Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.85
Liaison Amy Butler
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Michigan State University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.03 / 2.00 Adam Lawver
Director of Campus Services
Infrastructure and Planning Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
5,199 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 3,464 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 790.64 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 634.02 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 4,888.66 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):


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 Integrated Pest Management Plan uses the four tiered approach: set action thresholds; monitor and identify pests; prevent or remove conditions that attract pests; and controlled management of land.  Specifically the plan calls for using the least-toxic chemical pesticides; the minimum use of chemicals, and the use of chemicals only in targeted locations and only for the targeted species.  MSU also works with Landscape Architects to select disease and insect resistant plant materials to be used in the campus landscape.  Research is ongoing to determine alternative treatments or remedies to solve pest problems.  In addition, the continued maintenance of healthy soil beds and healthy plant materials to reduce  specific pesticide usage.  Staff are trained to identify problems and to evaluate the threshold when corrective actions need to be taken.  MSU also offers the Desire to Learn Integrated Pest Management Academy  for both internal staff/students and non-MSU staff/students to provide a comprehensive learning experience to IPM including access to experts. 

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:

The Sustainable Landscape Management Program includes formally adopted guidelines and best practices covering all of the following: •Integrated pest management (see above)
•Plant stewardship - protecting and using existing vegetation (e.g. through the use of a tree care plan), using native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controlling and managing invasive species
•Soil stewardship - organic soils management practices that restore and/or maintain a natural nutrient cycle and limit the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemicals
•Use of environmentally preferable materials - utilizing reused, recycled and local and sustainably produced landscape materials
•Hydrology and water use - restoring and/or maintaining the integrity of the natural hydrology by promoting water infiltration, minimizing or eliminating the use of potable water for irrigation, and protecting/restoring riparian, wetland, and shoreline habitats and lost streams
•Materials management and waste minimization - composting and/or mulching waste from groundskeeping, including grass trimmings
•Snow and ice management (if applicable) - implementing technologies or strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal. The Protected Areas and Lands program includes the following: •Maintained 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
•Certified Organic
•Certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management standard
•Certified under the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) and/or
•Managed specifically for carbon sequestration (as documented in policies, land management plans or the equivalent)

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

A MSU bigeographer developed an App for Midwestern residents to log and snap photos of invasive species. The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) is a regional effort to develop and provide tools and resources to enhance early detection and rapid response to invasive species and develop more effective management plans

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

MSU adheres to the MI Department of Environmental Quality Storm Water Pollution Prevention Initiative. The campus landscape master plan identifies a no-net loss of green space. If a construction project is unable to offset green space, then a storm water management devises are installed to maintain the integrity of the natural hydrology on campus. MSU works collaboratively across departments to implement campus-based best management practices to protect water sources(www.iwr.msu.edu). MSU has a storm water committee that meets monthly; an MSU Water Website (msu-water.msu.edu), and is a member of the Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Storm water Management. MSU highlights its best practices of low impact landscaping through its sustainable storm water management walking tour (http://msu-water.msu.edu/what-is-storm-water/campus-storm-water-walking-tour/). The tour features campus bmps's including: bioretention basins; porous paving; green roofs; wetlands; rain gardens; riparian buffers;grown zones; and proprietary storm water treatment devices.

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

 Topsoil is recycled and reused for all campus construction renovations averaging 20,0000 cu. yds. annually. The MSU Mowing fleet is outfitted with mulching decks to reduce the amount of lawn trimmings and leaves that are collected on an annual basis. Blowers are used to blow the leaves and organic materials that fall on hard surfaces back into lawn area to mulch.   MSU recycling receives approximately 1000 cu yds. annually from the campus greenhouse organic waste and other miscellaneous organic wastes from the south farms.  Concrete sidewalks, roadways, and parking areas are also recycled and repurposed as subbase which is reinstalled under new sidewalks and parking lots on campus in volumes of 7000 tons annually.  

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

MSU incorporates many best management practices for energy-efficient landscaping, i.e utilizing trees to reduce heat islands; act as windbreaks; and shades for reduced cooling costs. MSU takes special means to protect trees in construction zones, and in some instances have relocated to preserve the trees through air spacing. To accommodate pedestrian pathways that would otherwise impact root systems, rubber sidewalk practices have been installed successfully (ipf.msu.edu/green/practices/landscaping.html).

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):

MSU's methods to remove snow and keep campus roads clear are innovative and environmentally friendly. Crews pre-treat roads and sidewalks with an organic-based liquid deicer [BEETHEAT, a sugar beet byproduct). Mixed with salt brine this deicer melts snow and ice at colder temperatures. it also prevents precipitation from bonding making snow removal easier. it also reduces th amount of salt needed,expediting the effects and helps remain on the pavement. MSU also has many environmentally friendly materials in landscapes throughout campus such as rooftop gardens, pervious recycled rubber sidewalks, pervious concrete sidewalks, pervious asphalt parking areas, and recycled tire asphalt roadways, and recycled glass concrete sidewalks and sections of parking areas. We have also installed environmentally friendly brick pavers at Wells Hall. Brush and decayed wood materials are ground into mulch annually and respread on campus to reduce purchasing new mulch and importing into campus. The Beaumont Nursery also propagates hundreds of plants annually that are procured from cuttings on campus, grown in our greenhouse, and replanted on campus. This full cycle operation sustainably manages the campus arboretum.

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

Resource list: stormwater walking tour brochure; ipf reports from 2017 and 2016; and ipf.msu.edu/resources/campus-master-plan.index.html; www.cpa.msu.edu/beal; http://ipf.msu.edu/resources/campus-master-plan/index.html; http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/home/departments/publicworks/; stormwaterpollutionprevention/stormwaterpollutionpreventioinitiavties/

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.