Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.15
Liaison Ashley Woolman
Submission Date April 8, 2022

STARS v2.2

Western Colorado University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.27 / 2.00 Ashley Woolman
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
1,581 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 500 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 940 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 90 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 1,530 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:

The land excluded from the area of managed grounds includes the Facilities and Grounds storage areas, building footprints, parking lots and impervious surfaces. These areas contain no vegetation and is approximately 51 acres.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:

The area south of the main campus is Tenderfoot mountain. This area is an archeological site and is managed organically, without the use of fertilizers, chemicals pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

A copy of the IPM plan or program:

A brief description of the IPM program:

Within the Signal Peak area NE of the main campus, Western utilizes herbicides provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to control the spread of cheatgrass. We chose to include this land under this category because it does not fall under the area managed organically nor the area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices.
Western began spraying herbicide in this area in 2020. The herbicides used are preemergent herbicides which stop the spread of new seed sources. In addition, Western hosts multiple cheatgrass pull days, in which they coordinate with students and the community to pull existing cheatgrass before it turns to seed.

Within the main campus, no formal IPM program has been adopted. The only pests Western has on its main campus are mice, and mice traps are used across campus.

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

Western has historically planted lots of cottonwood, spruce, and aspen trees on campus because they are local tree species and plenty of seed is available. Existing trees are protected from construction activities when possible by placing tree protection zones. Invasive species are controlled by weeding and spraying of herbicides. Herbicide use is minimized when possible and generally has to do with controlling dandelions in the spring. Western also has multiple native gardens with native shrubs, grasses, and forbs throughout campus.

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

Western has done some stream bank restoration on University property and has installed an area of porous pavement to help water infiltration near the fieldhouse building. A soil retention and water filtration area at the end of a long water drainage on campus was recently completed to promote water infiltration.
Western's xeriscape native gardens promote more sustainable water use and require less maintenance and water. They provide a learning tool to educate the campus body on xeriscaping.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:

Western composts or mulches most of it's organic waste (grass clippings, tree leaves, tree limbs, dead plants/shrubs) and chips up tree stems. There is land set aside behind Facilities to compost and mulch these items.

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

Western has planted many shade trees along major roads and sidewalks through campus to help reduce urban heat island effects.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:

Snow removal is a large part of our operations during the winter in Gunnison. We receive up to a foot of snow or more a year and temperatures often reach -20 degrees F. Crews use sand whenever possible and limit the use of salt. Roads, parking lots, and sidewalks are plowed by Western trucks as efficiently as possible. For lighter snows, a bobcat with a brush is often used to clear pathways. Student workers with hand tools often chip up ice in various places rather than using heavy machinery on sidewalks and stairs.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.