|Submission Date||March 4, 2021|
University of California, Berkeley
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?:
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. UC Berkeley has designated in its Long Range Development Plan acres of campus lands to be preserved and not built on. This includes 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 Richmond Field Station.
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).
Richmond Field Station - This university land contains remnant coastal upland prairie (rare native grasses) and a restored tidal marshland.
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?:
A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:
UC Berkeley's Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the Wildland Vegetative Fuel Management Plan contains a list of endangered and vulnerable species.
- Table 3.5-2 outlines Special-Status Plant Species Known to Occur in the Hill Campus Vicinity and Their Potential for Occurrence in the Plan Area and Identified Treatment Projects.
- Table 3.5-3 outlines Special-Status Wildlife Species Known to Occur in the Project Vicinity and Their Potential for Occurrence in the Plan Area
The Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes endangered and vulnerable species in Section 4.3 BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES. Biological resources include all flora, fauna and associated habitats (including wetlands) that would be affected by project implementation.
Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:
UC Berkeley's Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the Wildland Vegetative Fuel Management Plan contains a description of areas of biodiversity importance.
Occurrences of sensitive natural communities recorded in the CNDDB and identified during May 2020 surveys are described in Section 3.5, starting on page 19.
The Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes areas of biodiversity importance in Section 4.3 BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES. Biological resources include all flora, fauna and associated habitats (including wetlands) that would be affected by project implementation.
The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
UC campuses are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for their Long Range Development Plans. The Environmental Impact Report methods are extensive, details on the methodology can be found here: https://www.ucop.edu/design-services/resources/ceqa-compliance-planning/index.html
The 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describes its methodology in Section 4.3.1 ANALYTICAL METHOD: Biological resources in the study area were determined through a review of available information, including the 1990 LRDP EIR,1 environmental documents on specific developments on the Campus Park and surrounding areas, and assessments conducted for the Hill Campus. Field reconnaissance surveys were conducted on February 4 and April 22, 2003 for the Campus Park and the two potential development areas in the Hill Campus. The potential impacts of implementation of the 2020 LRDP were then evaluated against this baseline in light of the adequacy of existing programs and proposed LRDP policies intended to protect and enhance sensitive biological resources.
A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):
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.
The Wildland Vegetative Fuel Management Plan (WVFMP) directs the treatment of vegetation that could become fire fuel within the UC Berkeley Hill Campus (or Plan Area) located east of the Campus Park. It serves as one component of UC Berkeley’s range of actions to substantially reduce wildfire risk and minimize the potential for harmful effects of wildfire on people, property, and natural resources within the Plan Area, as well as on adjacent public and private land and throughout the greater East Bay region. This EIR has been prepared to evaluate the physical environmental effects of the WVFMP, including the Identified Treatment Projects.
A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:
UC Berkeley maintains Long Range Development Plans with an accompanying Environmental Impact Report. These documents lay 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 both protects 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, the university has 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 Long Range Development Plan has guidelines in place to protect biodiversity. For example, GUIDELINE G.1 PRESERVATION AREAS states: The preservation areas described below and in figure 12 protect the major elements of the campus landscape armature, as well as its most significant historic exterior spaces. No new buildings should intrude into the preservation areas.
Table ES-1 of UC Berkeley's Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the Wildland Vegetative Fuel Management Plan provides a summary of the program-level and project-level environmental impacts potentially resulting from implementation of the overall WVFMP and from implementation of the Identified Treatment Projects, respectively. The table also identifies the level of significance of each impact before mitigation, mitigation measures proposed to reduce impacts, and the level of significance of the impact after implementation of the mitigation measures for the overall WVFMP and the Identified Treatment Projects.
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:
The information in this field was primarily provided by the campus Environment, Health & Safety and the Facilities Operations departments.
For more information about the Long Range Development Plans, Environmental Impact Reports, and other documents: https://capitalstrategies.berkeley.edu/campus-planning