Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Michelle Perez
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, San Diego
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Chuck Morgan
Asst Dir/Cust/Lndscpe
Facilities Management, Resource Management & Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
2,000 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 1,050 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,050 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

This policy applies only to the main La Jolla campus excluding the Medical Centers on East Campus.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:

A brief description of the IPM program:


UC San Diego uses and is consistent with the following definition of integrated pest management (IPM): a pest management strategy that focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems through a combination of techniques such as encouraging biological control, the use of resistant varieties, and the adoption of alternate cultural practices (such as modification of irrigation or pruning to make the habitat less conducive to pest development). Pesticides are used only when careful monitoring indicates they are needed according to pre-established guidelines, treatment thresholds, or to prevent pests from significantly interfering with the purposes for which plants are being grown.

UC San Diego promotes the following Best Management Practices for IPM: If pesticides are to be used, the campus uses the least toxic and most effective products and uses organic based products whenever possible. UC San Diego is dedicated to pursuing the reduction and elimination of the use of pesticides by utilizing the signal word "Warning and Danger." The campus is and will continue to be on the forefront of sustainable landscape management.

Also, Landscape Services employs the use of mulch for weed prevention and moisture retention thereby reducing the need to irrigate more often. Landscape technicians are also directed to pull weeds whenever possible to reduce the use of chemicals.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

UC San Diego’s Long Range Development Plan (2008 with an update coming in 2018) and other approved planning documents define the use of native plantings. Excerpts: “Indigenous vegetation should be considered as a landscape fabric that has a coastal sage and chaparral integrity and heritage to it... The use of grass as a ground cover is discouraged except in sunny locations where students, faculty…may gather on a lawn. Planting areas, to the greatest extent possible, should be covered by a variety of xeric-tolerant, indigenous, and ornamental shrubbery and ground cover.”

The landscape management staff values the use of native plants; when reviewing plans for a new landscape, inclusion of appropriate native plantings are verified. UC San Diego landscape management employees are the unofficial watch dogs for the protection of existing native habitat adjacent to a new development. Common native plant identification questions are asked during the hiring of new Landscape Management staff.

The following site includes UC San Diego’s Master Plan, Neighborhood Plans, Guidelines and campus wide landscape Polices: http://physicalplanning.ucsd.edu

The following site includes all scope of work services by UC San Diego Facilities Management Landscape Services:


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:


Physical Planning, Environment, Health and Safety, Capital Program Management, and Facilities Management ensure that the natural hydrology of our campus is maintained. The campus’ natural hydrology is highlighted in our long range development plan, and state and federal environmental regulations are followed. Construction projects and ongoing operations must follow UC San Diego Stormwater Management Plan requirements.

In terms of landscaping, UC San Diego has replaced approximately 6,650 irrigation heads with water efficient, low volume irrigation heads, resulting in an estimated annual savings of 7.2 MGAL/Yr. In addition, we have identified and are converting 352KSF of turf to native plants or mulch, resulting in an estimated savings of 11 MGAL/Yr.

A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

Landscape Services at UC San Diego endeavors to reuse landscape material as much as possible. Tree stakes are stored when removed from established plants and re-used when new plantings new staking. Broken irrigation sprinklers are collected for recycling or exchanged under their warranty, replaced regularly with metered and more efficient versions. Excavated soil is stored for use as backfill in other projects. Green waste is composted at the City of San Diego's Miramar Greenergy.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

Drought tolerant, native species are preferred, lowering the need for irrigation powered by energy on campus. Trees are planted for shading across campus so people have cooler outdoor spaces in which to meet and gather.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

Muir College Athletic Field was converted to artificial turf, saving an estimated 2 MGAL/Yr of water (33% reduction).

UC San Diego has an Urban Forest Management Plan and is currently hiring a new urban forester: http://aps-web.ucsd.edu/sustainability/FM/PDFs/UCSD_Urban_Forest_Management_Plan.pdf

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

The Arbor Day Foundation has named UC San Diego a “Tree Campus USA.” Campus also owns four Natural Reserve sites: Scripps Coastal Reserve, Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve, Elliot Chaparral Reserve, and Dawson Los Monos Canyon Reserve. Scripps Coastal Reserve is a California Area of Special Biological Significance, a Marine Life Refuge and Ecological Reserve. in the past, UC San Diego received $2.65M to perform Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) protection work.

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.