Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.50
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Berkeley
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kira Stoll
Director of Sustainability
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, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

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

UC Berkeley owns and manages lands of conservation importance. The largest of these protected areas is the more than 300-acre Hill Campus Ecological Study Area located within an even larger 800-acre largely undeveloped upper Strawberry Creek watershed.

In addition to this large area of native forested land there are three set-aside Natural Areas on the Central Campus; the riparian corridor following Codornices Creek within the boundary of University Village, Albany; and finally, the coastal prairie and tidal marsh of the Berkeley Global Campus within the nearby city of Richmond.

These areas are described below:

Upper Strawberry Creek Watershed and Ecological Study Area, Berkeley and Oakland Hills - This area of over 800 acres represents several unique ecosystems of the San Francisco Bay/East Bay; both Oak/Bay Laurel riparian forests and North Coast Scrub plant and animal communities are found here.

Central Campus Natural Areas - These three set-aside glades within the campus proper hold remnant Oak/Bay Laurel riparian plant and animal communities along with Coast Redwood forest elements (primarily mature trees with some native understory plantings).

Codornices Creek at University Village, Albany – This creek is both representative of an East Bay creek riparian community but also supports a small but resilient run of threatened Steelhead trout as well as other native fish populations (stickleback and roach).

Berkeley Global Campus, Richmond - This university land contains remnant coastal upland prairie (rare native grasses and forbs) and a restored tidal marshland.

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

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Each of the above listed areas has received repeated assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species of concern; for example, the Upper Strawberry Creek Watershed is designated habitat for the federally listed Alameda Whipsnake. As mentioned, Codornices Creek is habitat for the threatened Northern California Steelhead and at the Berkeley Global Campus, Richmond, the endangered Ridgeway’s Rail, a marsh bird, continues to sustain a small breeding population under UC Berkeley protective efforts.

UC Berkeley continues to assess its lands to identify environmentally sensitive areas, as both part of its ongoing planning process as well as in response to changing environmental factors such as prolonged drought and climate change.

Frequent visits to these areas by qualified personnel, primarily Campus researchers and staff from the UC Berkeley Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), are the main means of assessment. However in the course of updating planning documents or complying with the California Environmental Quality Act process for large-scale projects, the university may contract with consulting biologists and other subject matter experts on a particular species of concern. Methodology centers primarily around visual and auditory (bird calls) surveys.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

See above.

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

UC Berkeley maintains a Long Range Development Plan with an accompanying Environmental Impact Report. This document lays out the framework by which the university will steward its lands. Both the Office of Environment, Health and Safety and the Department of Facilities Services implement programs to meet the university's goal of protecting environmentally sensitive areas and performing restoration projects where feasible.

One program, the Strawberry Creek Restoration Program (SCRP), is a student led effort to both protect and restore watershed natural spaces, where guidance and instruction is provided by staff from the Office of Environment, Health & Safety. Over the last two decades, university students have transformed natural areas overwhelmed by invasive plant species back to biodiverse native plant communities, thereby bringing back the basis of unique Northern California ecosystems and food webs.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information in this field was primarily provided by the campus Environment, Health & Safety and the Grounds Maintenance departments.

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.