Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.52
Liaison Megan Varnadore
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Sonoma State University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Claudia Luke
Director of the Center for Environmental Inquiry
Science and Tech Instruction
"---" 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, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

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

SSU owns 4200 acres of natural lands that are used to support first-hand learning about human-environment interactions and teach skills needed to find solutions to environmental challenges.
The 3,670-acre Galbreath Wildlands Preserve is in the Coast Range of northern California. Streams have been affected by logging and grazing and provide a focus for student, faculty, and community learning about and seeking solutions to the consequences of resource extraction. Other key challenges are the decline of biodiverse grasslands and oak woodlands due to feral pigs, yellow-star thistle, and douglas-fir.
The 450-acre Fairfield Osborn Preserve lies at the top of Sonoma Mountain. The Preserve is bisected by Copeland Creek, which continues down the mountain and traverses the SSU campus. The creek drains into the Laguna de Santa Rosa, designated by Ramsar as a wetland of international significance. Student and faculty work with community partners on regional challenges, which include: Sudden Oak Death monitoring, climate change monitoring, habitat connectivity, water cycles, and invasive species control.
The 40-acre Los Guillicos Preserve is in the Valley of the Moon at the foot of Hood Mountain in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Research has focused on cultural resource monitoring, and a local wildlife rescue organization uses barns on the property as a flight aviary for injured raptors.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

Riparian vegetation and wetlands occur at the Osborn and Galbreath Preserves and on the SSU Campus. Sensitive cultural sites are documented at the Osborn, Galbreath and Los Guillicos Preserves. Special status species documented to occur at the preserves or campus include:
Invertebrates: Pacific Fairy Shrimp (Federally Endangered)
Plants: Franciscan Onion (CNPS Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California), White-flowered Rein Orchid (CNPS Plants Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California), Santa Cruz Clover (CNPS Plants Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California and Elsewhere)
Fish: Northern California Steel-head (Federally Threatened)
Amphibians & Reptiles: Yellow Legged Frog (California Species of Special Concern), California Red Legged Frog (Federally Threatened), Western Pond Turtle (California Species of Special Concern)
Birds: 77 migratory species (Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Species with additional levels of protection include: Golden Eagle (Fully Protected), Bald Eagle (State Endangered), Sonoma Tree Vole (California Species of Special Concern), and Mountain Lion (State Specially Protected Mammal, and current petitioned for listing as State Threatened or Endangered).


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

Riparian vegetation and wetlands occur at the Osborn and Galbreath Preserves and on the SSU Campus. Sensitive cultural sites are documented at the Osborn, Galbreath and Los Guillicos Preserves. Special status species documented to occur at the preserves or campus include:
Invertebrates: Pacific Fairy Shrimp (Federally Endangered)
Plants: Franciscan Onion (CNPS Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California), White-flowered Rein Orchid (CNPS Plants Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California), Santa Cruz Clover (CNPS Plants Rare, Threatened, or Endangered in California and Elsewhere)
Fish: Northern California Steel-head (Federally Threatened)
Amphibians & Reptiles: Yellow Legged Frog (California Species of Special Concern), California Red Legged Frog (Federally Threatened), Western Pond Turtle (California Species of Special Concern)
Birds: 77 migratory species (Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Species with additional levels of protection include: Golden Eagle (Fully Protected), Bald Eagle (State Endangered), Sonoma Tree Vole (California Species of Special Concern), and Mountain Lion (State Specially Protected Mammal, and current petitioned for listing as State Threatened or Endangered).


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Identification and on-going monitoring include:
• GIS database of topography, vegetation and cultural sites at all preserves. Includes LiDAR-derived topography and vegetation layers at the Osborn and Galbreath preserves.
• Special Status Species Assessment (2011 Galbreath Preserve) – created a list of species for classes and researchers to look for and report
• Pacific Fairy Shrimp Population Monitoring (2018 Osborn Preserve) – undertaken by The Nature Conservancy
• Habitat Quality Assessment of Steel-head Habitat (2019 Osborn Preserve and SSU Campus) – ongoing water quality and erosion monitoring
• Wildlife Camera Traps (2019 Galbreath, Osborn, and SSU Campus) – year-round monitoring
• Cultural Resources Surveys (2019 Los Guillicos Preserve) – ongoing pre-disturbance surveys with Anthropological Studies Center
• Red-legged Frog Habitat Quality Studies (2019 Osborn Preserve)
• Western Pond Turtle Study (2019 Russian River)
• Riparian Restoration (2019 Galbreath Preserve and SSU Campus) – ongoing
• Digital Bird Song Monitoring (2019 Galbreath Preserve and SSU Campus) – ongoing citizen science program


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

All lands owned by SSU have been assessed using one of more of the methods described.


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

The Preserves’ On-line Reservation System requires all preserve visitors to submit an application. The application requires a description of proposed activities to ensure that potential disturbance to sensitive species, habitats and cultural sites is prevented. GIS data layers of sensitive species and sites are maintained to evaluate potential disturbance of proposed activities. Researchers and classes are required to submit copies of state and federal permits for any activities that have potential to affect special status species. Any ground disturbing activities are pre-surveyed by SSU’s Anthropological Studies Center according to Osborn and Galbreath Cultural Resource Management Plan guidelines.
The Copeland Creek Master Plan is an approved permit by state and federal agencies for the types of activities allowed within the portion of the creek that crosses the SSU campus. Faculty and students interested in working in the Creek must submit an application to SSU facilities to ensure it complies with Master Plan requirements.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
100

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.