Montgomery County Pesticide Band Overturned

By Golfdom

The Montgomery County, Md., Circuit Court struck down the county’s ban on lawn and garden pesticide use on private property, deeming it unlawful and preempted by Maryland law.

Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment(RISE) said it is pleased with the court’s decision.

“We are gratified that the court agreed that the county’s ban on the use of State- and EPA-approved pesticides on private land is preempted by Maryland state law, which already provides uniform and comprehensive regulation of pesticide use across the state,” said RISE President Aaron Hobbs. “Today’s decision is a win for resident and community choice. Pesticides purchased and applied by consumers and licensed professionals in the county help maintain healthy outdoor spaces for more than 1 million people who call the county home.”

In November 2016, RISE, along with seven residents, six local businesses and CropLife America, filed a legal challenge to Montgomery County’s ban on the application of hundreds of lawn and garden products on private property. A grassroots coalition of more than 400 residents, homeowners and licensed professionals worked together to oppose the ban since it was introduced in 2014.

The ban narrowly passed the County Council with County Executive Ike Leggett expressing doubt about its legality before allowing it to go into effect without his signature. This grassroots coalition succeeded in laying the groundwork for a successful legal challenge to a contentious and complex ordinance that left Montgomery County residents uncertain about how to protect their lawns from weeds and pests.

Photo: RISE

RISE co-plaintiffs in Complete Lawn Care, Inc. et al v. Montgomery County, Md., fill the court room to hear Judge Terrence McGann read his ruling from the bench, declaring Bill 52-14’s private property ban to be unlawful and preempted by Maryland law.


Use Your Voice to Help Permanently Rescind WOTUS

Golf Courses support clean water and work hard to protect our natural resources. The WOTUS rule had more to do with land than water. It was a land grab, pure and simple, that:

  • Created a huge regulatory burden for farmers, ranchers, and others who depend on their ability to work the land;
  • Increased costs for farmers, ranchers and others; and
  • Produced confusion and uncertainty.

Did you know that the rule has never been implemented because it was halted by both a federal district court and a federal court of appeals? But those court orders are only temporary. EPA's current proposal would eliminate the 2015 WOTUS rule permanently, while the agency goes back to the drawing board to develop a WOTUS definition that protects water quality without asserting federal regulatory power over puddles in farm fields.

Please CLICK HERE to submit your comments and support the repeal of the 2015 "Waters of the U.S. Rule"

Over 30K raised at the Rick Fritz Memorial Turfgrass Research & Scholarship Tournament presented by Bayer!

On Friday, June 23rd, Bretton Woods hosted a special event in honor of our friend Rick Fritz of Bayer, who passed away in September last year. The purpose of the event was to raise money to be donated to the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech research programs, in the name of Rick and his family.  With the help of the event committee and all of the generous sponsors, the final amount expected to be raised is over $30,000!

Thank you to everyone that was able to be a part of the event! Here are some photos from the day.





UMD Turfgrass Research Field Day

University of Maryland will be holding their Turfgrass Research Field day on Wednesday July 12 from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Paint Branch Turfgrass Research Farm in College Park, MD.

Get a jump start on education credits for the next year and share a great meal with friends and colleagues.


  • 8 - MD Pesticide Credits (Categories 3A, 3C, 6, and 10)
  • 2 - MD Professional Fertilizer Applicator Credits
Registration is Free to Members of the Following State Organizations


Click below for more info and to register!

Paint Branch Turfgrass Research Farm
395 Greenmead Drive
College Park, MD 20740

2018 GIS Giveaway

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the GCSAA is giving away a chance for a MAAGCS Superintendent Member to attend the 2018 GIS in San Antonio, TX.

*All Superintendent members that have paid their 2017 MAAGCS dues will be eligible to win. Each superintendent member will automatically have one (1) ticket in the “pot” for just being a member in 2017.

Participation Reward

Superintendent members can earn up to a total of 5 tickets in the “pot” by attending any of the eligible events. The eligible 2017 events to increase your odds of winning are listed below:

  • 2017 Annual Education Seminar
  • MAAGCS Social Events – 4 free opportunities
  • Superintendent and Assistant Challenge
  •  Participating in the Match Play Championship
  • The Chesapeake Challenge
  • UMD Field Day
  • Stewards of the Chesapeake
  • The MAAGCS Annual Championship

The Winner will receive $2,000.00 to go towards attending the Golf Industry Show

  • $500.00 for Airfare
  • $500.00 for Registration
  • $500.00 for Hotel
  • $500.00 for Education and Per Diem

The Fine Print

-The drawing for the Superintendent winner will be held on Nov. 15th 2017.

-The winner will be notified that day and will be asked to attend the Annual Meeting at Argyle Country Club to accept their award. The winner should be present at the joint reception in San Antonio as well.

-Winner will not receive any fees until MAAGCS has confirmation that registration for GIS 2018 has been completed.

- Stipend for GIS is transferable to any MAAGCS Superintendent member of the winner’s choice.


Westminster National hosts Successful First Green Event

On May 3, 90 Winfield Elementary School students visited Westminster National  for hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities as part of the First Green program. Students learned about soil sampling (Science), water conservation using moisture meters (Technology), measurement calculations for applying fertilizer (Math), and putting instruction from golf professionals (Engineering). 

Winfield Elementary fifth-grade team leader Denise Sharbaugh said, "It's a great hands-on learning experience and it gives them [students] a different perspective about conservation. I like that it's cross-curricular, their getting STEM education and physical education at the same time."

The event was a huge success and even made the front page of the Carroll County Times!  Click here for the article.



2017 MAAGCS Match Play Bracket Is Set!

First Round Matches have been set and you can see them in the bracket below! Good luck to all of the competitors and don't forget to tweet your results to @MidAtlGCSAA and use #2017MAAGCSMatchPlay to follow along!


MAAGCS to Donate to the Yellow Ribbon Fund

This Year MAAGCS will be donating the funds received from the 50/50 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is dedicated to helping returning American service men & women, injured during active service by providing practical support to them and their families while they are at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and after they return to their hometowns.


2016 Stewards of the Chesapeake Photos!

Click Here to access all of the photos!





Reserve Your Hotel Now - 2017 Golf Industry Show

Reservations Now Available in the MAAGCS Room Block for GIS in Orlando – The Doubletree by Hilton Orlando SeaWorld is the official hotel for MAAGCS, ESAGCS, and the VGCSA for the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando.  Room availability begins on February 4th and runs through February 11th.  Rates are $132 for a king room or two doubles.  Please click here to book your room.  This beautiful hotel will also host our annual Social Event poolside from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8th, so SAVE THE DATE!


If you have any problems or have any questions please contact Robert Davila at Travel Planners, Inc., (212) 468 5291 or  


Chava McKeel gives a shout out to MAAGCS for Government Relations Initiatives


WOTUS Rule Stopped Nationwide

2015-10-09 | Chava McKeelGCSAA - October 2015

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On Friday, October 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has stayed the implementation of the EPA and Army Corps’ of Engineers Clean Water Rule (otherwise known as “WOTUS”). The effect of the decision is to put the rule on hold nationwide.

As we have noted previously, legal activity has occurred simultaneously at the district and appellate court level on the validity of the WOTUS rule.  The decision by the 6th Circuit does not change that.  It does however stop – at least temporarily - any further implementation of the WOTUS rule until a final decision on its merits.  In this latest filing, 18 states including OH, MI, TN, OK, TX, LA, MS, GA, WV, AL, FL, IN, KS, KY, NC, SC, UT and WI petitioned the 6th Circuit for a nationwide stay of the rule, citing the need to preserve the status quo as the merits of the rule are decided.

In their petition the states contend: 

1) The Rule’s treatment of tributaries, “adjacent waters”, and waters having a “significant nexus” to navigable waters is at odds with the Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos, where the Court vacated the Sixth Circuit’s upholding of wetlands regulation by the Army Corps of Engineers.

2) It is far from clear that the new Rule’s distance limitations are harmonious with the instruction.

3) The rulemaking process by which the distance limitations were adopted is facially suspect.

4) The proposed rule did not include any proposed distance limitations in its use of terms like “adjacent waters” and significant nexus.

In deciding on granting the stay, the Court concluded “the petitioners have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of the case”.  (Page 4 of decision)  The order offered the following reasons for issuing the nationwide stay:

(1) the likelihood that the party seeking the stay will prevail on the merits of the appeal;

(2) the likelihood that the moving party will be irreparably harmed absent a stay;

(3) the prospect that others will be harmed if the court grants the stay; and

(4) the public interest in granting the stay.

