Chambers Bay receives Audubon sanctuary certification

Audubon International Monday announced that Chambers Bay is the first golf course to become certified as a Silver Signature Sanctuary in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest. Signature certification is awarded only to new developments that are designed, constructed and maintained according to Audubon International’s precise planning standards and environmental disciplines. The focus of the Signature Program is to promote sound land management practices and appropriate land use changes based on sound scientific research.

Using a property that was already disturbed by mining on a former Glacier/Lone Star Northwest Gravel Mine site at University Place, Wash., just outside of Tacoma, Audubon International worked cooperatively with Pierce County on its 250 acres to restore habitat and to provide a cohesive educational program aimed at golfers, areas resident and trail users. The entire project covers 928-acres of Chambers Creek Properties, containing parcels that included 650 acres of gravel mines, two miles of shoreline, and a three-mile-long, forested ravine with a backdrop of Puget Sound, McNeil and Fox Islands and a western horizon framed by the Olympic Mountains.

Chambers Bay is an 18-hole walking-only, links-style golf course divided by the SoundView multi-purpose trail. The SoundView Trail system was opened to the public May 5, and provides public access right through the golf course and along the western edge of the property bordering Puget Sound.

In the 1970s, the site was the most productive sand mine in the United States, and when the entire project is completed, will have the longest expanse of public beaches in Washington state. The only indication of the sand and gravel mine are structures left to show the mine heritage along the south edge of hole No. 18.

Another natural feature is a collection of dunes created during the construction process and vegetated with native plants and grasses. Although there are no trees on the property except the lone Douglas fir behind the tee at No. 16, terrestrial wildlife will find shelter within the adjacent Northern Forest Preserve of mixed conifer-deciduous forest with dominant species of Douglas fir, Pacific madrone, red cedar and ocean spray.

To become certified, each Signature member must implement management of the property according to a Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) for the property that addresses the following: Wildlife Conservation and Habitat Enhancement, Water Quality Monitoring and Management, Integrated Pest Management, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency and Waste Management. The designation of Certified Silver Signature Sanctuary is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the NRMP and its implementation.

To date, only 22 other properties worldwide have achieved the Silver Signature Certification.