Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.34 / 2.00 Jennifer Andrews
Project Director
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
2,600 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 600 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 1,150 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,750 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:
Fifty acres are buildings, parking lots or other impervious surfaces. And UNH has 800 acres of experimental agricultural land.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:
A number of UNH's farms are on certified organic land: e.g. the Organic Dairy Research Center (https://colsa.unh.edu/nhaes/odrf) and the Campus-Community Farm which includes twenty acres managed by the Organic Garden Club (http://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/resource/organic-garden-club).
They are managed as integrated agro-ecosystems that include biological, physical, and human-related components. They offer a platform for research and education across many disciplines (areas of study include dairy nutrition and feeds, pasture quality, forage production, compost production, and management of the associated streams, soils, woodlands, and other natural resources). Faculty scientists and farm staff work cooperatively to undertake these activities while complying with organic certification practices as well as permaculture principles and practices. This involves deep-seated knowledge and careful consideration of geography, topography, and microclimatic conditions, to inform sophisticated site and systems design practices for the mixture of woodland, pastureland, and cropland that comprise these sites; close monitoring of soil condition, composition and health; use of native species and avoidance of non-native or invasive species; protection and enhancement of naturally occurring wetlands, waterways and buffer zones (including through the avoidance of excessive or inappropriate spreading of fertilizer); carefully targeted irrigation practices; runoff-control and minimization; and avoidance of synthetic materials use, including petrochemical-based materials (i.e. plastics), wherever possible. The use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides is prohibited on these spaces.

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 following are the standards, policies and procedures used by UNH Grounds and Events to implement UNH’s commitment to IPM for UNH’s core campus:

1) Action Thresholds – Action thresholds for chemical intervention on UNH grounds are determined by trained landscape professionals working in close collaboration with UNH agricultural extension staff, and/or staff from UNH athletics. No intervention is made unless the presence of a pest is deemed to cause a potential safety hazard to athletes due to degraded turf quality, economic hazard due to potential for widespread damage to existing grounds/plantings, or ecological hazard due to potential ecosystem disruption.

2) Monitoring and Identifying Pests – Grounds crews are trained to do regular scouting for insect presence on all cultivated campus grounds as part of their regular maintenance activities, in order to identify and curtail outbreaks or infestations as early as possible. In particular, crews continually update maps of UNH grounds where European chafer grub damage has occurred—this is UNH’s most consistent pest problem. Maps from past and present years are compared to determine where treatment may be necessary. The use of the detailed maps showing turf damage enables a timely application of minimal and minimally-toxic pesticide, preventing use of a more toxic material that would be required for control later in the insect’s life cycle.

3) Preventing and removing conditions that attract pests – To maintain plant health, irrigation is undertaken lightly but frequently, employing drip/in-ground irrigation systems wherever possible. Fields and landscaped areas are top-dressed with compost approximately once per month to enhance soil quality and promote healthy plantings.

For its athletic fields, UNH utilizes endophyte-enhanced cultivars of perennial ryegrass or tall fescue, as these are less desirable to common surface-feeding pests such as chinch bugs, sod webworms, and bluegrass billbugs. For landscaped areas, UNH employs natural barriers, such as polyester row covers, cutworm collars and fences to prevent pest access.

To control white grub species such as the European chafer, UNH practices hollow-tine cultivation in the spring (which provides some mechanical control of grubs during their heavy feeding time). To prevent the spread of disease, equipment (for mowing/seeding/pruning or other cultivation) is washed before moving from infected areas to uninfected areas.

4) Controlling Pests – UNH Grounds and UNH Athletics are trained to use natural and biological control agents as a first resort and whenever possible.

Insecticides: The University of New Hampshire’s IPM practices include no regular spraying of insecticides on trees and shrubs for pests. When a major pest outbreak does occur and spraying is warranted, the most environmentally friendly method is used that will still give good success of control. When insecticide use is necessary, preference is given to biological insecticides, based on living entomopathogenic (infecting insects) organisms, usually bacteria, fungi or viruses, or which contain entomopathogenic products from such organisms. They are often the least toxic species-specific option for controlling insect pests. For example, entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) are used to control white grubs.

