Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.19
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Feb. 13, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Louisville
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Aaron Boggs
Asst Dir Phys Plant Maint
Physical Plant
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 711 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 100 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 0 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 0 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 611 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 0 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :

Pests are monitored for threshold levels. Cultural practices are the main defense against pests and are used in most situations to solve problems. Chemical controls are used as a last resort when there is a potential for total crop failure. These products are selected for low use rates per acre and low environmental toxicity.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

The Sustainability Council works with the Grounds crew to explore ways to protect campus trees; to minimize the waste and excessive use of water, fertilizers, pesticides, salt and fossil fuels; and to find effective options for lower-maintenance and native species plantings.

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

Native trees, shrubs and grasses are specified for landscape plantings at UofL. When non-natives are utilized for special applications, they are selected on the merits of being insect and disease resistant (thereby reducing the need for chemical inputs). Non-native plants must be hardy in planting zones 6-7 (the type that thrive on our campus) to best ensure they will thrive with minimal assistance. Where applicable, annual flower beds are being replaced with perennial plantings. In addition, several areas that once harbored turf grasses have been removed for native plantings that are meant to attract bees and butterflies.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

The University of Louisville Grounds Maintenance Department recycles selected green waste created from the care of the lawns, landscape and trees on Belknap campus to create compost/mulch. This includes chipped/shredded tree limbs, shrub trimmings and leaves. These items are "tub ground" once or twice per year in an effort to decrease their size and combine the materials. They are then put into piles based on their age and turned regularly to aerate the materials. Irrigation for the operation is supplied by rainfall. After the items have decomposed to a satisfactory state, they are utilized on campus as mulch/compost or given to the university community.

+ Date Revised: May 6, 2016

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:


A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

As of January 2015, the Grounds Services department has begun to use the byproducts of the local arboriculture industry to replace triple-processed hardwood mulch in many of the campus landscape beds and tree rings. This process uses trees and limbs that are removed from campus as well as the community and shreds the entire tree: wood, bark, limbs and leaves. This shredded product mimics the naturally occurring process in forests when trees, limbs, and leaves die or fall. It creates a more ecologically diverse micro-environment akin to a forest floor. It also eliminates the environmental impacts associated with conventional triple-processed hardwood mulch production.

+ Date Revised: May 6, 2016

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

UofL is working with Louisville's Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) on a variety of "green infrastructure" projects to help keep stormwater runoff out of the combined sewer system. In the past, every raindrop that hit UofL's rooftops (over 2.2 million square feet on Belknap campus alone!) and pavements was channeled into the same sewer system that handles our sewage which truly needs to be treated. But, as our former Vice-President for Business Affairs, Larry Owsley put it, "When you have that much rain in that short a time, the sewers — which are large sewers — just back up and there's no place for the water to go." Even if the sewers can handle stormwater from UofL, the treatment plants at the end of the pipe often cannot, leading to dangerous releases of untreated sewage into the Ohio River - a threat to human health and ecological integrity.

UofL has pursued means of lessening the risk of flood and reducing our campus' contribution to the problem by diverting stormwater from the sewer system all together through infiltration and rainwater harvesting projects, or by slowing its release through water absorbing changes to our campus landscape. Around campus, we have disconnected downspouts, installed vegetated green roofs, and built rain gardens and bioswales to facilitate groundwater recharge through infiltration.
In recent years, UofL made several changes to campus landscaping, parking lots and rooftops, with the help of $1.25 million in cost-sharing from MSD. We think that this significant investment will essentially pay for itself by helping prevent millions of dollars in future flood damage. We are also hoping the projects at UofL will serve as an example for similar projects across the city on both public and private property. MSD's investment in Belknap campus stormwater projects is part of an $850 million agreement that MSD made in federal court with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators in 2005 to reduce the incidence of combined sewer overflows into waterways during storm events.

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

Ice melt products are selected based on environmental conditions. The weather is monitored closely and preventative applications are used only when snow and ice accumulation is imminent. Equipment is calibrated to apply the proper amount of product to facilitate ice/snow removal. In the winter of 2015, a process call "brining" is being piloted to determine its effectiveness as a deicing tool as well as the reports that it will reduce the need for granular deicers and rock salts.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

Horner Wildlife Refuge:
The University owns the Horner Conservation Property, also referred to as the Moore Observatory, which contains over 200 acres of wildlife habitat in Oldham County near Brownsboro, about 30 minutes from Belknap Campus. Details: http://www.astro.louisville.edu/moore/horner/index.html

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices 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.