Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 76.57
Liaison Katie Koscielak
Submission Date April 11, 2023

STARS v2.2

Cal Poly Humboldt
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.74 / 2.00 Elizabeth Whitchurch
Director of Facilities Operations
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
1,498.77 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 187.56 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 27.99 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 215.55 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

The area considered "managed grounds" is composed of total campus area (1498.77 acres), minus the Jacoby Creek Forest (884 acres), the Schatz Tree Farm (353 acres), and building footprints (46.21 acres). Hardscapes (parking lots, roads, and sidewalks) were left into the calculation for managed grounds because they are intermittently spot treated with pesticides at an estimated area of 5% of total hardscape. The larger forest parcels that are not contiguous with main campus but are owned by the institution are not considered centrally managed and landscaped land and this is why they've been excluded (Jacoby Forest 884 acres, Schatz Demonstration Tree Farm 353 acres).

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

A lengthy and detailed report describing landscape management protocols can be accessed at tinyurl.com/calpolyhumboldtlandscapemgmt

Practices in summary:
The campus makes a concerted effort to minimize the application of inorganic additives to the degree possible by prioritizing organic fertilizers and pest treatment. That said, as needed, inorganic fertilizers are sometimes used (particularly on turf grass) and chemical pesticides are sometimes used to maintain the rapid growth of plants deemed undesirable by Grounds Staff.

It's also worth noting that plants and forest grow rapidly and voluminously at the campus given that it is generally a very wet, rainy, and humid coastal climate and because it is directly adjacent to wildland forest, meaning that active management for the campus is significantly different than it would be for a sister California campus situated in a dryer, more desert-like climate.

Specific info on fertilizers:
Fertilizers used on campus are classified as either synthetic or organic. Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured from specific chemical inputs to deliver a precise dosage of desired nutrients. They are uniform and predictable in their contents and effects. Organic fertilizers are derived from complex naturally occurring sources (such as manure, blood, bone, compost, or raw minerals) and are generally produced with minimal processing.

The landscape of Cal Poly Humboldt is largely composed of mature plantings which do not require supplemental fertilization beyond mulches or occasional manures. Wherever feasible, Cal Poly Humboldt selects native plants that do not require excessive use of fertilizers.

The use of synthetic fertilizer on campus is generally limited to lawns, the establishing of new plantings, or high visibility seasonal plantings of annuals and flowering perennials. The Humboldt Grounds Team chooses synthetic fertilizers when appropriate based on plant nutrient needs. Lawns are seasonally fertilized with precisely formulated synthetic fertilizers to maintain vigor and discourage weeds. New plantings may be fertilized with slow-release Agriform fertilizer tablets, timed-release Osmocote capsules, manure, or compost. High visibility flowering beds may be fertilized with instant-availability synthetics, fish emulsion, animal manure, or compost made on campus from landscape clippings and campus food scraps. Compost made on campus is also used as a medium for the propagation of new plants.

For new plantings and lawns, slow-release fertilizers provide a more even uptake of nutrients by the plant, resulting in a more uniform growth rate. This reduces excessive growth and the subsequent need for overly frequent pruning and mowing. Excess nitrogen or high nitrate fertilizers cause rapid growth and increased demand for water (The University of Georgia, 2020).

The Grounds Team is careful to avoid the application of fertilizers when two or more consecutive days with greater than a 50% chance of rainfall is predicted by NOAA so as to limit the potential for nutrient rich runoff.

Specific info on chemical weed management:
Herbicides are chemicals that kill or alter the normal growth of plants. On campus both synthetic and organic herbicides are used. Herbicides can be divided into two main groups: selective and nonselective. Selective herbicides are those that control target weeds without damaging other desirable species (often turfgrasses). Nonselective herbicides kill all vegetation (including turfgrasses) and are used in lawn renovation or on types of weeds that are non-responsive to selective herbicides.

Herbicides can be further divided into preemergence and postemergence categories. Preemergence herbicides are applied before weed seeds germinate and are typically used to control annual weeds. The use of preemergence herbicides on campus is extremely limited. Postemergence herbicides are used for controlling weeds that have already emerged from the soil. They are either contact or systemic in nature. Postemergence-contact herbicides affect only those plant parts that they contact and are not translocated to other portions of the plant. Postemergence-systemic herbicides are translocated throughout the plant; hence they are effective in controlling perennial weeds that can generate new foliage from underground vegetative structures.

All employees who apply herbicides on campus are qualified by the State of California to do so and all chemical applications are documented and are made in strict adherence to label instructions and safety protocols.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:

A brief description of the IPM program:

While the campus does not have a documented IPM Plan in place, we hope to develop one in the coming years.

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:
A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The Landscape Management Report (found at tinyurl.com/calpolyhumboldtlandscapemgmt) was assembled as group effort wherein a student intern Sarah Bandali shadowed Grounds staff and interviewed them about their management practices and procedures in Spring/Summer 2022. Sarah then wrote up findings in a report. Sustainability Analyst Katie Koscielak and a new student assistant Emily Read edited existing content and added in a section for Housing Grounds Maintenance in Fall 2022. Grounds team members reviewed all content and put forth suggested edits. Finally, Larry Nichols, a dedicated member of Grounds Staff, completed final edits on the document in January 2023. Lead for the area, Elizabeth Whitchurch, reviewed document at a high level and certified it's completion. The report is planned to be a living and evolving document that will be made public to campus in April 2023 and is intended to provide the baseline documentation for informing gaps and opportunities as the campus moves toward crafting a formalized Integrated Pest Management Plan in coming years.

Total Campus Area = 1489.77 acres
Jacoby Creek Forest = 884 acres
Schatz Demonstration Tree Farm = 353 acres
Gross Acreage Building Space = 46.21 acres
1498.77 - 884 - 353 - 46.21 = 215.56
Total managed land = 215.56 acres

Area treated with inorganic additives for Main Campus = 25.8 acres
Area treated with inorganic additives for Parking lots & roads & sidewalks = 1.53 acres (or 5% of total)
Area treated with inorganic additives for Telonicher Marine Lab = .16 acres
Area treated with inorganic additives for Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center = .005 acres
Area treated with inorganic additives for Figuerido Buidling = .05 acres
Total area treated with inorganic additives = 27.54 acres

(Total area managed 215.56 acres) - (Total area treated with inorganic additives 27.54 acres) = 188.01 acres organically treated

87.22% managed organically
12.78 % managed with inorganic additives

Figures above were estimated by surveying Grounds Staff about inorganic additive application by asking them to draw polygons on a map of where they have applied chemicals additives (both fertilizers and pesticides) to campus land in the last 12 months. A student assistant working with the Space Analyst, Yuichi Ambiro, digitized these findings using AutoCAD to calculate a summative figure of inorganic additive application in square feet. Sustainability Analyst Katie Koscielak converted figures to acreage for reporting in STARS here.

View related maps as follows:
Campus main: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14GHbCXLJHle2qMEFV1U87EC9l7g3GwWv/view?usp=share_link
Figuerido: https://drive.google.com/file/d/123_qlW4J_AFQ1mTUMF4xWNS0x_YQovbY/view?usp=sharing
HBAC: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11wGByRGj1vmISgr6RDlQCk7RZ11MIZZC/view?usp=sharing
Telonicher: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11vdt4PZk6q3GQzayOoovF6kiMJD7utwr/view?usp=sharing

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.