Old Dominion University
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Facilities Management

Sustainability Assessment

ODU has an established low maintenance low water, plant pallet that is used for all landscape projects.

Bermuda sod is used throughout the majority of the campus due to its ability to survive during the drought months.

In 2008 many irrigation systems were not turned on in established areas due to landscapes low water requirements.

In general it takes about two years with irrigation for plants to get established. Once established the irrigation is turned off except when landscape plant material are threatened to die. Most Bermuda lawns go dormant in extreme drought but recover once there is rainfall.

Irrigation systems are equipped with rain gages that will not allow the system to come on when there is adequate rain fall.

Nutrient Management Plan

Nutrient management planning seeks to address nonpoint source pollution by reducing the potential for runoff and leaching of nutrients.

Our management plan identifies the areas on campus that receive low phosphate or NO phosphate fertilizers.

Phosphate fertilizers can get into our rivers.

This type of algae has caused algal blooms in Virginia waters during previous years. It turns the water a reddish-brown color and is commonly referred to as a "mahogany tide.”

Phosphates promote algae growth, which appears as scum on the surface of water. The algae plants die and sink to the bottom of the river. When they decompose, they use up the oxygen in the water, suffocating other plant and animal species.

Organic controls as an alternative to Pesticides:

The use of dormant oils and insecticidal soaps to combat insects is being used in order to alleviate the use of more potent insecticide and are safer for the environment. The oils and soaps smother insects or provide a mechanical barrier to prevent damage.

The use of microorganisms and microbial products are also used to combat plant diseases.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest control strategy that uses a variety of complementary strategies including: mechanical devices, physical devices, genetic, biological, cultural management, and chemical management. These methods are done in three stages: prevention, observation, and intervention. It is an ecological approach with a main goal of significantly reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level.

With regular inspections, our Pesticide Technician can observe plant material to see if treatment is necessary. If no pests are found then there is no treatment. Insect traps are used in garden areas to monitor pest infestations.

Pest management sometimes seems especially challenging for farmers dedicated to sustainable, low-input practices.

The use of insecticides can kill bees and may be a cause of pollinator decline. The loss of pollinators could mean a reduction in crop yields.