Series Profile: Plankton

Fri, June 23, 2017 | Lakes and Parks

Scientific Name: Copepoda; Daphnia; Volvox
Common Name(s): Copepod; Water Flea; Volvox

Plankton is a generalized term for microscopic or nearly microscopic plants and animals that float in a water body.  Zooplankton refers to the tiny animals, and phytoplankton refers to the tiny plants.  There are many species of plankton and every water body may have their own unique composition of plankton.  Further, plankton communities in water bodies may change frequently due to environmental conditions. Plankton can be observed by taking a scoop of water and looking at it through a microscope. Generally, zooplankton can be coarsely identified using the naked eye, while phytoplankton usually require higher magnifications.

Various zooplankton; U.S. quarter dollar coin in background for scale


Unless a water body is completely sterile, plankton of some sort will occupy its water column.  Thus, plankton are found virtually everywhere in the world.

It would be unfair to try to lump all plankton into one group and try to describe their life cycles and preferences, because there is so much variety. These tiny creatures do have one characteristic in common; besides being very small, they live fast and die young.  Most plankton species have very short life spans.  Some longer lived species in our climate may only live to about 40 days. Of course, cooler temperatures can lengthen life expectancy. They have an even shorter life cycle or generational cycle.  A generation of plankton may start reproducing in as little as a few hours to as long as 20 days.

Because of their short life cycle, and abundant offspring, they can populate a water body very quickly. In the spring time, plankton causes green tinted water and decreases water visibility. This change can happen, literally overnight is some cases.  Fast reproduction and many offspring are an important factor in the role these tiny organisms play in the environment: they are food. They feed everything. They of course eat each other, they feed bigger bugs, they feed small fish, and for bigger fish they serve as a crucial stepping stone to bigger food because young fish feed almost exclusively on plankton. They are in fact the rabbits of the aquatic environment so to speak.

As mentioned above, a plankton community can change rapidly due to environmental conditions, including but not limited to nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus in particular), sedimentation in the water, other plankton species present, availability of sunlight, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. By controlling these factors, beneficial plankton can be favored while discouraging harmful plankton. Harmful plankton include species that do not fit well in the existing food web and are essentially an unusable food source. Blue-green algae can produce harmful phyto-toxins when counts are high.

Special Notes:
Here in Bella Vista, like most of the Southeast, natural waters are abundant with plankton. This in large part is the reason why our waters, and the Southeast in general, do well in terms of fisheries production. We rarely have harmful algal blooms, due to how we regulate certain lakes (ex. solar bees on Lake Norwood; fertilization regimes). Proper fertilization actually promotes the growth of beneficial plankton and discourages blue-green algae. Green tinted murky water may not be desirable for everyone, but it shades the lake bottom which discourages weed growth. Fishermen also know the value that it offers; an abundant food source.

Card Playing at Highlands

Fri, June 23, 2017 | Golf, POA News

A group of 30 residents attended an open meeting yesterday at Highlands Clubhouse to discuss what is the best way to provide space for card playing while Highlands Golf Course is closed for renovation.  The group discussed a number of option, from having the clubhouse open during construction with limited food and beverage service, all the way to having the clubhouse remain closed during course construction.  After a lengthy discussion, the consensus of the group ended up being a compromise of these two extremes.  Effective immediately through the opening of the golf course on September 30, card groups can reserve space Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.  During this period, no food and beverage service will be offered at Highlands.  Card groups can call the Highland’s Pro Shop at 479-855-8150 to reserve space.  If you have specific questions about using the Highlands Clubhouse, please ask the Pro Shop for a copy of the Rules and Regulations.

Once Highlands fully opens on September 30, card playing will be allowed seven days a week.  Additionally, the Pub will be open with full service bar and a “grab and go” style food menu.

The POA would like to thank those residents that attended the meeting and worked together to come to a reasonable solution.

To recap:

  • Until September 30, card groups can make reservations to play Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.
  • The Pub at Highlands will not open until September 30.  There will be no food and beverage service until September 30.
  • When the Pub opens on September 30, there will be a full service bar and a “grab and go” style food menu.

