Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.15
Liaison Mary Ellen Mallia
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2023

STARS v2.2

University at Albany
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jason Kersch
Landscape Architect
Office of Campus Planning
"---" 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?:
No

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:
The university's main campus is located next to the Albany Pine Bush. New York State identifies the Albany Pine Bush Preserve as a priority for protection in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan. The area is between Albany and Schenectady. The current protected boundaries are Fuller Road on the east, Route 5 (Central Avenue) on the North, Route 146 on the west, and Route 20 (Western Avenue) on the South. The Pine Bush originally encompassed 58,000 acres extending from downtown Albany to Rotterdam. Now, there are 5,800 acres remaining. The protected area is within one mile of campus. This image outlines the area: https://savethepinebush.org/exhibit-map/ The University is the kidney shaped object in the pink shaded area just to the right of the thick black line Key Black Line: The Pine Bush Commission’s study area. Purple Line: Rough estimate of the former extent of the Pine Bush based on the distribution of sand and sand dunes in a contiguous area. Gray Dashed Line: Continguous Pine Bush as late as 1945. Solid Green Area: Preserved or ear-marked for full-protection by the Pine Bush Commission as of 1995. Some of the full-protection areas have been or are being developed. Striped Green Area: Contiguous open space that should be given full protection according to Save the Pine Bush. The markings on this map were drawn by John Wolcott, based on research conducted by John Wolcott and Jerry Mueller. Drawn March, 1995.

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:
The Giant Pine-drop has been identified as an endangered for Albany County. http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=9195 The Albany Pine Bush, adjacent to the campus, is the only home of the Karner Blue Butterfly and is listed as an endangered species. https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7494.html#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:
Ecologically sensitive areas on campus include Indigenous Pond which serves as our retention basin and is vital for our stormwater management, sustainable landscaping program and is a biologically diverse habitat. It is located on the east side of campus. Interpretative signage noting the various flora and fauna have been installed around the pond. As noted above, the area near the university campus is home of the Karner Blue Butterfly but the butterfly's habitat does not include the campus. Attached is the list of species identified as reported in the NYS DEC nature explorer for the campus and the City of Albany and a list of those species around Indigenous Pond.

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
The university used the NYS DEC nature explorer tool to identify species on campus and in the city of albany. The tool can be accessed at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/65148.html The university consults with the NY Natural Heritage Program database to help identify endangered and vulnerable species. https://guides.nynhp.org/

A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):
The Office of Sustainability, Grounds Department and Office of Campus Planning consult the above tools and each other to assess whether there are vulnerable and/or endagenered species and how to mitigate impacts and raise awareness about their presence.

A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:
Indigenous Pond is home to many of the species on campus and it is subject to the guidelines in our landscaping master plan and stormwater management plan. These plans called for the use of native plants and low-water landscaping. Embedded in the stormwater plan are practices designed to reduce the amount of potential toxins that enter our watershed.

Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
0

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
A graduate student, Cassidy Drasser, focused her master's thesis on the campus biodiversity. Her work,"Enhancing Biological Diversity at the University at Albany" contains information on campus species. See table 1, 3,and 11. The work is available via ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis databank.

A graduate student, Cassidy Drasser, focused her master's thesis on the campus biodiversity. Her work,"Enhancing Biological Diversity at the University at Albany" contains information on campus species. See table 1, 3,and 11. The work is available via ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis databank.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.