Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.24
Liaison Rob Andrejewski
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Richmond
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Rob Andrejewski
Director of Sustainability
Office for 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 owns 97.78 acres in Goochland county, VA, under open easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the first conservation easement in the state. The conservation values attributed to this property include preservation of natural and scenic areas, preservation of land as open space, and preservation of forest and farmland. The site also allows the study of animal and plant life in its natural state. The property is mostly forested and consists of wetlands and marsh. The forest is composed of mixed hardwoods, with several areas containing pines. Beaverdam Creek flows south through the entire property, no structures are on the property, which is mainly used for education purposes.

In accordance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, the University has developed and maintains a Resource Protection Area buffer along Little Westham Creek, Westhampton Lake, and adjacent wetlands to protect water quality by allowing runoff to be absorbed into the forest soils and by acting as a vegetative filter.

The Eco-Corridor is an 18-acre parcel of campus in a flood plain protected by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. An easement protects the restored stream bed and adjacent shoreline of Little Westham Creek.


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?:
No

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

While University faculty have conducted dozens of plant and animal surveys, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and insects, we have not completed a formal study of threatened or vulnerable species.


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 wetland area in the Eco-Corridor is home to a wide diversity of fish, amphibians, mammals, birds, and insects. Restoration of the Eco-Corridor has supported many declining species, including the brown-headed nuthatch, the bluebird, the Big-Eared bat, and the American bumble bee, among other native bees.


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

We have listed more than 100 bird species, posted multiple wildlife cameras, do live, small mammal trapping, tracked eDNA of fish in Westhampton Lake and Little Westham Creek, and are in the early stages of geotagging all of the tree species on campus. Harvest mice have found there way to the Eco-Corridor recently. Bio-Blitz events present an opportunity to quantify threatened species on campus.

The University of Richmond Arbororicultural Plan recommends that the majority of new trees planted on campus come from the category of excellent species desirability chart, which was designed to prioritize indigenous, long-living, and low-maintenence trees. These trees are often keystone species that provide the cornerstone for a healthy forest habitat. The “Trees and Shrubs of the UR Campus” website, developed by Tihomir Kostadinov and Dr. John Hayden, found no endangered or vulnerable trees and shrubs.

The Eco-Corridor, an 18-acre section of campus and site of a stream restoration in 2019-2020, was analyzed for the presence of endangered and vulnerable species most recently in 2021. We assess the benthic macroinvertabrate communities in the Little Westham Creek using protocols adapted from the Virginia Save Our Streams methods. The benefits of maintaining a dynamic population of native wildlife along the corridor are immeasurable.


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

The aboricultural plan and current tree geotagging effort are campus-wide efforts. They rest of the programs are smaller in scale and scope.


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

Areas near Westhampton Lake and Little Westham Creek have been identified as high-need areas, as campus development has led to soil erosion, poor water quality, less water reaching groundwater, and flooding issues. The Campus Master Plan outlines these priorities.

Plantings in the Eco-Corridor support a diversity of animals. Two pollinator meadows provide habitat and food to insects, birds, and mamma;s. More than 10,000 trees and woody shrubs have been planted, all of them native species. An invasive species management plan will be put in place.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
0

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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