Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.15
Liaison Kelly Wellman
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Texas A&M University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.01 / 2.00 Phillip Zellner
Grounds Manager
Grounds Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
5,576.48 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 2,793 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 17 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 2,810 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):

Besides building foot print and infrastructure, a significant portion of the campus acreage is still dedicated to agriculture and engineering extension and research. SSC is contracted to manage 2810 acres of campus. 1800 acres are formally managed, 400 acres are irrigated, 50,000 sf of annual color beds and 11,000 trees.

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:

SSC Grounds Management uses a 4 tier approach in the Integrated Pest Management Procedures used across the entire campus.
These procedures include setting action thresholds, monitoring and identifying pests, prevention, and control.

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:

At Presidential Library, Rose Garden, Campus flower beds and Leach Teaching Gardens we follow the standard organic management practices that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials.

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

Our approach to new and replacement plantings is multi-faceted.
Before any planting decisions are made we consider the other elements that contribute to both a sustainable and durable solution. Areas of consideration include: sun exposure (duration & time of day), proximity to heat and light reflective surfaces, soil conditions including: taxonomy, physiological, chemical; grade, precipitation and/ or supplemental irrigation issues, desired use, financial considerations, etc.

Those decisions affect the form and function of plant selection. Where prudent and warranted, the use of native / native adapted plants are promoted.

Invasive Species-
The SSC Grounds Management staff is comprised of formally educated and highly credentialed personnel who are able to identify invasive species of all forms- insects, weeds, misc. fungal, bacterial, and virus vectors. We continually stay abreast of current of new threats, causal agents, and possible mitigation activities.

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

The Texas A&M University Campus has a rich history of cutting edge landscape irrigation technology and management. In 1972, Texas A&M installed a campus-wide state of the art irrigation system. It was arguably the most technologically advanced system of any comparably sized campus in the country.

After 40 plus years of utilizing controllers with mechanical technology, SSC Grounds Management, Texas A&M University, Weathermatic, and a private philanthropic organization have cooperatively invested roughly 1 million dollars to upgrade the irrigation system and restore to its former "State of the Art" condition. The project includes installation of state of the art cloud based irrigation controller assemblies complete with weather stations, flow control, and master valves. Our goal is to reduce irrigation water consumption by 100 million gallons annually.

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

SSC Grounds Department generates approximately 18,000 cubic yards of miscellaneous green waste annually. SSC Grounds Department diverts 100% of green waste to our campus composting operation for use on campus. These composted material include: composts, composted wood mulches, wood chips, compost sand blends for turf top dressing, etc.

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

TAMU is utilizing native adapted & water resourceful plant material, employing drip irrigation technology in planting beds in lieu of conventional spray irrigation, phasing in water efficient “Smart” irrigation controllers, and utilizing organic fertilizers when possible. Additionally, the university utilizes proper drainage design to mitigate nonpoint source pollution.

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):

Our climate is not conducive to significant ice and snow events. In the case of a minor event, SSC Grounds utilizes Magnesium Chloride Ice melt as a spot treatment on affected pedestrian areas. This blend is significantly less corrosive and does not adversely affect the turf and or landscape plantings.

For key campus intersections and other vehicular thoroughfares, Sand is utilized for traction. At the conclusion of the event, SSC Grounds Utilizes a sweeper truck to remove the sand.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information for this section was supplied by SSC Service Solutions, a third-party contractor for Texas A&M Grounds Maintenance.

SSC currently has extra credit for the PGMS Certification and the Tree Campus USA. Both are current.

Also for extra credit, under associates with certifications, we have 100% of our managers(7) with one or more certifications to include Turf, Pest Control, a licensed landscape architect. Phillip actually has his Leed Green Associate Certification.

SSC Administrative offices purchased $8,480.27 in recycled products not listed elsewhere.

We gave a $1500. scholarship to 9 SSC families having students that attend Texas A&M University along with choosing 2 TAMU students to receive a $2200. scholarship and travel to Guatemala on a Living Water trip to help build a fresh water well and teach hygiene classes to a community housing 800 families.

SSC Grounds purchased a solar powered mower in 2019. We are currently testing this product for pros and cons. So far, it has been a great success.

We also purchased 30 100% Recycled Eko Mats for use on campus in 2019. It is my understanding there is a credit available through STARS for the use of these.

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.