The 6th Circuit ultimately made its decision on this fact:

"What is of greater concern to us, in balancing the harms, is the burden—potentially visited nationwide on governmental bodies, state and federal, as well as private parties—and the impact on the public in general, implicated by the Rule’s effective redrawing of jurisdictional lines over certain of the nation’s waters. Given that the definitions of “navigable waters” and “waters of the United States” have been clouded by uncertainty, in spite of or exacerbated by) a series of Supreme Court decisions over the last thirty years, we appreciate the need for the new Rule. In one sense, the clarification that the new Rule strives to achieve is long overdue. Wealso accept that respondent agencies have conscientiously endeavored, within their technical expertise and experience, and based on reliable peer-reviewed science, to promulgate new standards to protect water quality that conform to the Supreme Court’s guidance. Yet, the sheer breadth of the ripple effects caused by the Rule’s definitional changes counsels strongly in favor of maintaining the status quo for the time being."  (Page 5-6 of decision)

The GCSAA will continue to monitor the legal developments impacting the Clean Water Rule and update our members on We will also continue to push for passage of legislation in Congress to stop the rule. Please use our S. 1140 action alert to help support this effort.

Here is a copy of the nationwide order. 

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Montgomery County Pesticide Bill 52-14 Update

Montgomery County Council Passes Pesticide Ban on 10/06/15

Montgomery County Council passed Bill 52-14 with a vote of 6-3 on October 6, 2015, which ultimately prevents a veto (overturning a County Executive veto requires 6 votes.)  The new law comes into effect on January 1st, 2018, banning the use of “cosmetic pesticides” on home lawns, public parks, daycare facilities, and county property. 

Each Councilmember spoke into their opinions on the ban and on pesticide use in general.  Golf courses and farming (agriculture) are exempt from this ban in this bill, though we are sure to face another bill in the future.

Testimony and Voting Summary:

Hans Reimer – Voted Yes

Mr. Reimer spoke into his personal experience with pesticides when his wife was pregnant.  He found that instead of killing crickets in his basement, he could just seal the door properly and control them safely.  This was his example of why pesticides are unnecessary.  He spoke of how television teaches us to assume that pesticide products are the correct things to use.  Why did Chemlawn change their name to Truegreen if these products were safe? 

Mr. Reimer stated that people trust their government to protect them, but this isn’t always true.  The Federal government is letting people down on pesticide safety, and the County Council has a responsibility to act.  He believes educational programs will not work because the private sector spends millions to indoctrinate our citizens into using pesticides.  He feels that government cannot change behavior by voluntary action, nor will education reduce usage.  The only way to change behavior is through regulation.  The yellow pesticide signs symbolize our failure of our county.  He is surprised that chemicals are available when they are not safe. 

Nancy Navarro – Voted Yes

Mrs. Navarro opened with discussing how the Council had conversations with experts about pesticide usage.  She personally received letters from Latin Americans in the industry and community, and explained why pesticides were wrong for their community.  She stated that the Latin employees present at the hearing were there only because they were fearful of losing their jobs. 

Mrs. Navarro spoke into the Federal government recently passing a law limiting youth on farms handling pesticides.  She feels the county has to act when the federal government does not act quickly enough.  She personally had a family member exposed to petrochemicals in the petroleum industry who later developed cancer, so she feels the ban on cosmetic pesticides is right.

Sidney Katz – Voted No

Mr. Katz feels that every supports the health of our community without argument, but individuals differ on how to get there.  He did not support the ban on “cosmetic pesticides”.  He stated there was no fiscal bill on this legislation, and it would be burdensome on fixed income citizens, such as senior citizens who will likely have to pay upwards of $430 more per year to maintain their property organically.  He acknowledged the Attorney General will most likely see this issue in court.  He recommends the county adopt these methods on county property and observe its cost and effectiveness.  He spoke into the lack of information on how this will affect property values, his concern of pitting neighbor against neighbor, and invasive inspections of property when a complaint is given (such as a county official having the right to enter your yard and take soil tests to determine potential pesticide use.) 

Nancy Floreen – Voted Yes

Mrs. Floreen stated that this is not a debate.  She was diagnosed with cancer, and this is a personal issue to her.  She feels we have an obligation to take our time and proposed a year’s extension from January 2017 to January 2018, which passed unanimously.  She feels this measured approach will help Park and Planning and local HOA’s make positive changes to their operations. 

Craig Rice – Voted No

Mr. Rice feels that cosmetic use of pesticides is a loaded issue, and asked for a definition of “cosmetic pesticides”.  He feels the bill would create confusion in the community, as products that are banned for home use will still be available for purchase at a local store.  He referenced the County ban on coal tar and the science used to back up this ban, and how it just wasn’t present for pesticides.  He asked for a definition of cosmetic usage in the bill, and the proponents could not find one.  He asked how can a council that cannot define cosmetic usage enforce this usage?  He asked if the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) would inspect lawns, and it is believed that the county can take soil samples on suspect lawns.  He questioned if the Park and Planning supported the ban, which they do not.  He also stated there is no flexibility in the pilot plan, so Parks will be locked into an organic only maintenance plan even if it does not work.

Mr. Rice asked why there were no effective timing dates implemented in this bill, nor were there any one-for-one swap out of products.  He also asked how HOA’s are supposed to function when fixed income residents such as senior citizens will be hurt by fee increases.  He is strongly against this bill as it draws socio-economic lines between the “haves” from the “have-nots”.  He stated, “We all don’t drive Lexus.” 

Mr. Rice is also concerned for Park and Planning having to enact a complete pesticide ban by 2020 from the result of a pilot program, with no review of how successful the pilot program really is.  Mr. Rice asked for a change from a complete ban to an elimination OR reduction of pesticides by 2020.  Mr. Berliner seconds the motion.  Park and Planning employee Mr. Riley recommends Mr. Rice’s motion, and spoke into turfgrass professional such as professional field managers and golf course superintendents knowledge that it cannot be done without pesticides.  Mr. Leventhal is against the motion, saying it gives Park and Planning an “out”, as they already use excessive amounts of pesticides.  Mr. Leventhal feels people are scared of pesticides, and testing results of pesticides are uncertain and circumstantial.  He feels the Pesticide Sensitivity List proves that pesticide applicators rights exceed sensitive individuals rights and how that is absurd.  The Rice amendment failed.

Mr. Rice feels the entire bill is problematic, as the time and cost perspective has not been thought out.  He states that excess is not good.  He chaired the Chesapeake Bay Committee, and stated that the USGS (United States Geological Service) studies of pesticides in the Chesapeake Bay did not show high levels of lawn pesticides, only agricultural pesticides.  Mr. Rice said he feels this will create disparity in our community.  HOA’s will be forced to create funding to maintain property values.  The bill will not help lower income neighborhoods that cannot afford the “organic option”. 

Roger Berliner – Voted No

Mr. Berliner originally proposed a staged approach to pesticide reduction, not an absolute ban.  He did not feel a total ban was good for the county, and did not serve the community. He also questions the legality of a ban on private property.  He feels a 50% reduction in pesticide use over the next several years to be a much better plan than a total ban on pesticides.

Mark Elrich – Voted Yes

Mr. Elrich spoke into FIFRA, and how it was conducted years ago.  He also spoke about the Halifax Project, and how low level exposure to “safe” products can combine and potentially cause cancer.  He stated the EPA will not protect us, and does not follow its own regulations.  There is a court case put forth September 15th by beekeepers about the EPA failing to follow regulations.  Mr. Elrich feels the Attorney General will support this ban on pesticides.  He feels the County has an obligation to pass this bill even if they do not enforce the law.  This will set an example, and it is a workable bill.

Tom Hucker – Voted Yes

Mr. Hucker said that everyone on the council cares about public health and job creation.  He supports the original Bill 52-14, and has spoken to the Attorney General about preemption of the bill.  He stated the Attorney General was unaware of a letter from his office speaking about preempting the pesticide ban. 

Mr. Hucker said his top priority is to protect the public, as a bulk of studies show pesticides to be harmful.  He feels we cannot wait for the Federal government to protect our citizens.  The Feds are to slow to act and are too close to the chemical manufacturing industry. 

George Leventhal – Voted Yes

Mr. Leventhal was the bills creator, and wants an outright ban on pesticides on county property, private lawns, and private and public playgrounds.  He also wants a ban on waterways.  The County Council visited Glenstone and the Kentlands, and feels an organic approach is possible by everyone. 

Additional information:

  • 1.       The sunset clause was removed from the bill, meaning it will be in place permanently until a new law is passed changing the ban.
  • 2.      Park and Planning failed to deliver their total pesticide use in a timely manner.
  • 3.      DEP requested specificity of pesticides and technical amendments to help their enforcement.


A green plan’s weak roots
(David Bradely/Associated Press)

By Editorial Board September 26

SOME SUBURBANITES regard lush green yards as their birthright; little wonder that local legislation in Montgomery County to ban the use of certain lawn-care chemicals has them up in arms. Far better if their arguments turned not on the luxuriance of their lawns but on the legal, medical and scientific rationale for the proposal. By those measures, the case for prohibiting the chemicals is shaky.

