Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.57
Liaison Jeff Spoelstra
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Michigan University
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.66 / 2.00 Tim Holysz
Landscape Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 1,233 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 74.07 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 131 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 0 Acres
+ Date Revised: Aug. 13, 2014
+ Date Revised: Aug. 15, 2014
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 699 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 328 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:
The IPM plan :

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

WMU Landscape Services is committed to sustainability as we tackle our day to day duties and future planning. Such management practices include but are not limited to grinding our woody plant debris into usable landscape mulch to be applied back on campus. Using mowers that have mulching decks to return grass back to the soil which in turn takes advantage of the available nutrients and returns them back to the soil for plant uptake. In 2013 alone we used 250 gallons of recycled vegetable oil in our vegetable oil converted mower. Beet juice is added to our salt for ice removal. The beet juice lowers the eutectic temperature allowing the salt to be more effective at lower temperatures. Beet juice also aids in increasing the weight of the salt lowering the percentage of off target applications by reducing the “bounce off” effect. Compost is added to planting beds to help retain moisture which decreases water usage. The compost also helps to retain available nutrients while reducing fertilization. Automatic irrigation systems are in use to help control water usage. Roof top gardens are in place to help lower building heating and cooling cost plus deal with storm water. Continued and future plans include: Expanding our irrigation systems’ use of evapotranspiration rates; investigating the use of soil sensors; investigating the use of lower emission equipment such as: back pack blowers, weed whips, mowers and transport vehicles; investigating the recycling of storm and grey water to irrigate; continuing to work on our best management practices so they are as efficient as possible; working toward having Landscape Services located in one location rather than the current separation to increase efficiency while reducing wasted travel time as well as a new facility that would include a pesticide loading bay and storage. http://www.fm.wmich.edu/lss/governing_documents

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

WMU Landscape Services and Natural Areas and Preserves professionals review all campus landscape plans for appropriate plant material. Priority is given to incorporating the existing native and horticultural material existing on site as well as selecting new plant material that is adapted to the site and design. Michigan grown native plants and horticultural varieties adapted to Michigan soils and climate are given priority. Plants considered to be exotic and/or invasive are removed from the plant list and suitable substitutions provided.

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

WMU Landscape Services is committed to reducing the amount of water lost due to irrigation. This has been dealt with by using ET rates to better understand watering needs, watering during times when evaporation loss is reduced, using appropriate plant material, encouraging the development of our soils to help retain moisture rather than promote runoff. Landscape Services has been managing our plant waste by stockpiling then grinding into suitable mulch for our landscape. Mulching mowers have eliminated the land fill usage needed to deal with grass clippings. Any plastic containers used for flowers are recycled at local recycling locations. Soilless plant mixes used for planting containers is composted later to be used in landscape beds. We continue to enhance and establish new storm water features to manage storm water. We are working toward having Landscape Services located in one location rather than the current separation. This would increase efficiency while reducing wasted travel time. http://www.fm.wmich.edu/lss/governing_documents.

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

WMU Landscape Services is committed to improving soil life and conditions. Inorganic fertilizers have been replaced with organic grade fertilizers such as Milorganite in most areas. A few smaller turf areas are still fertilized with inorganics. Lawn areas are bi-annually aerated and some are top dressed with compost. Our lawns also benefit from the mulching mower decks that are used to return finely cut clippings back to the soil. We have also begun the process of using compost tea as a soil builder. We are currently in the process of improving our “brew” and finalizing a management plan for its use. Our tree care program also takes advantage of the planting process to improve soil life. Mycorrhizae and compost are incorporated into the planting hole soil to help with the establishment period and beyond. We also use leaf mold where appropriate to mulch. All landscaped trees are mulched using our hardwood mulch produced during our chipping process. We are also committed to working with our campus planning team to plan in the protection and installation of healthy soil. Construction work takes quite a toll on the soil so construction specifications are in place to protect the soil from excessive compaction, tilling during wet conditions and removing and storing top soil for later use. The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available at: http://www.fm.wmich.edu/lss/governing_documents

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

Native plant material used in landscape construction is purchased from Michigan sources with Michigan genotypes preferred. Native plants propagated from native seed collected on University properties and grown in University greenhouse facilities have been used in rain gardens, storm water features and gardens throughout the University. Wood chips generated from the take down of damaged campus trees are used for mulch in gardens and for tree rings.

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

WMU is committed to a goal of storm water neutrality. In order that rain and snow melt falling on impervious surfaces is processed prior to retuning to surface waters or the aquifer, all new construction provides for capture, retention, detention and infiltration in the design. Campus construction includes the use of cisterns, basins, rain gardens, plant buffer zone and green roof material to accomplish this goal. The WMU Business Research Technology Park includes 20 acres of landscape that acts as a storm water management area.

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

Our truck mounted beet juice and brine sprayer has been calibrated to reduce the usage per lane mile. Beet juice is also used to impregnate our rock salt. This helps to reduce the eutectic temperature and adds weight keeping the salt in place and reducing off target application. http://www.fm.wmich.edu/lss/snow

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

Asylum Lake Preserve is a 278 acre parcel including two lakes, prairie reconstruction, Oak savanna and mature Oak woodlands and wetland. The Preserve is governed by a council made up of University and community members and is actively managed for “ecosystem health, passive recreation, education and research.” Kleinstuck Preserve is a 48 acre wooded wetland in the heart of Kalamazoo managed by WMU under a 1922 deed specifying the preserve to be used for “education and research.” http://www.fm.wmich.edu/operations/landscaping/natural_areas/kleinstuck_preserve

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.