Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kylee Singh
Sustainability Coordinator
Energy Utilities and Sustainability
"---" 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:

Cal Poly is adjacent to Los Padres National Forest. The Los Padres National Forest serves an enormous population base including the San Francisco Bay Area, the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area, the southern San Joaquin Valley and the many communities along the south and central coast. The Forest provides the scenic backdrop for many communities and plays a significant role in the quality of life in this area. The Forest also supplies a substantial portion of the water needs of several downstream communities.

Ecosystems in Los Padres National Forest range from semi-desert in interior areas to redwood forest on the coast. Forest vegetation is classified into two major types: chaparral (68%) and forested lands (30%). Forested land includes mixed evergreen forests, oak woodland, pinyon-juniper woodland, and conifer forest. Management of chaparral vegetation consists essentially of prescribed burning and wildfire suppression. Forested lands are managed primarily to maintain health and vigor.

Cal Poly has a high biodiversity and variety of native biotic communities within walking distance of the Campus Instructional Core. This feature is recognized and addressed in the Campus Master Plan (2001) and is an integral part of the current Master Plan update (2019). Wildlife habitats are carefully monitored and protected, as well as vegetation which is highly valued for its aesthetic and educational benefits. Cal Poly has identified several rare or endangered species and sensitive habitats on the campus and put in place measures to protect and maintain their relatively undisturbed native biotic communities.

The College of Science and Mathematics manages several preserves and study areas for long-term research and protection, some of which are on the main campus, in close proximity to the Academic Core for frequent access by students and faculty.
• Botanical Garden (east of the trail head of Poly Canyon, partly in Peterson Ranch)
• Ecological Preserve on the north side of Brizzolara Creek (above Poly Canyon
• Ecological Preserve on Escuela Ranch (211 acres)
• Cal Poly Pier at Avila Beach for activities of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences
• Ragged Point (at the southern edge of the Big Sur coastline)

In addition, faculty conduct class-related field trips and student and faculty research on riparian corridors, ponds, grasslands, woodlands, and serpentine slopes on the campus. These scientifically interesting features also overlap with environmentally sensitive areas and some agricultural rangelands. Faculty and students in other colleges, such as Liberal Arts, also take advantage of these areas for nature sketching and photography and to connect the humanities and social sciences with the land.

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:

The development of the 2001 Master Plan occurred in the context of campus environmental constraints and opportunities. Environmental planners were part of the Master Plan Team from the outset and provided guidance that influenced the location and approach to all of the Master Plan components. This process allowed the team to evaluate a number of alternatives and choose, in most instances, the environmentally superior approach prior to inclusion in the Plan. Throughout the text of the Master Plan marginal notes indicate these choices. Chapter 6 of the Plan is the draft Environmental Impact Report required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It describes in detail the environmental consequences of the Plan and mitigation measures to reduce the severity of the impact. Table 6.1 summarizes impacts and mitigation measures.

Following adoption of the 2001 Master Plan, Cal Poly engaged in a series of implementation studies (specified in Chapter 7). As projects are planned and built, they will be reviewed and monitored for compliance with the environmental mitigation requirements as well as with meeting plan expectations to reinforce the academic quality of the University. The Campus Planning Committee will review the Master Plan annually so as to advise the campus whether conditions have changed sufficiently to warrant a major update.

(Taken from https://afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/planning-capital-projects/master-plan/docs/2001-master-plan-and-eir.pdf)

For the 2019 Master Plan, Cal Poly has conducted biological surveys for the areas of proposed development including the horse pasture at Grand and Slack and the sheep pasture at Stenner Creek road. The university is also performing ongoing monitoring of the creeks that run through campus. The biological studies are part of the Environmental Impact Report that is required for the Master Plan process and was drafted in 2019 and will be finalized in 2020.

It should be noted that the Cal Poly Master Plan 2035 is completed but the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is still in draft form, this is why the 2001 Master Plan EIR language is cited versus the 2019 EIR.

