Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.61
Liaison Scott Grinnell
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Northland College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Scott Grinnell
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability
"---" 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 US Forest Service, in partnership with Northland College, manages a property (Forest Lodge) on the south shore of Lake Namekagon in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. Lake Namekagon is the headwaters of the Namekagon River, part of the St. Croix National Scenic River, a unit of the National Park Service.


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:

Since acquiring the Forest Lodge property in 2017, Northland College has conducted research assessing the environmental health of the area. The College works closely with US Forest Service, the Cable Natural History Museum, and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College. The Research Outcomes of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation (attached in AC-10) include specific methodologies and monitoring taking place at Forest Lodge (as well as the Chequamegon Bay region).


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

Forest Lodge has four Special Management Areas (two of which are specifically identified as environmentally sensitive and established as research areas):
(1) MARY LIVINGSTON GRIGGS HISTORICAL SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA: This fifty-acre area includes land possessing a significant site or concentration of sites, buildings, structures, or objects historically by plan or physical development, including Memorial areas. At Forest Lodge this consists of the twelve historic lodge buildings and grounds.
(2) FAIRYLAND RESEARCH NATURAL AREA: This old-growth hemlock forest is used only for research, study, observation, monitoring, and educational activities that do not alter the special or unique characteristics of the area.
(3) MARY GRIGGS BURKE SCENIC SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA: This area includes aesthetically scenic land and water sites along the extensive undeveloped Lake Namekagon shoreline.
(4) MARY GRIGGS BURKE BOTANICAL SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA: Totaling 600 acres, these areas have unique ecological plant communities. The mature mesic and dry-mesic forest south of Garmisch Road is an outstanding example of a northern hardwoods forest.

The endangered/vulnerable species present in the area include:
♦ Forest habitats: Gray wolf, Kirtlands warbler, northern goshawk, red-shouldered hawk, spruce grouse, cerulean warbler, black-backed woodpecker, grey jay, white butterfly.
♦ Riparian habitats: black tern, trumpeter swan, wood turtle, and Fassetts locoweed.
♦ Open land/shrub habitat: Le Conte's sparrow, sharp-tailed grouse, upland sandpiper, Henry's elfin butterfly, northern blue butterfly, and tawny crescent butterfly.

Forest Lodge may also see a transient Canada lynx, though none has been observed yet.


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

Northland College continues to develop specific management plans with the US Forest Service for the entire 872-acre Forest Lodge property. These plans: (1) restrict use of certain areas to research-related activities (while opening others to community education programs administered by Northland College), (2) assess the health of the ecosystem through in-situ monitoring, (3) identify local wildlife, including vulnerable and endangered species, and (4) study forest and fresh-water systems.

Possible programs include seeding endangered plants (including rare orchids and goblin fern), creating natural fence shelters (e.g. balsam fir plantations) to protect vulnerable plants from deer pressure, and assessing a program to support gray jays. The once-common gray jay (also called Canada jay or whisky jack) has seen alarming population decline in recent years possibly due to climate change resulting in warmer autumns. The food caches have been rotting and the birds have been starving during the winter.


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