Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.47
Liaison Ian Johnson
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Colorado College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 George Eckhardt
Campus Planner
Facilities Services
"---" 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 Colorado College main campus in Colorado Springs, CO, straddles both sides of Monument Valley Park and the Monument Creek/Fountain Creek Watershed, which contains wetlands under the authority of the Army Corps of Engineers. Colorado College students annually participate in a community and college sponsored and organized creek cleanup effort. Information about protected areas, biodiversity, invasive species, environmental impacts and restoration projects contained in the reports noted below.

Fountain Creek Watershed published data, assessments, reports, & Information 2019: http://www.fountain-crk.org/studiesreports/army-corps-of-engineers.html

Fountain Creek Watershed Management Plan January 2009 Report: http://www.fountain-crk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/aco_final_Jan09.pdf

Colorado College's Campus at Baca is located on approximately 300 acres near the town of Crestone, Colorado, along the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its buildings are situated primarily adjacent to the South Crestone Creek drainage. Several different vegetation zones exist within these 300 acres, including a narrowleaf cottonwood/rocky mountain juniper riparian zone, a shrub/grassland zone, and a pinyon/juniper/ponderosa zone. Within each zone there are different fire regimes, elemental balances, and biodiversities. The college developed a land management plan in 2007 designed to be adaptive in nature, and reflect sensitivity to each zone.

Colorado College Baca Land Management Plan, July 2007: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/lrdp/_sharedcontent/Baca-Land-Management-Plan---2007.pdf

Colorado College’s Baca Land Management Plan implementation has involved Colorado College students and Baca area K-12 students as noted in the Spring 2015 report below.

Baca Land Management Report, Spring 2015
https://www2.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/dca52895-fe02-4f50-a6c5-095c49befe2a.pdf


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:

BACA GRANDE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT 2005: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/lrdp/_sharedcontent/Baca-Land-Management-Plan---2007.pdf

To assist the Crestone community with its desire for environmental stewardship, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) was contracted by the Crestone Baca Land Trust to perform a biological assessment of the Baca. CNHP has effective working relationships with several state and federal agencies, including the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service. The purpose of this assessment is to identify important biological resources and assist the Land Trust with identifying focal areas for conservation action, and to offer recommendations on development that will benefit preservation of the Baca’s biological resources. To determine the status of species within Colorado, CNHP gathers information on plants, animals, and plant communities. Each of these elements of biological diversity is assigned a rank that indicates its relative degree of imperilment on a five-point scale (for example, 1 = extremely rare/imperiled, 5 = abundant/secure).


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:

Colorado College Baca Land Management Plan, July 2007: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/lrdp/_sharedcontent/Baca-Land-Management-Plan---2007.pdf

The Baca Campus Land Management Plan discusses the South Crestone Creek Riparian Corridor especially in regards to fire mitigation and invasive species. Several different vegetation zones exist within these 300 acres, including a Narrowleaf cottonwood/rocky mountain juniper riparian zone, a shrub/grassland zone, and a piñon/juniper/ponderosa zone. Within each zone there are different fire regimes, elemental balances, and areas of biodiversity. This land management plan is designed to be adaptive in nature, and reflect sensitivity to each zone.

BACA GRANDE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT 2005: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/download/documents/2006/baca_report_final_2-7-2007.pdf

Potential Conservation Areas and Sites of Local Significance - Page 10

In order to successfully protect populations or occurrences, it is helpful to delineate Potential Conservation Areas (PCAs) or Sites of Local Significance (SLS). The PCAs and SLSs focus on capturing the ecological processes that are necessary to support the continued existence of a particular element occurrence of natural heritage significance. Potential Conservation Areas may include a single occurrence of a rare element, or a suite of rare elements. CNHP uses element and element occurrence ranks to assess the overall biological diversity significance of a PCA, which may include one or many element occurrences. Based on these ranks, each PCA is assigned a biological diversity rank (or B-rank).


