Other recommendations include letting grass grow tall around such waters to protect them from chemical runoff and provide habitat for the adult amphibians as well as connect them to undisturbed native environments. "Seventy percent of golf courses are nonplay habitat," Semlitsch notes. "If you mix and mingle water features and adjacent natural areas you've got a good chance of playing a good game of golf and protecting those habitats."
But it may be tough to get golf course owners on board with the plan. The USGA-funded Audubon International has only enlisted some 600 courses since 1991. "The superintendents on golf courses seem very open to taking some of the management strategies into account," Boone says. "If the changes do not interfere with golfing and doesn't take substantial additional work, then why not do it?" After all, mowing requires more work than not mowing.
But some might argue that a dry pond with an unmowed fringe is unsightly, if a boon to wildlife. And, regardless, such human-dominated landscapes are not the equivalent of undisturbed nature. "It's not a substitute for natural areas or preserves," Semlitsch says. Such preserves may not be large enough and alternatives should be found, even if they are chemically challenged man-made ponds. "We could potentially do better than promoting the maintenance of one species, bullfrogs," Semlitsch notes, "to at least include a few other native species."