According to Lori Carpenter, a leading western environmental consultant who developed Martis Camp’s conservation plans, this Tahoe community is a leader in environmental stewardship. “Martis Camp gave me broad latitude as a scientist to pursue strategies that truly work. Not only is that rare, it is very refreshing.”
Scott Bower, Martis Camp’s Director of Greens & Grounds, is responsible for this comprehensive program—implementing initiatives in storm water management, wildlife habitat preservation and resource conservation on the Tom Fazio golf course, around the other amenities, and in the community’s common areas. These prodigious efforts are hardly new—they’ve been strategically pursued since the very beginning.
“When the development of Martis Camp began,” Bower said, “we were dealing with land that had been logged for 100 years, so our first step in environmental stewardship was the removal of that debris.” Tasked with restoring the land to a healthy forest, Bower said “well over a thousand trucks were filled with ground debris and taken to a nearby co-generation plant that produces electricity.
Recycling ground debris didn’t end with the initial clean-up. Today, compost used to fertilize the community’s landscaping is produced on site from scrap material cleaned in the course of regular maintenance.
Storm water management has been another priority from the outset. “From day one, we have vigilantly chased every raindrop,” Bower noted, “treating it multiple times with sediment and bio-remediation basins designed to remove phosphorous, nitrates and other impurities before it returns to the ground.” To the greatest extent possible, storm water is collected and recycled back into the landscape.
Following are some other examples of the environmental stewardship strategy that Carpenter envisioned and Bower has so effectively implemented and managed:
- Installation of monitoring stations that check water quality at Martis Creek on a nearly continual basis—every 15 seconds to be exact.
- Special filters on all storm drains that filter out 99 percent of hydrocarbons
- Native species re-vegetation, yielding more efficient year-round plant coverage
- Native seeds are used to incorporate indigenous plants
- Organic products used for soil-building on the golf course
- Preservation of migration corridors for various species of wildlife
- Reuse of pine needles for erosion control
- Sate-of-the-art computer-controlled irrigation system
Carpenter concludes: “When the folks at Martis Camp say they believe in stewardship, they back it up with the science, engineering and a financial commitment that proves it.”
With Scott Bower on his post, that commitment is lived out each day at Martis Camp.
Lori Carpenter, is the owner of 7Q10, Inc. She holds masters degrees in hydrology and hydro-geology and is a Professional Wetland Scientist.