The issue has triggered an impassioned debate, pitting environmentalists and parents concerned that cosmetic lawn treatments may cause cancer and other terrible health effects against homeowners, soccer leagues, lawn maintenance firms and chemical companies that make widely used pest- and weed-killing products such as Roundup and Miracle-Gro.

Sponsored by County Council President George Leventhal (D), the bill to ban the use of such products is largely symbolic; that alone makes it unconvincing. It would exempt farmland, county-owned property and, possibly, other tracts, meaning at least a third of Montgomery’s acreage would get a pass. Moreover, there’d be little real enforcement beyond neighbors tattling on each other. Sale of the products would still be allowed; no county inspectors would fan out to survey tens of thousands of yards; and fines would top out at $75. Not exactly a muscular deterrence regime.

The main reason to look askance at Mr. Leventhal’s bill is its weak legal and scientific basis. A letter from Maryland’s Attorney General’s office warns that state courts would likely toss the ban if it became law on grounds that it encroached on Annapolis’s regulatory role and its goal of applying consistent rules statewide.

Then there’s the science. While some studies have suggested that select lawn-care chemicals pose a health risk under some conditions, nothing approaching a broad scientific consensus exists.

As an example of a product whose use he’d ban — the list would actually be drawn up by a consultant based on necessarily fuzzy criteria — Mr. Leventhal singles out the herbicide Roundup, made by Monsanto, whose active ingredient, the chemical glyphosate, is widely used by U.S. farmers. But the scientific jury on glyphosate is out. Studies on its supposedly carcinogenic effects are contradicted by other studies, and it’s been approved (and reviewed) for a quarter century by the Environmental Protection Agency. Moreover, a number of top public-health officials, including at the National Cancer Institute, say the evidence is patchy that such lawn chemicals pose a serious risk to humans.

On the County Council, four of the five members backing the bill, including Mr. Leventhal, are from Takoma Park, a liberal bastion that, along with a tiny hamlet in Maine, is the only locality in the United States to have already banned cosmetic lawn chemicals. Applying Takoma Park’s leftist politics to a sprawling jurisdiction like Montgomery, population 1 million, is poor judgment.

As an alternative, council member Roger Berliner (D) has proposed a bill that drops the ban on using cosmetic lawn-care products (except on county-owned tracts) while requiring homeowners associations, condo owners and other residents to consent to their use before they can be applied by lawn-care companies. The goal would be to reduce use of the products over the next five years — a sensible compromise that would raise public awareness without imposing a ban whose justification remains dubious. 

2015 Crab Fest at Locust Hill Golf Course, Charles Town, West Virginia 

Come join the fun for the 2015 Crab Fest including 18 holes of golf, steamed blue crabs, Maryland style fried chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw and cold beverages. Click here for details and registration information. 

WOTUS Webinar On Demand

Click here to view WOUTS webinar on demand for GCSA members.

(Original presentation date: July 28, 2015)

Final “Waters of the United States” Rule: Implications and Implementation
Deidre G. Duncan, JD

On June 29, 2015, the Federal Register published the Final Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS). The rule will become effective on August 28, 2015. To learn what these changes may mean to you, Diedre Duncan, partner at Hunton & Williams and the legal counsel to the Waters Advocacy Coalition, presents a 90-minute webcast that will help you be ready.

On the Agenda:
Brief History of the Rule
Final Definition – What’s changed
Implementation – The next six months
What will agencies do?
What should you do?
Jurisdictional Determinations
Ongoing Opposition – Litigation & Legislative EffortsBecome informed about the changes and learn how the WOTUS rule will impact golf course design, construction and management in the future. 

About the Instructor
Deidre G. Duncan is a Partner at Hunton & Williams, LLC in Washington, DC. She represents clients exclusively on environmental, energy and administrative law, with an emphasis on the Clean Water Act. Duncan is counsel to the Waters Advocacy Coalition, a coalition of over 40 national trade associations focused on the issue of CWA jurisdiction. Prior to entering private practice, Duncan served as Assistant General Counsel of the Army at the Pentagon, advising the Secretary of the Army on environmental and land use issues involving the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works and Section 404 Regulatory Program.

Member price: Free
Nonmember price: Free
Education points: 0.2

MAAGCS Members featured on US Women's Open Video


Many MAAGCS members were at the Women's US Open at Lancaster CC.  Check out the highlight video put together by Reid Mitchell of 2015 MAAGCS Bronze Partner Finch Services! Click to View


WeatherBug Lightning Safety Webinar

As part of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, WeatherBug held a complimentary webinar to help provide updates and a timely refresher on lightning safety.

What: Lightning Safety Webinar
When: June 24, 2015 – 2:00 PM EDT
Register: Click here to register

  • Learn the basics of lightning and thunderstorm development.
  • Understand the truths and dispel the myths.
  • Know what to do when caught in a storm and what safety procedures to follow if someone is struck by lightning.
  • Understand how advancements in lightning and severe weather detection provide advanced warning.

GCSAA Survey Shows Salaries For Superintendents Continue Steady Increase

 In 2015 Biennial survey shows average salary rises to $85,204 

Lawrence, Kan. (May 26, 2015) - Golf courses around the country continue to recognize that an investment in golf course superintendents is an investment in the facility, as the average salary for head superintendents climbed to $85,204 annually. 

The average salary and additional data come from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's latest biennial Compensation and Benefits Report. The 2015 Report showed that the $85,204 average salary was an increase of 3.2 percent over the 2013 report, and continues the trend of increases in every two-year period since GCSAA began tracking the data in 1993. 

For certified golf course superintendents, those who have achieved the highest level of recognition through education, experience and service, the increase was even higher. Their average salary rose 5.9 percent in the last two years to $103,993. 

Additional insights from the report showed that superintendents also report feeling slightly more secure in their jobs: 66 percent compared to 62.7 percent in 2013. The average number of years superintendents have spent in their current position rose from 9.7 to 10.4.

The report also gives a good picture of the profile of GCSAA superintendents and their operations. The average age of a superintendent is 46.2 years and they have spent 15.9 years in the profession. 

Between December 2014 and January 2015 association research firm Industry Insights sent the 2015 survey to all GCSAA Class A and Superintendent Members, and the response rate was 41.8 percent with a margin of error of +/-1.3 percent and a 95 percent level of confidence.

More information about the 2015 Compensation and Benefits Report is available at

About GCSAA and the EIFG

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Craig Smith, Director, Communications and Media Relations

Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 4431 or 785-691-9197 (cell) 

MAAGCS President Chris Harriman is Featured on GCSAAtv For National Golf Day!

click to access the video

WeatherBug Offers FREE Webinars During 2015 Season

click here to access the webinar schedule

MAAGCS Receives Circle of Friends Award

MAAGCS Past President Mike Barrett receives the Circle of Friends Award from Dean Cheng-I Wei (left) and Alumni Association President Robert Morris (right).

     The Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents received the Circle of Friends Award from the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resource. Mike Barrett, MAAGCS Past President, accepted the award at the AGNR Alumni Banquet on April 16th. The award is given to organizations for "out of the ordinary service" to the college.

       In the presentation the Mid-Atlantic chapter was recognized for its contributions to research, scholarship opportunities for students, contributions to offset travel expenses for GCSAA Turf Bowl teams, and for consistently waiving registration fees for students at chapter education events.

MAAGCS Represented at National Golf Day 


National Golf Day was held on April 15th on Capitol Hill -- MAAGCS showcase the science of agronomic practices and the environmental stewardship of golf course superintendents (photo by Stan Badz, PGA Tour)

RISE Needs Your Help on WOTUS

We need you to tell Congress to pass legislation directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw the proposed "waters of the U.S." rule.  Ask your Representatives and Senators to vote for H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Act.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the H.R. 1732 by a 36-22 vote April 15.  The legislation, which was introduced on Monday by the Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withdraw the proposed WOTUS rule and to develop a new rule in consultation with state and local governments and other affected stakeholders.  Similar legislation could be introduced in the Senate soon.
As written, the proposed rule would extend the Clean Water Act's regulatory and permitting authority to man-made lakes, golf course water hazards, ditches or areas that have flowing water during heavy storms.  You took action in the past on this issue by writing to your governors to oppose the rule and by submitting your own comments into the Federal Register last year with your concerns.  Over 900,000 comments were submitted into the Federal Register last year, however EPA is moving forward with the rule and submitted it April 6 to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review.  We expect the final rule, substantially similar to the proposed rule, to be published in June.

Please take action today to support H.R. 1732.  Thank you for your engagement on this important issue.

RISE Grassroots

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

Harriman-Harvey and Larsen Are Top Guns

MAAGCS Sport Clays a Big Success

Chris Harriman & Matt Harvey 

Nearly 50 MAAGCS members turned out for the out sporting clays event at Prince George’s Skeet and Trap, when all range went silent, it was MAAGCS President Chris Harriman and his Assistant Matt Harvey of Cattail Creek claiming “Top Gun” honors in the Superintendent/Assistant Division.  In the overall competition, Rob Larsen of John Deere Golf edged Harriman by a single point to take overall honors.

