|Submission Date||March 6, 2020|
Washington and Lee University
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?:
A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:
W&L owns a 90-acre farm that has an easement on 68.9 of those acres. The easement is held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and restricts any land use outside of agriculture, preservation of open space, and for conservation purposes. Additionally, the university has 217 acres of "unimproved land," which has been kept in woodland. The Maury River and Woods Creek run through these properties, and riparian areas have been improved or maintained.
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?:
A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:
The Maury River is home to two federally endangered species of mussels (the James spinymussel and the Dwarf Wedgemussel), one federally endangered species of plant (Shale barren rock cress), as well as two threatened species (the Madison Cave Isopod and Virginia Sneezeweed).
Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:
No environmentally sensitive areas have been found on W&L property. However, we are lucky to have Woods Creek, the Maury River, and 217 acres of woodland on our property. Our most recent master planning work, to be approved later in 2020, aims to protect and celebrate our campus natural heritage.
The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
The assessments done on the farm were performed by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF). The first assessment was in 2005 when it was determining suitability for the easement. The second assessment was in 2014 when the university was considering putting a solar array on the property. At neither time were rare, threatened or endangered species found, nor was the property found to be an environmentally sensitive area. As stated above, the easement is on the property for preservation of open space. (Although the VOF approved the solar project, it did not end up getting full support of our Board of Trustees, so it never came to fruition.)
For the rest of our wooded areas on back campus, research, class projects, and explorations by several of our biology and geology faculty (and VMI's faculty) have not yielded any results for rare, threatened or endangered species in our wooded areas.
A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):
We have studied the whole Peniel Farm, the forested areas on back campus, as well as the Woods Creek corridor, which runs through campus. In addition, we have studied the Maury River, of which Woods Creek is a tributary.
A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:
Rain gardens are used in new construction (Hillel House, Montessori School) and the campus has a no hunting policy on our premises. The Woods Creek corridor and the back campus area are undeveloped, with the exception of trail maintenance. The Master Plan identifies these areas as having low potential for development.
Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission: