Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.56
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colorado State University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Carol Dollard
Energy Engineer
Facilities Management
"---" 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:

CSU’s Shortgrass campus is officially called the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER), and houses the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. It is located within the Pawnee National Grassland, which is a federally administered National Grassland in Weld County, Colorado. The LTER Program researchers inventory and study the species of wildlife and vegetation that inhabit the National Grassland. CSU researchers collect and inventory data on species of arthropods, birds, mammals, microarthropods, nematodes and plants. Certain long-term research projects have been ongoing for more than 30 years.

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:

The Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) has served as a key research site for livestock grazing and rangeland ecosystem dynamics/structure in the western Great Plains since it was established in 1937. The CPER exemplifies ongoing challenges faced by semiarid rangelands around the world to simultaneously manage for both ecosystem goods (e.g., livestock production) and services (e.g., biodiversity, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, greenhouse gas mitigation, hydrological functions) in a changing climate. Our current conceptual framework views climate, disturbance regimes, and physiography as the key interacting factors that structure population and community processes, and influence ecosystem productivity, states and services. Current research experimentation is addressing production-conservation issues and associated trade-offs with beef production when other ecosystem services are incorporated into management objectives. The CPER has a >70 year history of research on vegetation and livestock including key datasets encompassing: 1) above-ground forage production, 2) livestock weight gains, 3) climatological data, 4) soil carbon, 5) carbon and trace gas fluxes, 6) rainfall simulation experiments, 7) climate change (elevated atmospheric CO2 and increased temperatures), and 8) remote sensing with high resolution (<10 mm) aerial images.

Specifics methodologies for identification and assessments in this environmentally sensitive area can be found in the field manuals online at: http://digitool.library.colostate.edu/R/?func=collections-result&collection_id=4549

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

The shortgrass prairie environment is a unique place that is critical habitat for a range of species from the microscopic in the soil to the small mammals that live in the grasses to the raptors that soar overhead. In addition, the shortgrass prairie itself is considered a sensitive habitat with unique soil and flora characteristics. The CPER conducts research experiments looking at this vast array of critical species and habitat including:
Migratory birds
Prairie dogs
Swift fox
Soil Food Webs
Climate/Weather issues (droughts, climate change, etc.)
Grassland Anthropods
Short Horned lizards
Grass & other plant species unique to shortgrass prairie
Small mammals (Kangaroo rats, mice, etc.)

Species List:

For a complete listing of the experiments conducted at CPER : http://sgslter.colostate.edu/ars/ExistingProjects.asp

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

The Facilities Master Plan has a long-standing commitment to integrating natural vegetation buffers around waterways and bodies of water (including lakes, streams, and irrigation ditches). These projects often include community pathways and trail networks throughout the Fort Collin's area.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Note that all of CSU Master Plan documents are at the website listed above. Rather than providing a link to a specific document, we provided a link to this more general page, so the most recent versions of the Master Plans can be found.

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.