Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 57.66
Liaison Michael Kensler
Submission Date Jan. 23, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Auburn University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Ben Burmester
Campus Planner
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:


Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

As a part of the development of the Campus Master Plan in 2013, land types on campus were assessed. All wetland areas and riparian corridors were identified and continue to be excluded from the list of areas of potential future development.

In addition, during the development of the Parkerson Mill Creek (PMC) Watershed Management Plan in 2010 the creek itself, which runs through the heart of campus, was thoroughly assessed. The committee examined the following areas: watershed characteristics (description, climate, topography, soils, hydrology, land use, history, demographics, endangered/threatened species, ecological services, wetland areas, wildlife/habitat diversity, and recreation); current conditions of the watershed (water quality indicators -- current and historical); challenges to the watershed (usage, pollutants, threats, sources); alternative management practices, and future assessment plans.

As a result, In 2014-15, a 400-foot section of the creek, adjacent to a university dining facility, was restored to stabilize the stream banks from erosion, reduce the velocity of the stream, improve water quality and enhance the aesthetics of the creek. Through this project, the creek has become an outdoor classroom for visually demonstrating the benefits of stream restoration to students. Additional stream bank restoration projects are now being planned.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

The 13.5 acre Davis Arboretum has a primary mission to display and preserve living plant collections and native southeastern plant communities, to inspire an understanding of the natural world and our connection to it, and to promote education, research, and outreach. It is located near the campus core, providing easy access to students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus. Of note is the Arboretum's preservation of pitcher plants (Sarraceniaceae), two species of which are Federally endangered.

Parkerson Mill Creek and Riparian Corridor

Weagle Woods- The 7-acre Weagle Woods supports 18 old-growth trees of a species (Pinus palustris) that once dominated an estimated 60-90 million acres of the SE. Today less than 3% of that SE acreage remains.

The Landscape Master Plan, a 2016 Update to the Campus Master Plan, identifies which of the 139 different tree species on campus are native (should be preserved) and invasive (recommended for removal). The replacement of invasive species with native species contributes postitively to the local envoironmental conditions and the goal of a sustainable of campus.

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

The 13.5-acre Davis Arboretum displays plants growing in the special habitats that exist in the state of Alabama, such as rocky hillsides, stream bottoms, pond edges, salt-spray influenced sand dunes, pitcher plant bogs, and the alkaline soil of the Black Belt Prairie. The management philosophy in the arboretum is to allow and encourage native species and habitats, while eliminating or controlling species that are invasive.

In addition, the Campus Master Plan has designated certain areas of campus as Natural Resource Management Areas. This land use category includes floodplains, wetlands, streams, steep slopes and critical buffer areas. It is intended to support emerging policies for protecting and enhancing the water resource systems of Parkerson Mill and Town Creeks. Development in these areas is limited to teaching, research, outreach, and recreation uses that do not negatively impact the underlying natural systems.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

In addition to the above-mentioned efforts, Auburn is also home to a Museum of Natural History that maintains activities related to outreach and engagement that seeks to 1) disseminate, to the citizens of Alabama, information on natural history and attendant human impacts to the region’s biodiversity; and 2) profile ongoing organismal and collections-based research of AUMNH and DBS faculty, staff, and students, emphasizing their contributions in documenting and understanding Alabama and global biodiversity. Through such outreach platforms, the museum seeks to acquaint our citizenry with their rich biodiversity, in an effort to instill appreciation and a sense of stewardship through heightened environmental awareness. Outreach efforts provide educational information on regional biota, habitats, ecology, and, more importantly, underscore scientific approaches used to study biodiversity, whether locally or worldwide.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.