Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.58
Liaison Steve Mital
Submission Date May 18, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Oregon
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kim Carson
Administrative Program Assist
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, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

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:

UO Oregon’s Agate Hall is an ecologically significant migratory stopover for tens of thousands of Vaux’s Swifts during the spring and fall months. During the 2015 fall migration, over 45,000 birds were counted entering the chimney. The Audubon society is working with the university to label the Agate Hall chimney with information placards declaring it an ecologically important structure for migrating Vaux’s Swifts. They are attempting to get a commitment from the university to maintain the chimney so it can continue to be a dependable migration stopover for the Vaux’s Swifts and an enhancement to our human community.

The Willamette River is an important migratory corridor for Coho and threatened Spring Chinook salmon, so is included in City of Eugene ordinances.

Regarding the satellite locations: OIMB manages the Metcalf Marsh, an important location for estuary research. It is part of the land-margin ecosystems that occur at the interface between steep or deltaic riverine valleys and the near shore marine waters of the Pacific Ocean and serves as a buffer between shore lands and estuarine waters, preventing or minimizing erosion, flooding and pollution.

The South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (http://www.oregon.gov/DSL/SSNERR/Pages/index.aspx) was established near OIMB in 1974 as a 5,000 acre natural area that is dedicated to scientific research, long-term monitoring, and public education about estuaries and coastal watershed habitats. Faculty members and students from OIMB played an instrumental role in the nomination and designation of SSNERR as the founding member of the national system of Reserves. The OIMB library houses baseline data used to establish the South Slough as the first National Estuarine Research Reserve, student research reports dating back to 1967, and biological inventories of local areas. This reserve site provides critical habitat for ecologically and commercially important species of fish, shellfish, birds, and other aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. Moreover, each Reserve has been designated to function as a distinct conservation unit including the preservation of core tideland communities surrounded by adjacent buffer zones, and they are afforded sufficient protection to ensure their integrity as sites for long-term monitoring and research.

Offshore, a narrow continental shelf provides easy access to coastal waters that are characterized by a strong upwelling system with its associated nutrient-rich waters. The surrounding coastal forests include an 80-acre reserve within OIMB and a 5,000-acre reserve within the SSNERR. Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western red cedar and western hemlock, with an understory of salal and various huckleberry species, dominates the coniferous forest. Very little old growth remains in Coos County, but the OIMB reserve has trees more than 70 years old, making it one of the oldest timber stands in the county. OIMB recognizes its role as a national resource and serves as repository for data relating to the Coos Bay estuary system and surrounding coastal region. It is a deep-draft development estuary and important commercial harbor.

The Shire has conservation and preservation issues associated with the Columbia River Gorge, the Pacific Northwest region, and the nation as a national scenic area. It is a 75-acre waterfront site in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge directly across from Multnomah Falls. Architect John Yeon purchased the property in 1965 and played a leading role in the establishment of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and Olympic National Park. With involvement with the Cowlitz tribe, it is also being restored for salmon as an important oxbow tributary to the Columbia River. The University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program is relocating its master’s degree program from the Eugene campus to the UO in Portland beginning fall term 2016 in part to study the John Yeon Center’s historic properties including The Shire in the Columbia River Gorge. Students will have the opportunity to increase their fluency with historic resources while emphasizing their ability to understand the significance of cultural heritage and resource management within diverse communities.

Pine Mountain Observatory is part of the seismic network operation for USGS Earthquake Hazards Program.

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

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

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

UO Eugene: The Institute for the Sustainable Environment collaborates on multi-university research projects including Willamette River 2100. It primarily focuses on the availability and use of water in the Willamette River Basin on both a decadal and centennial timescale as it is affected by climate change. This is a five-year project started in 2010, in collaboration with Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Portland State University. The National Science Foundation funds it. http://ise.uoregon.edu/current_projects.html

The UO Eugene is along the banks of the Willamette River and has a portion of campus that is a “locally significant wetland site” within the Eugene Urban Growth Boundary. The Riverfront Research Park project is a cooperative effort of the University of Oregon (UO) and private developers to build a university-related research park on a state-owned site adjacent to the university campus on the south bank of the Willamette River. http://researchpark.uoregon.edu/html/information.html The Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area Public Facilities and Services Plan (specifically the section on Services to Development Within the Urban Growth Boundary: Storm water) identifies that City of Eugene falls under the Clean Water Act requirement to assess the quality of their surface waters every three years and to list those waters that do not meet adopted water quality standards. The Willamette River and other water bodies have been listed as not meeting the standards for temperature and bacteria. This requires the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for these pollutants, and an allocation to point and non-point sources and the need to collect data. The listing of the Spring Chinook Salmon as a threatened species in the Upper Willamette River requires City of Eugene to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) provisions to regulate salmon habitat in the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. This species is one of the most genetically distinct groups of Chinook in the Columbia River Basin. The decline in the Chinook Salmon has been attributed to such factors as destruction of habitat through channelization and revetment of river banks, non-point source pollution, alterations of natural hydrograph by increased impervious surfaces in the basin, and degradation of natural functions of riparian lands due to removal or alteration of indigenous vegetation. www.lcog.org/DocumentCenter/View/141

Regarding other satellite locations: OIMB participates in ongoing research and serves as a database. They adhere to county guidelines as a protected forest reserve. The Shire works with the Cowlitz Tribe, The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area to protect and preserve their position along the Columbia River as being ecologically, culturally and historically significant.

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

UO Oregon. The Spring Chinook Salmon in the Upper Willamette River have led to fish and water quality monitoring requirements through the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. OIMB has a forest reserve and the Shire is within the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area.

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

The UO Eugene location has worked closely with the City of Eugene on storm water, campus construction, and landscape management to positively affect water quality, in part to adhere to strict guidelines and ordinances, which include the protection of the threatened Spring Chinook Salmon. In addition, all new construction is required to be LEED gold certified. The ranking systems often include points earned for energy efficiency, water treatment and conservation, as well as sustainable landscape management.

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

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