Principle 7

Principle 7: Integrate Cultural Heritage And Natural Resources

EWU has a very dedicated and professional landscape maintenance staff. During discussions with staff, several suggestions were made to improve the sustainability of the campus. Staff should be involved in projects from design through construction to help ensure that the landscape projects can be maintained with available resources. The EWU campus landscape has developed one project at a time, with the landscape and irrigation for each new building generally standing alone with limited connection to the landscapes that preceded them. EWU has begun the implementation of a central control system for irrigation that will significantly improve the ability of maintenance staff to monitor and adjust irrigation timing to maximize efficiency. Small remnant turf grass areas are frequently created that are difficult to irrigate and maintain efficiently. Part of this master plan has been to develop a framework for maintenance staff to identify areas that may not need irrigation or where the existing irrigation system should be modified to be more efficient and reduce water waste. Mowing lawns at a greater height where turf remains encourages the grass to extend deeper root systems and become more drought tolerant.

Objectives and Strategies

  •  Landscape design, project management, and administrative staff will collaborate with maintenance staff to identify practical solutions, innovative maintenance, and operations best practices for sustainability.
  • Maintenance staff will identify landscape areas that do not need irrigation or require modification of irrigation systems to reduce wasted water.
  • The team will evaluate strategies to maintain campus landscapes more efficiently by implementing technology driven solutions.
  • All routine mowing will be completed by electrically powered automated machinery recharged by a renewable source.

Maintenance Staff Driven Solutions

Ground crews have a valuable understanding of existing irrigation systems that could be more efficient or updated. EWU should prioritize the maintenance and renovation of irrigation zones that overspray onto hardscapes and walls, and zones suspected of leaking or inefficiencies.

If landscape areas are converted to low-maintenance and drought-tolerant landscapes, some irrigation will be removed or modified to be more efficient. Currently, grounds crews operate internal combustion-powered mowers, string trimmers, snow blowers, and other equipment. The technology associated with power maintenance equipment is evolving very quickly. EWU should evaluate equipment with new technologies to replace current equipment. Investing in newer equipment will reduce downtime for repairs while allowing EWU to take advantage of technological advances as it moves toward a zero-emission fleet. As the need arises for replacement or additional Grounds equipment, the University should invest in electric tools and equipment to reduce GHG emissions and provide cleaner air and a quieter learning environment for students. A comprehensive strategy for fleet electrification and EV chargers on campus should be developed, planning for growth and demand over the following decades. Additionally, campus facilities should investigate using robotic mowers to free up maintenance personnel time in large turf areas.

Manufacturers are constantly improving equipment with multiple cameras to detect obstacles and take action to avoid them, including the machine powering down until the path is clear to ensure the safety of students and wildlife.

EWU maintenance staff should investigate developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to prevent pests (including plants and animals) and their damage. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.

This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. This can be achieved through biological control, habitat manipulation, resistant varieties, and modifying cultural practices where pesticides are used infrequently. A campus tree inventory can identify the health of campus trees. Tree planting and replacement should result in a net gain of at least 3% each year.