Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.64
Liaison Yolanda Cieters
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Seattle University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.94 / 2.00 Phillip Thompson
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
50 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 2 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 31 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 33 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):

The footprint of SU's buildings, impervious surfaces, and areas that are not regularly managed or maintained accounts for 17 acres.

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:

Please note that 100% of SU's managed Grounds are in accordance with an IPM Program: 94% of the managed grounds are managed using organic materials; 6% of the managed grounds use conventional landscape management practices (but still including the IPM principles and techniques)

--SU's Landscape Management Plan: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/grounds-and-landscaping/philosophy-and-practices-/Sustainable-Landscape-Mgt-Plan-May-2009.pdf
--SU's IPM policy: https://www.seattleu.edu/media/grounds-and-landscaping/philosophy-and-practices-/IPM-Policy.pdf

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:

94% of SU's grounds is managed in accordance with an organic program; 6% is inorganic allowing some synthetic fertilizer for natural turf soccer field.

The shift to sustainable landscape practices began in 1979 with the implementation of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Our IPM program differs from many others in that chemical pesticide applications are not considered a viable last option. Only OMRI rated products are used on the campus grounds and are used only as last resort. We use a combination of methods that focus on total plant health, particularly at the soil level, to maintain our grounds.

Description of the organic landscape management:
--Weed suppression, not eradication: weeding is performed by hand, sometimes by burning
--Compost top-dressing
--SU compost and wood chip mulching: mulch and soil is only organic; compost mulch is generated by the university or purchased from Cedar Grove
--Centralized control of irrigation and monitored water use
--Responsible Plant Selection
--Beneficial Insect Release
--Nutrient cycling
--Compost Tea application
--Encouraging Beneficial Insect and Bird Populations
--Pest and disease control is achieved through pruning and plant replacement with resistant plants; also application of biological control. Other controls must be OMRI certified and are used only as last resort.

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

--See SU Sustainable Landscape Managment Plan (attached PDF file).
--Native, drought-tolerant, and edible plants are our campus standard.
--2017 Grounds introduced Service Learning as a component of engaging university community, especially students in improving campus landscapes. For example, Grounds facilitated a tree planting in coinciding with Earth Week in April 2017. The tree planting project was coordinated with biology faculty and their class and became part of their curriculum. We planted 10 trees on campus in this project.
--2017 Earth Week: Grounds and Campus Ministry staff and students highlighted a contemplative space on the west side of the administration building by creating a ‘Pop-up Labyrinth’ project. The intention was to invite campus community for a contemplative walk that connects the walker with the earth. The next ‘pop up labyrinth’ project is planned for Fall 2017.
--2015-present: Grounds established an internship for students that facilitates learning about urban agriculture. The Edible Campus Ambassadors Internship provides opportunities for students to engage in growing, planting, tending, harvesting produce on campus and in the university greenhouse. In keeping with the mission of the university most of the harvested produce is donated to local soup kitchens. The Food With Spirit student club are regular participants in general for the edible campus urban agriculture program.
--2008–present: The grounds Vi Hilbert Ethno Botanical garden is an outdoor classroom for indigenous plants and the Lushootseed language (that has been preserved by elder Vi Hilbert).
--2008–present: Grounds staff, students and the Food With Spirit Club facilitates a Pea Patch program for campus community to learn about and participate in urban agriculture. Orientation is held in spring each year and work parties are held seasonally.

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

(1) See SU's Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (in attached PDF file) including the following practices:
• Creation of a “Surface Water Pollution Prevention Plan” which shall be reviewed and approved by the
City of Seattle prior to acquiring the Clearing and Grading permit.
• The contractor shall have on staff a Certified Erosion and Sedimentation Control Lead who shall be on site or on call at all times and who shall perform regular site inspections and write an inspection report or checklist which shall be attached to the site log book.
• Site turbidity and pH monitoring shall be conducted as outlined in the NPDES permit
• Silt Control Measures which include filter fabric fencing, diversion swales and berms, straw bale check dams, mulch, and polyethylene sheeting cover for exposed soil
• Temporary Storm Water Runoff Control
• Measures to keep streets clean shall include wheel cleaning stations at site exits and measures to clean campus and public streets if they become fouled
• Slope erosion control measures
• Protection of drain inlets
• Control of pollutants to include vandalism protection, covering of chemicals and liquids, maintenance of equipment and vehicles to prevent spills, application of fertilizers and pesticides
• Control of de-watering water

(2) SU has two rain gardens:
--The McGoldrick Learning Commons rain garden:
Grates in the hard surface direct water into the rain garden. The lower rain garden is about 2,100 sq ft and has a volume of about 20,000 gallons of freeboard (not including the capacity of the soil). A 10,000 gallon cistern fills, filters, and holds water from the Commons addition roof before releasing it into the lower rain garden.
The rain gardens can handle approximately 1.7” of water over the entire site in a 24 hour period of time without overflowing any water into the city storm drains. This is approximately 100,000 gallons of water managed on site for any given storm event. The system was designed to handle a 25 year storm event.
The “water wall” feature uses 100% rain water. The cistern behind the wall is about 2,500 gallons with a cartridge filter and an ultraviolet light for water purification. The granite face used for the water wall is repurposed from the old lobby of the Lemieux Library building.
The original building discharges water into two rain gardens on either side of the west entrance.
The west side rain gardens are lined because of historic issues with water intrusion into the library basement. This is a closed system, running from south to north into a HDP-lined swale with a 3ft deep soil/gravel mix.
Total volume of the all rain gardens and swales (west side swales, north side swale, cistern, and lower rain gardens) is about 25,000 gallons.
The library addition roof is approximately 11,000 sq ft, the original library roof is about 18,000sq ft, so the annual run-off for these two structures is approximately 678,600 gallons.
A little over two million gallons of water falls on the site in an average year.
The project site was a little more than two acres.

--The Lee Miley Rain Garden:
The Lee Miley rain garden was completed in November 2007 as a solution to winter rains flooding the basements of Lynn, Hunthausen, Xavier and the Chapel buildings. Stormwater infiltrates through layers of soil and gravel as plants transpire moisture and help filter pollutants. Surface area equaling 17,740 sq. ft drains into this rain garden. The rain garden is ten feet deep, lined with a special fabric and perforated drainage system, and filled with a bio-retention mix designed to absorb and retain as much water as possible. Two trenches along the Lynn building west wall route water away from the building. One trench fills the rain garden and the other trench diverts the water from the building's foundation to the City's combined sewer overflow system. As the garden reaches capacity, excess water flows into the City's combined sewer overflow system.

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

--All grounds waste is put in either chipped for later use or hauled to a compost facility.
--See also SU Sustainable Landscape Management Plan (attached PDF file) under "Landscape Waste Diversion Policy":
Landscape waste shall be diverted from the waste stream in several ways. Turf will be mowed with mulching mowers. Grass clippings will be left to decompose on the turf. Woody debris will be chipped and composted on site. During months when excessively large quantities of landscape debris are created, debris shall be picked up by Cedar Grove Compost’s organic waste composting operation.

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

Trees are planted to shade buildings and a passive-cooling study was conducted to determine how we may further cool buildings during the summer while reducing our energy load.
New designs and plantings feature trees and shrubs that tolerate hotter drier summers and wetter winters in an effort to reduce landscape water consumption through irrigation.

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):

Snow and ice melt is applied ahead of an event whenever possible to help minimize the amount of product applied. Product is chosen for minimal impact to the environment but also for maximum effect on melting snow and ice for campus safety.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.