Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 45.35
Liaison Wesley Enterline
Submission Date April 22, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.64 / 2.00 Wesley Enterline
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 404 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 22.50 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 0 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 0 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 271.50 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 110 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :

The current Integrated Pest Management plan was derived from a campus effort to prevent use of general herbicides by an environmental student organization. While this ban is no longer in place, we still use pesticides minimally for a number of reasons. Choosing less toxic chemical pesticides and minimizing their use is environmentally beneficial, but also is safer for the staff to handle and use.

The pesticide ban also encouraged the grounds staff to significantly reduce the frequency of general chemical applications on lawn areas by our contracted lawn service. Typically we only do a single application to minimize dandelion spread because several members of the campus community had voiced concerns over their prevalence.

Other than our occasional general lawn applications, we only use chemicals in targeted locations and only for targeted species. Typically, these are used to treat weeds that grow through the cracks of paved surfaces. Occasionally, weeds will be treated in marquee flower beds, such as near the alumni center. Insect pests are only treated with chemcials when they have gotten too far to control manually.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

The campus grounds supervisor maintains a philosophy of sustainable landscape management due in part to a commitment to maintaining a beautiful and healthy environment. However, a main motivation is also the savings that can be realized through a less intensive approach to managing grounds. It is important to find these savings in both money and time so projects can be implemented to make progress rather than to simply maintain the existing look.

Through the approach of sustainable landscape management, we have been able to maintain a beautiful campus through minimal regular interventions that allows for additional projects that further enhance this mission, like prairie restoration or maintaining a small collection of beehives.

Of the 400 acres that make up our campus, 110 acres are protected nature preserve as part of the LAWCON grant.

+ Date Revised: Aug. 11, 2015

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

The reuse of existing vegetation is most commonly demonstrated by our policy to preserve existing trees whenever possible. This has been important from a public relations standpoint as well, since a large amount of construction on campus has impacted mature trees already.

A centerpiece of our sustainable landscape plan is the use of native species in landscaping beds. A few decades ago, an effort to restore the campus nature preserve to native prairie species was undertaken. Of the 55 acres of disturbed farmland, a portion has been restored to a functional prairie, including a couple dozen plants native to our geographical region and this biome. Harvesting the seeds of these initial plants have helped continue the restoration in other segments of the preserve, but have also provided seed stock to propagate plants for use in campus landscaping. For example, many areas of campus feature Little Bluestem grasses, which have a neat, clumping appearance and enjoyable fall colors.

The main focus in controlling invasive species right now is the response to the Emerald Ash Borer on campus. Well over 1,000 campus trees, many planted in developed areas of campus as parking islands or along roads, are ash trees. Since evidence of the Ash Borer has already been sighted on campus, some trees have been treated. However, this is not a long-term solution and such treatments are chemical-intensive. Therefore, a companion planting program was initiated to begin replacing ash trees by planting a similar species of tree nearby. Once that tree is sufficiently established, the ash tree will be removed.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

Campus landscaping waste materials are almost exclusively reused. Mulching woody waste from branches or felled trees is reused as landscaping wood chips all over campus. Grass trimmings are never collected and are allowed to mulch in place. Leaves are also mulched in place. Any accumulated yard waste that is collected is left to compost in the nature preserve or in an empty lot near the facilities building. There is an interest to begin a composting program and purchase a compost sifter to utilize the compost collected by the municipal government, which suffers from a fair amount of contamination at this point.

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:

Inorganic fertilizers are rarely used in a general application on lawn areas and are really only utilized to help establish new plantings of lawn or landscaping beds. Since lawn clippings and leaves are mulched in place, this also helps maintain the natural nutrient cycle for lawn areas. Lawn areas in the immediate vicinity of the Visitor's Center, Hyland Hall, Hyer Hall, University Center, and Alumni Center were the only areas managed with any kind of inorganic fertilizers. This is about 1.5 total acres of the total managed space that has more intensive or active fertilization.

In landscaping beds, organic compost from Purple Cow Organics has been used heavily to improve the soil health without inorganic fertilizer. Wood chips also add additional organic matter.

Lawns are aerated regularly to help maintain a healthy environment for them to thrive without chemical inputs.

A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

As much as possible, reused or recycled materials are used in a variety of applications. Of course, the benefit of lower costs is as much a motivation as environmental protection. Therefore, a policy of repurposing is very common among various applications.

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

The integrity of natural hydrology is important to help mitigate flash flooding events as well as protecting Whitewater Creek, a small tributary that ultimately ends up in the Mississippi River.

There is a natural depression in the nature preserve that has undergone some excavation so it can serve more consistently and competently as a retention pond during wetter seasons. It has also become an important wildlife habitat, including a rare visit from some migrating whooping cranes, so maintaining a more consistent water level in this area is a high priority. Since it does receive some runoff from a low-lying area of campus that has experienced flooding issues, it is an important resource for minimizing flooding potential.

In one parking lot, there are extensive bioswales planted primarily with cup plant, a native prairie species. The deep root systems of these plants helps draw water down quickly into the soil and this infiltration allows more stormwater runoff to avoid local waterways.

Using dry creek beds near storm drains in the most developed areas of campus also help promote infiltration. The water must run over a bed of various rocks and pebbles, which helps slow the flow rate of that water and encourages infiltration prior to reaching the storm drain.

There is a campus water feature in the academic core that draws its water supply from a nearby building that has a nearly continuous flow of water going into the storm system, due to it being built slightly below the water table. A portion of this water is diverted from the system to maintain the water level in this water feature due to losses from evaporation.

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

Impervious services are currently treated with a product called ThawRox, which has numerous environmental advantages over traditional road salt. A liquid brine system is also being investigated because it has the potential to reduce ThawRox usage by about half, since surfaces pre-treated with the brine resist ice formation. Otherwise, the same "less is more" approach has been adopted to only spot-apply products to problem areas, focusing mainly on heavily used sidewalks. This reduced salt product use helps save money, time, and has environmental benefits.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

The UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve was originally land purchased in the 1970s to house additional residence halls as part of an aggressive growth agenda for the University of Wisconsin system. When it became clear that this growth was not going to occur, an effort was made to protect the land as a natural green space in an urban area as part of the LAWCON initiative. Years later, this formerly disturbed farmland started its transformation back to a habitat found native to Wisconsin prior to European settlement, thanks to the efforts of several faculty and staff members. This restoration effort has continued today and now several acres of land have been restored with native prairie species, and with active management of the area through controlled burns and seed collection, we hope to restore the entire area to native prairie species in the future.

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.