Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.86
Liaison Alyssa Erding
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2021

STARS v2.2

Macalester College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.09 / 2.00 Michael Frazier
Lead Grounds Person
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
58.50 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 1.49 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 15.42 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 16.91 Acres

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

Managed grounds include all pervious areas on Macalester campus (excluding building footprints, sidewalks, track, and other impervious areas) and managed land in Macalester’s Katharine Ordway Natural History Area (mainly the prairie areas).

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

Macalester has several areas on campus that are managed without the use of inorganic pesticides or fertilizers. Both the campus prairie and several small pollinator gardens are only managed with ecologically preferable materials.

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:

It is Macalester College’s policy to use pesticides only after pests have been properly identified, the population exceeds tolerance thresholds, all possible treatment methods have been investigated and evaluated, and cultural, biological, and mechanical controls have been determined to be ineffective against the particular pest. Preventative measures are favored in all cases and particularly taken into account when designing new perennial plantings at which time pest resistant varieties are selected and native plant species are encouraged. Additionally, as increasing tolerance levels and action thresholds is often the most sustainable option in the case of many low-risk pests, such as broad leaf weeds, the college strives to balance sustainable pest management with the campus aesthetic by educating students, faculty, staff, and visitors about IPM.

At the Katharine Ordway Field Station, the prairie is managed for the presence of nonnative invasive species, especially the crown vetch and the reed canary grass. During the growing season, these species are selectively moved to reduce photosynthetic ability and eliminate seed heads. In the fall, the are spot treated with an herbicide. It is estimated that only 0.3 acres are actually treated with this herbicide (and only the nonnative invasive plant species are treated) within the 11.08 acres of prairie that is monitored for it.

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

Native plant programs —which require less water and fertilizer—are included in the campus prairie, campus raingarden, and Markim Hall landscaping. Currently, 3.88 acres of Macalester’s campus are managed as low-input gardens. As new gardens are installed, low maintance, highly perst-resistent plants are chosen. Native plants are also considered and encouraged in the 2011 Sustainable Landscape Plan.

In accordance with traditional land management practices, the prairie on campus (0.36 acres) and in the Katharine Ordway Field Station (11.08 acres) are prescribed burns in order to regenerate and manage ecological cycles.

Additionally, the Ordway field station employs goats to eat the woody plants out of the prairie in partnership with the Dodge Nature Center. These goats also each crown vetch, a nonnative invasive species that is managed with other means as well.

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

The sustainability plan includes a goal of infiltrating the first inch of precipitation campus wide. Rain gardens are included in new construction projects and in key areas identified in the Sustainable Landscape Plan to increase infiltration. By increasing tree canopy cover from 20% to 50% and installing additional pervious pavers, rainwater is more likely to be infiltrated.
8 Hunter Hydrawise irrigation clocks were installed in the spring of 2020 to replace our outdated irrigation clocks. These clocks allow for more efficient zoned watering by using local daily weather forecast and on-the-ground data to water. They have the ability to be controlled via wifi from anywhere, monitor and alert when it is on when it shouldn't be with flow meters (for example in the case of leaks, broken heads, etc.), and use weather prediction to create an optimal watering schedule and real time control of each individual clock as well as each zone.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

The Grounds Department does not pick up any grass clippings, these stay on the turf or are returned to the soil with mulching lawn mowers. All other grounds keeping waste is composted off-site. Occasionally, raw wood from tree removal is reused by the art department.
Living plants that are removed for replacement are given to staff, faculty, students and neighbors when we can.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

A hydrawise watering system was installed to allow for zoned watering which uses weather prediction and on-the-ground data to water more efficiently. It is advertised to save up to 50% of all water used in irrigation. All campus light poles were retrofitted to LED lights. Energy efficiency is included in the sustainable landscaping master plan.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

Grounds staff and students received training in river-friendly snow and ice removal via Minnesota Pollution Control agency video.
Liquid ice melt application has been implemented for application outside of entry doors where applicable. This cuts down on salt being drug into buildings which in turn cuts down on cleaning costs, as well as cutting down on salt accumulation.
We apply salt only when needed and typically only one time when snow storm has ceased.
Snow is not piled in infiltration ponds to avoid excess salt and garbage entering drains.
Large tree plantings are being planned and implemented in order to replace future tree removals. The campus has a large number of large trees, some we have realized potentially only have 5-10 years life left in them. So we are identifying areas on campus that can support new large canopy trees.
We are identifying areas that can become future pollinator and rain gardens. These are areas where turf is struggling, under thick tree canopy or areas where rain water flows.
Chapel gardens were redesigned from rose gardens, which had a tremendous amount of water runoff to pollinater garden / outdoor classroom space. Plants were selected based on pollinator preference as well as plants that will spread and decrease the amount of rainwater runoff.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

There is a discrepancy between the Campus Area reported in PRE-4 and the total area of Managed Grounds reported in this credit because they were measured at different times. Macalester's Field Station contains a body of water whose shoreline advances and recedes with seasonal variation. The time of measurement for Managed Grounds indicates a time where there was less water, and therefore more exposed grounds, at the Field Station.

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.