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An organization that recognizes businesses and farms for environmentally sustainable practices has certified Portland State University as the nation’s first “Salmon-Safe” university campus.
The Salmon-Safe organization certifies ecologically sustainable land management practices that protect agricultural and urban watersheds so that native salmon can spawn and thrive.
A team of experts in salmon habitat and restoration, integrated pest management, and storm water treatment met with University officials to assess Portland State’s policies and practices in November 2005. While PSU initially met many of the standards, recommendations included the development of a water conservation plan and improved irrigation system, transitioning from “high-risk” and synthetic fertilizers, and continued progress toward meeting its storm water management plan objectives.
“This certification recognizes our desire to support sustainable development and practices on this campus, both in the classroom and in facilities operations, and to continue our work as a national leader in sustainability,” said Dresden Skees-Gregory, facilities sustainability coordinator at PSU.
Corporate campus certification is the latest offering from Salmon-Safe, which has been certifying agricultural and urban land since 1996 as a way to encourage management practices that protect and restore salmon habitat. Nike’s 175-acre world headquarters campus became Salmon-Safe certified last year, Kettle Foods 7-acre Salem campus was awarded certification in May, and in July Toyota Logistics Services’ Vehicle Distribution Center, an 86-acre property that borders the Willamette River at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 4, became the first Salmon-Safe industrial site.
Prior to seeking the Salmon-Safe certification, PSU tested new storm water management programs, including an 18,000 square-foot eco-roof on the campus Broadway Building. According to The Daily Vanguard, the four-inch deep roof garden reduces the building’s water discharge by 28 percent.
Additionally, the campus has a storm water recycling system at Epler hall. The system gathers rainfall from the rooftops of two of the housing buildings and treats the water with UV rays before using it to flush toilets in Epler Hall.
PSU is also seeking new ways to reduce on-campus irrigation, such as using native plant species in the campus landscape and the creation of the Stott Center Community Recreation Field, which is made of recycled Nike shoes instead of grass.