Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.86
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of California, Santa Cruz
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Shauna Casey
Sustainability Programs Manager
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" 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 any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

Campus Habitat Reserve: Two areas on campus, which total approximately 25.5 acres, are designated as Campus Habitat Reserve (HAB). The larger of these two areas, a 13-acre parcel on the southwestern corner of the campus adjacent to Wilder Creek, is designated as a reserve to retain high-quality grassland and forest habitat on the campus for the California red-legged frog and the Ohlone tiger beetle. This reserve was established pursuant to a 2005 Implementing Agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and The Regents. The second area, a 12.5 acre parcel, is located in the southern portion of the campus near the main entrance. A portion of the parcel is designated as a management site for Ohlone tiger beetle (federally endangered species) habitat with the remainder of the site managed for California red-legged frog (federally threatened species). HAB lands are protected lands that will remain undeveloped except as permitted by the terms of the Implementing Agreement and associated Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). These areas would qualify as IUCN Cat IV protected areas, as they primarily exist to restore and protect habitat for particular species.

UCSC also manages four Natural Reserves that are part of the UC Natural Reserve System: Ano Nuevo Island Reserve (25 acres, part of 4,000-acre Año Nuevo State Reserve), Fort Ord Natural Reserve (605 acres), Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve (9,856 acres), and Younger Lagoon Reserve (72 acres). These lands are dedicated to university-level teaching and research and public service, as well as the protection of species and habitats. These areas would either be classified as IUCN Cat 1a or IV protected areas, depending on the reserve. For more information, see Ano Nuevo Island Reserve: http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/ano_nuevo/ano_nuevo.htm. Fort Ord Natural Reserve: http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/fort_ord/fort_ord.htm. Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve: http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/big_creek/landels_hill_big_creek.htm. Younger Lagoon Reserve: http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/younger_lagoon/younger_lagoon.htm

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable 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 methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

UCSC has hired contractors to conduct a wide variety of habitat and species assessments as part of multiple campus-wide and project specific studies.Many of these projects have required environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Species-specific assessments have included surveys for listed species (Ohlone tiger beetle and California red-legged frog, San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat), nesting migratory birds, bat roosting sites, raptor nesting sites, and rare plants including the Santa Cruz manzanita. Surveys for rare cave invertebrates (including two listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List). In addition to these activities on the main UCSC campus, a wide variety of assessments and ecological investigations occur on the four UCSC-managed Natural Reserves within the UC Natural Reserve System.

As part of the campus's 2005 (its most recent) Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), a detailed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was prepared by consultants. This EIR included vegetation community mapping which delineated redwood forest, transitional forest types, mixed evergreen forest, coastal prairie, annual grassland, riparian areas, northern maritime chaparral, and developed areas. Of these, coastal prairie, northern maritime chaparral, and riparian habitat could be considered sensitive areas, or those with unique species and/or environmental conditions. Other assesments have included mapping of wildlife corridors; California red-legged frog breeding, dispersal, and overwintering habitat; watershed boundary mapping; and hyrdology mapping within the Campus Natural Reserve's Seep Zone area. Additionally, a wide variety of habitat (including those considered environmentally sensitive areas) occur on the four UC Natural Reserves managed by UCSC.

Summary of methodologies:California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii; CRLF)--surveys by consultants Jones and Stokes in 2002 and Ecosystem West in 2000. Field survyes to determine breeding, upland, and movement habitats. The suitability of aquatic features for CRLF was determined based on site conditions such as water quality, depth of ponding, duration of ponding, presence of exotic fish or bullfrogs, and proximity to known occurrences. The hydrology of sites without visible water was determined based on clues such as vegetation, soil moisture, debris location, high-water marks, the presence of dried algae, and other features. All aquatic sites were evaluated as to whether they could support CRLF breeding, foraging, or resting (temporary use). The suitability of upland habitat for use by CRLF was based on vegetation, topography, distance from known occurrences, the presence of small mammal burrows, soil cracks, debris piles, or other features that could provide aestivation habitat or temporary refuge for CRLF. Potential movement routes on campus were determined based on the locations of known breeding sites, suitable aquatic sites, suitable upland habitat, and the presence of barriers or hazards to CRLF dispersal. Barriers to dispersal are defined as features that would prevent or seriously deter CRLF from crossing the feature. Examples of barriers include buildings, dense development, vertical or near-vertical cliffs, and solid fences greater than 4 feet tall. Hazards to dispersal are defined as features that present a risk of injury or mortality to CRLF. Hazards to dispersal include active roads or low-density development. All potential barriers or hazards were recorded on the topographic map in the field. Potential movement routes of CLRF to and from campus were assessed based on the known locations of breeding and non-breeding populations and habitats offsite and the suitability of upland habitat in between.
Key aquatic sites identified by this assessment were monitored every 2 weeks
from mid-February to July, 2002, to determine the approximate length of ponding and their overall suitability for CRLF. Site assessments for CRLF have also been prepared for UCSC in conjunction with past planning activities (Ecosystems West 2000; University of California, Santa Cruz 1988; Environmental Assessment Group 2000; Jones & Stokes

Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone; OTB): visual encounter surveys along transects and area-constrained searches for adult beetles and larval holes in historically occupied habitat and other suitable habitat locations. Environmental Studies student Tara Corneliesse monitored the beetle on campus habitats from at least 2012-2014.

Santa Cruz manazanita (Arctostaphylos andersonii): density of individuals was mapped as part of the 2005 LRDP's EIR.

Nesting bird surveys: These surveys are done guidance from California Department of Fish and Wildlife when available.

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

California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii): Federally threatened ranid. Breeds in UCSC Arboretum pond, dispersal and overwintering habitat in the Lower Moore Creek area. Ohlone Tiger Beetle (Cincidela ohlone): Federally endangered tiger beetle that occupies two small meadow areas on the UCSC campus--2 of only 15 locations in which the beetle has been found. Santa Cruz manzanita (Arctostaphylos andersonii): rarity ranking of 1B.2 (fairly endangered in California) by the California Native Plant Society. Found in several location in chaparral and transitional forest communities on the UCSC campus. Dollof's cave spider (Meta doloff) and Mackenzie's Cave amphipod (Stygobromus mackenziei)--both listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Found in Empire Cave on the UCSC campus. Environmentally sensitive areas include the Seep Zone, an areas with several seeps and springs; riparian zones such as those found in Cave Gulch, Jordan Gulch, and Lower Moore Creek; Empire Cave, an accessible karst geology feature that supports several Santa Cruz county endemic invertebrate species.

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

The UCSC campus includes over 2,000 acres of land. 55%of the campus is designated in the 2005 Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) as Campus Natural Reserve, site research area, and other land use designations that restrict development.

The UCSC Campus Natural Reserve consists of 410 acres of natural land set aside to preserve natural communities for teaching, field research, and natural history interpretation.

UCSC has undertaken a Water Efficiency Survey and is conducting a study of potential applications for recycled water systems on campus.

UCSC has used an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to control weeds, diseases, insects, and rodents on campus for approximately 15 years with success.

The UCSC Invasive Species Management Plan guides the management of invasive plant species on the campus.

The UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot is a 16 hectare mapped plot with over 20,000 tagged and mapped woody plant individuals. This plot is part of a worldwide network of long-term forest plots studying forest dynamics and composition over time.

The UCSC Storm Water Program is drafting a Storm Water Management Plan that outlines the best management practices to be used on campus to control erosion, minimize the potential for water pollution, and educate the changing campus population on behaviors that affect storm water quality.

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

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.