Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 52.43
Liaison Wesley Enterline
Submission Date Nov. 13, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.26 / 2.00 Wesley Enterline
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
404 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 281 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 100.50 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 381.50 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Building footprints constitute about 22.5 acres. Parking lots are included because they have both landscape and snow removal operations and are considered "managed grounds."


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
73.66

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
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A brief description of the IPM program:

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.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
26.34

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

In the UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve, management techniques focus primarily on prescribed burns in the prairie sections re-established with native plants and mechanical removal of trees in the wooded sections.

The UW-Whitewater Campus Garden and surrounding half-acre lot is managed entirely using organic methods, including a prohibition on spraying lawn chemicals for weed control. Dandelions have a home here!


A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

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 is the response to the Emerald Ash Borer. Well over 1,000 campus trees, many planted in developed areas of campus as parking islands or along roads, were ash trees. After evidence of the Ash Borer was sighted on campus, a companion planting program was initiated to begin replacing ash trees by planting a similar species of tree nearby. Nearly every ash tree has been removed on campus.


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

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 the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

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.


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

The campus has implemented "no-mow zones" in various areas around campus. These areas of turf grass are not utilized regularly for recreation and are not in key areas of the academic core, so the regular mowing schedule was reduced significantly.

Additionally, the campus grounds crew has been able to significantly reduce the amount of push mowing or string trimming done, which is a less efficient use of fuel and is more time-consuming. Perennial plantings of various decorative plants like daylilies are used around poles and beds are planted in areas that would normally be mowed with a push mower (like parking islands). This allows us to use riding deck mowers to quickly and efficiently take care of lawn areas.


A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

Impervious services are currently treated with a salt brine solution, which has numerous environmental advantages over traditional road salt 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.


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