Rain Bird Names Water Award Finalists

Rain Bird of Azusa, Calif., on Aug. 12 named the five finalists of the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water™ Award.

They are Christopher S. Gray, Sr. of Benton, Ky.; David Salman of Santa Fe, N.M.; Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association (GGCSA) of Atlanta; the Council on the Environment of NYC (CENYC) of New York; and Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden in Glendale, Ariz.

Gray has spent his career in golf course management creating and implementing innovative and effective environmental stewardship programs. As general manager/director of Golf Course Operations at Marvel Golf Club in Benton, Gray has developed and implemented a unique wastewater conservation program in which all rainwater and household wastewater generated from the homes surrounding the golf course is captured, treated, and pumped into the course's irrigation retention ponds.

As president and chief horticulturist of the retail nursery, Santa Fe Greenhouses, Salman has spent the better part of 20-plus years in pursuit of beautiful and drought-tolerant plants for western landscapes. Regarded as one of Xeriscaping's pioneers, he is dedicated to perfecting the growing methods for a wide variety of new and unusual waterwise perennials, grasses, and shrubs. His work has resulted in the introduction of 24 new waterwise ornamental perennial plants that are now some of the region's most widely used Xeric perennials. In 2000, Santa Fe Greenhouses constructed a 39,000-gallon cistern, enabling the collection of rainwater from 55,000-square feet of greenhouse roof area to be used for irrigation of the facility's perennial and annual plant collections.

As Georgia's water resources came under increased scrutiny in 2002, the GGCSA began working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to develop a program that would achieve the goal of sustainable resource conservation. GGCSA challenged its members to create a set of best management practices. Combining the use of efficient irrigation systems, irrigation audits, new grass varieties, communication and products such as wetting agents and plant growth regulators, and abstaining from over seeding, the GGCSA was able to document the conservation efforts of Georgia's golf superintendents and promote the program as a potential water conservation tool for all types of water users.

As a hands-on nonprofit committed to increasing environmental awareness among New Yorkers and developing practical solutions, the CENYC develops and implements environmental education programs and initiatives that promote waste prevention and encourage resource recycling. CENYC has worked with more than 30 community garden groups in diverse neighborhoods to construct rainwater-harvesting systems using simple piping and barrels to collect water from adjacent rooftops or garden structures. Each year, these systems divert more than 500,000 gallons of rainwater onto local gardens.

Established in 1992, the Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is a four-acre living laboratory that showcases low-water-use plants and educates the community on the benefits of water efficient gardening. The garden's themed demonstration areas educate homeowners on the diversity and beauty of Xeriscape through displays of native plantings and proper drip irrigation watering techniques, as well as interpretive signage and audio tours that provide information about specific plants and landscape design techniques. The recently installed habitat gardens are certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a "Backyard Wildlife Habitat" and demonstrate rainwater-harvesting techniques. The garden's role in motivating the public to take advantage of the city's landscape rebate program is evident as the number of gallons used per day by Glendale residents has decreased by more than 14 percent since the garden opened in 1992.

The award winner will be announced on Oct. 11 at the Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition.

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