Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Jamie King
University Arborist
Facilities
"---" 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?:
No

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:
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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:
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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:

All of the Virginia Tech lands within Montgomery County which receive nitrogen and/or phosphorus as fertilizers or manures are included in the current Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) approve nutrient management plan (NMP). The environmentally sensitive sites are identified as defined in 4VAC50-85-140, and proper setbacks are abided for any nutrient applications, manure or commercial fertilizer as indicated in the plans. Furthermore, the NMPs limit nutrient loadings to levels corresponding to actual annual crop uptake demand, thus minimizing potential losses to the environment.


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

The Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) provide guidance to prevent applications of manure and commercial nitrogen and phosphorus to environmentally sensitive areas within Virginia Tech lands. The NMPs, which is reviewed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), is kept current to be in compliance with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued Virginia Pollution Abatement Permit for Virginia Tech operations.


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

The assessment scope covers the core campus in Blacksburg, VA.


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

Virginia Tech has made its urban forest canopy a priority and hired the first University Arborist in 2019. Development of an urban forest master plan has begun and this plan will institute management of the more than 10,000 trees on Virginia Tech’s core campus. This new program will optimize the environmental benefits provided by campus trees and provide wildlife habitat in an urban area where habitat is often scarce.
Virginia Tech is home to a 13 acre old growth forest adjacent to Lane Stadium. The forest is a environmentally sensitive area located on main campus consisting of an old growth forest with trees that are several centuries old, this forest provides an ideal educational venue for use by the College of Natural Resources and Environment. The University created a Committee consisting of numerous on and off campus stakeholders to study the area and provide recommendations for its use. The result included a stewardship plan that guides how this environmentally sensitive area is managed and preserved for the future.

The Campus Design Principles prepared by Sasaki Associates (Revised August 2010) contains the following reference to wildlife habitat protection and creation: ‘Champion Natural Habitats: Enhance habitat diversity through open space preservation and the selection of native vegetation. Redevelop sites to regenerate natural habitats.’ The Design Principles also define a goal to reforest approximately 350 acres of land, 80 of which are currently turf grass. These areas will create new wildlife habitat and protect campus waterways. Beginning in 2007, perimeter areas of campus lawn were converted to native grass and wildflower meadow, creating wildlife habitat. There have been some projects that convert acreage around new facilities to landscapes planted with native grasses and wildflowers and several locations on campus have been upgraded to mimic a forest condition with native trees and wood chip mulched surface.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
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Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.