WSU Vancouver has become the first urban campus in southwestern Washington to earn Salmon-Safe certification, a designation that means the university is proactively and significantly improving the environmental health of its 351-acre property. WSU Vancouver is an environmental innovator with initiatives ranging from LEED buildings to rain gardens and constructed wetlands to restoration of forests on the property. Salmon-Safe certification represented a powerful next step because aptly named Salmon Creek, in their own backyard, is home to coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout.
The certification announcement will be made today at the Top Projects & Building Excellence reception and awards presentation at 5:15 p.m. on campus. The event is sponsored by the Building Industry Association, Southwest Washington Contractor’s Association and the Vancouver Business Journal.
James Martin, director of facilities operations at WSU Vancouver, who oversees campus environmental programs, said, “We think Salmon-Safe certification is a powerful way to ensure that best facilities management practices are used in our landscape maintenance and storm water management programs. We welcomed the independent review of our environmental efforts ranging from campus design to day-to-day management.”
To qualify for Salmon-Safe certification, WSU Vancouver met rigorous conservation requirements. These included committing to further streamside restoration along Mill Creek to provide bank stability, shade and cover. Other measures included phasing out landscape chemicals harmful to the watershed, additional water conservation, further reducing storm water runoff from parking lots and buildings, and incorporating salmon-friendly design in all future campus development.
In 2006, Portland State University became the first Salmon-Safe certified campus, followed by University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia Community College (2008) and Walla Walla Community College (2009). Salmon-Safe later this fall will announce the certification of another leading Northwest university.