|Submission Date||Dec. 6, 2019|
Colorado State University
This credit is weighted more heavily for institutions that own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to any of the following:
Institutions may identify legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and regions of conservation importance using the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) for Research & Conservation Planning, the U.S. Information, Planning, and Conservation (IPaC) decision support system, or an equivalent resource or study.
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:
As a land grant institution, Colorado State has campuses across the state. These include lands adjacent to environmentally sensitive areas. For example. CSU Mountain Campus is adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, established as a federally protected national park in 1915. In addition, the Shortgrass Prairie Campus is adjacent to the Pawnee National Grasslands. CNHP surveys cover the entire state of Colorado which contains many sensitive and protected areas including National Parks, National Forests, Wilderness, etc.
In the spirit of outreach that is part of the core tenants of a land grant institution, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) is sponsored by Colorado State University's Warner College of Natural Resources and is Colorado’s only comprehensive source of information on the status and location of Colorado’s rarest and most threatened species and natural plant communities. CNHP shares information with a wide range of stakeholders in partnerships that work to ensure that Colorado’s biodiversity resources are not diminished.
As a member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations, the CSU Mountain Campus hosts research projects in a variety of academic disciplines, including wildlife biology, forestry, watershed science, biology and renewable energy.
For more information:
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 Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP), sponsored by Colorado State University's Warner College of Natural Resources, is Colorado’s only comprehensive source of information on the status and location of Colorado’s rarest and most threatened species and natural plant communities. CNHP shares information with a wide range of stakeholders in partnerships that work to ensure that Colorado’s biodiversity resources are not diminished.
CNHP conducts a wide variety of biodiversity assessments on an ongoing basis. The most comprehensive was a statewide survey with the Nature Conservancy where they created a prototype analysis of the status of Colorado’s biodiversity using a scorecard approach that evaluated the status of ecological systems, animals and rare plants under three broad categories being biodiversity status (size, quality and landscape integrity), threat status (both current and potential future impacts), and protection status.
The State of Colorado’s Biodiversity Assessment provides a snapshot of the current conservation status of rare and imperiled species, and most widespread ecological systems. This survey evaluated the status of ecological systems, at-risk animals, and rare plants under three broad categories: 1) Biodiversity status – including size, quality, and landscape integrity; 2) Threat status – focused on both current and potential future impacts; and 3) Protection Status. The scorecard includes 18 ecological systems, 113 of Colorado’s at-risk vertebrate animal species, and 103 of the State’s rarest plant species.
CNHP constantly updates and tracks the biodiversity status of nonvascular and vascular plants, plant communities, fish, mammals, mussels and clams, amphibians and reptiles, arthropods and insects, and birds.
A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:
In terms of environmentally sensitive areas, the CNHP finds that Greasewood, Sand Sage and Shortgrass Prairie ecosystems in Colorado are under-conserved and that Foothill Shrubland, Grasslands, Juniper, Oak and Mixed Mountain Shrub, Pinyon Juniper on the Colorado Plains, Ponderosa Pine, Sagebrush, and Salt Shrub ecosystems are weakly conserved.
In terms of species that are in need of conservation attention, the CNHP finds that 20% of Colorado’s mammals, birds and reptiles are in threat, 45% of fish, 40% of amphibians, and 5% of plants to be in need of conservation attention.
A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:
CSU’s Main, South and Foothills campuses are located in a foothills shrubland ecosystem which are found by CNHP to be weakly conserved. Shrublands are found to be Colorado’s second most important habitat for rare plants and are found on almost 20% of the State’s landscape. These habitats are threatened by development and therefore the species identified by CNHP as threatened in our local ecosystem are on the radar when doing construction projects (CNHP report page 35 and 127).
CNHP’s assessment determined that the CSU Mountain Campus is located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the Lodgepole Pine ecosystem and identified that this ecosystem contains valuable plant and animal biodiversity and is classified as ‘moderately conserved’. (CNHP report page 35).
In addition to CSU's campuses, biodiversity studies carried out by CNHP serves as a “guide to help set conservation priorities, and to develop those strategies that are needed to ensure the long-term viability of all our biological resources”
Conserving Colorado’s biodiversity is the primary goal that drives all of CNHP's work – and is especially critical given the growth of the state’s population and the proliferation of human influences across our landscapes. Through conservation planning, we help landowners, land managers, and land users make informed choices that allow people to pursue their livelihoods, maintain the state’s natural character, and conserve all the plants and animals that live here. Specific plans include State Wildlife Action Plan, Measures of Success program (collaboration with Nature Conservancy), Conservation action plans, Transportation planning, and Climate Change planning.
CNHP also works with private land owners to develop plans and databases to help preserve wildlife and habitat on private lands including Conservation Easement Monitoring and Baseline Reporting, COMaP - Colorado Ownership, Management and Protection Database, CNHP Element Occurrence Biotics Database of Rare Plants, Animals and Natural Plant Communities, and Bioblitzes across the state to engage teachers, students, and community members.
The website URL where information about the programs or 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.