Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 52.41
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Raritan Valley Community College
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" 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:

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:

203 plant species, 64 bird species, and 22 other species have been observed on RVCC campus. Students discovered numerous species that we did not know were here.
The bird list was compiled almost entirely by Dr. Jay Kelly‟s "Field Ornithology" students during the spring of 2010. The campus was divided up into twelve sections, and students had to conduct at least 10 surveys (0.5-1.5 hours) over the course of the 14 week semester. There were also observations made by an independent study student ("Environmental Field Studies") this spring, as well as a few sightings made by Facilities staff during groundskeeping work. The mammal sightings were made primarily by an independent study student who conducted a study of mammal predators on campus this spring, by looking at tracks, scat, and making other observations throughout the spring. Other observations were made by students working in the organic garden, and other second-year environmental science students.
The plant list was a compilation from various sources. The first primary source was the campus herbarium, which contains specimens collected by students over the past 40 years. The second major source was surveys conducted by an Environmental Field Studies student, who surveyed spring wildflowers and other species on campus this spring, and Dr. Jay Kelly‟s General Ecology class, which surveyed forest patches for tree species in the fall of 2009. Dr. Kelly assisted with the identification as needed to ensure completeness.
None of the species lists should be considered entirely complete, but working documents which will be built upon by students in the coming semesters.

Through the River Friendly program, campus riparian areas were identified as environmentally sensitive. Two of the three campus streams have been monitored using an SVAP2 analysis, performed by RVCC's General Ecology class. Assessments were performed in 2010 and 2014.

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

Endangered and vulnerable species identified were:
Boraginaceae Mertensia virginica Virginia Bluebells Special Concern
Cooper's Hawk Falconiiformes Threatened
Red-Headed Woodpecker Piciformes Threatened
Box Turtle Terrapene c. carolina Reptilia population declining

Streams running through campus are tributaries to the Raritan River. The southern end of campus has a stream that feeds into a pond. The west side of campus has the headwaters of another stream that empties (through underground pipes) into the southern stream. The northeast corner of campus has a third stream that is a tribuatory of the Raritan. All three receive runoff from campus and are affected by salt in winter. The southern and northeastern streams are prone to erosion from stormwater.

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

Under RVCCs Memorandum of Understanding with the EPA, RVCC adopted a GreenScapes policy in March 2011. This formalized RVCC's policy of planting native plant species, adopted as part of the River Friendly program in 2010. The GreenScapes policy states RVCC's goal when landscaping to plant diverse species of native plants in order to provide wildlife habitat.

Birch and willow stakes were planted along all three streams to prevent erosion.

As part of River Friendly certification, in 2010 RVCC installed a dozen bird boxes on campus and students conducted a wildlife inventory for the campus.

The college uses environmentally friendly ice melt and is looking to move toward a pre-treatment product that would reduce the need for ice melt.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.