Helena Chemicals was the presenting sponsor, with Jeff Snyder welcoming shooters from all over the Old Line State.  Snyder parlayed his good luck onto his winning five-man team, which included Harriman and Harvey, Mike Hutchison of Sports Aggregates and MAAGCS Chapter Executive David Norman.  Second place in the team competition was Joe Haskins and Assistant Matt Minnick of Diamond Ridge/Woodlands, Bill Springirth of Clustered Spires and Matt Jones of Hillendale CC.  Drew Prosa and Kenny Doerfler were second in the Superintendent/Assistant division.

Former MAAGCS member Rhys Arthur of Shooting Star Sports ran the event as Prince George’s top instructor, holding the world’s highest certification level.  Formerly Arthur was superintendent at Mt. Vernon CC near Alexandria, VA, before retiring to his shooting sport career.

The education event was presented by Tara Pepperman of Audubon International, based in New York.  She encouraged members to get involved in the program, which focuses on wildlife habitats and water conservation.

Drew Prosa and Kenny Doerfler 

The scoreboard

First name Last name Title Work Company Skeet Division Score
Robert, C. Larsen Territory Sales Representative John Deere Golf Open Division 39
Chris Harriman Golf Course Superintendent Cattail Creek Country Club Superintendent/Assistant Division 38
Edwin Walker Territory Sales Representative Harrells Turf Specialty Open Division 36
Jeffrey Michel, CGCS Territory Sales Representative M&M Consulting, Inc. Open Division 34
Bill Springirth Golf Course Superintendent Clustered Spires Golf Course Open Division 32
Kyle Gross Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Sparrows Point Country Club   31
Sam Camuso Territory Sales Representative Syngenta Open Division 31
Mark Jones, Jr. Assistant Superintendent Hillendale Country Club Open Division 31
Matthew Harvey   Cattail Creek Country Club   31
Jeff Synder Sales Helena Open Division 28
Geoffrey Brittingham Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Diamond Ridge & The Woodlands Open Division 26
Drew Prosa Territory Sales Representative Harrells Turf Specialty Open Division 25
Reid Mitchell Territory Sales Representative Finch Services, Inc. Open Division 24
Joe Haskins Golf Course Superintendent The Woodlands and Diamond Ridge Superintendent/Assistant Division 22
David Norman Chapter Exec MAAGCS Open Division 21
Michael Hutchison Territory Sales Representative Sports Aggregates, LLC Open Division 21
Brian Hogan   Laytonsville GC   21
Jim Halley Territory Sales Representative Harrells Turf Specialty Open Division 21
Jeff Dewint   Gunpowder   19
George Casto Territory Sales Representative Harrells Turf Specialty Open Division 19
Andrew Harrison Territory Sales Representative Pocono Turf Open Division 16
Sandra Burton Principal Linne Industries, LLC Open Division 16
Carl Willis     Open Division 16
Frank Wong Sales Bayer Open Division 14
Kenny  Doerfler Territory Sales Representative Harrells Turf Specialty Open Division 13
Matthew Minnich Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Diamond Ridge Golf Course Open Division 12
Galen Evans Golf Course Superintendent Laytonsville GC Superintendent/Assistant Division 11
Sam Kessel, CGCS Territory Sales Representative Newsom Seed Open Division 11
Kevin Nash Assistant Superintendent The Woodlands and Diamond Ridge   10
Mike Ross   Gunpowder golf course   9
Scott Commanaghi   Gunpowder golf course   8
Linda Milligan   Gunpowder Golf Club Open Division 5
Cindy Haughton Vice President PondHawk by LINNE Industries   4
Tara Pepperman Speaker Audubon International Open Division 2

Montgomery County Council Meeting

MAAGCS Government Relations Update

Monday, March 16th


Work Session – County Council Transportation and Environmental Committee Bill 52-14


There was a good turnout from both sides of the bill.  There were two panels scheduled.  The first had representatives from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (MD DEP), the MDA, and the EPA.  All were called on to discuss their procedures for managing pesticides under their jurisdictions.


The National Cancer Institute sent in written testimony stating that low levels of pesticides do not cause cancer in a report to the County Council.  They did not send a representative.


The County Council opened the session with statements from the President and Vice President.  George Leventhal spoke first as President and sponsor of the bill, and equated the pesticide ban with the recycling laws passed in Montgomery County years ago.  He found that the same objections are coming up about pesticides as there were about recycling when it comes to enforcement.  He wants to raise public consciousness and awareness about pesticides.  He spoke of how he went to a garden center over the weekend and purchased materials to seed his yard.   All the products he saw for seed were organic and safe. He feels best practices for organic lawn care will be coming. He stated that lawn care firms in Canada where pesticide bans are in place have grown by 50%. He feels this is evidence for adoption of good practices and banning home owners of poisoning their own soil. Most resistance to the bill comes from companies who don't want to change their practices.  He stated the EPA does not recommend use or condone use of carcinogens. The EPA says the products are safe and do not cause harm but kids and pets don't read labels. He is very comfortable with this legislation. He is council president and wants to stay in touch with his councilors to hear their opinions. He assures everyone that no votes will happen in March, nor will they ram this down anyone's throat. It will be a well thought out debate and decision.


Nancy Floreen spoke for a moment and asked how many people do you know have cancer?  She feels that there would be less cancer with no lawn pesticides.  She wants all to keep this in mind. She is the County Council VP and co-sponsor of the bill.


DEP, MDA, and EPA Panel


Nancy Phelps was present from the MD DEP along with Stan Edwards.  Nancy is new to this position and allowed Stan to handle the Council’s questions. In 9 years they have no complaints about the signage requirements. All landscape companies use them correctly.  Additionally they haven’t found problems with the storage of pesticides in stores.  They do find problems with records on storage. They feel they work well with MDA. 


Roger Berliner states that spotty care of pesticides are present. He personally has seen aisles of pesticides with no attendants. Stroughsniders did very well, while staff at other stores were clueless about pesticides.  He feels we need to make people more aware. The MDE needs to do better to make sure that stores are doing better. The council states they did an independent survey and store owners failed. No pamphlets on proper use or alternative products were displayed. Stan stated he doesn't know if stores have the appropriate signage. 


Tom Hacker asked how often inspections are done. Stan stated they are largely based on complaints and bi annual schedules. Tom wanted to know if the MDE has a comprehensive list of vendors.  What is their methodology for finding pesticide vendors?  How many vendors do you inspect per year?  Stan stated they do not have a methodology for finding vendors, and they inspect about 20 vendors per year. 


Nancy Floreen asks MDE to ramp up their efforts to educate and inspect. How do you prioritize inspections etc.?  Is it a budget problem?  The MDE can create simple solutions such as newsletters and pamphlets on busses. Nancy Phelps assures they will increase. 


Marc Eleich asked about the fine for violations.  Stan says it is a $50 fine. Marc jokes that a $50 fine will not affect Home Depot?  National geographic states European studies show pesticides such as DDT and other products are dangerous to health and affecting billions. The bill will not cause food shortage or affect our ability to clothe ourselves.  It is on ornamental usage only. 


Carol Holko from the MDA came and brought Dennis Howard.  Carol stated they like eyes everywhere from inspectors to citizens.  We have two layers of regulation existing today. All products must be registered by EPA, and the label is the law. MDA feels the EPA does a great job labeling. FIFRA enforcement is done at the state level. MDA is most knowledgeable about turf and structural pesticide use.   MDA goes beyond EPA and FIFRA laws. All businesses must be certified by MDA and have one person with a license, exam, and continuing education. MDA works with UMD for education. Enforcement role for the MDA is very important. 2000 inspections in occurred in 2014. Of the 500 plus complaints, only 6 were complaints of lawn applications. A total of $11,000 in fines were levied in 2014.  The MDA likes the Pesticide use survey 2012, and will start a new survey for 2014 data. These provide impacts for state data. They also use a Pesticide sensitive registry, and a pesticide container recycling programs. Sensitive crops are mapped by the MDA for pesticide injury reporting.  The pesticide disposal program with funding issues. 


Berliner asks on IPM. Why is it not a requirement for everyone?  MDA can't speak to industry but states that all education follows IPM. Enforcement issues can be a problem. The MDA wants the products out there to be legal and used in a legal manner. The MDA feels a ban will complicate enforcement and drive uneducated applicators to use pesticides improperly.  Berliner wants to be involved and feels the ban will not complicate it. He feels the complication issue to be minor. The state can preempt pesticide bans if it wants.


Mark Elrich asks about testing.  MDA does testing on products through the State Chemists office.  They collect dead insects, residues, etc. but they do not conduct safety testing.  That is the job of the EPA.


Nancy Floreen asks how the MDA reaches the average person.  How do we regulate the average person?  MDA makes sure what is available to the average person is legal to use. Are all employees registered?  Dennis Howard speaks up - for every license business one is certified and all applicators are registered applicator with 30 day training period. Registered applicators carry IDs. If you apply anything you must be registered. IPM is required in training.  


