Sustainable Land Care Standard


Waterloo's Sustainable Land Care Standard provides a framework to guide the development and management of campus grounds over time.

The University of Waterloo owns over 1,200 acres of property of varying types. As a steward of many parts of the local community's ecological heritage, including the 270 acre Environmental Reserve and the Laurel Creek corridor, the way we manage our campus grounds has significant, far-reaching impacts. The Sustainable Land Care Standard provides a roadmap for sustainable land management across seven focus areas, summarized below. The full Sustainable Land Care Standard (PDF) is also available for download for those who are interested in more specific details.

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Soil and vegetation

Specific actions that will help to improve soil quality and create vibrant habitats and green spaces for a variety of uses:

  • Follow the species planting list for all new plantings
  • Measure soil quality
  • Reuse leaves, clippings, and mulch on site wherever possible
  • Support strong turf development in lawn-care practices
  • Identify priority areas for naturalization
  • Develop criteria for food garden plots
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Fertilizers and pesticides

Opportunities to minimize excess nutrient runoff and chemical application in favour of more natural practices:

  • Eliminate synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for general application
  • Use ecologically preferable materials for fertilizers and pesticides
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Opportunities to better understand the diversity of species and habitats across campus, and create strategies to protect and enhance them:

  • Identify and monitor populations of major plant species
  • Identify populations of major land and aquatic animal species
  • Identify and develop remediation plans for invasive species
  • Designate key habitats, natural areas, and/or protected areas
  • Develop protocols for managing endangered species
  • Treat nuisance animals humanely
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Water management

Key actions that can protect watersheds and groundwater resources:

  • Measure nutrient levels and contaminants in watershed
  • Create a design standard for pathways
  • Utilize green infrastructure in flood-prone areas
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Snow and ice management

Actions to minimize environmental impacts of salt application while maintaining campus safety:

  • Measure salt applied to campus grounds and parking lots
  • Implement training on salt reduction
  • Implement salt use reduction workplan
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Actions to support more sustainable procurement and operations of landscaping equipment:

  • Prioritize electric equipment
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Communication and engagement

Actions to promote campus green spaces, communicate efforts, and engage the campus community:

  • Communicate actions from the Land Care Standard
  • Develop a training program and feedback process