Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.45
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Louisville
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Greg Schetler
Grounds Superintendent
Physical Plant
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
716 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 0 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 716 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 716 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

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:

The UofL Grounds crew applies the four-tiered approach to IPM on campus landscapes:
1) We set action thresholds for pest damage or infestation;
2) Pests are monitored for threshold levels and identified;
3) Preventative cultural practices are the main defense against pests and are used in most situations to solve problems by removing conditions that attract pests; and
4) 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.

In addition, UofL takes steps to be pro-pollinator. Our practice is to not use chemical insecticides on our grounds, except when absolutely necessary, in very particular, acute, isolated cases. Even then, our practice is to not apply neonicotinoids which have been implicated in pollinator decline. The ONE exception to that is that we are actively treating our ash trees on campus against the emerald ash borer. For mature trees, this involves an injection every other year, which should not pose a risk to pollinators.

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

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 approach to hydrology and water use:

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 the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

The University of Louisville Grounds Maintenance Department recycles all 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.

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

UofL has a strong commitment to tree planting and maintenance around campus buildings. Trees shade and cool in the summer and break the force of winter winds. UofL met or exceeded all five of the standards required for Tree Campus Higher Education (formerly Tree Campus USA) designation in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 and has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation for excellence.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

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" was first used 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. For the past 7 years, A liquid 23% saline solution is used to coat dry surfaces. This method was determined to be effective for preventing frozen water buildup on semi- and impervious surfaces. This has now been our sole preventative measure and has reduced the need for granular deicing to minimal and responsive (i.e. rock salts will only be applied to ice that has already formed on campus) This methods is favorable because it reduces the amount of granular deicing chemicals that are used in general by removing the chance of them being applied during speculative weather conditions that could prove to not require usage.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.