Tom Hacker asks about the 1 year experience or 2 year degree in biological science requirement for the commercial applicators license.  Dennis Howard states there are currently 1836 certified applicators in MD. Tom stated he has degree in biological sciences, so could he take exam to become certified? Tom asks if there is no additional training necessary. Is training monitoring necessary?  MDA is reliant on his university giving proper training?  How long is the test?  Dennis says the MDA does not question the validity of college classes.  There are 2 tests to become certified.  The first is a core exam and the second is category exam. Sessions are 9 am until 3 pm. Exams are 50 questions each, taking approximately 1 1/2 hours. The MDA has never contracted the exam out, which impressed the council.  The exams are given monthly. Tom wants a copy of the exam. Carol Holko stated that the EPA also checks this exam 


Leventhal asks about becoming a pesticide sensitive individual. What do you need?  A letter from doctor is necessary. Sensitive individual receives a notice but there is no requirement for stopping application. Leventhal speaks about dramatic range of symptoms. Whose convenience is being affected?  Whose lives are being disrupted?  The sensitive individual cannot schedule the application. The MDA considers reevaluating the Pesticide Sensitivity policy.


Craig Rice spoke about the notification process of the sensitivity lists.  He did say that reactions are triggered by numerous things, not only pesticides. Craig does not want to guide policy on the most extreme cases.  He asked if school bus stops for sensitive children are include in the notifications.   


Tom asked for clarification on the number of complaints for pesticide applications.  Dennis reiterated there were 500 complaints for all categories, 6 complaints in turf. There were 11 business cited on violations with $11,000 issued in fines. 


Nancy Floreen asked how we identify the number of pesticides used. Over 360 pesticides are registered in state. There is an estimate of 16 million lbs. of product used. Nancy is concerned about this amount.  She eluded to Dennis Howard hiding in the corner when asked about the quantity of pesticides.  Nancy is curious of trends in pesticide use. Carol stated that adding the 2014 data will have usage info also. 


Dan Kenny from the EPA pesticide office spoke.  He is specialized in registering herbicides. The EPA conducts complete evaluation of safety of products. Note that EPA does not have a position on this pending legislation and under federal law states may take position more strict than the Federal requirements. EPA testing is rigorous and based on sound science. Extensive testing is conducted to fully understand chemicals and protect the public. Integrity is linked with transparency. The EPA posts risk assessments to the public. Labels are the key point to safety. The EPA looks not only to usage risk but also effectiveness, and compares harm versus exposure.  The EPA assesses exposure of highest rates allowable from products usage to predict usage impact. They study the worst case evaluation system. For example, on lawn pesticides they look at the laundry list of toxicity over time, from single exposure to chronic impact. Children impact is a most important study, with stricter standards for children. For example:  lawn pesticide testing assumes a toddler will be in lawn on the day the product is applied, putting their hands in their mouth 14 times per hour.  In addition, the EPA then considers adding food intake of exposure, such as the same toddler eating food with pesticide, drinking water with pesticide, and rolling in the lawn with pesticide. They study all levels of exposure. All products must meet the established safety standard of health impact. The EPA conducts environmental studies for birds, fish algae etc. and also studies half-life, degrades. Once studies are complete the EPA uses the label to describe risk and gives directions to mitigate risks. If a product shows unreasonable risk it will not be registered. All studies show that products are safe if labeled in lawn use. He compared former tested products with more modern testing procedures. 


Berliner says Dan Kenny is excellent civil servant, but individuals do not have confidence in the service. Berliner accuses the EPA to not have a strong enough process to determine safety. How do we reconcile safe use and differing opinions? Dan Kenny asks for individuals to see their study process.   Berliner questions how other countries have passed laws for the precautionary principle?  Is it because people do not feel good about these safely tested products?  Dan Kenny states that the county can feel how they want. The EPA uses sound science. He will not speak to other countries usage. Does joint reviews with other countries but he is not an expert on these studies. In Canada the reviews are often the same. In fact, many countries use the EPA’s standards of testing and results for their own food supply.


Nancy Floreen speaks of disconnect between EPA and other countries. How often does the EPA test the legal products for review?  Dan Kenny says a reregistration process occurred in the past, and now all products are reassessed every 15 years. The EPA monitors use and adverse effects to change / rescind licensing. 


George Leventhal speaks to farmers. He reiterates that he does not intend to legislate to farmers nor will this bill go after farmers and our food supply. Agricultural pesticides need to be approached differently than ornamental practices to grass. Leventhal states he is second to none for strong and viable farm support. He will not target farmers, but he cannot make any promises about the future after his tenure is up.  He asked about the health of pollinators and how large volumes of pesticides use impacting pollinators. They are a threat to food production. Dan Kenny says a lot of work is going into protecting pollinators but he works specifically in the EPA with herbicides and cannot comment.


Craig Rice says he can’t state that the EPA does not conduct good research. He believes the research is good and will not use Canadian and European research for products in the USA.  Does Dan Kenny feel Europe and Canada meet EPA standards?  Dan feels the EPA is the best, and our food supply is undoubtedly the best. Many other countries adopt EPA studies as their own.  Craig Rice stated how the council has used EPA studies in the past to support passing laws.  He feels it is a disservice to the county to discount the EPA and their testing process when the county has used their information before, and praised the EPA in its work. 


Mark Elrich asks about testing and who conducts them.  The EPA does not do the tests, the chemical manufacturers do the tests.  He asks if manufacturers provide false testing. Dan Kelly says the verification of testing is not his department but the EPA does have the latest requests for neurotoxicity and pesticides. Does the EPA combine different testing i.e. cancer plus endocrine disrupters plus other problems? Dan Kelly repeats that all levels of toxicity are tested, and form the label requirements which are the law. 


2nd Panel of Doctors discussing pesticide impact


Dr. Jerry Paulson is a doctor of pediatrics. He is chair of the American Association of Pediatrics, and lists a huge list of qualifications. Pesticides toxicity are under a broad class of testing. They undergo some level of testing but he personally feels testing is inadequate, especially neurocognitive testing being inadequate.  Our nervous systems work on the same chemical pathways as insects. Long term low dose expose causes damage to our nervous system and development of mental ability and is irreversible. Making lawns pretty is not a situation that merits usage of products that can be harmful. 


Dr. Garretson submitted series of abstracts and gave a preamble to his study. He agrees with Dr. Paulson. Most of today was about acute toxicity. I.e. spillage, major dosage but his work is in lead poisoning. He separates poisoning into 3 categories. Acute- big amounts. Chronic- every day poisoning. Sensitivity - complications due to several effects. Registration on the pesticide sensitivity list only occurs once per year. He quoted a study in Manhattan at one hospital where all children are delivered. A large percentage of children had small heads. They tested blood in placenta for pesticides. More pesticides in blood than other areas. This lead to the children having smaller heads. Chloropyrophos was removed from usage due to massive poisoning of children in schools.  Higher percentage of children born today with congenital anomalies. This does not occur equally throughout the year, but focuses on times of higher pesticide use.  You are more likely to have problems if your conception is timed with pesticide usage. 


Dr. Stewart Cohen gave a direct response to Leventhal in writing.  He started saying the dose makes the poison. Paracelsus. 


Dr. Cohen spoke on the dose-response relationship. Carcinogens of single molecule may be a problem for mutagenic effect. Other carcinogens are not. 

37 of 39 lawn pesticides are considered safe for food usage.


He quoted and showed a slide from National Geographic "The War on Science"


Conclusion of risks must consider exposure as well as toxicity. EPA studies are scientifically based and protective of our population.


Berliner says there is limited information of epidemiology. No information is judged to be significant. Should association be sufficient to adopt precautionary principle?  Dr. Garrettson says yes and Berliner agrees. He quotes some epidemiological studies that specifically talk of atrazine, an agricultural chemical. 


George Leventhal questioned Dr. Cohen directly if he disputed that products are labeled as carcinogenic? George Leventhal also tried to discredit Dr. Cohen as a paid representative.  Dr. Cohen stated he is not a paid representative on this issue, and stressed that the EPA study on carcinogens show levels need to be so low as to allow its use and sale. He brought up the 11 tier one studies showing glyphosate is safe, yet all supporters of the bill claim it causes cancer when it does not.


Marc Elrich. Agrees partially with Dr. Cohen. He believes effects are unknown about the human health effect with biomes, and used Gut biomes as an example. They affect bacteria and their outputs. We should protect our population in case pesticides can affect our populatio


In summary, the County Council was not very receptive of the MDA and the EPA, and were confrontational to Dr. Cohen.  Craig Rice was an exception, and had respect for the EPA, MDA and Dr. Cohen.  He feels we can do better work with the pesticide sensitive individuals


Respectfully submitted,


Jay Nalls

Government Relations Chair

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Montgomery Co. Pesticide Debate - Update on Feb. 12th Hearing

Gail Dalferes. Supports Bill. With Safe Health Playing Fields Coalition. Wants natural grass fields with minimal pesticide use. Does not want artificial turf. Eliminate golf course exemption. Have notification for all pesticides. Use education to teach golf courses how to grow organically instead of exemption. No sunset provision.