Bermudagrass Greens Aeration Scheduled In July

Wed, June 21, 2017 | Golf

Scotsdale Golf Course is scheduled to be closed July 5th to aerate the new greens. This is the final step in completing the no tile green conversion grow-in and establishment of these greens. The process was part of the original recommendations provided by our Champion Ultradwarf provider, Champions Turf Farm. The greens will have 3/8” cores pulled and removed from the surface on 2.5” centers. The greens will then be top dressed, brushed, rolled and fertilized. Since these aeration holes are small we anticipate a full recovery in 7 to 10 days.

Brittany is scheduled to close the following day, July 6th, to complete a more aggressive type of aeration. Although Brittany will be using the same type tines it will be done on closer centers. These greens must be aerated at least one time each year to control any thatch buildup. For more information on the whys please refer to the below article “Brittany Greens Aeration” provided by Rob Dreesen, Metfield Golf Course Superintendent.

Brittany Greens Aerification

By Rob Dreesen, Metfield Golf Superintendent

Ultradwarf Bermudagrass putting greens can provide excellent playing conditions throughout the summer months, if maintained properly. One of those maintenance practices is core aerification. Without adequate core aerification, Ultradwarf greens establish a thick thatch layer. Thatch is decomposed plant material that accumulates between the surface and the soil as shown in the picture above. This thatch layer negatively affects both golf course superintendents and golfers.

  • Golf Course Superintendents:
    • Thatch prevents water, fertilizer, and air from reaching the roots.
    • Thatch makes the greens spongy which results in scalped areas when mowing.
  • Golfers:
    • Thatch makes the greens soft which results in slow ball roll and more ball marks.

According to Champion Turf Farms (the grower of champion Ultradwarf Bermuda), 10%-20% of the surface area of the green needs to be displaced through core aerification every year. In order to accomplish this with only one aerification, we will need to be aggressive. This aggressive approach will leave the greens in less than ideal playing conditions, even more so than the typical aerification that you are used to.

Every year and at every course I have ever been at, I always get the same question; “Why are you tearing up the greens now when they are in perfect condition?” I always answer with “this is the best time to do it based on the optimal weather conditions for the turf.” July, here in NWA, has the perfect weather for Ultradwarf Bermuda; humid and hot. These hot and humid days will help the greens recover from the aggressive aerification approach that we will be taking.

Thank you for your patience during this critical time. I am hoping by taking the correct steps towards thatch management on the Brittany Greens, we can make them into a firm, fast, and smooth surface that you all will want to play.

Check our Course Updates page for regular updates and info.

4th of July Holiday Hours for Recreation Amenities

Mon, June 19, 2017 | Recreation

Branchwood, Metfield Club, and Riordan Hall will observe the following holiday hours on Tuesday, July 4.

All three of the fitness centers and the indoor pool at Branchwood will be open 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fitness floor classes and water fitness classes will be on break Monday through Wednesday, July 3 – 5. Classes will resume regular scheduling on Thursday, July 6.

Kingsdale Tennis Center: The Tennis Center (pro shop) will be open 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4 and resume regular hours on Wednesday, July 5. Note: courts will be open for drop-in play

Metfield and Kingsdale Outdoor Pools will observe regular business hours on Tuesday, July 4 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Join us for Splashdown fun and games from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the 4th.

All outdoor pool water fitness classes will be on break Monday through Wednesday, July 3, 4 and 5; classes will resume regular scheduling on Thursday, July 6.

Blowing Springs/RV Park will observe regular business hours on Tuesday, July 4 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Project Update from Tom Judson, COO

Thu, June 8, 2017 | POA News

The POA continues to work hard to improve and rejuvenate our community.  Several projects have already been completed this year, with many more to come.  Here is a brief recap of what has been accomplished and the additional projects planned:

Completed Projects

Lakepoint Restaurant and Event Center – Lakepoint has already hosted four weddings, with a total of 65 large events expected in 2017.  The restaurant opened on June 2nd; while open only a few days, the restaurant has been very busy serving close to 180 for Sunday brunch. I encourage you to make a reservation and see for yourself (479) 855-8110.

