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  • AASHE-STARS

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 75.27
Liaison Katie Lavin
Submission Date Jan. 28, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Sterling College (VT)
OP-27: Rainwater Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Farley Brown
Faculty in Ecology
Ecology
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution use Low Impact Development (LID) practices as a matter of policy or standard practice to reduce rainwater/stormwater runoff volume and improve outgoing water quality for new construction, major renovation, and other projects?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s Low Impact Development (LID) practices:

Ninety percent of our 480 acre main campus and 100% of our 307 acres of off campus property is open space and includes forest, grassland, and wetlands which serve to capture much of the community’s stormwater runoff. The college’s total impervious surface (parking areas, walkways, roofs) is only 1.8 acres of our 480 acres, but we are very conscientious of our stormwater runoff. As we continue to grow as well as renovate our buildings and infrastructure, we are intentional about locating new construction to contour with the landscape, using Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) such as drip line trenches which discharge into natural swales.


Has the institution adopted a rainwater/stormwater management policy, plan, or strategies that mitigate the rainwater runoff impacts of ongoing campus operations through the use of green infrastructure? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s rainwater/stormwater management policy, plan, and/or strategies for ongoing campus operations:

Wetlands play a critical role in stormwater retention and filtration and over 350 acres of the college campus are State and National Designated Wetlands, including the Northern White Cedar Swamp on the main campus and Bear Swamp in Wolcott, Vermont. These wetlands are protected by law and not only provide valuable ecological services, but are important natural areas for conservation and natural history research at the college. Several of Sterling College buildings stormwater runoff feeds into existing drains which flow through a main culvert into a small ditch managed by the town. This ditch travels 100 yards to a larger ditch alongside our significant wetland complex. Stormwater is naturally filtered through this area and then slowly migrates down slope for half mile towards the Black River. A recent survey of the Black River resulted in no significant impact from this practice.


A brief description of any rainwater harvesting employed by the institution:
---

Rainwater harvested directly and stored/used by the institution, performance year:
---

A brief description of any rainwater filtering systems employed by the institution to treat water prior to release:
---

A brief description of any living or vegetated roofs on campus:

We have our own farm on campus, so we haven't found a need for living roofs on campus.


A brief description of any porous (i.e. permeable) paving employed by the institution:

We don't have any paving on campus: all of our roadways and paths are a dirt/gravel mix.


A brief description of any downspout disconnection employed by the institution:
---

A brief description of any rain gardens on campus:
---

A brief description of any stormwater retention and/or detention ponds employed by the institution:

Wetlands play a critical role in stormwater retention and filtration and over 350 acres of the college campus are State and National Designated Wetlands, including the Northern White Cedar Swamp on the main campus and Bear Swamp in Wolcott, Vermont. These wetlands are protected by law and not only provide valuable ecological services, but are important natural areas for conservation and natural history research at the college.


A brief description of any bioswales on campus (vegetated, compost or stone):
---

A brief description of any other rainwater management technologies or strategies employed by the institution:
---

The website URL where information about the institution’s rainwater management initiatives, plan or policy is available:
---

Sterling College is located in Craftsbury Common, a rural hilltop village which is sits on relatively shallow soils and bedrock and in the headwaters of the Black River. Stormwater is an issue for the broader community and Sterling’s land base plays a significant role in the town management of runoff from rain events and snow melt. The Sterling College overall mission reflects our commitment to land and water quality through sustainable and innovative land use practices.

Ninety percent of our 480 acre main campus and 100% of our 307 acres of off campus property is open space and includes forest, grassland, and wetlands which serve to capture much of the community’s stormwater runoff. The college’s total impervious surface (parking areas, walkways, roofs) is only 1.8 acres of our 480 acres, but we are very conscientious of our stormwater runoff. As we continue to grow as well as renovate our buildings and infrastructure, we are intentional about locating new construction to contour with the landscape, using Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) such as drip line trenches which discharge into natural swales.

Wetlands play a critical role in stormwater retention and filtration and over 350 acres of the college campus are State and National Designated Wetlands, including the Northern White Cedar Swamp on the main campus and Bear Swamp in Wolcott, Vermont. These wetlands are protected by law and not only provide valuable ecological services, but are important natural areas for conservation and natural history research at the college.

Sterling College is currently working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) for the barns in our Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems. This plan will help us capture runoff and ensure there is no nutrient loading into nearby waterways. (The NMP will be developed in the summer of 2015.)

Several of Sterling College buildings stormwater runoff feeds into existing drains which flow through a main culvert into a small ditch managed by the town. This ditch travels 100 yards to a larger ditch alongside our significant wetland complex. Stormwater is naturally filtered through this area and then slowly migrates down slope for half mile towards the Black River. A recent survey of the Black River resulted in no significant impact from this practice.

The Sterling College Lands and Energy Committee is revamping the Sterling College Land Use Plan during the 2015 spring semester and there will be a more specific stormwater management plan associated with the overarching plan. This will be an opportunity for the college community, including faculty, staff, and students, to reevaluate our current LID practices and plan for the implementation of the latest GSI techniques available to our region and landscape.

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.