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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.41
Liaison Fletcher Alexander
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California State University, Chico
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.66 / 2.00 Mike Alonzo
Supervisor of Grounds & Landscape Services
Facilities Management & Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
4,962 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 0 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 4,128 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 834 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 4,962 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):

The FMS Grounds and Landscape dept. also performs preventative and curative pest control for a majority of campus buildings (excluding Housing & Food Services and Associated Students buildings).


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
0

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
---

A brief description of the IPM program:

The purpose of our Campus IPM program is to manage pest and horticultural problems by eradication or suppression using the safest products available. “Safety”, meaning the least harmful to people and the environment, while maintaining a beautiful healthy campus. Our goal is to accomplish the above purpose by using organic and non-chemical solutions whenever possible. When using chemicals, to use the best choice, and the safest product available. Also limiting chemical fertilizers, replaced by organic options. There is also a class that specifically teaches PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT on campus (PSSC 441).


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
83.19

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:

The University farmed converted 85 acres to organic rangeland for the dairy in 2006.

4,043 acres of Ecological Reserves managed without any pesticides or inorganic materials.

The most notable areas where inputs have been reduced is the FMS Pest Control and Petersen Rose Garden. The pest control area has changed almost all the products used, and has employed Exempt products (organic materials that are exempt from reporting). The number of pest control calls and reactive work orders has decreased greatly in less than a year, and our campus looks much cleaner. In the Petersen Rose Garden, almost all fertilizer and pesticide use has been reduced. The only products applied are a systemic aphid pesticide, and a compost tea that is brewed on campus. A couple of times of year, the rose garden has a thick layer of mulch applied to it (mulch created on campus) which provides nutrients and enriches the soil. Additionally, the irrigation system in the Rose Garden was converted to sub-surface drip, which has almost eliminated the presence of powdery mildew and other rose diseases, further reducing pesticide inputs.


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

One of the most appreciated aspects of California State University, Chico is its beautiful campus. Big Chico Creek, with seasonal populations of wild Chinook salmon, runs through the center of campus. As stewards of the land, the campus community understands the fragility of this ecosystem and recognizes the university's role in supporting its integrity. The University takes action to manage its landscaping and grounds to ensure that this extraordinary space and its unique natural resources are managed for the enjoyment of future generations.

The grounds at Chico State are primarily maintained by Facilities Management and Services' (FMS) Grounds and Landscape Services Department and University Housing. Since April 1997, Facilities Management and Services' (FMS) Grounds and Landscape Services Department is nas been incorporating many native plant species as spaces are transformed from lawns to pollinator gardens, bioswales, xeriscapes, and demonstration gardens. Additionally, the Grounds Department is improving their pest-control methods, which includes a reduction of pesticide use in favor of organic compounds, and employing integrated pest management techniques and mechanical pest control. University Housing also cares for its grounds using integrated pest management, organically based flower fertilizers, and non-systemic herbicides.

Creekside Nature Walk is a self-guided walk along Big Chico Creek to view native plant species demarcated with numbered posts referenced in an educational brochure. (The brochure is available at the Bidwell Mansion, CSU, Chico Alumni Association, and the Office for the Department of Biological Sciences.)

University Center Landscape Project - Native Garden:

http://www.csuchico.edu/pdc/projects/uclandscape.shtml


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

FMS Grounds has been installing centrally controlled irrigation controllers throughout campus. The new systems allow for monitoring of flow rates and weather, which allows for automatic adjustments to be made according to seasonal conditions. To date, over 60% of campus is under central control, reducing overwatering and related problems. Where applicable, irrigation systems have been retrofit to high-efficiency sprinklers and drip tubing, and plant material has been changed or removed to reduce the use of water.


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

In the past, green waste was collected primarily by FMS grounds crew and UHFS grounds and placed into a green waste bin which was collected by our waste vendor, and taken to the Chico Green waste Composting Facility on Cohasset Rd in Chico. The campus would then purchase the composted soil as needed.
As of Jan. 2016, FMS constructed a set of mulch bins as a way to keep as much green waste as possible on campus, and then processing it into a fine mulch. The mulch is then returned to campus where it is spread around tree wells, in shrub beds, and along Chico Creek to enrich the soil and suppress weeds.
The mulch bin project has been a great success, leading to a visible improvement in plant health, has reduced the need for pesticides, led to student & faculty research, and saved the campus approximately $15K annually, as the cost to haul green waste has been greatly reduced.


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

FMS Grounds and Landscape has been working to transform the campus landscape over the past 4 years. As a response to severe & exceptional drought conditions, several acres of lawn & athletic turf were taken offline, cutting all irrigation to the areas for two or more years. During the cessation of irrigation, FMS Grounds worked to develop new landscape designs for the areas which incorporate combinations of native plant material, drought-tolerant plants, high-efficiency irrigation systems, along with improved paths of travel and seating locations.
With each installation, the Grounds department work to improve upon their designs and installs that showcase a diverse plant palette and compliment the historic look and feel of the campus.


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):

FMS Grounds and Landscape has been consciously working to reduce pesticide inputs, water use, the use of synthetic fertilizer. Conversely, FMS Grounds has been working to increase the use of native plants, improve the condition of the campus Arboretum, clean up distressed areas along Chico Creek, and bring on new and more efficient equipment to manage the campus landscape.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Acreage total includes 119-acre main campus, University Farm and Ecological Reserves.

The University farmed converted 85 acres to organic rangeland for the dairy in 2006.

4,043 acres of Ecological Reserves managed without any pesticides or inorganic materials.

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.