Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice 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, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

We have partnered with the NC Natural Heritage Program to look at three of our interior forest lands on campus. We did not have any species of significance found during the initial assessment, but will be working with them to keep researching.

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable 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 methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

We are currently in the process of developing a more formal framework to help us identify such sites. Duke has conducted several ecological surveys among the Chapel Woods (4.5 acres), Anderson Woods (6 acres), and Cameron Woods (3 acres). The method of these studies included a major survey of all plant species and invasive species in these strongly pedestrian forest ecosystems in September 2014. These sites will be monitored for environmentally sensitivities.

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

Duke has identified 122 live bird species on campus. Of these species, about 22 have been found dead on campus as well. The Chapel Woods, Anderson Woods, and Cameron Woods survey completed in September 2014 identified an incomplete list of around 70 plant species. Although this study did not specifically set out to survey animals, worm snakes and white spotted slimy salamanders were also identified on campus. Gray squirrels, white-tailed deer, and domestic cats have also been identified.

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

Duke University has a number of current efforts regarding wildlife habitat preservation and conservation including wetland restoration and forest management. Duke University has made a significant investment in restoring wetlands in the Duke Forest. SWAMP is a 14-acre restored wetland-stream-lake ecosystem located along a stretch of Sandy Creek in Duke Forest, at the edge of Duke’s campus. Prior to its restoration, the site was so heavily eroded and degraded by storm water runoff that it no longer functioned as a healthy wetland. By re-contouring and replanting the degraded Sandy Creek ecosystem and constructing a new earthen dam and a four-acre storm water reservoir below it, the project reduced nitrate levels flowing downstream into the drinking water supply by 64%, and phosphorus levels by 28%, at a cost of about $2 million. In addition to its roles as a pollution buffer and wildlife habitat, the restored ecosystem serves as an outdoor classroom, training center and field laboratory.

Nearly the entire Duke Garden supports habitat for wildlife. (https://gardens.duke.edu/) The mature tree canopy, thick shrub understory, variety of fruiting trees and shrubs, and water features provide a rich diversity of habitat for birds and countless other wildlife. Bird watching tours are popular and designated bird watching structures are available in the Blomquist Garden.

When planning and implementing all Duke forest management activities, efforts are made to minimize negative impacts to areas with rare species, unique ecosystems and significant natural features. (http://www.dukeforest.duke.edu/) These significant natural areas are included in what Duke Forest considers to be High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF’s) or Forests of Exceptional Conservation Value (FECV’s). The Duke Forest Office maintains records on the location of these significant natural areas and, in some cases, detailed species lists for these sites. In 2004 twelve separate areas of the Duke Forest totaling 1,200 acres were included in the North Carolina Registry of Natural Heritage Areas. The registry agreement states that it is the intention of Duke University to maintain these properties for the perpetuation of natural processes, natural communities and rare species populations. Registration of these sites is consistent with the overall management goals of the Forest, which includes providing research and teaching areas where human disturbance is minimized. The Natural Heritage Program continues to inventory and survey for threatened and endangered plant and animal species within the Duke Forest. Presently there are no federally-listed endangered or threatened species inhabiting the Duke Forest.

The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.