Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.21
Liaison Jeremy King
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2022

STARS v2.2

Denison University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jeremy King
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of the President
"---" 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:

Denison owns and maintains a 350 acre biological reserve.

Denison's Biological Reserve was established by the Board of Trustees in 1966 through the efforts of Professor Robert Alrutz, who served as director until his retirement in 1990. The Reserve encompasses 350 acres in three contiguous sections that are within easy walking distance of campus.

The purpose of the Reserve is to enhance the education of students in Biology and the Environmental Sciences through their courses, independent research and casual visitation to the Reserve. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for field studies of native Ohio flora and fauna as well as discrete biological communities that are maintained in as intact a condition as is possible given the land use history of the Reserve and the resources of DU. Consequently, one of the general goals of the Reserve is to maximize the number of representative habitats and species that the area can support.

Approximately 75% of the acreage is beech-maple/mixed mesophytic forest interspersed with old orchards and former plantations of pine, spruce, sugar maple and yellow poplar. Late successional habitats are characteristic of those disturbed by grazing over 50 years ago. In the Alrutz Section, three former agricultural fields are maintained in various stages of succession by seasonal mowing. Clay Run, along with four ponds and seven natural springs provide habitat for aquatic organisms. The Reserve provides refuge for numerous amphibians, turtles, snakes, bats, rodents, flying squirrels, white-tailed deer, red fox, and over one hundred species of birds.

The Reserve is maintained year-round by full-time Manager Whitney Stocker with the assistance of two Denison students employed each summer.


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:

Denison has done multiple assessments for endangered and threatened bats - Four species — the tri-colored bat, the little brown bat, the Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat — are on the state’s endangered list. The northern long-eared also is on the federal endangered list.

All of these assessments were done prior to construction/development projects on or impacting Denison owned lands.

Denison also is home to populations of black vultures and turkey vultures which are designated protected species by the United States Department of Agriculture.


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:

Much of the reserve is indiana bat habitat. In additional there are some rare aquatic invertebrates and insects that inhabit certain locations within the reserve. Generally speaking, the College refrains from disrupting these habitats (located primarily in the 350-acre biological preserve).


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

The biological department has conducted numerous surveys and assessments of endangered and vulnerable species in its reserve and along other sensitive areas of campus outside of the reserve. This assessment is ongoing.

In 2021, the College did an assessment of one of the major wooded areas on campus for bat habitat.

in 2019, the College assessed another significant wooded area for any threatened or protected species and bat habitat.

In 2014 and again in 2017, an assessment was done on a section of the reserve in advance of a solar pv project. This assessment did not indicate any rare or endangered species in that particular location of the reserve, but did indicate the presence of possible Indiana Bat habitat.


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

These assessments were done in specific areas that would be impacted or potentially impacted by campus development projects.


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

Denison has a 350 acre biological reserve that is maintained to enhance the education of students in Biology and the Environmental Sciences through their courses, independent research and casual visitation to the Reserve. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for field studies of native Ohio flora and fauna as well as discrete biological communities that are maintained in as intact a condition as is possible given the land use history of the Reserve and the resources of DU. Consequently, one of the general goals of the Reserve is to maximize the number of representative habitats and species that the area can support. Recreational use of the area is restricted to limit the environmental impact.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
50

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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