapoag Pond Site Monitoring Plan for a total cost of $265,000. Annual reports recorded water level monitoring, stream discharge measurements, Vegetation Plot Inventory lists and analysis, Atlantic White Cedar vegetative cover analysis, State-listed rare wildlife survey results.
- Addressing the impacts resulting from offsite, up-gradient unpermitted storm water discharges from the Blue Hills Regional Vocational School, Massasoit Community College and residential properties, estimated to cost DCR roughly $500,000, through replacing all culverts within the ditch drainage system; removing and disposing sediment from the ditch drainage system.
- Planting approximately 2 acre “wet meadow” areas with native wetland species.
- Implementation of a Seasonal Demand Management Plan (SDMP) to reduce nonessential outdoor water during drought conditions. Upgrading/replacing the old, inefficient, manual irrigation system with an efficient automatic timed system has already been implemented for irrigating greens on 27 of the golf holes.
- A new weir on Ponkapoag Brook was completed at an approximate cost of $80,000. A minimum in-stream flow of 0.28 cfsm in Ponkapoag Brook is being maintained via the new 6” diameter butterfly valve installed in the weir’s wall.
- Implementation of an Integrated Pest Management Program, ensuring only a potential minimal amount of chemical spraying is done the courses.
- Replication of 20,568 SF of BVW. 38,880 square feet of maintained fairway will be allowed to revert to a natural state.
- A new golf cart bridge was completed for an approximate cost of $80,000. The brook now flows unimpeded under the bridge. It has replaced 3/36 inch diameter corroded CMP culverts that failed as a result of flood damage.
- Soil erosion and sediment controls have been implemented during the construction of the new weir and new golf cart bridge. Additional controls will be implemented during construction of the larger project. The total cost will exceed $47,250.