Hello ALUFS SWATeam members,
Thank you again for your willingness to help our campus achieve the Climate Leadership Commitments. There is great value provided by the bi-weekly meetings of student, faculty, and staff representatives evaluating our progress and recommending additional actions campus units could take.
The following is a list of current activities I am aware of, and suggestions I have about useful next steps. I am happy to follow up with you on any of these, as needed.
Thank you very much,
1. Ag Emissions – During the 2015 iCAP process, we included the goal to reevaluate the emissions from ACES and create a new emissions baseline for south farms. This effort was not started, but there is still an opportunity to do such an evaluation. I believe Madhu Khanna and Evan DeLucia would be good resources for this evaluation, and perhaps Ximing could help facilitate it.
2. Best Management Practices (BMPs) - The previous SWATeam considered dropping the Ag Emissions evaluation objective and adding one to encourage use of Best Management Practices for south farms. The BMPs are an important aspect for increasing campus sustainability, and the concept should be extended to include land that is leased out to other farmers within the campus boundaries (if any).
3. Sustainable Plantings – Brent has made progress on the campus plant lists. It would be helpful to have a map of existing native planting areas on campus, in GIS format. We can provide the map of low mow zones as a starting point.
4. Once there is a map, additional locations can be suggested for pollinator pockets, to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Such locations can also include spaces that would reduce difficulty for the Grounds crew in riding mowers, such as nooks and crannies on campus, as well as steep slope areas.
5. I suggest you invite Eliana Brown to give an overview of the efforts underway for the Red Oak Rain Garden.
6. The Campus Master Plan is in final review and will be moving toward Board of Trustee approval. The website is at https://masterplan-illinois.com/, but I’m not sure if they will have another review draft for the public.
7. Local Food – great work in Dining! I’m curious what the current percentage is from FY17.
8. We need to look at what we are doing for other campus food areas, such as coffee shops and small cafes. Your team could submit a recommendation about local food for dining in one or more of the non-housing areas.
9. Soil sequestration – Other than prairies and trees, are there sequestration efforts campus should consider?
10. To reduce nitrate in Ag. Runoff, I suggest your team look at applicable recommendations in Nitrate Reduction Plan, and suggest the most promising ones for campus to implement.
11. At one point, we considered woody bioreactors in South Farms – see https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/project-update/potential-bioreactor-project. These are still an option, I just didn’t have time to move it forward in 2014.
12. The Now Mow Zones were renamed Low Mow Zones, and there will be a press release and F&S website update to reflect the locations and benefits.
13. Brent Lewis can share an update about the use of more electric equipment for Grounds operations.
14. An updated Tree Inventory has been funded. Brent is working on getting two quotes, so that the purchase order can proceed and the efforts can be started.