Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 53.15
Liaison Paul Scanlon
Submission Date Feb. 29, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Slippery Rock University
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.07 / 2.00 Paul Scanlon
Special Assistant to the President
President's Office/Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 531 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 57.87 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 0 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 402.30 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 70.80 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 0 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :

All areas of campus are managed using, at a minimum, an Integrated Pest Management Plan.

The total campus acreage is 531 acres, of which 151.2 acres is Bartramian Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary (protected areas). Included within these protected areas is the 70.8 acre Macoskey Center property, which is managed in accordance with the documents submitted for LEED for Existing Buildings-Operations & Maintenance certification and includes both a landscape management program and an IPM plan.

Emphasis of the IPM is placed on integrating interior and exterior strategies, while employing non-chemical practices such as:
- Exclusion, such as screening and caulking;
- Habitat modification , such as reducing the humidity in a room or thinning close-in shrubbery;
- Sanitation, such as eliminating organic matter buildup in drains or cafeteria equipment;
- Building maintenance, such as eliminating gaps around exterior door or sealing around utility entrances;
- Trapping, such as modifying or installing insect light traps;
- Monitoring, using insect or rodent glue boards or non-lethal rodent traps to capture pests.
- Use of least toxic chemicals as pesticides when absolutely required at specific locations for the targeted species.

The institution sub-contracts out many pest issues to the Leaf Pest Control company but oversees all operations.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

In addition to the Macoskey Center sustainable landscape management program submitted for LEED O&M certification, an additional 80.4 acres of the SRU campus are certified Bartramian Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuaries and therefore protected natural areas (total protected area of campus is 151.2 acres of sanctuary that includes the Macoskey Center property). Riparian buffer zones have been established along all campus waterways in the Bartramian Audubon Sanctuaries.

The SRU Environmental Zoning Committee has also tagged specimen trees and identified outdoor classroom areas on campus to protect them from inadvertent damage.
On developed portions of campus, LEED guidelines for the use of indigenous plantings are now being incorporated around new building sites; 10 foot wide riparian buffer zones are maintained around campus natural water features, and a system of natural streams/retention ponds are used to minimize stormwater overflows and sedimentation carry-over into the stormwater system.

Plant Stewardship is accomplished at developed areas of campus by pruning trees and shrubs, using plants that will do well in this area, and preventing invasive species on campus from taking over(such as ivy growing up buildings). New tree plantings generally include trees that are native to this area such as maples and oaks. Each year additional perennials are planted to reduce the need of annuals to the extent possible while maintaining the desired aesthetics of the campus.

In general, SRU's grounds maintenance crews use low nitrogen, slow-release fertilizers to minimize loss of nitrogen due to run-off or volatilization; use of slow release fertilizer also saves on grounds tractor diesel fuel use as the number of applications is reduced. Compost from the Macoskey Center leaf collection and preconsumer food scrap compost program is now used in lieu of inorganic fertilizer at key landscape beds, which also use local bark mulch. Stone (river rock) is used in some beds to reduce the amount of mulch required each year. The amount of phosphorous admitted to the water table is also minimized by selecting products with little or no phosphorous content.Organic fertilizers are used in liquid form in the flower beds on campus.

Liquid fungicides or insecticides are generally not used on campus, and only as a last resort if required to save an athletic field. Chemicals such as Roundup are used only to spot treat large populations of weeds along fence lines, at sidewalk cracks and building edges; similarly, herbicides labeled with a Caution Rating (least toxic) are used sparingly for weeds such as Ground Ivy.

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

The SRU Environmental Zoning Committee oversees all uses of outdoor university property to avoid infringement on areas such as Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries and outdoor classroom areas and to ensure appropriate, sustainable methods are used when any land use changes occur.

In 2012, an official Land Use Project Request Form was introduced to make sure the appropriate entities (Sustainability Office, Facilities Grounds group, Environmental Zoning Committee, etc.) review any proposed temporary or permanent use of campus property and recommend native/ecologically appropriate plants and trees for proposed landscaping initiatives.

A Campus Trails Committee actively maintains our natural trail system, including removal of invasive plant species at the Overlook hiking/biking trail, and the Grounds crews also remove invasive plant species at other locations on campus.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

SRU composts leaves from the community as well as pre-consumer food wastes from the dining halls at the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research. Using native wildflower plantings also decreases the amount of maintenance needed.

Waste minimization is achieved by mulching grass and leaves and/or collecting leaves for the Macoskey Center composting program, thus returning the nutrients to the soil. Any excess clippings that have to be removed from athletic fields to prevent them from killing the grass underneath are taken to the dumpsite and allowed to decompose naturally.

In regard to snow management, SRU uses snow melt systems at major building entrances and plows/manually removes snow first, in order to minimize the usage of salt. Bulk rock salt is used for streets and driveways, but we are attempting to minimize its use when economically practical in favor of a calcium product that requires less material to do the same job, therefore reducing the amount of chlorides added to the environment.

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:

The Macoskey Center manages an extensive composting program (with the compost used for campus landscaping projects and/or gardens), and practices organic gardening in both the Market Gardens and the Community Gardens.

A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

On developed portions of campus, LEED guidelines for the use of indigenous plantings are now being incorporated around new building sites. As described above, SRU minimizes the use of chlorides in managing snow and ice, uses organic compost from the Macoskey Center, avoids the use of liquid fungicides or herbicides whenever possible, and uses "least toxic" materials when absolutely needed.

SRU's grounds maintenance crews use low nitrogen, slow-release fertilizers to minimize loss of nitrogen due to run-off or volatilization; use of slow release fertilizer also saves on grounds tractor diesel fuel use as the number of applications is reduced.

Environmentally friendly recycled plastic “lumber” benches are used on campus to replace deteriorated wooden benches, while reusing the original steel frames.

A wind-powered lake aeration system uses renewable wind energy to oxygenate a retention pond on campus to inhibit the growth of harmful algae. This also educates people about the importance of good water quality.

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

SRU uses a campus stormwater retention system consisting of a series of connected streams and retention ponds to minimize stormwater overflow and soil erosion.

A small solar-powered rainwater collection and drip irrigation system is used in the Smith Student Center East Parking Lot. It features a green area where an environmentally friendly rainwater collection system captures rainfall in an underground manhole, where a 65-watt pump distributes the water to a drip irrigation system serving the planters in this area. The pump is powered by a solar photovoltaic panel located on the roof of the building.

In addition, the Smith Student Center West Parking Lot features an environmentally friendly stormwater bioswale, porous pavement, and three bioretention rain gardens that minimize soil erosion silt run-off by capturing/filtering stormwater runoff on-site, rather than channeling it to the municipal stormwater system

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

SRU uses snow-melting systems at major building entrances to minimize the use of chemicals, and salting is normally only done after snow plowing/manual snow removal is completed when conditions require it (SRU does not typically salt in preparation for a potential storm). Calcium chloride is used as a salt alternative on new concrete as it is less harsh on the concrete and environment.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

SRU owns the following on-campus Bartramian Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuaries: Storm Harbor Equestrian Center (23.7 acres), Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research (70.8 acres), Branchton Road Sanctuary (30.7 acres), South Main Street Sanctuary(16.0 acres), and the old Wally Rose Ballpark Sanctuary(10.0 acres). Other protected areas include selected outdoor classroom areas and the ecological research plots near the Storm Harbor equestrian Center.

Two additional, off-campus sanctuaries are also owned by SRU - the Old Stone House site and the Miller Forest on Wolf Creek.

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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