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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison joni newcomer
Submission Date Jan. 26, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

New Mexico State University
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 joni newcomer
Mgr. Env. Policy and Sustainability
Facilities and Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Subsurface and deficit irrigation for turfgrass water savings at golf courses

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Drs. Bernd Leinauer, Elena Sevostianova, and Matteo Serena
Departments of Plant & Environmental Sciences and Extension Plant Sciences, NMSU

For the past five years, The Club at Las Campanas, a luxury golf community in Santa Fe, has been working on implementing water conservation strategies for its two 18‐hole courses, designed by golf pro Jack Nicklaus.  Recently, club management turned to New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service turf specialist Bernd Leinauer in Las Cruces for suggestions on how to resolve a lingering issue.

“In addition to using effluent water, we have reduced the amount of turf on the courses by a third, redesigned and updated the irrigation system and started using wetting agents to help conserve water,” said Tom Egelhoff, director of agronomy at Las Campanas. “However, we are still battling wasting water on the tee boxes.”

Subsurface drip irrigation can save water from 20 to 90 percent of what is used by sprinkler systems. Because of the data that will be gathered from this project, USGA awarded NMSU a grant to aid the research. NMSU hopes to get meaningful results from this field test and to be able to document significant water savings, which then can also be implemented on other golf courses across the world.

While the Las Campanas project is ongoing the group has demonstrated successfully the use of saline water for deficit irrigation on test plots at the NMSU campus. subsuface irrigation has been used in agriculture but it hasn't been used in the turfgrass industry. Research results will be forthcoming on the long term effects of this method on larger plots such as the golf course.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Air & Climate

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:


Alvarez,G., E. Sevostianova, M. Serena, R. Sallenave, B. Leinauer (2016). Sufactant and polymer-coated sand effects on deficit irrigated bermudagrass turf. Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Quality, 197(6), 2245-2255. doi:10.2134/agronj2016.06.0329

Serena, M., B. Leinauer, M. Schiavon, B. Maier, R. Sallenave. (2015). Establishment and rooting response of bermudagrass propagated with saline water and subsurface irrigation. Crop Science, 54, 827-836. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2013.07.0512

Schiavon M., B. Leinauer, M. Serena, B. Maier, and R. Sallenave (2015). Plant growth regulator and soil surfactants' effects on saline and deficit irrigated warm-season grasses: I. Turf quality and soil moisture. Crop Science, 54, 2815-2826. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2013.10.0707

Sevostianova, E. and B. Leinauer (2014). Subsurface-applied tailored water: combining nutrient benefits with efficient turfgrass irrigation. Crop Science, 54, 1926-1938. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2014.01.0014

Schiavon M., B. Leinauer, M. Serema, R. Sallenave, B. Maier (2015). Establishing tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass using subsurface irrigation and saline water. Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Quality, 105, 183-190. doi:10.2134/agronj2012.0187

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.