Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.16
Liaison Matthew Liesch
Submission Date May 13, 2024

STARS v2.2

Central Michigan University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.76 / 2.00 John Byers
Pest Management Specialist
Office of Residence Life
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
871 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 331 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 540 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 871 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

See notes for information on PRE-4 and OP-9 varying data.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

Central Michigan University has several locations where students gain hands on experience working in natural environments. These space include (in this report), but are not limited to, Veits Woods, Neithercutt Retreat Area, and Miller's Marsh. These areas are natural habitats to many different flora and fauna. For this reason, CMU takes an organic approach to managing and maintaining these areas. CMU uses no chemicals to maintain these areas. Instead, faculty and student-led groups will mechanically remove invasive species. These cumulative efforts have resulted in the near-eradication of the Russian Olive & Autumn Olive from Veits Woods, as well as from a portion of Neithercutt. Additionally, CMU landscaping personnel use mechanical means to groom trails and thin underbrush. These practices lead to nicely maintained natural areas wildfire prevention. Student led research provides water quality assessments, biodiversity assessments, as well as recommendations for necessary rehabilitation and/or restoration to habitats that are in need.

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:

The CMU IPM program is used for all building space. Buildings are checked monthly, and harsh chemicals are applied only when absolutely necessary. This program is used by CMU's greenhouse.

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

Open from 8am to 5pm, the Greenhouse is a place where students can explore plants from different regions of the world. Classes from a wide range of disciplines including art, biology, creative writing, geography, and microscopy use this space to enhance their educational experience. The Greenhouse practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which, as defined by the University of California, “is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment.” Practices include biological controls, hand picking, soap and water, and other organic solutions. No non-organic approved pesticides have been used in recent years. Their goal has been to eliminate pesticides and allow biodiversity to take care of its problems should there be any. As stated by greenhouse and botanical garden director, Patti Travioli, “when things are working it’s an amazing system.” Established in 2008, the Botanical Garden continues to serve as an educational space for a variety of classes. A space filled with biodiversity and managed with organic practices, the Botanical Garden makes a wonderful outdoor classroom for students across all disciplines. For the purpose of educating students on the importance of protecting pollinator populations two bee hives have been installed in the Brooks Habitat Garden. The Plants and Society Garden include plants that are a part of our everyday living and used for food, human health, clothing, shelter and entertainment. The area is complemented with a raised berm which serves as an amphitheater for special gatherings. The hardscaping was completed in fall of 2014 while planting began in the spring of 2015. A portion of the food produced by the garden is donated to the local soup kitchen. The campus garden, reestablished in 2023, is managed organically. Chemicals are prohibited on this land owned by the university. The Center for Excellence in STEM Education has created a native pollinator garden outside of the Education and Human Services Building as part of their programming. This garden was developed with support from Partners for Fish & Wildlife, the Chippewa Nature Center, Watershed Initiative Network, and Ducks Unlimited. This land is not mowed and does not use conventional land management practices.

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

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: CMU has many LEED certified buildings, including platinum certified Graduate Housing. Graduate Housing and similar LEED certified buildings limit the disruption of natural hydrology on the land the building resides on. Graduate Housing was designed to require 50% less irrigation for its landscaping than non-LEED designs. With this design, Graduate Housing sees a 33% reduction in potable water and sewage usage thanks to water efficient plumbing.    Trayless dining, implemented in 2008, continues in all residential restaurants saving water, energy, and reducing food waste. The university saves approximately 500 gallons of water each year for each tray that is not used. Installation of storm water detention systems: As defined by Contech Engineered Solutions, stormwater detention systems “are employed on a site to reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff leaving a site by temporarily storing the runoff that exceeds a site’s allowable discharge rate, and releasing it slowly over time.” Two of these systems will be installed on campus: one in the Lacrosse Field and one in the Freshman Parking Lot. These systems are projected to exceed existing standards. The Central Michigan Soccer/Lacrosse Complex is a turf field, opened in 2015. Bottle filler water fountains installed around campus: In an effort to minimize plastic bottle waste, installation of bottle filling stations on new and existing fountains across campus is ongoing. Currently, there are approximately 60 stations located on campus. Filling stations record the number of plastic water bottles saved by refills at each station. Air conditioning systems converted from water-cooled to air-cooled systems: Air conditioning systems in Dow Science were converted from water-cooled to air-cooled systems, saving significantly on water. Install low flush or dual flush toilets and low flow faucets: Low flush toilets and low flow faucets have been installed in many locations on campus. As of 2018, any new water closets must have a dual flush valve with a reduced flow option unless existing sanitary lines do not support this.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

Central Michigan University has a unique composting program. Food waste, as well as other compostable waste that is generated on campus is shipped to Morgan's Composting, home of Dairy Doo. There, all organic waste is converted into compost. The compost created is compiled of a custom recipe that fulfills the needs of our grounds. Soil samples are taken to determine these needs. Once the mixture is full composted and ready, Central Michigan University buys back the compost to utilize in grounds maintenance work. This performance year alone, CMU composted almost 600,000 pounds of organic materials that , otherwise, would have ended up in a landfill!

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

Campus landscaping operations are being reviewed for improvements in sprinkler system management and the inclusion of xeriscaping and rain gardens, which require less frequent watering.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

Under the direction of Facilities Operations and Management, staff and student workers ensure that biodiversity, grounds, and any other structures are not damaged. For example, Facilities Management is in charge of landscape operations. Routine maintenance of landscape operations includes litter control, campus pond cleanup and care, waste management, vegetation care, irrigation, and street cleaning. More information about landscape operations can be found under "Data sources and notes about the submission."

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This link provides information about landscape operations: https://www.cmich.edu/offices-departments/finance-administrative-services/facilities-management/landscape-operations This link includes information about CMU's trayless water saving program: https://cmuhistory.cmich.edu/?a=d&d=CMUPR20080825-01.1.1&e=-------en-10--1--txt-txIN-------- This link includes information about CMU's reduced flow plumbing: https://www.cmich.edu/docs/default-source/finance-and-administrative-services-division/facilities-management/university-engineering-and-planning/cmu-division-22-plumbing-guidelinesbb15b8ec-4b1b-41fb-9e90-f0e466490775.pdf?sfvrsn=ab965150_6 Additional information about LEED certified, water efficient buildings at CMU:  https://greenhomeinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CMU-Case-Study-Final-2.pdf

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.