Tom McCarthy. Citizen. Against Bill. Speaks on rights of homeowners. Paying taxpayers should not be superseded by uneducated activists. Small business will be crushed.


Molly Hauck. Citizen. Supports bill. Kensington resident. States WW2 chemical companies made money using toxic chemicals used for killing enemies to kill weeds. Lists tons of medical reasons to not use pesticides. Precautionary principle needed. Used in Europe.  Spoke about decline of honeybees. 20 pesticides found in bees tested. No report on types of pesticides or quantity found.


Rowland Dennie. Against Bill. Citizen. Landscape company owner. Speaks about golf courses, sidewalks, trees and shrubs will be exempt. Speaks of Rockville and Gaithersburg exemptions. This law will not do its job due to the massive exemptions. Rewrite the law. This will business out. Illegal applications will be a new factor.


Paula Bienenfeld. For bill. President of Montgomery county civic federation. Supports bill 52-14. Eliminate the sunset clause. Eliminate mulch and sidewalk exemption.  Spoke about children playing in gardens and shrubs, not just lawns. Says fifra only assures products work and use is worth damage.


Hessie Harris. Silver Spring. MD. Against bill. Citizen. Speaks of proper use of other products such as flammable products without bans. Why pesticides?  No budget for this bill. County is "broker" than we are. Citizens will have to write dissertation to get permission to use pesticides. Slammed the bureaucrats who don't know about pesticides for pushing this bill.


Mary Ellen Kustin. For bill. Environmental working group. Studying since 1995. Found atrazine in drinking water affecting formula fed babies. Spoke of 2-4D causing multiple health issues. Most important to developing children. Crosses over from mother to child in pregnancy. Montgomery County could lead the way in the country with this bill creating safer spaces for kids and improving the health of residents.


Doug Lechlider. Opposes bill. Grew up on a farm. Works as a farmer. President of MTC. Citizen. Cares about property rights. Wants to use a legal product in a legal matter. Best source for info on pesticides is EPA. Council is not the best source for studying and developing regulations for pesticides. Implies that the council will think they know better.


Cheryl Katzman. Supports bill. Leisure World. Just Us. Pesticide use is not a game. It is life and death. Home lawns use 10 x products than agriculture. Toxic chemical terrorism. Had drift of 2,4-D on her patio from drift. Expert lawn care companies may not be following laws. Subterfuge from landscape contractors. Strip politics away from this issue.


Howard Brief.  Against bill.  Represents Greater Olney civic association. They had a panel of environmental and landscape professionals. Passed recommendation to be against bill 52-14. Irresponsible to do this bill without funding. Higher taxes will occur. Loss of property value. Federal and state governments already have regulations. No evidence of counties capability to manage this bill. GOCA says no to 52-14.


Janet Schlosser supports bill. She likes butterflies. And honey. Wants her kids to frolic with butterflies. States 2,4-D apparently contains glyphosate which wipes out milkweed. Perennials and safe grow planning. Is needed. Close legal loophole that allows products to be sold before proper testing. Neonics poison whole plants. Crop seed is treated with neonics. Dogs should not be treated with neonics. Fish tested have pesticides in about 90% tested. Did not name which ones.


Ron Miller. Super Lawns. Opposes bill. Parents started company. Climate is most difficult in mid Atlantic. Natural pesticides do not work here. Weeds will take over lawns. Lawn flagged with application signs even if we only treat one weed on the property. Ontario ban failed. Weeds are everywhere. No grass left on parks. British Columbia studies ban. Concluded ban is based on misunderstanding and no ban is good. Promotes reading the study.


Matt Wallach.  Supports bill MD pesticide education network. Project director. Promotes healthy non pesticide practices. Effective organic practices are available. Non-toxic practices. Pesticides as last choice not first option. Prohibit neonics for honeybee decline. 30 to 50% of bees die each year. Pesticides cause brain damage in children.


Kevin Claire. Opposes bill. Arbor Care. Master Arborist. 28 years tree care. Commends county with rainscapes and tree plantings. Must protect our trees. Trees under stress are more susceptible to decline. University of MD develops programs to help trees that include pesticides.  Doctors prescribe medicine for sick people. Crisis of gypsy moths. Dogwood anthracnose. Hands will be tied with this bill. Education for use of products. Focus on who should use products.


Carlos Moya.  Supports bill.  Owner of organic landscape company. Many health concerns cancers Parkinson's birth defects. Health issues with workers. Latin workers in jeopardy. Entire Latin neighborhoods affected by pesticides. Intend to work with local landscaping to reach them safe grow practices. Important legal precedent.


Jody Fetzer. Opposes bill. Bethesda resident. IPM practices. Understands plant pathology. Pesticides are one component of IPM. Definition of IPM and the pesticide prohibitions in other jurisdiction. Ontario has to string trim along roadsides. Dangerous to workers. Fields closed due to grub eating animals. Ontario arboretum had to go back to old school heavy metal fungicides for black spot on roses and other problems.


Thomas Cummings. Physician. Sees increase in cancer. Supports bill public health initiative. Sees brain cancer Parkinson's and other problems. Risk assessment needed. Individuals do not get to speak into accepting their exposure. Imagine one less child with asthma. Cancer. Parkinson's.


Phil Hutton. Against bill. Worked for EPA. Do not count on foreign lists. Bill undermines EPA work. Concentrations are greatly reduced for applications.  Data on bill are outdated, and many are not in use anymore. Commends thought behind bill. Does not believe it will work. Supports IPM. It eliminates unnecessary usage.


Cathy Scheiner. Supports bill. Citizen and physician. Pediatrician and mental health physician. Prenatal and early childhood is especially vulnerable to pesticides. Alters structure of genes and gene expression. American association of pediatrics. 2012 report shows pesticide exposure in children. Organophosphate cause adhd and other brain problems. She lives in condo in Chevy Chase. Every year pesticides are applied. BOD makes decision for applications. Lesco 3 way application that has a 1/2 life of 4 weeks. Industrial byproducts.  Majority of turf applicators are not educated or speak English. (This received outcries from the gallery, and the council members stopped her at that point due to time limits.)


Shelby Stabler. Against bill. Healthy family that works with pesticides. 28 years. Aware of exemptions for agriculture. Does not like exemptions. Believe intentions are unclear. Concerned about future of mo co. Mo co is the leader in keeping attractive and healthy areas. She played on school fields with pesticides. She says if you can do it organically that's great. Long term costs will come.


Paul Zeineddin. Supports bill. He states he has financial investment. Believes bill will bring income for new methods of landscaping. Change is difficult. Feels Landscapers are worried about their profits. Need to learn different methods. Business can learn to be leaders with "safe" growth. The need to change always faces opposition. Why do companies not develop safer products?


John Pica. Home Paramount Pest Control. No shortage on lawn care. Extermination a health issue. Not to be included. Neither for or against bill. Just wants to remind the county about exterminators’ importance.


Brittany Garner.  Supports bill.  Clean water action has 15,000 members in mo co with 700 letters and Petitions. Post cards. 3000 people want this bill. Remove sunset date. Do not exempt athletic fields. Adverse health effects at low exposure. Prime user of sports fields are children who are injured by field pesticides. Asthma. Parkinson's. Per unit of land more pesticides are applied to lawns than farms. No neonics. No sunset in 2019.


Phil Catron. Against bill. Wheaton woods resident. Started natural lawn 30 years ago. Taught IPM for golf course superintendents. Bill is redundant. Signage posting is redundant. False assumptions of honeybees. UMD studies show no pesticide effect of colony collapse. Too many exemptions. Feels the bill rings hollow. Cosmetic pesticide use is not counted. Lead is biggest problem for children's health. 30 products in ban for turf. Ban everything or nothing. No golf exemptions. No sports field exemptions.


Ryan McAlister. Supports bill. Parent. Physician. Scientist. Products degrade water. Carcinogenic. No evidence of harmless dosage. Kids play in treated areas and are cumulative. 2,4-D and glyphosate dangerous and banned in numerous countries. Worried about his daughter who has disease that makes her vulnerable. Anacostia River is a dumping ground for pollutants.


Paula Linthicum. Against bill. Farmer. Mother. Family has no impact or health issues from pesticides. No place for this bill. County does not have expertise to do this. Massive budget shortfall this year and next. We can't afford it. No guarantee for exemption for agriculture. Question validity of this bill. Should not use out of country practices. 500 square miles in Mo Co is too large to control. Only 2.7 miles in Takoma Park.


