Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.42
Liaison Darcy Everett
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2020

STARS v2.2

College of Charleston
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 P Brian Fisher
CSO/Executive Director
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, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

The College of Charleston at Stone Preserve stretches across more than 880 acres along the Stono River and the Intercoastal Waterway -- a vast space that includes long-leaf pine forests, wetlands, savannahs, tidal marshes and brackish, saltwater and freshwater ponds and protected through a conservation easement.

The College of Charleston at Stono Preserve is private land governed by a conservation easement over the entire property. The easement is very specific as to how the natural resources on the property may be used and accessed. Any photography of the property, trespassing onto the property, or harming of the flora or fauna within it is strictly prohibited.

Cougar students and faculty representing multiple disciplines study at Stono Preserve, which provides research opportunities in marine biology, forest management and historic preservation. Right now, the College and a local land trust are collaborating on a strategic plan to restore Stono Preserve’s native and diverse ecosystems and enhance opportunities for experiential learning.


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?:
Yes

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

Wood Stork, Threatened (Federal) and Endangered (State)
Bald Eagle, Threatened (State)


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

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

Stono Preserve is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. This certification requires a managed habitat meet multiple requirements, including supplemental food for wildlife, clean water, cover and shelter, places to raise young and incorporating sustainable practices.

Bird surveys are completed annually by Biology faculty and students, and a crowdsourced community website has documented nearly 120 plant and animal species on the Stono Preserve property. Additionally, American Forestry Management, in partnership with the university, has developed a comprehensive, long-term forest management plan for Stono Preserve.


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

Every semester, faculty members in the Department of Biology conduct bird surveys at Stono Preserve and produce a report of key findings. You can view an example of this report at http://stono-preserve.cofc.edu/documents/BirdsofDixie.pdf.


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

College of Charleston students, faculty and staff participating in annual bird surveys can access more than 880 acres along the Stono River and the Intercoastal Waterway. The property stretches across long-leaf pine forests, wetlands, savannahs, tidal marshes and brackish, saltwater and freshwater ponds.


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

Stono Preserve is private land governed by a conservation easement over the entire property. The easement is very specific as to how the natural resources on the property may be used and accessed. Any photography of the property, trespassing onto the property, or harming of the flora or fauna within it is strictly prohibited.

Right now, the College and a local land trust (Lowcountry Land Trust) are collaborating on a strategic plan to restore Stono Preserve’s native and diverse ecosystems and enhance opportunities for experiential learning.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
100

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.