Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.96
Liaison Stephanie Corbett
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Case Western Reserve University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Stephanie Corbett
University Farm Director
Squire Valleevue and Valley Ridge Farms
"---" 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:

The Univeristy Farm has been owned by CWRU since 1937. It is nearly 400 acres of contiguous land that contains meadows, streams, forests, ravines, water falls and wetlands. The property is protected and managed by the CWRU Farm which strives to protect and increase its biodiversity and protected environmentally fragile areas such as wetlands and primary forests. Other fragile on site areas include cold water streams and bird ground nesting sites. The Farm provides opportunities for the CWRU and Greater Cleveland communities to learn about natural sciences through research projects, undergraduate and graduate classes and an extensive community outreach program. The property is the site for several long term ecological studies by the Department of Biology faculty members and other local academic and research institutions such as the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The property is one of the largest continuous piece of land in the Hunting Valley area and it is an important refugee to wildlife such as migrating bird, coyote and amphibian populations.

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:

A list of studies conducted at the University Farm as well as ongoing studies can be found at: https://students.case.edu/farm/research/publications.html

The page is often updated and is the most current information which includes a list of publications as well as a list of nine ongoing researchers and their students along with their studies on the left with links. The Farm administration is not doing any assessment on vulnerable species currently but many have been done in the past, specifically on the impact of climate change on early spring flowers, competition along salamanders' aquatic hiding spaces and more.

Many assessment tools are in place throughout the farm including weather stations, soil moisture monitoring equipment, wind speed/ direction and solar radiation.
There are also plans to install a network that will track movement of radio-tagged animals as well as water quantity data in the pond, vernal pools and creek.

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

a. Primary forest: 5 acres of primary maple-beech forest that contains beech, oaks, black cherry trees and maples 200 year or older. Over 1200 trees are marked and surveyed years to determine their grown and mortality rates.

b. Wetlands: A study done in 2011, identified seven emergent wetland areas with a total of 16,642 SF. The study used soils, hydrology and vegetation as indicators.

c. Ground nesting bird areas: The Farm has over 80 acres of bird ground nesting that host many bird species including rare ones such as bobolink and meadowlark. The meadows are mowed once per year, after the nesting season, to preserve the grassy characteristic which is ideal for these species. Several bird population surveys take place at the Farm during spring, summer and winter. Groups include a bird watching course, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History(CMNH) and the Gates Mills Bird society.

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

a. Bluebird Trail: Installation of 58 bluebird houses around the property to increase the eastern bluebird population. Since 2012, the trail had produced over 690 bluebird fledglings. The houses are monitored on weekly basis from March to August and data is shared with Cornell University. (https://students.case.edu/farm/conservation/bluebird.html)

b. The salamander lagoon was built in 2002 to increase the diversity of the salamander populations that were rare at the farm due to the lack of intermittent water bodies. By 2004, the wood frog population lagoon was well established. During the spring of 2007, Jefferson salamanders (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) were found in the lagoon for the first time. The lagoon diversity is monitored by several of the herpetologist faculty members as well as CMNH researchers. https://students.case.edu/farm/conservation/lagoon.html

c. A total of 5 acres of native prairie species have been established since 2006. This effort focuses in converting cold weather grasses fields into warm weather grasses habitat to increase the biodiversity of plants, insects and birds. https://students.case.edu/farm/conservation/prairie.html

d. Farm Food Program: In 2010 a environmental friendly food production was established to teach about food production in a small scale using principles of sustainability such as water and energy saving, avoiding usage o inorganic chemicals while preserving the soil health. The program also focuses in the use of companion plants and the use of biocontrols to control pests. Teaching about the protection of the biodiversity of surrounding areas is key to this program.

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:

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