|Liaison||Yara Watson Colon|
|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
University of Central Florida
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:
There are 3 different conservation land classifications that define the >800 acres of natural lands on UCF’s main campus.
Conservation easement – UCF’s main campus hosts 319 acres of conservation easement, which protected in perpetuity by the Saint John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD). See Conservation Easement.
Wetland Conservation – UCF’s main campus hosts 386 acres of wetland conservation that is protected by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), which has been in charge of managing the protection of the state’s wetland ecosystems under the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) program since 1993. Under the ERP program, any dredging, filling, or construction in or near a wetland must be approved and monitored by the FDEP.
Upland Conservation – UCF’s main campus hosts 49 acres of upland conservation. This land is protected through a verbal commitment from the administration of the university.
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:
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) - Vulnerable
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:
All habitats and ecosystems of the natural areas have been surveyed and mapped by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). Environmentally sensitive areas include conservation easements that are recorded with the state and the local water management district.
The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
Natural areas are surveyed each year for endangered plants and animals through vegetation monitoring and other related fieldwork. Gopher tortoise burrows are recorded in each land management unit after a prescribed burn is conducted in that unit. An annual Christmas bird count is conducted each year by the Audubon Society.
Vegetation monitoring is the collecting of plant occurrence data in order to determine habitat health and to record changes in the plant community at specific monitoring locations in the undeveloped portions of campus. Vegetation monitoring serves as a mechanism for obtaining data that help us to determine community type and changes to that community type over time. Forty-six (46) different monitoring plots are visited biannually, once in the summer growing season and once in the dormant winter season. Plant composition is recorded at each plot. This process provides valuable information that is crucial to the Natural Resources Team’s effective management of the land. It is their duty to promote biodiversity and ecosystem health for the different communities harbored on campus. The community types are defined by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI).
A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):
All natural lands are monitored.
Vegetation Monitoring Plots at UCF: https://www.green.ucf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2016-Monitoring-Plots.pdf
A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:
The department has a prescribed burn program to assist in managing the fire influenced habitats on campus and to reduce fuel loading. Prescribed burning is important to maintaining these habitats for threatened and endangered plants and animals such as the Gopher Tortoise.
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 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.