Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 30.79
Liaison Peter Schulze
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Austin College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kelby Archer
Coordinator
Center for Environmental Studies
"---" 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?:
Yes

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

Our 100-acre Sneed Prairie Restoration site is bounded on one side by Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and includes wetland habitat. Hagerman NWR is a hotbed of migratory bird activity.


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?:
Yes

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

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:

At our Sneed Prairie restoration site, we are attempting to restore the native Blackland Prairie that is critically endangered (with less than 1% of it remaining). We monitor restoration progress by measuring presence/absence of various native and nonnative grass species, trees, and soil cover at dozens of sampling locations in each field. Each measured variable passed a test for correspondence with expert assessment of prairie condition across six sites rank ordered in terms of biological integrity by Blackland Prairie expert Dr. George Diggs. Collectively, the measurements provide information on species composition and indicators of ecosystem functioning. Sneed Prairie was most recently assessed in the fall of 2017. Dr. Wayne Meyer studies the threatened Painted Bunting at Sneed Prairie, and we also get many migratory birds that come through the area. Additionally, one of our other field sites is a rare example of Post Oak-Blackjack Oak woodland called Buckner Woods.


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

The Blackland Prairie habitat is critically endangered, with less than 1% of it remaining. Painted Buntings are classed as Near Threatened. Our Sneed Prairie site attempts to protect both and restore the prairie ecosystem that used to exist on the land. Other migratory birds also use Sneed Prairie.


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

At Sneed Prairie, we use a combination of rotational grazing, mowing, and controlled burning in an attempt to keep nonnative and invasive species down while promoting the spread of native grasses (whose long roots allow them to easily survive fires that would kill trees). We have also worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to modify the ponds at Sneed to better accommodate migratory birds.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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