Loch Lomond Fishing Dock – This new fishing dock is located just to the south of Lakepoint.  A generous contribution by the Fly Tyers Club made this project possible.

Country Club Bunkers – Over the winter the new “billy bunker” system was installed.  These new bunkers have greatly improved the playing conditions at the Country Club.

Highlands Clubhouse – The Highlands Clubhouse received a minor renovation of the bar and card playing area, and is planned to open by the end of this week.


Coming Projects

Branchwood Parking Lot Expansion – The opening last year of the Branchwood Walking Trail has resulted in a significant increase in the number of days when the parking lot at Branchwood is completely full.  This parking lot expansion will comfortably accommodate the increased usage.  We anticipate this work will be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Branchwood Building Expansion – Management is currently working with an architect to develop plans to expand and renovate the Branchwood building.  Once the plans are complete, we will be able to determine the cost of the expansion and renovation.  With final approval from the Board, we hope to start this work in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Beach at Lake Avalon – The Board has already approved the construction of a Beach at Lake Avalon.  This project will include a large sandy beach, a swim area, beach volleyball courts, kayak rentals, small concessions stand, renovated restrooms, renovated pavilion, and renovated and expanded parking lot.  We anticipate this work will be completed in the Spring of 2018.

Renovated and Expanded Parking Lot at Lake Avalon – To save money, the parking lot at Lake Avalon will be done at the same time as the parking lot at Branchwood.  We anticipate this work will be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Renovation of the Country Club – This major renovation is currently underway.  Once completed, the building will have an expansive pro shop and a fantastic new restaurant.  The menu for this restaurant will offer items found traditionally at golf clubs.  We anticipate this work will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

Restrooms at Metfield Park and RV Park – The renovation of these two restroom facilities will both modernize them and get them to be ADA compliant.  We anticipate this work will be completed in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Driving Range at Scotsdale – In the third quarter of this year we will finalize and open a driving range at Scotsdale Golf Club.

Attendant Hut and Restroom for the Gun Range – In the coming weeks the finishing touches will be made to this the amenity at our Pistol and Rifle Range.

Cart Paths at Highlands and Dogwood Golf Courses – The cart paths for Highlands and Dogwood, which are in horrible shape, will get renovated in the third quarter of this year.

Hydrology Study of the three golf courses located in the flood plain – We are working to get expert advice on the best possible way to deal with the ever-growing problem of flooding.  We anticipate this study will take six to twelve months.

Other Projects – There are additional projects currently underway or planned that are not as interesting as the ones mentioned above, but are just as important to the overall rejuvenation of the POA.

If you would like more information regarding any of these projects, I encourage you to attend one of my Coffee and Questions sessions.  These take place on the second Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. at Riordan Hall and the fourth Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at Riordan Hall.

The Inaugural Cooper Communities Northwest Arkansas Classic

Wed, June 7, 2017 | Golf

The inaugural Cooper Communities Northwest Arkansas Classic professional golf tournament concluded  Saturday, May 27, with Joshua Creel of Oklahoma City firing a Highlands golf course record-tying 7 under par 65 to win the Tournament by two strokes.

Thanks to the involvement and support of Cooper Communities (Title sponsor), Bella Vista Foundation, (Charity partner), the City of Bella Vista, Visit Bentonville, Brown’s Collision Center (Presenting sponsor), and all the other sponsors and Pro-Am Tournament participants, more than $65,000 was raised to conduct the tournament. After deducting the Tournament expenses, including all out-of-pocket expenses and a course usage fee for the POA, more than $22,000 remains available for distribution to local charities and to set up an initial promotional fund for the 2018 Tournament. The Bella Vista Foundation will be providing grants to the Bella Vista Animal Shelter, The First Tee of NWA and the Boys and Girls Club of NWA in the total amount of $18,500.

The success of this Tournament was the result of the co-operation, involvement and support of many sponsors and participants, but especially the volunteers who made the Tournament a special event for the APT Pro Tour staff and players. Without active and enthusiastic POA staff and Member volunteer support, this Tournament would not have been possible.

