Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.09
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 30, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Iowa State University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Chris Strawhacker
Program Coordinator II
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
1,632 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 1,117 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,117 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Land excluded from managed grounds include approximately 495 acres of Impervious surfaces (buildings without green roofs, parking lots, sidewalks, and roads) and approximately 20 acres of agricultural research land managed by Research and Demonstration Farms.

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:

The University uses integrated pest management practices; staff is trained to scout and monitor pests and diseases, to avoid the use of pesticides unless there is an economic impact from a pest population i.e., the loss of a plant or tree and target pest control to specific problem or area. Cultivation practices, such as mulch, are used as an initial strategy to promote plant vigor and reduce weed growth. Cosmetic damages to a plant are accepted if there will not be long term effects.

This practice involves:
1. Proper knowledge and ID of target pest and life cycles.
2. Closely monitoring and scouting for pests and population.
3. Application of controls that are most effective and when populations warrant.
4. Control measures that do not injure non-target organisms or the environment.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

The university employs best management practices for the care and protection of plants including mulching, pruning, staking, and watering as needed to establish the plants. These practices also include the selection of native or regionally-adapted plant species from regional sources.

Campus construction projects have the potential to threaten existing trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Campus planners, landscape architects, arborist, and grounds managers are involved throughout the planning, design, and construction of campus projects to preserve and protect these plants to the greatest extent possible. This level of involvement allows for condition assessment and evaluation of threatened plant material, design modifications to preserve plant material, preparation and transplanting of threatened plants prior to construction, and construction observation to minimize to impact campus plant material that remains on-site during construction.

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

The university has strategies to improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff from new development sites and ongoing campus operations. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was established under the authority of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The NPDES program is responsible for controlling and regulating point sources of discharge of pollutants to waters within each state to maintain, protect and restore the water quality of streams, lakes, and rivers. In 1990, Phase I of NPDES stormwater program was established to regulate stormwater runoff. In 1999, Phase II of the NPDES stormwater program was established and required communities that were not part of the Phase I to develop and implement a comprehensive stormwater management program. Those communities that were included in Phase II of the program were designated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4). The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has designated Iowa State University as a qualifying MS4, which requires the university to comply with the Phase II stormwater regulations. Iowa State has a stormwater policy which guides both construction site runoff control and post-construction site runoff control. The intent of the policy is to control stormwater runoff, minimize stormwater pollution and contribute to the protection of Iowa’s natural resources. The university design standards serve as a resource. ISU has storm sewer facilities that serve the buildings and property of the University for stormwater drainage and runoff management. Stormwater runoff from different areas of the university is conveyed to five creeks or the City of Ames storm sewer systems and eventually into the Skunk River. The university has an interdisciplinary committee that meets regularly to review stormwater initiatives and discuss alternatives to increase stormwater management efforts. The University evaluates new construction projects for best practices that match the conditions of the site and project. Operational strategies and best practices are considered and implemented as part of the MS4 permit. Additionally, ISU facilities staff meets quarterly with City of Ames Public Works staff on broad topics including a shared interest in stormwater management strategies and coordination.

A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

One hundred percent of landscape waste is reused on campus. Leaf and landscape debris, organic waste material from university greenhouses, and food waste from campus dining centers are all collected on campus as part of the university Compost Facility operation. The collected landscape debris is combined with bedding waste from animal science teaching farms, and sand and soils to produce amended soils for campus landscape projects.

Lawn clippings are mulched in place during the mowing operations.

Woody debris from pruning and tree removals is mulched for reuse on campus landscape beds. Selected logs are directed toward the TreeCycle program, where wood is logged and sawn for reuse in furniture design classes, specialized campus furniture fabrication, or directed to Iowa Prision Industries to create specialized ISU memorabilia for resale.

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 (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

Campus Services uses snow removal strategies to minimize the impact on the environment while providing for the safety of humans as they move through the campus during the winter months.

These strategies include:
a. Up to date weather forecasting services to provide for timely staff response to storm conditions.
b. Removal as quickly as possible to reduce the need for treatment.
c. Use of tractor-mounted brooms on walks to remove more snow residue.
d. Use of ice melt coated with beet juice to reduce corrosion, increase effectiveness, and reduce amount needed. Applied at a ratio of one part ice melt to two parts sand for all sidewalks.
e. Salt brine applied to the pavement before a snow event.
f. Rock salt applied to streets and lots after snow event comprised of 50% sand, 50% salt
g. Installation of porous and pervious paving systems to decrease ice build-up and minimize the need for snowmelt materials.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.