Kristin Cook. Moco Sierra club. Support bill. States pesticides are toxic cocktail. Do not exempt sports fields. ADHD child may have been affected by chemicals. Children and chemicals will mix naturally. Bring it inside to stay inside. 2,4-d stays in carpet for years. Kids repeatedly breathe it in and have it on their shoes. Lists medical effects. Opponents express financial concerns. Organic fields are cheaper.


Tom Linthicum. Mo co farm bureau. Opposes this bill.  Homeowners’ rights. Passage of this bill endorses non trained individuals to apply. Stops trained applicators. Erosion and sediment concerns will be an issue with summer annual weed die out. Mo Co will not meet WIPs. Ban of neonics in eu shows increase of insects predating bees and crops. They needed to use harsher chemicals to gain control. Federal laws protect horticulture. Feels mo co is over reaching.


Catherine Cummings. Supports bill. Safe Grow. Takoma Park passes it unanimously. Ontario Canada. Takoma Park. Beautiful lawns. Exposure is ended. We deserve this. No such thing as safe use. Unconscionable risk. Not about agriculture or tree care. They work together. No exemption for parks and fields. No "feel good education" for pesticide use. No preemption in MD. No warning signs in the future.


Steve Castrogiovanni. Against bill. Master arborist. Resident. Plant health care is important. Offers both organic and chemical control. He received a letter from leventhal stating he is self-taught on pesticides over the last year. No studies from university. Channel 4 news and Internet sources for information.  Organic programs do not work.  Organic applications will exceed legal limits of nitrogen. Many organic tea products are dirty water with E. coli present.  We shouldn't spray E. coli on lawns. Yellow signs for fertilizer. Organics. Everything we put out uses a yellow sign. It does not mean the turf was treated with a pesticide.



Missed the name of the last speaker. Supports bill. She became involved as a children's advocate. Spoke a lot on her qualifications. Involved because of bushy park poisoning of pesticide of Dursban poisoned her daughter. She still suffers health issues today. Now Dursban is banned, eluding to how currently approved pesticides may be banned in the future. They cause a lifetime of issues.




Jay Nalls

MAAGCS Government Relations

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MAAGCS Government Relations Tracks Montgomery County Issue

On Thursday, January 15th the Montgomery County Council held the first of two hearings scheduled for Bill 52-14, the proposed Montgomery County pesticide ban.  The public hearing room was filled with proponents and opponents to the bill, each side giving passionate testimony as private citizens and experienced professionals.  By the end of the evening, both sides were evenly represented.  Below is a list of those who spoke.  The next public hearing is scheduled for February 12, 2015.  We definitely need a strong showing for the next hearing also.


  •         Seth Grimes, City of Takoma Park citizen and council member
  • o   Applauds the County Council for the bill; requested adding gardens and flowerbeds to the bill; also requested the removal of the “sunset”
  •         Rebecca Rehr, Maryland Environmental Health Network supports the bill
  • o   As a former EPA scientist and employee, her experience is the testing of products is not sufficient. The 10-fold factor of child exposure is not considered. She feels the county needs to address the lack in federal oversight and it is the counties responsibility to protect citizens.
  •         John Kline, A.I.R. Lawn Care, spoke as a supporter for the bill
  • o   His landscaping company uses quiet electric mower technology and organic programs. Stated in his 1 ½ years of running an organic program on home lawns he has seen no turf loss issues.
  •         Paxton Barker from Maryland Pesticide Network supports the bill
  • o   Says it affects babies, waters, etc. Spoke against atrazine used by farmers. Says it chemically sterilizes amphibians.
  •         Chip Osbore, from Organic Land Care supports the bill
  •         Chris Nidel is a lawyer in toxicology and supports the bill
  • o   He lives in Kings Farm and dislikes blanket sprays. He has seen children playing in sprayed turf right next to signage. He is chemical sensitive and cannot go outside after pesticides are sprayed because he cannot breathe.
  •         Julie Taddeo from Safe Grow Montgomery
  • o   Had petitions and letters from citizens. He is concerned about day laborers being exposed to pesticides. Wants to remove the sunset.
  •         Patty Lovera from Food and Water Watch supports the bill
  • o   She spoke about the gaps in testing and research on pesticides. Stated that urban runoff exceeds safe pesticide levels in waterways.
  •         Alan Cohen, from Biological Pest Management supports the bill
  • o   Former EPA employee developing programs for protecting pesticide applicators. He feels EPA testing of pesticides is poor.  Approval process does not prove safety. It proves reasonable risk vs. benefit. Drift isn’t addressed. He was sickened by drifting pesticides. Had terrible rashes that required steroids to overcome.
  •         James Grahan from Neighbors of the Northwest Branch wants the law expanded
  • o   He wants to include golf course rough also. He stated that the northwest branch of Rock Creek was damaged by Argyle CC. Eliminate rough pesticide sprays. No exemptions for sports fields.
  •         Diana Post from the Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance supports bill
  • o   She feels that products are more harmful than testing determines. Spoke directly about the “risk vs. benefit” standard.
  •         Ling Tan / Katherine Tan support the bill
  • o   Ling is the mother, Katherine is the daughter. Daughter suffers from asthma. Spent over a week in the hospital after smelling pesticides applied in her neighborhood. Has to walk to school with a mask during the summer.
  •         Glen Paulman, citizen supports the bill
  • o   Used pesticides for years, and last year went organic. Says in one year there was no loss in his lawn quality.
  •         Andy Leon Harney, citizen wants a more moderate approach to the ban
  • o   Why would the county build millions of $s in sports fields and not take care of them. Not supportive of golf courses.


  •         Lonny Luther, Montgomery County Farm Bureau spoke against the bill
  • o   He stated the cost would to enforce the bill would far outweigh the benefits. We already have a rain tax, a health tax, we don’t need a pest tax. There is no documentation to support the bills. Professionals know how to use the products safely.
  •         Doug Tregoning, Agricultural Advisory Committee
  • o   Spoke into the fallacies for pesticides causing autism, particularly organophosphates.  Autism has risen dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. Organophosphate use has dropped dramatically over the last 2 decades.
  •         Dean Graves, citizen spoke against the bill
  • o   Feels that Montgomery County is one of the best educated counties in the country. Programs can be established to better inform our county residents on safe pesticide use. Asked the county to create education, not ban usage. The bill bans almost every product used for professional turf management.
  •         Eric Wegner, citizen spoke against the bill
  • o   He confronted Council Member Roger Berliner directly as trying to pass legislation that will hurt private business in Montgomery County.
  •         Brian Shoomaker opposes bill
  • o   Says it does not protect citizens from disease vectors, such as mosquitoes. (Editor’s note: the bill does have a section on disease vectoring pests)
  •         Tim Styslinger opposes the bill
  • o   Doesn’t understand what areas are banned in the law. Doesn’t understand what products are banned. Stated you can buy the products in another county.
  •         Dale Fitch, citizen opposes the bill
  • o   States that his landscaper uses pesticides responsibly.
  •         Stuart Cohen opposes the bill
  • o   Environmental Chemist of 39 years. Specializes in water testing. Objects to council ignoring testing and reviews of pesticides from the EPA. Discredited exposure studies and spoke to epidemiology studies not showing exposure.
  •         Paul Wolfe, citizen opposes the bill
  • o   Former President of the MD Arborist Association. Spoke about IPM without pesticides is not truly IPM. Spoke of organic controls such as “ladybugs” not working. We can’t make them fly to the top of the trees. Spoke about President Obama setting up a committee to research neonicotinoids. Why does Montgomery County believe they know better than the White House? Montgomery County has done no research on pesticides.
  • o   Paul brought about a quick yet heated debate between Council members. Paul stated trees were included in the ban. Council member Berliner stated trees were not affected by the law. An advisor to the council who helped draft the bill stated that trees were included in the ban. They took a break to discuss this at the councils bench.
  •         John Poulos from Good Counsel opposes bill
  • o   Wants sports fields to be exempt. Spoke on hardness and injuries from weed infestation. Not cooperative with golf, he asked why it was more important to chase a little white ball etc.
  •         Trish Heffelfinger from MD Soccer Foundation opposes the bill
  • o   She supports the reduction of pesticides. Asks for an exemption for fields that use products safely. Spoke into the issues of turf in a hot and humid climate.
  •         Sabrina Eaton spoke against the bill
  • o   She lives in Takoma Park, and the ban there hurt their neighborhood. There is no enforcement possible. Numerous citizens signed a petition against the ban. She doesn’t use pesticides but her neighbors used to. She said her weeds didn’t die when the neighbors sprayed their yards. Drift / runoff can’t be that major a problem when the products obviously aren’t moving.
  •         Richard Johnstone is in opposition to the bill
  • o   Works as an advisor to the White House on pesticide use. Says the bill is unnecessary.
  •         Eric Spates opposes the bill
  • o   Stated in testimony the bill would not allow you to treat for invasive weeds (editor’s note: some invasive weeds are included in the bill)
  • OTHER:
  • Kathleen Boucher, County Executive staff
  • o   Requested an exemption for playing fields
  • Mike Riley, Montgomery County Planning Board
  • o   Requested an exemption for playing fields and neonicotinoids

Jay Nalls chairs the MAAGCS Government Relations Committee, and we encourage members to support our position in opposition to the bill, while preserving the exemption for golf courses, should the bill pass.  Click here to download a letter from a Montgomery County Council representative, showing the level of opposition we face.


