Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.55
Liaison Jack Byrne
Submission Date June 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Middlebury College
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jack Byrne
Director of Sustainability Integration
Environmental Affair
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

The College owns and manages about 3200 acres of land (not including the campus) that is part of the UNESCO Lake Champlain Watershed/Adirondack Biosphere Reserve. It also owns and manages about 2500 acres of land that is adjacent to the Breadloaf Wilderness of the Green Mountain National Forest.

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

The College hired an ecologist to conduct an assessment of all College owned lands near the main campus and at the Breadloaf Campus adjacent to the Breadloaf Wilderness and other lands nearby. From the Executive Summary: "The purpose of this study was to provide ecological information to decisionmakers, researchers, teachers, students and general users of the 1,256 ha (3,105 ac) of
Middlebury College-owned forests, fields and wetlands in the Green Mountains.
Fieldwork was conducted over the course of two summers, 2011 and 2012, by walking
routes across the lands to make systematic observations of natural communities and
vascular plants and occasional observations of wildlife sign and wildlife habitat features
such as mast stands, cavity trees and Vernal Pools with amphibian activity. A map of
upland and wetland natural communities was completed during the summer of 2013
using ArcGIS 10.1. The map should be seen as our best representation of the lands’
ecosystems, and as being open to future revisions and updates. Lists and maps of rare
and uncommon vascular plant species were also produced. Natural communities and
plant species were classified, described and ranked according to standard methodology
used by natural heritage programs in the United States and numerous other countries."

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

From the Executive Summary: "Through our intensive field work, we mapped 37 natural community types. Of the
21 upland types, all are forested communities except for one cliff and two woodland
types. The 15 wetland types consist of eight non-forest (shrub and herbaceous) and
seven forest types. The general landscape pattern shows a forest matrix of different sorts
of Northern Hardwood Forest with hemlock or hemlock-spruce-Northern Hardwood
Forest types prominent in lower parts of the landscape. Montane conifer or coniferhardwood
forest types cap the Green Mountain summits and ridgeline. The upland
forest ecosystem diversity features seven Northern Hardwood Forest types, eight
hemlock or mixed conifer-hardwood types, and two spruce-fir types. Within this upland
forest matrix are many small- and medium-size wetlands, including scattered small
seepage swamps and several rather extensive seepage forests. On the Green Mountain
escarpment (parts of Middlebury Gorge and all of Battell Research Forest and Clapp
Lot), Hemlock, Temperate Hemlock, and Mesic Red Oak-Northern Hardwood Forests
are common, included are less extensive patches of Dry Oak and Red Pine Forests and
small woodlands and temperate acidic cliffs and outcrops...Two natural community types considered rare from a statewide perspective occur
on the college mountain lands in the Bread Loaf vicinity; both are part of riverine
systems—Sugar Maple-Ostrich Fern Riverine Floodplain Forest and River Cobble Shore.
No types ranked very rare were observed on college lands. Additional rare types, Red
Pine Forest and Dry Oak Woodland, occur on the escarpment at Battell Research Forest
and the Clapp Lot, respectively. Thirteen uncommon types occur on the lands and
comprise substantial acreage. They include upland and wetland forest types, as well as
one woodland and two non-forested wetland types. Within the study area, only
Northern Hardwood Forest and Alder Swamp are ranked in the most common category." ...

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

We recently permanently conserved 1500 acres of forested lands on the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, VT. The easement is held by the Vermont Land Trust and those lands will be managed for wilderness and biodiversity conservation in perpetuity.

Our master plan calls for the creation and/or preservation of wildlife habitat. One example of how we create wildlife habitat is by not mowing certain parts of campus lawns, which provides important habitat for pollinators including native bees. In fields used for biology research mows are timed such that they allow fledgling birds to leave their nests safely before the area is mowed. The above mentioned ecological assessment of College lands and wildlife habitat has been provided to the Buildings and Grounds committee of the Board of Trustees for consideration in future land management decisions. url's:

The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:

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.