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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 77.43
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Washington, Seattle
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.34 / 2.00 Howard Nakase
Manager of Grounds and Operations
Facilities Services - Maintenance & Alterations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Area
Total campus area 643 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 108 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 0 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Area
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 250 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 175 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 103 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:
The IPM plan :
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A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

The University of Washington’s Ground Management team is continually seeking out new opportunities to reduce the impact grounds operations has on the environment and has established a multi-faceted approach to sustainable landscape management. This includes best management practices that are designed to reduce reliance on chemical herbicides and fertilizers, improve water conservation, and reuse landscape materials where possible.


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

We prioritize using native plants and protecting existing vegetation and require that all campus units follow the prioritization. However, use is based on a combination of suitability and plant success. For example, we serve specific requests to plant non-native ornamentals near the hospital.
Grounds Management has established an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM) that is an ecosystem-based strategy which prioritizes preventing invasive species populations through a combination of techniques. Also in place is an active, early-detection monitoring program that identifies new invasive species populations. Mechanical and manual control methods are always implemented initially. Chemical treatments are only used following unsuccessful attempts at controlling the invasive species through cultural or manual means. The majority of chemical treatments are selective, spot or injection treatments that minimize risk to both humans and the surrounding landscape.


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

One of the policies of the UW’s turf management program is to mow grass clippings back in to the field. This reduces the amount of waste created from turf maintenance activities and also contributes nutrients back into the lawn. Additionally, we recycle wood chips by applying them back onto the landscape instead of purchasing landscape mulch.
Construction of an on-site compost facility was completed and became operational in October 2013. This facility utilizes post-consumer coffee grounds created by UW Housing and Food Services and deciduous leaves removed from the campus grounds during the autumn months to create an organic, healthy soil amendment for use by the Grounds Department, the UW Botanic Gardens, and the UW Farm.


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

The use of compost and compost tea throughout campus as organic soil amendments helps build and protect important, beneficial microbes necessary for healthy soil. Thick layers of mulch applied in landscape beds help stimulate biological soil activity at the interface of the soil and mulch layers. Non-organic fertilizer use is limited to turf and is not used in landscape beds, planters, or natural areas on campus. Pre-emergent herbicides are not applied for weed control and only limited, selective herbicide applications are made when necessary.


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

The use of a recycled cardboard or wood chip layer for weed suppression reduces the need for plastic or fabric landscaping material that does not degrade or has to be removed. The UW operates an arbor wood chip pile where local arborists can place their waste chips to be reused by the Grounds Department. Any wood removed from the UW campus not used for the salvage wood program is chipped and used on campus. The new on-site composting program reduces the need for purchasing off-site compost product and diverts a percentage of the total leaf volume from the green waste stream.
The UW’s Salvage Wood program reuses the timber produced by trees that require removal, by turning the valuable wood product into furniture to be used on campus.


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

The use of high-efficiency, flow-managed, drip irrigation throughout campus ensures that only the amount of water necessary for plant maintenance is applied to the landscape. The system is continually monitored for breaks and leaks to minimize unnecessary water loss. The irrigation program is run with an emphasis on water conservation and the watering schedule is managed according to weather and soil-moisture based needs. The use of the DRiWater brand time release water gel provides a secondary irrigation measure to new plant installations when conventional irrigation or hand watering is impractical.
The UW Seattle campus has approximately 6.5 acres of both intensive and extensive green roofs. In addition to insulation, habitat, air quality and aesthetic value, these permeable surfaces improve roof runoff water quality utilizing natural filtration. Additionally, there are rain gardens installed in several locations on campus.
The combined total area of the Union Bay Natural Area and the University of Washington shoreline is 73.5 acres. Within that area are designated wetlands, riparian areas, shoreline habitats, and the University Slough. Approximately 14.4 acres of habitat restoration has occurred within those areas.


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

The University of Washington does not use salt for snow and ice removal due to the negative environmental impacts. Non-sodium chloride liquid de-icers are selectively used on occasion when necessary and only when the conditions are appropriate. The sand applied for pedestrian traffic safety in certain areas is swept up and removed following the storm event.


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

Protected and designated wetland, shoreline, and riparian habitats are found throughout both the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) and the Washington Park Arboretum. UBNA serves as both a wildlife refuge and public park space, as well as a restoration laboratory for UW students and faculty.
Within UBNA, the UW Farm operates a one acre farm plot that grows produce sold to UW Housing and Food Services. The farm is not certified organic, but implements organic and sustainable farm practices. Two other smaller, urban farm plots operated by the UW Farm are located on main campus.


Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:
Yes

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.