Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.94
Liaison Caitlin Steele
Submission Date July 21, 2023

STARS v2.2

San Francisco State University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.86 / 2.00 caitlin Steele
Dr of Sust & Energy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
144.10 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 43 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 7 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 50 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

Acres of steep hillsides covered with thick underbrush and trees; Eucalyptus globulus, Acacia melanoxylon, Pinus radiate, and Cupressus macrocarpa are not included in managed grounds.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

43 of the 50 acres of managed grounds are maintained without the use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, herbicides, and fungicides. The two athletic fields, that make up 7 acres of managed grounds, rarely use herbicides and fungicides, and only as needed. All 50 acres are maintained with an emphasis on water use reduction, using the least amount of chemicals possible in order to support a healthy biodiversity.

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 campus grounds and the buildings are all under a strict Integrated Pest Management plan. The plan includes the least invasive way to mitigate pests while using the least amount of chemicals.

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

SF State fosters a healthy, aesthetically pleasing, sustainable, and environmentally friendly campus that functions as a great place to study, work and live. The SF State campus also contains a significant urban forest, planted in a network of windbreaks, bird nesting zones, and sheltered courtyards. Renovation and renewal of the forest is directed to maintain the special forest character of the campus, while supporting a more complex web of ecological relationships, increasing seasonal highlights, and shaping new spaces for social interaction and quiet contemplation.

Although the traditional lawns look nice, our campus has decided to allow some unused lawns to grow out and set seed, reducing water, fertilizer and pesticide use. These meadows provide areas of relief for birds and small mammals to hid from predators, forage and obtain nesting material. Many underutilized lawn areas have been removed over the past 15 years and replaced with native and adaptive planting.

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

Irrigation Management
The Grounds unit is committed to sustainability in its day-to-day service delivery. As such, conservation is foremost, ensuring for efficient and effective irrigation systems, thereby reducing water usage.

All landscaped and turf areas are irrigated as required to maintain adequate growth, health, and appearance, regardless of plant type or soil condition. Water use is regulated to avoid excessively wet or waterlogged areas, which can cause a decline in plant health, prevent turf mowing, and create excessive water run-off onto streets and structures.

To optimize water efficiency, San Francisco State uses:

Drip Irrigation
Computer Operated Irrigation Management systems, namely Calsense Irrigation
Maintains appropriate scheduling for the seasons
Engages in routine maintenance of the irrigation system

SFSU has plants rain gardens and bioswales throughout campus, which are planted with native plants that are both drought tolerant, and can handle short periods of inundation of water in the winter. These methods reduce, filter, and slow storm water runoff, recharging the groundwater and lessening the burden on our sewer system. By mimicking natural watershed processes, we are helping to conserve a precious resource and mitigate some of the ecological damage done by our urbanized society.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

SF State minimizes green waste through grass cycling clipping into the lawns, subsidizing purchased wood chip mulch with onsite tree removal wood chips for mulching beds, and with our campus green waste hauler, Recology.

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

SF State is designing new and retrofitting landscapes to reduce buildings’ energy usage. Using a landscape/forest master plan, trees and planting is being located to provide additional interior light and air circulation in new and existing buildings, reducing purchased energy.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

The entire landscaped grounds at SFSU follow a Landscape Framework and Forest Management Plan that highlights adaptive and native planting and reducing chemical use and water use. details can be found here:

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Additional help was provided by Robert Murphy

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.