Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.89
Liaison Eva Rocke
Submission Date June 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Montana
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 Sam Gilbertson
graduate student
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

The University of Montana campus in Missoula includes 600 acres on Mt Sentinel. Mt Sentinel is undeveloped and managed explicitly for biodiversity and conservation values. There are no threatened or endangered species on the site, but most of the UM-owned acreage is “intermountain grassland,” also sometimes called “Palouse Prairie,” which is increasingly rare due to development, agriculture and invasive species.


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?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

There are not any formally endangered or threatened species present on the UM Mountain campus.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

The grassland on the face of Mt Sentinel is dominated by bluebunch wheatgrass and rough fescue. There are shrub patches that provide important nesting sites for migratory songbirds. The top of the mountain includes Ponderosa pine forest that are negatively impacted by fire suppression (which leads to overgrowth of Douglas fir, suppression of understory plant diversity and increased disease).


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

The land owned and managed by UM that has been most closely studied and monitored are the 600 acres on Mt Sentinel. Mt Sentinel is undeveloped and managed explicitly for biodiversity and conservation values. There are no threatened or endangered species on the site, but most of the UM-owned acreage is “intermountain grassland,” also sometimes called “Palouse Prairie,” which is increasingly rare due to development, agriculture and invasive species. Mt Sentinel is assessed on an ongoing basis every spring and fall by visual assessment (there are long term monitoring plots too, but we lack funding to collect and manage the data). Main campus employs a Natural Areas Specialist, a full-time staff position committed to monitoring Mt Sentinel's health, managing and promoting native landscaping across the campus, and organizing weed pull, trail maintenance, and educational events for the campus and community.


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

There aren't any formally endangered or threatened species on the Mountain campus. We have checked with the Montana Natural Heritage Program (which tracks occurrences of rare plants and animals) and Marilyn Marler, UM Natural Areas Specialist, is always conducting observations. Methodology includes regular query of MNHP for occurrences and ongoing assessment.


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

Per state and county law, we control invasive plants using a combination of herbicides, biocontrol insects, manual removal, revegetation with native plants, and ongoing education to prevent new infestations. Per state law, we update the weed management plan every 6 years in collaboration with the Missoula County Weed District. In cooperation with adjacent landowners (including the City of Missoula and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) we are implementing a thinning program to promote forest health.


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:

Marilyn Marler- UM Natural Areas Specialist, Division of biological Sciences
E-mail: marilyn.marler@mso.umt.edu
Phone: (406) 544-7189

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.