Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.47
Liaison Aaron Klemm
Submission Date Aug. 26, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

San Jose State University
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Debbie Andres
Utilities & Sustainability Analyst
"---" 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:

Moss Landing Marine Lab (MLML), managed by SJSU, is situated in an excellent location for the study of the marine world. The Monterey Submarine Canyon, the largest such feature on the west coast of North America, begins within a few hundred meters of the Moss Landing harbor and the MLML research fleet. To the east of MLML is the MOss Landing Wildlife Area and Elkhorn Slough, the largest tract of tidal salt marsh in California outside of San Francisco Bay, and an important site for shorebirds and fishes. The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. Elkhorn Slough is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of San Francisco, California on the central shore of Monterey Bay.Coordinates: 36°49′11″N 121°44′18″W[1] The Reserve is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is managed as Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve by the California Department of Fish and Game. The Mission of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is to ensure the perpetual health of ecosystems in Elkhorn Slough and the surrounding watershed through preservation, restoration, research, information exchange and education with particular emphasis on the Research Reserve.

To the north and south are sand dunes, sandy beaches, and extensive kelp forest habitats along the rocky shoreline. Some of the most productive kelp forests and intertidal areas can be found in this region. MLML also is located between two large upwelling centers, which provide nutrients that stimulate an incredible amount of productivity but also provide a wealth of opportunities to study coastal oceanic processes.

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:

Among the marine institutions around the bay, MLML distinguishes itself by engaging in a broad spectrum of coastal and marine research topics, often applied to questions of the whole organism or ecosystem and their responses to anthropogenic impacts and
mitigation. Utilizing the coastal campuses of the CSU, MLML has established a coastal observatory, spanning all of California and dedicated to monitor environmental conditions and change in the coastal zone. In addition, MLML operates the largest fleet of research vessels in central California including the R/V Point Sur, a 500 ton, 135 foot class research vessel, owned by the National Science Foundation.

One of the labs at MLML is the the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory (MPSL). It is a collaborative research consortium of scientists at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). This unique, long term assemblage of researchers evolved to provide a wide range of environmental expertise to local, state, and federal agencies charged with assessing and monitoring the waters in California.

Another lab is the Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab which conducts research on nearshore species to help promote conservation.

Another lab is the Vertebrate Ecology Lab where graduate students study marine and estuarine birds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. MLML’s proximity to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve provides a wealth of pelagic, near-shore, and estuarine species and habitats for local study.

Finally, the Central Coast Wetlands Group is a wetlands science research group through MLML serving the Central Coast of California. We work closely with regional and state partners to improve wetland science communication between researchers, resource managers and policy makers. We do this through on the ground research, the development and dissemination of tools and materials, and through organizing and hosting meetings and symposia that bring groups of people together to increase dialogue. By collaborating on wetland-related efforts, local resources can be used more effectively to assess and improve the condition of local wetlands and the services they provide.

Many projects are administered through these labs that includes identifying and monitoring endangered and vulnerable species and environmentally sensitive areas.

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

Moss Landing Wildlife Area, where MLML is located, is a tidal marsh dominated almost exclusively by perennial pickleweed. Elkhorn Slough is an essential 'pit-stop' for migratory shorebirds. Mammals such as harbor seal and sea otter also occur in the area. Many of the over 300 species of birds recorded in the watershed of Elkhorn Slough also occur within the Moss Landing Wildlife Area, most notably the Federally threatened Western Snowy plover. These plovers nest and feed in the Wildlife Area's former salt ponds.

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

Information for MLML can be found here https://www.mlml.calstate.edu/about-us

Each lab's information can be found here:

Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory: https://mpsl.mlml.calstate.edu/

Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab: https://seagrant.mlml.calstate.edu/

Vertebrate Ecology Lab: https://birdmam.mlml.calstate.edu/

Central Coast Wetlands Group: https://ccwg.mlml.calstate.edu/

SJSU’s biology department has created a wildlife habitat that is a certified Schoolyard Habitat site #1587 by the National Wildlife Federation. The site provides habitat for wildlife and learning opportunities for students.

Article found here:

The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.