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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 77.18
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 12, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Washington, Seattle
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.17 / 2.00 Claudia Frere-Anderson
Director
UW Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
792 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 392 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 80 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 472 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):

Land excluded from the area of managed grounds are the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
83.05

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
A brief description of the IPM program:

The first step in the 2012 UW IPM program is establishment of tolerance and maintenance levels for pests that vary depending on the priority and aesthetics of each area. Gardener Leads work with Grounds Management Supervisors to develop these criteria for their zones. Landscaped areas including planting beds and turf have been mapped and assigned thresholds and maintenance priorities.

Prevention, monitoring/detection, evaluation and response are the next steps in the
UW IPM program. Known or potential pests are prevented using cultural practices, no
prophylactic pesticide spraying occurs. When a pest has been detected and exceeds
the established level of tolerance, a management approach is chosen based on an
evaluation of the priority, size and topography of the area, the species in question,
resources available, proximity to environmentally or culturally sensitive areas, cost,
timing, and best management practices if available. Cultural, manual and mechanical
methods are always preferred over the use of chemicals, which are only employed as a
last resort.

Scouting for pests and employing rapid detection and response reduces the needs to
rely heavily on chemical means of control. When chemicals are used, care is taken
regarding the method, location, rate, and timing of the application to minimize the risk
of non-target contamination via runoff or drift. Applicators are trained in IPM
techniques and hold Washington State Pesticide Applicator licenses.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
16.95

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:

Areas within and bordering the Union Bay Natural Area are managed in accordance to a sustainable landscape management program that prohibits the use of any inorganic fertilizer or chemical pesticides. Due to the proximity of this area to Union Bay and Lake Washington, the University must appropriately treat any contaminated stormwater runoff that may adversely affect our regional waterways. Since those volumes of stormwater treatment is cost prohibitive in this area, preventing the establishment of noxious and invasive weed species is primarily accomplished by cultural, mechanical and physical methods. Hand pulling, mowing, dead-heading
(to prevent the spread of seeds), and sheet mulching are done on a regular basis. Wood
chips are accumulated from local arborists and campus tree pruning, and are an
important tool for weed suppression as they are slower to decompose than commercial
mulch.


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

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 approach to hydrology and water use:

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.

Nearly half of the UW Bothell campus’s 135 acres is a restored floodplain wetland. All of the campus storm water is discharged into this wetland through a series of rain gardens, bioswales, and oil/water separators, making it entirely independent of the city of Bothell’s storm water system. UW Bothell has reduced irrigation water use by half in the past 10 years and have held it pretty steady even as the campus has grown. This is due in large part to soil building and mulching practices and drought tolerant and native planting installations. We also choose not to water about ¾ of our turf areas in order to save water and are always looking for opportunities to remove lawns in favor of drought tolerant plantings. Our irrigation system is also sensitive to weather fluctuations and changes in evapotranspiration, making it extremely efficient.

The UW Tacoma campus located in downtown Tacoma uses a RainBird hydro system that covers 80% of the campus grounds. The 80% of campus is divided into zones that is controlled by a RainBird panel and a solar powered RainBird weather station The RainBird panels/Weather station are ethernet connected; monitored and controlled by a computer work station. Zones are setup to water grounds between 4:00am and 6:00am, M-W-F at 10 mintutes intervals.


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

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 approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

Energy efficient landscape design is used throughout UW campuses. Seattle and Bothell campuses in particular have many buildings that are shaded by large trees. Shade trees are considered in all new buildings. In addition, the student created, funded, and managed Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) funded a project in 2014 that added a dynamic green wall to the architecture building on campus. This not only provides shade for the building but it allows students and faculty to conduct ongoing research projects an variables the are most effective green walls. More information on that project here: https://csf.uw.edu/project/754


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):

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.

When tree removal is necessary on campus, one of the best ways to use the wood is to make it into something new. Under Grounds Management’s wing, campus trees take on new life through the salvage wood program. The salvage wood program is run by the Facilities Services Grounds Management. The program uses wood from all across campus to create finished products, such as benches and tables. Essentially, the wood is being reused instead of turned into compost or made into wood chips for campus garden beds.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.