The Great Chebeague Golf Club has begun the rigorous,years-long process of becoming certified as a Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course, a distinction only six golf courses in Maine have attained. If successful, our historic club would be the only island course to achieve this status. This program promotes ecologically-sound land management and the conservation of natural resources on golf courses. The club made the decision to go forward with this process because it believes it has a responsibility to the land, and to the rest of the island community to follow the best environmental standards going into the future.

In order to achieve this certification the club will first conduct an inventory of environmental resources and potential liabilities on the course, and second, develop an environmental plan that fits the setting, goals, staff, budget and time. The club has engaged Flycatcher LLD of Yarmouth, environmental consultants, to do site assessment this year and to assist the club in setting up an environmental practices plan to reach the final certification. The whole process could take three to five years to complete. Once certified the club will be monitored by Audubon International with annual reports and site visits to assure that the club is following the necessary practices to remain part of the program

As the club goes forward with the management plan it anticipates community organizations and individuals of all ages assisting us with the different aspects of program. Examples of cooperative projects are studying the wildlife use and habitat on the property, assisting in building and maintaining habitat such as bird houses, bat houses, pollination gardens, managing invasive species, engaging in water quality studies, observing how best to protect the shoreline and mitigate sea level rise damage to already threatened embankment areas, protecting the fresh water stream, using the best plant materials to preserve the course into the future.

Over the past several years, the golf club has adopted several significant environmental practices that will give it a head start on achieving certification. Of particular importance was building the drainage pond which provides the ONLY water for irrigation on the course. The pond, which is a Town fire pond, makes it possible to take NO water from the Island aquifer. Equally significant is that the club has reduced its use of chemicals by almost 90% ,therefore preventing any large runoff of toxic materials into to the bay. These practices , which are already in place, are beneficial for the island ecology and will be advantageous during the certification process.

Club members are very excited about this challenge. It looks forward to working with the entire community and will keep everyone informed as it progresses towards the final goal. Taking on this project now is of utmost importance.

Questions can be referred to Linda Grant, chair of the GCGC Sanctuary Committee at