MAAGCS Taps Norman as Chapter Executive

      David Norman

Veteran association management executive David Norman has been named MAAGCS Chapter Executive, as announced by President Chris Harriman of Cattail Creek Country Club.  “David has been in the association business his entire career, including the past nine years working with GCSAA for the Virginia Chapter,” said Harriman.  “We feel this will offer a seamless transition to serve MAAGCS members.”

A graduate of Wake Forest University with an MBA from Texas Christian University, Norman first entered golf administration with the Carolinas Golf Association staff.  There, he served as assistant director prior to joining RJR/Nabisco’s sports marketing division and its PGA Tour programs from 1988-91.  Norman then served as Executive Director of the Virginia State Golf Association 1991-2005.  In 2005 he formed Norman & Associates, an association management firm.  In addition to serving MAAGCS, his clients include the Virginia GCSA, NGCOA Mid-Atlantic, the Maryland State Golf Association and various golf publications.

A rules expert, Norman has officiated at numerous U.S. Opens and Presidents Cup matches. He is a member of Golf Digest’s national ranking panel, past president of the International Association of Golf Administrators, a former USGA Committee member and a Board member of the Middle Atlantic Golf Association.  He is a Past President of the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE), earning the association’s highest award, the “Award of Excellence” in 2007.

Turf Schools Are Adjusting To Changing Times To Attract Students

GCSAA magazine investigates academic trends

Lawrence, Kan. - University turfgrass programs around the country have seen a decline in students over the last decade, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's magazine took a look behind the numbers.

In an article for Golf Course Management, Howard Richman, associate editor, spoke with several U.S. turfgrass schools to learn about the state of their programs and determine whether their classrooms are growing or shrinking - and, just as importantly, why. A survey of turfgrass schools concluded that 70 percent have lower enrollments in their turf programs compared to 10 years ago.

However, there are some bright spots, such as at Ohio State University and Mississippi State University, which have seen recent upticks. Meanwhile SUNY-Cobleskill and New Mexico State University have each doubled their class size in recent years. Many graduate programs are also seeing strong numbers.

The factors affecting turf schools aren't isolated to any one region and are seen throughout the country.

For example, Indiana's Purdue University's program has about 43 students, according to Cale A. Bigelow, Ph.D. Twelve years ago, that number was 85. Oregon State University's enrollment is down to approximately 15 students from a peak of 35, says assistant professor Alec Kowalewski.

Two-year schools are also feeling the crunch. That includes Florida Gateway College, previously known as Lake City Community College. It announced earlier this year that it will no longer offer an associate's degree in golf course operations.

"We used to have a one-year waiting list. We were known nationally and internationally," says John Piersol, executive director of industrial and agricultural programs at Florida Gateway College. "But that doesn't mean it lasts forever."

Opportunities still exist for turf program graduates. And the GCM survey showed that 92 percent of turf program students were interested in a golf course management career.

"The golf industry is not doing as well as it used to, but there is a high demand for entry-level positions," says Doug Linde, Ph.D., turf professor at Delaware Valley (Pa.) College.

Schools are doing almost all they can to attract turfgrass students and find ways for them to be ingrained in the profession.

Kansas State University turfgrass science professor Jack Fry, Ph.D., recalls the days when his program had as many as 150 students. Today, that number totals in the 50 range, 30 of whom are geared toward golf course management. The dip in numbers is on his and others' radar at the school. Fry says he doesn't exactly feel pressured or that his job is on the line, but he senses a concern from those above him regarding enrollment in turf and other horticulture-related programs.

"Those in the dean's office are looking at us and saying, 'What's going on?' They are asking what we can do to get more students. Securing more undergraduates is going to be a priority. I can sense it," Fry says.

Perhaps the best way to attract more young people into the industry is the old-fashioned way.

"Golf courses used to have a lot of kids who were in high school working, and that would serve as a feeder system," says Alex Ellram, Ph.D., professor at SUNY-Cobleskill. Those kids were better equipped when they came to college. We just don't see enough of them anymore."

Nevertheless, North Carolina State University's Rich Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, believes the turfgrass program at his school is on good footing. He notes that 800 people attended the school's field day late this summer and that 89 percent of their graduates, in all fields, find jobs. Linton sees a bright future specifically for the turfgrass program.

"The green industry as a whole has suffered since 2008, but I think things are turning around," Linton says. "We are in a strong growing mode."

To learn more about the future of turfgrass programs, read Richman's full article in the November 2014 issue of Golf Course Management.

About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Craig Smith, Director, Communications and Media Relations
Phone: 800-472-7878, ext. 4431 or 785-691-9197 (cell)

Philadelphia Chapter Promotes "A Day at the Course" video

Click Here to View the Video

The Philadelphia Association of Golf Course Superintendents shares with us the day in the life of a golf course superintendent. They are the keepers of the playing field upon which the great game of golf is played. And like the game of golf, honor, integrity, hard work and passion are the core of every great superintendent.


Jacobsen to Serve Parts of Mid-Atlantic Directly

Jacobsen Press Release: Click Here to read the press release Jacobsen sent out announcing the change in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

MD State High School Golf Tournament

Congratulations to David Huthinson (Congressional Country Club) for his son Graham winning the Maryland State High School Golf Tournament that was held on Oct 29th, at UMD Golf Course! Way to Go!

GCSAA Grants $8,750 to Develop BMP's

As of November 4th, 2014 GCSAA has approved MAAGCS for $8,750 to invest in the develpment of BMP's for the members of the Mid Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents. Read the GCSAA News Release Here For more information on the BMP's or being part of a committee on developing the programs contact Jay Nalls

Water and conservation survey launches


Environmental management is a bit of a “buzz word” in our line of work, and for good reason. Within our inner circles of the golf industry, we realize how responsible we are with nutrient and water management, habitat development, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Best Management Practices (BMPs), and so forth. And while many of our golfing constituents see these practices embraced and employed each time they hit the links, that may not be true of the general public and our legislators.

The point is, perception is reality; but perception isn’t always aligned with reality. We find ourselves in an era where words like sustainability, going green, organic and stewardship are used to describe practices that govern many industries across the board. And while I think many of us embrace our environmental progressiveness, we need to do a better job of communicating it.

That’s why GCSAA is seeking your help in gathering data about our water and conservation practices. Collected data will be compared to information gathered in 2006 and used to gain a picture of water and environmental stewardship in the profession.

Complete the survey online until Nov. 17 »

For more information, please visit the Golf Course Environmental Profile overview. I want to encourage all golf course superintendents (GCSAA members and non-members) to be champions for this effort. Together, we can use this material for the advocacy and betterment of our profession as we communicate the good things happening on our golf courses. And as always, thank you in advance for your commitment.

Montgomery County Pesticide Ban Update

On September 24th several members of the community went to meet with Councilman Berliner in Montgomery County in a series of ongoing discussions about the potential Pesticide Ban.  Councilman Leventhal is supposedly planning to introduce legislation expanding the program to include a ban on private property also, not just County properties.  This would stop people from applying pesticides in gardens and lawns, though golf courses may still be considered exempt.  There is the strong possibility that clubhouse lawns and gardens would not be exempt, however.  The proponents of the bill have asked for a second hearing on this issue to present testimony from medical professionals, though it has not yet been granted.  RISE would love the support of any Superintendents living in Montgomery County, MD to speak about the products and methods of pesticide control that we use.  Also, if you have customers / members at your facilities who live in Montgomery County, and they do not want the County banning all use of pesticides in their home, please contact me at and I will connect you and them to the RISE action network about this issue only.  Currently Seattle City is facing similar legislation.  Takoma Park, MD is just the start of an issue that will become nationwide.  With involved community we can show how pesticide use can be used in an environmentally responsible way.


There was good news from the GCSAA about a three year extension for the use of Nemacure through October 6th, 2017!  GCSAA officials and superintendents across the nation asked for an EPA extension for the use of Nemacure.   Nemacure is crucial for controlling nematodes in turfgrass.  This is another example of the EPA and industry working together to phase out potentially harmful chemicals without complete bans on product use.


Jay Nalls

Norbeck Country Club

MAAGCS Want's to Post Your Blog

We now have a page dedicated to member blogs under News & Info. We would like to add your blog on our website. If your interested please send the link to your blog to Ryan Kraushofer @

Talking Turf Launches

Talking Turf is a forum for members to discuss turf related issues with other members. We would also like your input on meeting ideas and how we can make the association better for our members.

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