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

In 2011, Landscaper Peter Mays, Native Landscape Solutions, LLC., assisted the College in identifying endangered and vulnerable species for its 300 acre Baca Campus and put forth strategies for enhancing biological diversity. Describes the methodology and updates progress and goals in the Colorado College Baca Campus Land Management Report, Spring 2015. https://www2.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/dca52895-fe02-4f50-a6c5-095c49befe2a.pdf
BACA GRANDE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT 2005: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/download/documents/2006/baca_report_final_2-7-2007.pdf

Executive Summary Quote – Page iii

The methods for assessing and prioritizing conservation needs over an area the size of the Baca are necessarily diverse. The Colorado Natural Heritage Program follows a general method that is continuously being developed specifically for this purpose.

The Natural Heritage Inventory described in this report was conducted in the following several steps: all available and pre-existing information was collected at the outset of the project; a list of the rare, imperiled, and vulnerable animals and plant communities with potential to occur on the Baca was created; the entire area was searched for the target species, and sub-areas were identified for increased survey effort based on their likelihood of harboring rare or imperiled species.

Additionally, input from representatives of the Land Trust and long-term residents of the Baca were incorporated into the inventory process.


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

The assessments have been very extensive and detailed, spanning across both of the school's Colorado Springs and Baca Grande campuses.


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

The Colorado College Baca Campus Land Management Plan recommended a land management plan which includes removing hazardous fuels (fire mitigation) including standing dead trees, protecting habitats, planting native seedlings, establishing and studying native plant plots, prescribed burning, and photo-monitoring.

BACA GRANDE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT 2005 - Recommended Conservation Strategies:

1. Develop and implement a plan for protecting the Potential Conservation Areas and Sites of Local Significance profiled in this report.

2. Use this report in the review of proposed activities in or near Potential Conservation Areas and Sites of Local Significance to determine whether or not activities adversely affect elements of biodiversity.

3. Recognize the importance of larger, contiguous plant communities.

4. Increase efforts to protect biodiversity by promoting cooperation and incentives among landowners, pertinent government agencies, and non-profit conservation organizations.

5. Promote wise management of the biodiversity resources that exist within Potential Conservation Areas and Sites of Local Significance.

6. Stay informed and involved in public land management decisions.

7. Continue inventories and monitoring where necessary, including inventories for species that cannot be surveyed adequately in one field season and continue inventories on lands that CNHP could not access in 2004.

8. Continue to take a proactive approach to weed and exotic species control.

9. Encourage public education functions and publications.

10. Develop and implement comprehensive program to address loss of wetlands.

11. Develop and implement a fire management and mitigation strategy for the riparian corridors.

Land Protection Plan San Luis Valley Conservation Area December 2015.

The purpose of the SLVCA is to protect Federal trust species and other plants and wildlife of the San Luis Valley while ensuring the long-term function and resilience of its diverse ecosystems.
Land Protection Plan: https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/refuges/lpp_PDFs/slv_lpp_Final_06-03-16.pdf


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:
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Colorado College Baca Land Management Plan, July 2007: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/other/lrdp/docs/related-docs/Baca+Land+Management+Plan+July+2007.pdf

Colorado College Baca Campus Land Management Report, Spring 2015 https://www2.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/dca52895-fe02-4f50-a6c5-095c49befe2a.pdf

BACA GRANDE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT 2005 http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/download/documents/2006/baca_report_final_2-7-2007.pdf

Fountain Creek Watershed Management Plan January 2009 Report
Report: http://www.fountain-crk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/aco_final_Jan09.pdf

Fountain Creek Watershed published data, assessments, reports, & Information
2019: http://www.fountain-crk.org/studiesreports/army-corps-of-engineers.html

Land Protection Plan San Luis Valley Conservation Area December 2015. The purpose of the SLVCA is to protect Federal trust species and other plants and wildlife of the San Luis Valley while ensuring the long-term function and resilience of its diverse ecosystems.
https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/refuges/lpp_PDFs/slv_lpp_Final_06-03-16.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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.