Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.07
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Merced
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Zuhair Mased
Director of Energy
Facilities Management
"---" 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?:
Yes

A brief description of any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

The Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve uses 6,500 protected acres adjacent to the university to conduct research and to offer education that will benefit the university and the Central Valley, as well as national and global communities. UC Merced manages the Reserve ecosystem to protect the rare and endangered organisms and to allow university students and faculty to investigate ecological research questions that have relevance at local, national and global scales.


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

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

The methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

To survey for the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox, we deployed four automatic wildlife cameras and we’ve collected hundreds of hours of video and still photos. With California Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we’re examining the feasibility of restoring nesting habitat for Tricolored Blackbirds at Lake Yosemite. (2013-2014)


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

Over 60 species of birds have been identified on the Reserve, based on 80 surveys conducted over 18 months. Thirteen species were documented as breeding. Common diurnal raptors include Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, American Kestrels and Prairie Falcons. Long-billed Curlews and Short-eared Owls are found here in winter. We’ve observed coyotes on 35 trips, Burrowing Owls on 30 trips and Golden Eagles on 22 trips through the reserve. Several pairs of Burrowing Owls nest in ground squirrel burrows and American Kestrels began nesting in 2014 in wooden nest boxes erected by students. A graduate student and several undergraduates have studied wetland birds and kestrel diet. (2013-2014)


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

The campus has placed more than 25,000 acres into permanent conservation and has dedicated 1,307 acres directly adjacent to campus to open space, conservation, scientific research, and related uses.


The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:

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.