Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.39
Liaison Shane Stennes
Submission Date Dec. 15, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 Shane Stennes
Director of Sustainability
University Services
"---" 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?:
Yes

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:

Sarita wetlands on the St. Paul campus. Located in the southeast corner of the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, the Sarita Wetland is what remains of the Sarita Lake, which was drained in the 1800s. The Sarita Wetland Restoration Project began with the creation of the former Sustainable Campus Initiative in 2000. The purpose of the project was to implement innovative storm-water management techniques on a substantial area of campus.

The Minneapolis campus is bisected by the Mississippi River National River and Recreation Area. The river enters the northern corridor as a free-flowing prairie river and moves downstream to plunge over St. Anthony Falls and into the river's narrowest gorge. Eight and one-half miles later, the river exits the gorge to become the country's dominant floodplain river and part of the largest inland navigation system on earth. Through the eight and one-half mile gorge, the Mississippi drops more than 110 feet, the river's steepest descent anywhere. The river's rapidly changing character explains why the national river and recreation area has such a unique concentration of nationally significant resources. The portion of the park adjacent to the University includes the gorge portion downstream of St. Anthony Falls.


Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

The methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

About the IIC
The Interagency Information Cooperative (IIC) was created from the Sustainable Forest Resources Act of 1995. See the Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC) website for the origin and details of the SFRA legislation and the specifics of the IIC charter (Minnesota Statutes 89A.09).
The mission of the IIC is to enhance the access and use of forest resources data for the management of forestlands in Minnesota. The statutes urge the dean of the University of Minnesota, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, to coordinate the establishment of the IIC. In practice, the head of the University’s Department of Forest Resources serves as the IIC director of operations.
Members of the cooperative include:
(1) the University of Minnesota, College of Natural Resources;
(2) the University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute;
(3) the Department of Natural Resources;
(4) the Minnesota Geospatial Information Office;
(5) the Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners;
(6) the United States Forest Service; and
(7) other organizations as deemed appropriate by the members.

Rare Plants and Animals
Minnesota County Biological Survey—The Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) began in 1987 as a systematic survey of rare biological features. The goal of the Survey is to identify significant natural areas and to collect and interpret data on the distribution and ecology of rare plants, rare animals, and natural communities.
Minnesota Natural Heritage Information System (NHIS)—The program’s goal is to identify Minnesota’s ecologically significant natural lands. It conducts inventories and research, manages data in a computer-based system, and provides technical advice on Minnesota’s native habitats and rare species. The program identifies and locates significant examples of Minnesota’s plant and animal species, plant community types, special wildlife habitats, and special geologic features.
Minnesota’s List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species—Minnesota’s Endangered Species Statute (Minnesota Statutes, Section 84.0895) requires the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) to adopt rules designating species meeting the statutory definitions of endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. The resulting List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species is codified as Minnesota Rules, Chapter 6134. The Endangered Species Statute also authorizes the MnDNR to adopt rules that regulate treatment of species designated as endangered and threatened. These regulations are codified as Minnesota Rules, Parts 6212.1800 to 6212.2300.
Minnesota’s List of Species in Greatest Conservation Need—A list of wildlife species in greatest conservation need (SGCN’s) shows species on the endangered, threatened, and special concern list, as well as species which are considered at risk for a variety of reasons. In general, SGCN’s are animal species whose populations are rare, declining, or vulnerable in Minnesota.


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

Located in the southeast corner of the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, the Sarita Wetland is what remains of the Sarita Lake, which was drained in the 1800s.


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

The Sarita Wetland Restoration Project began with the creation of the former Sustainable Campus Initiative in 2000. The purpose of the project was to implement innovative storm-water management techniques on a substantial area of campus. For more detail on the history of the Sarita Wetland, see this page.

In addition to restoration projects, the wetland is also a site for education and research. The student projects listed below, previously archived by the Sustainable Campus Initiative, represent academic work related to the Sarita Wetland and campus sustainability.


The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) 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.