Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.50
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date May 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

University at Buffalo
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Erin Moscati
Environmental Educator
Office of 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, 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:

Located on University at Buffalo’s north campus, this section of northern hardwood forest and wetland was left to be preserved when development was occurring in the 1960’s. Named Letchworth Woods, it is 65 acres and a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The woods is home to a variety of unique and vulnerable species, a small creek, and yearly vernal pools. It shows signs of old growth and is potentially being designated as a “Wetland of Unusual Local Importance” by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Different environmental classes also utilize the space to conduct population assessments and species identification each semester.

In addition, the Law School has played a critical role in achieving RAMSAR status for the Niagara River Corridor which is adjacent to and connected to UB's Campuses. For more information see: https://buffalo.box.com/s/8c5wthv3mjlrr9pdahwvjt0mwge2w2tv


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:

Vulnerable species include: blue-spotted salamander and red backed salamander.


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:

A comprehensive list of all species can be found in the attached documents. Along with the blue-spotted salamander and red backed salamander, fauna found in the woods include coyotes, white-tailed deer, woodpeckers (from pileated to downy), groundhogs, swallow species, Canadian geese, grey-squirrels, foxes, and mallards. As an area experiencing wetland conditions and vernal pools from the heavy snow melt, it also serves as a habitat to numerous microorganisms and wetland vegetation as well.


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

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation biologists have identified vulnerable species, such as the blue-spotted salamander as being heavily prevalent in the area. The red back salamander (a salamander rarely found in urbanized areas) has also been identified as well as the shellbark hickory and sassafras (plants not native to western New York). The area is currently used by the Sustainability and Environment, Geography, Geology, and Biology departments at the university.


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

The departments of Sustainability and Environment, Geography, Geology and Biology use quadrat analysis, and mark and recapture studies to conduct species documentation and population estimates on a bi-annual basis.


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

Since 2013, the woods have been identified as a “Certified Wildlife Habitat”, by the National Wildlife Federation. The school is currently in the process of obtaining the ecosystem designated as a “Wetland of Unusual Local Importance” through New York State. This would help prevent future land development and ecosystem destruction. UB Sustainability is developing a management plan that will ideally promote the intrinsic value of the woods both to the wildlife and as a protected “green-space” on campus.


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

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

Tim DePriest, NYSDEC and Sandy Geffner, Environmental Studies Director, UB

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.