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-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Kylee Singh
Sustainability Coordinator
Energy Utilities and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
1,321 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 240 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 240 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Cal Poly Landscape Management staff maintains 240 acres of campus land. Excluded from this acreage is parking lots, roads, open spaces, and most agricultural land. The organic farm is an additional 9 acres on campus.

All 240 acres managed by Landscape services is managed with a 4 tier approach:
- Identify pests and monitor progress.
- Set action threshholds.
- Prevent.
- Control.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:

A brief description of the IPM program:

Cal Poly IPM follows the industry standard 4 tier approach including:

Setting action thresholds
- Regular treatment includes the use of first non-chemical controls (sanitation, exclusion, traps using non-chemical baits), followed by the use of least-toxic control methods if the situation is not resolved, and then non-least toxic control methods if the situation is still not resolved.
Emergency treatment includes the use of the most effective control method as a first step, which may be non-least toxic.

Monitoring and identifying pests
- The building interior and exterior will be periodically inspected for the presence of pests and preventive measures will be taken to avoid pests. If any pests are detected, integrated (nonchemical) methods will be implemented as the first control step, including sanitation measures, exclusion measures, and the use of traps.

- Sanitation: Potential food and water sources available to pests will be evaluated and minimized or eliminated. This can be done by thoroughly cleaning and maintaining food service areas and break rooms, fixing leaking pipes and faucets, and altering landscape features to eliminate standing water.
Exclusion: Cracks, crevices, and holes in the building envelope will be sealed. A barrier will be placed in between the building and the adjacent landscape such that the landscape is at least 18 inches from the building.

- All pest control activity, including inspections, will be recorded in the IPM tracking tool. The following items will be tracked:
- Pest type and name
- Pest population density and monitoring frequency
- Pest action threshold observed
- Prevention measures implemented
- Product applied (name)
- Toxicity of the product (the tier level as determined by San Francisco’s Pesticide Hazard Screening List”
- Date and time of product application (if applicable)
- Date and time of occupant notification (if applicable)
- Emergency application? (Y/N). If yes, an explanation of the emergency will be included.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

The use of climate appropriate plants are the preferred and sought after choice for all new landscapes. Landscape Management standards identify invasive species and forbid them from being used in plantings. There is a tree and plant protection plan for every new landscape area and staff work to save and replant native plant species when appropriate.

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

In 2013, to achieve drought reduction mandates, a Drought Planning Group was convened to identify short and long term conservation measures and operational changes. This group included representatives from Facility Management and Development, Environmental Health and Safety, University Housing, Associated Students Incorporated, the Cal Poly Corporation, and CAFES Ag Operations. This group was responsible for creating Cal Poly's Drought Response Plan.

From the Drought Response Plan, three primary short term conservation measures and one longer term infrastructure measure were prioritized. The short term conservation measures include building plumbing systems, automated landscape irrigation management, and precision-irrigated agricultural operations. The long term infrastructure measure is the development of sources of recycled water in cooperation with the City of San Luis Obispo. A strategic approach was implemented to meet these goals involving all effected stakeholders in the planning process and within the three main operational areas a variety of suggested retrofits, upgrades, and improvements were implemented.

While the Governor's 25% by 2016 reduction goal applied to personal water use only, Cal Poly's Drought Planning Group felt that in order to honor its commitment to resource stewardship and act on behalf of the water that the Governor's goal should apply to ALL Cal Poly water uses and expanded the scope to include landscaping, agriculture, and building water use.

Areas where turf was removed in response to the drought are being redesigned using drought tolerant and native plantings to create beautiful water-wise landscapes. After the popular Cal Poly Rodeo was held in Spanos Stadium for Open House 2016, which put significant strain on the underlying sports turf, Cal Poly chose to experiment with a new water conservation technology to help the field recover. AquaCents—an inert, non-toxic water-holding polymer—was injected at the turf’s root zone, holding water where the grass can make optimal use of it and decreasing the need for irrigation. Case studies show a potential 45 percent water savings with no reduction in turf health or appearance, and the technology is being evaluated for application on other large turf areas.

With a generous gift from numerous donors led by the Doerr Family, Cal Poly’s football and soccer practice facility was completely renovated—receiving a new scoreboard, goalposts, soccer goals, filming towers, and a 140-yard synthetic turf field—eliminating the need to irrigate nearly two acres of turf.

To make the best use of limited regional water resources, Cal Poly is also collaborating with the City of San Luis Obispo to evaluate opportunities to procure or produce recycled water for use on landscape and agricultural land. Use of recycled water for these purposes will free up potable water supply to serve some of the new buildings and facilities envisioned by the new Master Plan.

While water reduction efforts are ongoing across campus, the projects that have been implemented as of December 2015 have already resulted in a reduction to ALL water uses by 31%, surpassing the Governors 25% potable water use reduction mandate. This effort has saved 141,419,521 gallons and has generating over $500,000 in water and sewer utility costs savings compared to the 2013 baseline.

A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

Landscape management staff complete the cycle of plant nutrition by sharing green waste with the Cal Poly compost facility. Once composted, landscape staff reapply the material to new plantings and use mulch for mature beds. In areas void of actively growing plants landscape management staff recycle wood waste from tree trimmings and apply a thick layer of mulch to reduce weed pressure, reduce the use of herbicides, and conserve soil moisture.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

The landscape management staff works closely with the sheep and goat unit of the Cal Poly agriculture department to allow for grazing on un-managed open spaces. This grazing provides fodder for agriculture animals and provides a mechanism for wildfire prevention by keeping dry weeds at bay near university housing structures.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.