Berksdale Golf Course Update

Tue, June 6, 2017 | Golf

The POA Board of Directors and Management are working to secure an engineering company to conduct an extensive hydrology study to evaluate the long-term impact of flooding on the three courses located in the flood plain (Berksdale, Kingswood and the Country Club).  All three of these courses are along Highway 71.  At this time, it is estimated that the hydrology study could take from six to twelve months to complete. Once the hydrology study has been completed, the Board will seek community input before a long-term strategy for Berksdale has been finalized.

Until all data has been gathered, all research analyzed, all community input considered and conclusions reached, Berksdale will remain open on a temporary basis for play as a 9-hole golf course. The routing of this temporary 9-hole course will keep our Members and guests a safe distance from the areas damaged during the recent flooding. The Berksdale 9-holes will be open for business starting on June 26th. Tee times may be booked up to 10 days prior to the opening date. Golfers can elect to play 9-holes or play twice for 18-holes, with the applicable rates applying.

New hole number

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


Hole number before the flood

1 2 3 5 6 7 15 16 17

Hole Handicaps Update

Tue, June 6, 2017 | Golf

For the past several years, the allocation of Men’s Hole Handicaps at Bella Vista has been a heavily debated conversation after a round of golf.  The Golf Operations team, along with the Bella Vista Men’s Golf Association, have completed the Men’s Hole Handicap calculations for every 18-hole golf course. Now golfers have proof of the validity as the results are based upon U.S.G.A. recommendations.   The calculations were based on more than 5,800 rounds of golf the MGA collected over the past several months.

We are in the process of correcting and printing new scorecards.  Following are the new Men’s Hole Handicaps.  A big thank you goes out to Randall Gnant and the MGA for their record keeping and calculation assistance.


Hole # BVCC Dogwood Kingswood Highlands Berksdale Scotsdale
1 14 14 1 13 13 16
2 6 18 13 1 3 10
3 2 16 15 15 5 12
4 12 8 11 11 17 18
5 18 6 3 7 15 14
6 4 10 5 3 1 4
7 10 12 17 9 7 8
8 16 2 9 5 9 6
9 8 4 7 17 11 2
10 3 9 18 10 16 11
11 17 15 14 18 12 1
12 13 13 16 12 18 5
13 9 3 10 2 4 15
14 1 11 2 14 8 3
15 15 1 8 4 2 13
16 7 17 4 8 10 17
17 11 5 12 6 6 9
18 5 7 6 16 14 7

To review the USGA® recommendations for allocating Handicap Strokes, go to


Bella Vista Fly Tyers Club Holds Kids Fishing Outing

Wed, May 31, 2017 | Lakes and Parks

The Bella Vista Fly Tyers Club hosted a fishing derby on May 17 at Lake Windsor.  Approximately 125 students from the 4th grade at Baker Elementary school, plus teachers and some parents, attended.  20 members of the Fly Tyers helped fix tackle and instruct the students on basic fishing techniques.

POA lake staff made 2 presentations:  one was showing varieties of live fish and one showing varieties of live turtles.  Fly Tyers Ray Atkinson and Owen Wilson gave a presentation on various types of fishing rods and reels and various types of fishing lures.

The Bella Vista Fly Tyers Club is a fishing, conservation, and service Club consisting of approximately 150 members.  This group of men and women share a common interest in fishing (both warm and cold water species) found in the local streams and lakes of Bella Vista.   The Club also promotes lake conservation, recreational activities, and conducts service projects throughout NW Arkansas.

The Club meets every Thursday in Riordan Hall in Bella Vista, beginning at 9 am for a social hour followed by a meeting from 10 to 11 am.


Pools Open Friday, May 26

Thu, May 18, 2017 | Recreation

We’ve been working diligently to prepare the Bella Vista outdoor pools for the season. The Kingsdale family pool was recently re-plastered.  Staff have been busy painting, cleaning and sprucing up pool decks, locker rooms, and grounds and filling our outdoor pools to be ready for opening day, Friday, May 26. Pools will be open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.