Summer is in full swing, and I’m sure your fields are in high demand. With a steady stream of games, tournaments and other events scheduled for the busy summer months, you can’t afford to lose a day of field use. Weather obviously plays a critical role in determining playability, and depending on where you are in the country, you may face some exceptional challenges this year. For the month of May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported drought conditions in Michigan and Louisiana, becoming the fifth driest January-May period on record for both states. Conversely, Northeastern states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, experienced some of the wettest springs on record. NOAA is also predicting an exceptionally active Atlantic hurricane season (June to November), which could bring even more record-setting rain to the Eastern part of the country. Proper drainage is key to keeping your fields safe and playable during wet weather, so see our lead story on page 7 to learn more about this vital component of field care.
The city of Edmonton, Alb., Canada, has taken a unique approach to dealing with excessive rain by intentionally flooding school athletic fields to prevent flooded basements in surrounding neighborhoods. After an intense rainstorm in 2004 left 4,000 Edmonton basements flooded, city officials developed ways to adapt to severe weather. The sports field facilities at Lendrum Place, which feature a soccer field, baseball diamond, running track and outdoor amphitheater, were redeveloped at a level that is lower than nearby roadways. By underpinning it with a sand/geocomposite drainage layer and underdrain system, the city created a natural reservoir that contains floodwaters when excessive rainfall occurs. The innovative project was recently awarded the first national Watershed Award by the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Are you prepared and equipped to deal with what could be a very wet summer? Drop me a line and let me know what’s going on in your area and how your fields are holding up.