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

There are a variety of sensitive plant and animal species that have been found to live on Cal Poly lands and were identified in the 2001 Cal Poly Master Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Those plant and animal species are listed below:

Table 6.5. Special-Status Plant Species and Communities with Potential to Occur on Cal Poly
Bishop or San Luis manzanita Arctostaphylos obispoensis
Brewer’s calandrinia Calandrinia breweri
Club-haired mariposa lily Calochortus clavatus ssp. clavatus
San Luis mariposa lily Calochortus obispoensis
Cambria morning glory Calystegia subacaulis var. episcopalis
San Luis Obispo sedge Carex obispoensis
Dwarf soaproot Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. minus
Brewers spineflower Chorizanthe breweri
Palmer’s spineflower Chorizanthe palmeri
Chorro Creek bog thistle Cirsium fontinale var. obispoense
San Luis serpentine dudleya Dudleya abramsii ssp. bettinae
San Luis dudleya Dudleya abramsii ssp. murina
Blochman’s dudleya Dudleya blochmaniae ssp. blochmaniae
Ojai fritillary Fritillaria ojaiensis
San Benito fritillary Fritillaria viridea
Congdon’s tarplant Hemizonia parryi ssp. congdonii
Jones layia Layia jonesii
Small-leaved lomatium Lomatium parvifolium
Palmer’s monardella Monardella palmeri
Pringle’s yampah Perideridia pringlei
Michael’s rein orchid Piperia michaelii
Hoffman’s sanicle Sanicula hoffmannii
Adobe sanicle Sanicula maritima
Rayless groundsel Senecio aphanactis
Cuesta Pass checkerbloom Sidalcea hickmanii ssp. anomala
(Taken from 2001 Master Plan, document page 250, https://afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/planning-capital-projects/master-plan/docs/2001-master-plan-and-eir.pdf)

Table 6.6. Special Status Wildlife Known or Likely to Occur on Cal Poly Lands
Cooper's hawk Accipiter cooperi
Sharp-shinned hawk Accipiter striatus
Tricolored blackbird Agelaius tricolor
Black legless lizard Anniella pulchra
California tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum
Pallid bat Antrozous pallidus
Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos
Great blue heron (rookery) Ardes herodias
Burrowing owl Athene cunicularia
American bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
Canada goose (wintering) Branta canadensis
Ferruginous hawk Buteo regalis
Northern harrier Circus cyaneus
Southwestern pond turtle Clemmys marmorata pallida
Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus
Yellow warbler Dendroica petechia brewsteri
White-tailed kite Elanus caeruleus
Willow flycatcher Empidonax traillii
Merlin Falco columbarius
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Loggerhead shrike Lanius ludovicianus
Monterey dusky-footed woodrat Neotoma fuscipes (luciana)
San Diego desert woodrat Neotoma lepida intermedia
Central California Coast steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss
California brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Double-crested cormorant (rookery) Phalacrocorax auritus
Coast horned lizard Phyrnosoma coronatum
Townsend's western big-eared bat Plecotus townsendii
California red-legged frog Rana aurora draytonii
Bank swallow Riparia riparia
Western spadefoot toad Scaphiopus hammondii
Coast Range newt Taricha torosa
American badger Taxidea taxus
Two-striped garter snake Thamnophis hammondii
(Taken from 2001 Master Plan, document page 264, https://afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/planning-capital-projects/master-plan/docs/2001-master-plan-and-eir.pdf)

It should be noted that the Cal Poly Master Plan 2035 is completed but the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is still in draft form, this is why the 2001 Master Plan EIR language is cited versus the 2019 EIR.

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

As part of the 2001 Cal Poly Master Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR):
"All sensitive species and habitats will be identified, inventoried, and mapped. Some of the information is available and is included in this report; however, there is still much more to learn about the biological resources on campus. These additional studies will be the subject of the on-going inventory of the campus, will be incorporated into future environmental review, and will be part of the implementation of specific policies in the Master Plan."
(Taken from 2001 Master Plan, document page 248, https://afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/planning-capital-projects/master-plan/docs/2001-master-plan-and-eir.pdf)

There are also plans in place for specific site development that may affect certain sensitive species, those mitigation measure can be found in the 2001 Master Plan Mitigation Monitoring Program Table found on document pages E1-E9, https://afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/planning-capital-projects/master-plan/docs/2001-master-plan-and-eir.pdf

Additional language can be found in the Cal Poly Master Plan 2035:
Impacts to environmentally sensitive areas should be avoided. Environmentally degraded areas should be enhanced or restored where practical. (S 03)
Open spaces should form links (spaces and corridors) at all scales to form visual, recreational and access connections. (S 04)
The siting and design of campus buildings and other features should reflect and enhance visual and physical connections to
the surrounding natural environment and outdoor spaces on campus. (S 05)
Development of campus facilities and utility infrastructure should incorporate strategies to minimize impacts on the
environment. (S 06)

It should be noted that the Cal Poly Master Plan 2035 is completed but the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is still in draft form, this is why the 2001 Master Plan EIR language is cited versus the 2019 EIR.

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

It should be noted that the Cal Poly Master Plan 2035 is completed but the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is still in draft form, this is why the 2001 Master Plan EIR language is cited versus the 2019 EIR.

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