Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emory University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kelly Weisinger
Assistant Director
OSI
"---" 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Right in the middle of Emory's campus, Lullwater Preserve offers acres of green space with trees, lawns and a lake for community members to enjoy. The estate is home to an English Tudor mansion where the University president lives. Lullwater Preserve has been identified as preserved land on Emory’s campus which is prohibited from being developed due to its unique ecological value and essential contribution to the campus identity and quality of life.

Emory University has set aside a total of 355 acres of preserved land, including Lullwater Preserve, which are priority sites for biodiversity and important for conservation because of the forested habitat connectivity purpose they serve, in addition to the protection of stream habitats and the preservation of native Piedmont forest ecosystem biodiversity.


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?:
Yes

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

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 Committee on the Environment Lullwater Task Force Subcommittee, comprised of staff, faculty and student representatives, began working in May 2001 to:
• Inventory the current ecological health of Lullwater Preserve, i.e., the state of vegetation, wildlife and streams.
• Review all available data on the numbers of people regularly visiting Lullwater Preserve to determine the type of use and where activities are concentrated within the preserve.
• Examine current guidelines for accessing Lullwater Preserve’s resources, including the campus forest use policy, and document problems that may have occurred regarding enforcement of these guidelines.
• Propose a plan for restoring the ecological health of Lullwater Preserve and managing sustainable human use of the preserve.

Emory's biology course conducted an assessment of species of amphibians, reptiles, and birds residing in Lullwater Preserve during class research survey, individual surveys, and the Atlanta Audubon Society's list of birds' arrival/departure dates.

From these two efforts, identification of endangered and vulnerable species and an understanding of environmentally sensitive areas laid the groundwork for continuous monitoring and assessment by Emory's grounds experts. Invasive species are removed regularly by both grounds crews and volunteers, and new endangered or vulnerable species are monitored as they are identified.


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

All of Emory's protected land falls in Georgia’s Piedmont region and is home to a variety of habitats and vegetation. Lullwater Preserve contains areas of hardwood forest dominated by Oak and Oak Beech species, a section of mature Hardwood Forest, mixed forest, floodplain forest, wetlands, and turf.

Areas that are the most environmentally sensitive are the small streams which have been impaired by storm water runoff and the after-effects of dredging Candler Lake in the 1980s. Since then, most sensitive areas have been vegetated to prevent erosion. Emory's Pollinator Protection Plan identified an opportunity to restore campus stream banks and buffers by planting pollinator-friendly plant species, which began in 2016. Forest edges caused by past clearings are another sensitive area because this area is open to cultivation by invasive species.


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

Emory University's Forest Management Plan was developed to create, restore, enhance and maintain Emory's foreststed areas with an emphasis on ecological connectivity, ecosystem function, and native biodiversity. In support of Emory’s Sustainability Vision, and in coordination with other forest-related University polices, the Forest Management Plan serves as a comprehensive plan that enables Emory to follow “best practices” in caring for its forest areas. http://www.campserv.emory.edu/fm/documents/exterior/forest-management-plan.pdf

In order to protect wildlife habitat on institution-owned land, Emory University's Campus Master Plan (2005) has committed to leave 48% of its land undeveloped. Beginning in 2003, a University policy has required that campus land suffer "no net loss of forest canopy", ensuring every time a tree is removed, trees are replanted to maintain the same forest canopy. Emory's 2015-2025 vision calls for net positive forest canopy by 2025.

The University’s 2005 Campus Master Plan categorized 26% of Emory's total campus area as Restricted Land. These areas, i.e., stream buffers and floodplains, are precluded from development by law, ordinance, or covenant. 22% of Emory's total campus area has been identified as Preserved Land. These areas, including the forests of Lullwater Preserve, Emory has classified as not appropriate for development due to their unique ecological value and essential contribution to the campus identity and quality of life.

Emory's Pollinator Protection Plan identified an opportunity to restore campus stream banks and buffers by planting pollinator-friendly plant species, which began in 2016


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