Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Megan Curtis-Murphy
Submission Date May 28, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northeastern University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Carol Rosskam
Sustainability Program Manager
Office of Sustainability, Facilities Mgmt.
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
128 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 0 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 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 37.42 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 37.42 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):

Footprint of buildings, and hardscape. All vegetated areas only.

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 University’s Landscape Program follows Integrated Pest Management principles as an integrated framework for all landscaping decisions and turf management. Integrated Pest Management is an ecologically-based approach to the utilization of controls that protect and enhance turf and applies the same approach and techniques to turf as it does for similar plant-growing materials. Principles of organic production support healthy practices that aim to increase the quality and durability of the environment, through specific management and production methods including management methods selected to restore and sustain ecological stability in the surrounding environment. Organic – and IPM management – is implemented in four application phases: spring, early summer, late summer/early fall, and late fall. The IPM plan provides for the following, strictly-adhered to guidelines: applications take place before anticipated rain to "water-in" materials; walks must be blown of any granular materials; and sensitive areas around wetlands receive no applications. IPM program components include:

• Monitoring/scouting: Physical examination for the determined pest;
• Thresholds: Decisions are made about acceptable, and unacceptable thresholds, and actions are taken if levels are reached that could be potentially damaging to plant health and aesthetic appearance;
• Controls Chosen: Insect infestations would first be addressed by adjusting cultural practices, followed by environmentally safe biological controls, and finally, the application of pesticides;
• Initial response to control an insect infestation would be: adjusting cultural practices; choosing environmentally safe biological controls; and pesticide application;
• The physical application is based as/where needed, and the needed approach would be “spot” applications only.

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:

In addition to the use of environmentally safe control materials, organic fertilizers are used when soil temperatures are such that microbial activity is taking place, thereby feeding the soil as well as the plant itself. It provides a deeper color green turf. This professional approach of IPM plus Organics (ipm+o) makes the University program sound and conscientious.

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

Within the landscape, a series of depressed spaces and bioswales, create a new urban marsh, a historic reference to the nearby fens. The bioswales located in the The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) plaza are designed to collect, filter, and infiltrate storm water runoff from the impervious areas of the plaza and streetscape. This is achieved through a series of plants and soils that can withstand moisture levels ranging from flooded to dry. The primary benefits of these bioswales are the improved quality and reduced volume of site runoff, thereby reducing burden on the municipal system. The bioswales can also be used for snow storage in the winter and be slowly infiltrated.

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

A portion of the University is in a designated water conservation district dictating a respect for the Muddy River, part of the Charles River Watershed. Toward that end the University considers it storm water and takes concerted efforts to utilize Low Impact Design principles in all of its campus planning. We institute numerous methods for retaining storm water on-site and releasing slowly, capturing rainwater for re-use, redirecting for irrigation purposes and taking deliberate action to both avoid flooding while utilizing best practices to conserve water.

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

As an urban campus, the University doesn't have adequate options for on-site reuse or composting, however operation guidelines require sourcing from local organic composting facilities as well as utilizing the same for our vegetated debris.

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

Like most of the University's building systems, the landscape is also automated with lighting and irrigation systems. These systems utilize sensors for activation and report issues malfunctions in order to be addressed in a timely manner.

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):

Northeastern University’s Boston campus has officially been recognized as a Level II Arboretum by ArbNet, a nonprofit dedicated to helping create and conserve arboreta around the world. Northeastern is now the only university in Boston to have an arboretum on its campus. The Arboretum covers 11.5 acres of green space out of the 72 acre Boston campus, including 1,471 individual trees representing over 100 different species; 5,404 shrubs; and 141 woody plant species, all of which shelter the walkways between buildings and surround the open green spaces. The land on which much of the campus is built was surrounded by waterways that were filled in during the 19th century. It was a challenge, but through trial and error, NU Landscaping found species that work. To be accredited, an arboretum needs to have a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming, and an inventory of every tree and woody plant on the grounds. Level II-accredited arboreta have 100 species, varieties or cultivars of trees or woody plants, an arboretum collections policy describing the development and professional management of plants, and have enhanced educational and public programming. Additional information is available on the Arboretum website: https://facilities.northeastern.edu/arboretum/visit/

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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