Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.15
Liaison Nick Cookson
Submission Date Dec. 20, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sewanee - The University of the South
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Turner
Director of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
Office of Environmental Stewardship and 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?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Nature Conservancy Carter Lands, Franklin State Forest, Buggy Top/Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The southern Cumberland Plateau region is considered a nationally important hot spot of biological diversity. The Natural Resource Defense Council included our region as part of their “Biogem” designations. Recently, the Open Space Institute in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy selected the southern Cumberland Plateau (including the Domain) as the initial focus area in the launch of their Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund. The landscape of the Domain is considered to be among the most resilient in the southeast in its future ability to maintain species diversity in the face of climate change. One of our two old-growth cove forest sites on the Domain, Dick Cove, is a registered with US National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark. Our other old-growth forest site, Shakerag Hollow, was the recent subject of the prize-winning book, The Forest Unseen by Biology Professor David Haskell.
Lost Cove is also adjacent to the Franklin State Forest and is part of the State's forest management's comprehensive plan.

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?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

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:

Ongoing field assessments.
Sewanee, and the Sewanee Environmental Institute, used GIS Remote sensing, the use of aerial imagery, and field surveys by students and faculty to find key habitat locations based on land types and subsequently registered them. These now exist as GIS shapeless.

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

Karst topography, sandstone bluffs,
Long eared bat, Indiana Bat, Gray Bat,

sandstone outcrops
ephemeral ponds
stream corridors
limestone outcrops
old growth forest

plants (endangered species of buttercup)

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

With 13,000 acres, Sewanee is gratefully endowed with significant wildlife habitat. As such, we are also called towards stewardship of the wildlife which call the Domain home. The 2011 Domain Management Plan includes the specific goals of “managing habitats to enhance, protect, and promote biodiversity across the landscape” as well as “fostering ecological community that can be resilient to climate change.” The Main threats to biodiversity in Sewanee are habitat loss (e.g., conversion of native vegetation to other land covers), habitat fragmentation (e.g., by roads in natural areas), habitat degradation (e.g., loss of structural and functional diversity), non-native species (that may outcompete, prey on, or infect natives), pollution (e.g., by dumps, movement of sediment into waterways, etc), and over-harvesting (e.g., removal of top mammalian predators, over-digging of ginseng, etc). Thus, Sewanee is active in protecting sensitive areas that harbor particularly unique and sensitive biodiversity include Vernal pools, Streams, Upland sandstone outcrops, Limestone outcrops in coves, Caves, Old growth forests, Bluff edges. The Office of Domain Management uses quantifiable metrics such as Number of exotic species naturalized on the Domain, Percent cover of exotic species, Degree of fragmentation of habitat, Amount of sediment/other particulates entering streams, Number and types of roads through natural areas, Structure and composition of forests, and the Status of threatened, endangered, range-restricted, or endemic species to assess our biodiversity and wildlife protection program.

Currently in the process of writing the 2019 Domain Management plan, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, that will cover this.

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

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