Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.90
Liaison Hannes Gerhardt
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of West Georgia
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Hannes Gerhardt
Sustainability Director
Department of Geosciences
"---" 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 the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory 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 methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Sensitive wetland areas on campus were identified following Corp of Engineer and Georgia EPD guidelines for identifying such areas. Some of these wetlands can be identified in the wetlands mapper provided by the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service.


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

The most environmentally sensitive areas on campus include the Little Tallapoosa River and associated wetlands as well as several forested patches. In addition, UWG owns a 5 acre patch of bottomland forest along the Little Tallapoosa River. Biology department faculty (Drs. Banford, Edelman, Fontanella, Hendricks, Morgan, and Tabit) have surveyed mammals, vascular plants, arthropods, fishes, and herptofauna on the University of West Georgia properties as part of upper-level laboratories and research projects. For mammals, the Conservation Biology course (2017) has extensively examined occurrence and habitat use through camera traps. They have recorded 13 species of native mammals on UWG properties including white-tailed deer, coyote, bobcat, beaver, gray fox, red fox, woodchuck, raccoon, opossum, eastern cottontail, armadillo, gray squirrel, and eastern chipmunk. There are more species of mammals within larger forest patches on campus and they regular​ly​ use culverts and underpasses to move along riparian corridors. Furthermore, the campus properties occur within the known range of the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and gray bat (Myotis grisescens) and threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Instructors and students in Vascular Plants, Taxonomy of Flowering Plants, and Wildlife Habitat Ecology ​courses ​have documented occurrence of extensive biodiversity of vascular plants on campus through visual surveys (2017). In particular, the pink lady's slipper orchid (Cypridpedium acaule), a Georgia state listed endangered plant is known to occur on campus. The Entomology course has used black light and malaise traps in addition to hand collecting to document arthropod diversity on campus (2017). Courses in Aquatic Ecology, Ichthyology, and Natural History of Vertebrates have used nets and electroshock techniques to sample fish and turtle diversity in the Little Tallapoosa River that passes through campus (2017). All these courses occur yearly and associated faculty continue to assess ongoing changes in species diversity on campus.

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

There are federal and Georgia state laws that protect wetlands. Special permits need to be approved for any intervention in these areas and efforts are made to protect these areas when nearby development is taking place. In Georgia the following rule sets out wetland protections over and beyond federal law: Rule 391-3-16-.03 Criteria for Wetlands Protection. Lastly, the Campus Master Plan is currently in the works, and efforts are being made to include language that will protect some of the wooded areas that are not protected under GA law.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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