Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 47.51
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Luther College
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.59 / 2.00 Molly McNicoll
Assistant Professor in Biology and Natural Area Lands Manager
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 969 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 33.80 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 600 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 0 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 275 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 60 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :
The objective of our Integrated Pest Management at Luther College is to effectively prevent and control pests inside and immediately outside the facility. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of students, staff and visitors, while helping to maintain an efficient,healthy building environment. Our program is based on inspection and monitoring, with pest control materials to be used only when and where they are needed.

IPM on Luther's natural areas consists of using the lowest threat herbicides (e.g., glyphosate), using the minimum amount possible, and banning any high threat herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D is not allowed on any Luther lands). Alternatives to herbicides are the first consideration and are discussed below under management of invasive species. In addition, preemptive work is initiated where possible, including fostering native species growth and establishment to compete with weedy or invasive species establishment; and removing known, problematic invasive species when still at low abundances.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:
Luther's natural areas are an outdoor classroom and research site for students and community members. Sustainable management and restoration of Luther's natural areas is overseen and implemented by a broad group on campus, including facilities, several academic departments (including biology and environmental studies), a natural areas land manager, student land stewardship interns, a land use committee (advisory), and students/faculty/staff from across campus. A general guidance document for the natural areas is provided in Land Stewardship Plan, available here: https://www.luther.edu/sustainability/land-use/land-stewardship/
In addition, new restorations and land management are developed for each part of Luther's natural areas to promote the ideals of: student education, promoting healthy native ecosystems, and creating a connection between students and natural areas.

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:
In the central campus zone, Luther College uses native plants in its landscaping and on-campus grounds as much as possible.

On the college's natural areas, we have restored or are working to restore Luther's land to the historic native forest, woodland, savanna or prairie ecosystems. The natural areas are managed for invasive species, including buckthorn and garlic mustard. Invasive species are managed with the minimum input of low-impact herbicide (glyphosate) as possible (e.g., treating only cut-stumps for buckthorn) or spot spraying for garlic mustard. Invasive species management is also attained through prescribed fires, manual/mechanical removal, and plantings of native species as replacements.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:
Luther College composts or mulches 100% of its grounds-keeping waste. Grass clippings are composted in a separate pile and take longer to break down. As many of the leaves are mulched in the fall as possible, but some have to be vacuumed up and composted. The leaf pile breaks down more quickly and is usually used in the flower beds within a year. All the branches, tree limbs etc. are piled up throughout the season and once a year we hire a company to come in and grind them up. This is a lower grade of wood mulch than what would normally be used on the landscaped areas on campus but much of it is used on outlying areas. The compost piles are "turned" with a skidloader every week or two.

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:
Luther's farm land (56 acres) is farmed organically by a long-term tenant farmer, including a rotation of alfalfa and row crops, starting in 2012. Food gardens are managed organically. Luther recently enrolled ~123 acres of natural areas land to be permanently protected by the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program along the Upper Iowa River. The primary goals of the EWP are to increase soil stabilization, sediment/flood water capture, and wildlife habitat improvement. These areas will be maintained in perpetuity with permanent vegetation (forest or prairie grassland), including cropland converted to new bottomland forest (~13 acres) and prairie (~25 acres) plantings.

A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:
Luther utilizes environmentally friendly snow melt products, makes wood chips from fallen trees and branches that are used in campus landscaping and plants native species whenever possible.

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:
On central campus, one permeable parking lot has been installed, and a rain garden and savanna/prairie planting captures run off from the newly constructed science building (Sampson Hoffland Laboratories).
Luther's natural areas along the river have recently been permanently protected by the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Plan (see description above). The plantings of prairie and forest, along with existing forest along the river improve water retention and sediment capture in the floodplain of the Upper Iowa River. Prairie and forest plantings (not including the EWP or other already forested areas) were initiated to promote natural infiltration and reduce erosion in the 1980s and 1990s (approximately 80 acres).

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):
?? (It doesn't seem that some of the detail given below is necessary)
At Luther we try to remove the snow as soon as possible to prevent snow pack from building up. If the snowfall is light we can brush most of it off with power brooms that attach to two skidloaders and two of our utility tractors. However if the snowfall is too deep for this type of equipment to work effectively we put plows on and blade the snow off. If it is then possible to go back over with the brushes that is what we try to do. In the case of an ice storm or snow and ice buildup on sidewalks we spread an ice melting agent. This consist mainly of sodium chloride (salt) with a varying degree of other additives. The main product we use is called Geomelt. This is salt with a by-product from sugar beets added to it to enhance its effectiveness. It is advertised to be less harsh on vegetation and concrete. Although these strategies are implemented in an attempt to reduce snow and ice damage, Luther's main priority is making the campus as safe as possible for students and visitors.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:
Luther recently enrolled ~123 acres to be permanently protected under the U.S. federal program, USDA's Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program and additional 6 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). These areas are in addition to the 545 acres of natural areas that are managed for diverse native communities, similarly to the officially designated protected areas.

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Luther college has a central campus (approximately 200 acres) that includes all of the central campus buildings, grounds, infrastructure, and surrounding athletic fields. Surrounding central campus, Luther owns and manages restored prairies, forests, woodlands, and savannas. Two additional natural areas (Lionberger Environmental Preserve and Freeport Marsh) are within 10 miles of the main campus. The total of Luther's natural areas (including approximately 56 acres of farmland) equals approximately 750 acres.

Luther college has a central campus (approximately 200 acres) that includes all of the central campus buildings, grounds, infrastructure, and surrounding athletic fields. Surrounding central campus, Luther owns and manages restored prairies, forests, woodlands, and savannas. Two additional natural areas (Lionberger Environmental Preserve and Freeport Marsh) are within 10 miles of the main campus. The total of Luther's natural areas (including approximately 56 acres of farmland) equals approximately 750 acres.

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