Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.77
Liaison Susan Kaspari
Submission Date July 16, 2022

STARS v2.2

Central Washington University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Susan Kaspari
Geological Sciences
"---" 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, 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:

Not Applicable

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

The Biology Department has been compiling data of all the species on campus which has led to identifying areas of biodiversity importance. This data is stored in the Biology Department’s Team’s folder, allowing new identified species to be added in the future.

There are currently 265 recorded species of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals that are on campus. This list of species includes the Kingdom, Phylum, Sub-phylum/Class, Order, Family, Genus, species, common names, and location they were found on campus.

Endangered/Vulnerable Species:
-Gyrfalcon: A species of falcon that is currently considered protected due to the falcon trade.

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

Central Washington University has several areas on its Ellensburg Campus that support biodiversity:

1.Wilson Creek, a tributary of the Yakima River, runs through a portion of CWU's campus. There has been many restoration projects in and around Wilson creek that have taken place on campus to enhance biodiversity over the years. Mid-Columbia Fisheries enhancement group (MCFEG) is a partner with CWU and has contributed to several projects on campus. Their goal as a group is to protect and restore wild salmonid populations and their habitats through restoration, protection, education, and community involvement. Several of the projects surrounding Wilson creek have included: re-routing the river, enhancing riparian areas, and assessments of species and water quality. One of the projects that has taken place is the Wilson Creek restoration site on the south side of campus. This section was returned to a more natural and biodiverse state by the university in 2008 with the help of Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement group (MCFEG). The creek was restored by the addition of large woody debris and native plants including ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, elderberry, Oregon white oak, and Oregon grape. This restoration project has aided in keeping good water quality in the stream and created habitat for birds, insects, small animals, and wild fish populations. MCFEG is also currently working with CWU on the Xeric landscaping project. This has been an ongoing plan to enhance the riparian buffer along Wilson creek with native/drought resistant plants, as well as restore the habitat of the small natural island in the SURC parking lot. The Xeric landscaping plan will have a positive impact on water quality of the stream as well as providing habitat for many species that live on campus.

2.Engelhorn Pond is located on the west side of CWU’s campus and has 1.97 jurisdictional acres of wetland. This is the biggest area of biodiversity on campus and is the most protected area on campus as well. The pond is surrounded by fencing to enhance the protection of the species that live there. This area holds many plant species such as willows, cherry trees, cattails, sagebrush, bitterbrush, and many other native and non-native plant species. According to an honors thesis done by Kiana Rose, Engelhorn Pond is also home to 67 species of birds.
3.The Wildcat Neighborhood Farm has held pollinator gardens with plants that have been selected to support local pollinator populations. These plants include: Western pearly everlasting, Western columbine, Creeping bellflower, and Bee plant.
4.The Butterfly Garden at Mitchell Hall is a garden that was created by Nan Doolittle who was inspired to create it after the death of her daughter. The garden has an interpretive walk illustrating the life cycle of the butterfly with plants and trees that are native to Kittitas Valley and Central Washington. These native plants support the butterfly species that live in the garden, called painted ladies, along with many other insects that are native to Central Washington.
5.In 2020 CWU planted native plants outside of Dean Hall including sagebrush, basin wildrye, threadleaf fleabane, common gaillardia, and bush penstemon in a project led by Savannah Fields as part of her Honor’s Thesis.

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Both students and professors have contributed to the assessment and monitoring of CWU's campus species list through classes and independent research, which have helped to identify important areas of biodiversity.

The list below shows the taxonomy/class of organisms that have been found on campus along with who assessed the different species:

Algae & Cyanobacteria – BIOL 444 Class
Trees on Campus – BIOL 444 Class , GIS Classes
Aquatic invertebrates – Paul James
Reptiles and Amphibians – Dan Beck, Jason Irwin, Robert Weaver
Birds – Jerry Scoville, Kiana Rose, E.bird data through citizen science.
Mammals – Kris Ernest
Insects – Jason Irwin, Clay Arango
Fish – Clay Arango, Paul James
Bumblebees – BIOL 466 Class, Alison Scoville
Lichens – Jack Massie

A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

Areas on campus that are in a more natural state were included in the assessment. Areas of campus there are still maintained with green lawns and non-native vegetation were not.

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

1.Bird nest boxes were installed on campus in 2022 as part of a student led sustainability project to provide nesting habitat for bird species such as the Black-Capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Red and White Breasted Nuthatch, and House Wrens. These boxes enhance nesting areas on campus due to the lack of tree cavities and are important for supporting these specific bird populations.

Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The attached spreadsheet provides a summary of species currently inventoried on campus. This list was compiled by Dr. Kris Ernest, CWU Professor of Biology.

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.