Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Nancy Apple
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Mount Holyoke College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
-- Reporter Nancy Apple
Director
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

The campus watershed includes two lakes and a connecting stream and associated wetlands in the watershed. Wetlands and the riverfront are protected by state and local conservation requirements. The college has identified the applicable 200 foot riverfront buffer and 100 foot wetland buffer and the NHESP priority habitats of rare species.


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

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

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Faculty and students at Mount Holyoke have assessed vernal pools and vernal pool species using state-dictated criteria. Several sections of the campus have had plant, amphibian, and aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys. Aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys are part of classes and occur annually. Terrestrial vertebrate and amphibian surveys occurred on the Restoration Ecology project area in 2015 and on the rest of the campus between 2000 and 2004.. Annual woody plant surveys occur in 6 long term monitoring plots. Faculty and research students do annual water chestnut (Trapa natans) removal. The college has several stands of eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) with some hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) infestation


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

The college has certified vernal pools, a restored stream area, and ponds and upland areas with many identified invasive plants. Faculty and research students remove water chestnut (Trapa natans) annually in concert with US Fish and Wildlife. Students and faculty conduct research in forest woodland areas to explore the effects of invasive plants (e.g., Euonymus alatus, Celastrus orbiculatus) and insects (e.g., Adelges tsugae) on native species and ecosystem services.


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

More than 300 acres of Mount Holyoke’s campus comprise a rural, undeveloped landscape of lakes, streams, forests, marsh, shrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and vernal pools. These habitats are home to hundreds of animal species, including beavers, otters, American eel, and coyotes. These diverse environments and life forms exist in close proximity to areas of rapid development, providing students with opportunities to study a variety of ecological processes and their responses to human activities. The Center for the Environment collects data and maintains a curricular trail through these undeveloped areas. The College supports maintaining these areas as undeveloped and for academic use.

Tt Project Stream students do annual monitoring of:
1) physiochemical soil parameters (e.g., soil carbon, nitrogen, bulk density, moisture, texture, color),
2) soil biological parameters (e.g., microbial biomass, microbial activity, denitrification rates, mineralization and nitrification rates),
3) water parameters (e.g., water quality, water level, water temperature, stream flow, etc),
4) greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O), and vegetation (diversity, tree DBH, and classification (e.g., invasive, endangered, wetland indicator)).

The Project also has wildlife cameras to help us understand wildlife usage of the site.
There is a series of wells (deep and shallow) across the site that help us understand subsurface flow.
There is also a weather station that monitors atmospheric variables and soil moisture - this is paired with data from the other weather stations in different ecosystem types across campus.


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