SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ — At a gathering at Warrenbrook Golf Course on Warrenville Rd. in Warren Township, Somerset County Freeholders, Park Commissioners, representatives from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA), and Park Commission staff celebrated as Warrenbrook became the fifth and final golf course to be recognized as both River-Friendly and a Groundwater Guardian. Participating in the NJWSA River-Friendly program for golf courses has allowed the Park Commission staff to access the tools and receive the guidance needed to make the golf courses more protective of water resources while maintaining a high standard of play. Through the program, golf course staff have worked to attain specific goals and requirements in the areas of Water Quality Management, Water Conservation Techniques, Wildlife and Habitat Enhancement, and Education and Outreach.The Somerset County River-Friendly courses joining Warrenbrook are Green Knoll in Bridgewater, Neshanic Valley in Neshanic Station, and Spooky Brook and Quail Brook in Somerset. All five golf courses increased the acreage of ‘reduced mow’ zones that require less maintenance and reduced chemical application. In addition, staff tracks and monitors chemical and fertilizer usage to assist in understanding the specific needs of the course. Additional actions include the installation of blue bird and bat boxes throughout the properties to increase native wildlife and the addition of educational signage to help highlight the importance of natural areas.In addition, all five courses have been named “Groundwater Guardian Green Sites” by the Groundwater Foundation, honoring the facilities’ groundwater and environmental stewardship. The program recognizes green spaces for implementing groundwater and surface water-friendly practices. Qualification includes selection of appropriate plantings, tracking irrigation water use, maintaining a no-application zone around surface water and active wells, and applying fertilizer based on nutrient needs.“Earning these two very special designations is a credit to the staff at each of the county courses and the leadership of the Park Commissioners,” said Darrell Marcinek, director of golf maintenance for the Park Commission. “We understand our responsibility to the environment and our responsibility to provide championship golf facilities. We are extremely proud that we have been recognized for accomplishing both.”Kathy Hale, principal Watershed Protection Specialist, said “NJWSA congratulates Warrenbrook Golf Course on becoming the fifth Somerset County golf course to receive River-Friendly certification. The stewardship actions taken by Tammy Stephens and her staff reflect their commitment to protection of drinking water in the Raritan Basin.” The New Jersey Water Supply Authority operates the state-owned Spruce Run, Round Valley, and Manasquan Reservoirs and the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The Authority's Watershed Protection Programs Division administers the River-Friendly Programs to protect the quality of the regions' drinking water supply.