Herbicides: For weed control, preference is given to natural alternatives such as clove oil, citric acid and/or acetic acid whenever possible. If an herbicide is deemed necessary, spot treatments of the effective amount of pesticide is applied from carefully calibrated sprayers, instead of performing area-wide application (thereby killing only the targeted plant). When possible, herbicides are applied while weeds are small to reduce the amount of material used and to prevent seed production.
Fungicides: To date, UNH Facilities personnel do not apply fungicides on campus grounds.

These efforts allow Grounds and Roads crews to choose the least-toxic effective material for control and time the applications to minimize the amount of material required. This also releases fewer chemicals into the ground, the water supply, and the air. It has also greatly reduced the chemical exposure to the Grounds and Roads crews who are in charge of treating these problem areas, as well as anyone who uses university grounds.

A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:
The Sustainability Institute through the UNH Ecosystem Task Force collaborates with academic classes, faculty, UNH Facilities and the Office of Woodlands and Natural Areas to promote and maintain sustainable landscaping throughout campus for the education and enjoyment of the community, the enhancement of natural systems, and the protection of biodiversity. All groups worked closely with sustainable landscaping experts to develop a UNH Landscape Master Plan that became part of the umbrella UNH Campus Master Plan in 2004, and was updated and published in 2021.

Preserving the vitality of the campus’ trees and plants is paramount to preserving the character and integrity of the campus landscape. It is the goal of every construction project to protect as many trees as possible during construction so that the landscape looks as mature and cohesive as possible. It is therefore important that tree preservation be considered early in the planning and design process. Trees that are landmarks, significant in form or serve a vital aesthetic role shall be given special consideration in the evaluation process.

A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
The 2021 Landscape Management Plan includes four guiding principles, beginning with "1) Balance the needs of the built and natural environment." It goes on to say, "Biodiversity has always been an intrinsic characteristic of the campus landscape and should be fostered wherever possible.The university has the opportunity to repair and prevent damage to the natural environment, while maintaining the collegiate image of its grounds.Through proper management of open spaces, UNH can mitigate the impact of previous and future changes to the built environment on storm water run-off, water quality, aquifer recharge, air quality, and landscape components. Open space planning shall respect the tenets of sustainability and recognize the crucial role that campus grounds serves in sustaining a healthy and resilient community."

This guiding principle is operationalized, as described in Chapter 4 of the 2021 Landscape Master Plan, through a Watershed Protection Working Group, co-chaired by the campus utilities manager and the director of the UNH Stormwater Center,; the working group is responsible for Comprehensive Watershed Protection Planning and Reporting, and developing training and reference materials to support Grounds and Events staff and UNH contractors in utilizing best management practices to conserve water and protect water quality.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
All grass trimmings, prunings, and landscaping waste is brought to Kingman Farm on the UNH campus for composting. In the fall, all of the fallen leaves are collected by UNH Facilities and brought to Kingman Farm. In the spring, UNH Facilities uses compost from Kingman Farm for all of the Durham campus flowerbeds.

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

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
UNH snow and ice removal strictly adheres to the broader UNH Stormwater Management Plan. All salt-spreading trucks are calibrated to ensure proper distribution of salt. Streets are swept twice a year to collect sand put down during winter storm events. The volume of sand collected is reported within the Stormwater Management Plan, and sand budgets take into account the volume used in the previous year. There are approximately 550 catch basins on campus, which collect stormwater and snow melt, and are part of the cleaning and repair program. An outside company cleans the catch basins, and this is overseen by UNH Utilities.

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:
See more information about the Ecosystem Task Force at https://www.unh.edu/sustainability/sustainability-institute/task-forces

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