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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 65.93
Liaison Srinivasan Raghavan
Submission Date Feb. 24, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Missouri
OP-11: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Michael Burfield
Graduate Research Assistant
Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of any legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance on institution owned or managed land:

There are three areas under Columbia Parks and Recreation protection directly adjacent to the University of Missouri Main Campus. They comprise 239 acres (96.8 ha) and include Grindstone Nature area (199 acres; 80.6 ha), Capen Park (32 acres; 13 ha), and Grasslands Park (8 acres; 3.2 ha).

The Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Center is a University-owned and managed 2,226 acre (917.4 ha) nature preserve located within the Mark Twain National Forest in Boone County. Baskett is approximately 15 miles from Main Campus and is an integral part of the School of Natural Resources mission of teaching, research, and extension.

The University's objectives for the area were to:
* Operate and manage the area as an arboretum and wildlife refuge;
* Conduct investigations, experiments and research studies in botany, zoology, wildlife and game management.

The MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Agricultural Research Centers are a system of centers across Missouri, extending CAFNR's research to nearly 14,000 acres to meet the regional research and demonstration needs of agricultural producers and natural resource managers. (http://cafnr.missouri.edu/research/outstate.php)

Within 20 miles of the University are 28 legally protected areas that are administered by one of the following: the USDA Forest Service, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. These areas cover a total of 31,290 acres (12,668 ha) and average 1,117 acres (452 ha) in size.


Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:
Yes

The methodology(-ies) used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Working in partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation, research staff have set aside a 7-acre prairie area adjacent to the Graves-Chapple Research Center (part of the University’s out-state research network) in northwest Missouri. A rare, native yucca plant was identified there, and the prairie project allows for research into habitat restoration and management for conservation.


A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Bobwhite Quail, a culturally significant species in Missouri. Areas near farmland that with proper management can provide habitat for Bobwhite Quail, pollinators such as honeybees, and other species.

In addition, MU agreed to preserve 311 acres of land within the Baskett Wildlife, Research and Education Center for promoting biodiversity in compliance with the University's Sustainable Design Standards (SDG) and Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals.


A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Farming systems, once beneficial for bobwhite and many other wildlife species, included a diversity of habitats such as fencerows, shrubby cover, crop rotations, fallow/weedy fields, mixtures of native grasses and forbs and inefficient grain handling.
With the increase in farm size, clean and weed-free fields, and more efficient harvest practices, many farmers have been able to stay in business, but quality early successional vegetation that provide habitat for bobwhites and grassland birds has been greatly reduced.
Bradford Research Center works to implement techniques that can be used to enhance wildlife habitat on the farm. For example:
• Farming up to the edge of a wooded draw results in a lack of edge and fencerow habitat which also resulted in poor yields.
• Waterways and diversion channels were formed and are typically planted to tall fescue which although is an excellent guard against erosion it is not a very wildlife friendly grass.
• Unmanaged Native Warm Season Grasses were of little use to bobwhite quail except for escape cover because of a lack of bare ground.
• Natural prairie and wetland remnants were invaded with non-native species such as Reedcanary grass and Sericea Lespedeza which can be invasive and offer little benefit to wildlife.
• Strip disking native warm season grasses in the fall and spring open up the understory for more beneficial forbs (non grass species) and annual grasses which allows bobwhite quail ample bare ground to move through. Anuual forbs and grasses are also a source of seed and most importantly a source of insects for baby quail chicks.
• Fall and Spring prescribed burning help reduce the competition of the native warm season grasses and encourages forbs and annual grasses.
• Predominance of tall fescue and little shrubby cover across much of the farm.
• Field border/edge management around crop fields. A mixture of native grasses and forbs are planted in 30-120 borders around field edges to provide food, nesting ground, and cover for bobwhite quail and other species.
• Using a mixture that is heavy with native forbs this area already provides an excellent food source for quail and other bird species.
• Tall fescue has been replaced with native warm and cool season grasses that provide a better food source for bobwhite quail.
• Covey Headquarters have been established at several locations on BREC. These headquarters are a mixture of shrubs that are beneficial to bobwhite quail throughout the year.
• Different mixes of native cool season and warm season grasses were planted in a diversion channel to compare those and tall fescue (middle) for their suitability for erosion control and wildlife benefit. One native cool season grass, Virginia Wildrye (front), emerged quickly and has done quite well.


The website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity policies and programs(s) is available:
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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.