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OSU has embarked on several focused efforts to reduce its impact on Oak Creek, one of the area's most significant natural features. The two primary areas of concentration are the main campus (30th St. to 35th St. reach) and the Department of Animal Sciences' livestock facilities (generally west of the OSU Dairy Center).
Although recent reports have rated riparian functions in the 30th to 35th St. reach as "nearly fully functioning" to "fully functioning", there are improvements still to be made including:
With these improvements and others, study opportunities abound. Study zones along the creek can be designated for students to evaluate various restoration and protection methods, study riparian function and monitor stream improvements.
OSU's Dept. of Animal Sciences recently announced the start of a yearlong project to restore and protect areas of the creek that wind through livestock facilities. Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the project will create wildlife habitat and riparian buffers along more than five miles of streams that include Oak Creek and its tributaries.
Animal facilities include the horse, sheep, swine, and dairy centers with plans to expand it into Soap and Berry Creek ranches and protect a different water system there. The properties are diverse and plans differ according to needs but the principals are the same:
In total, the first phase of the project completed by summer 2009 will protect about 140 acres by installing new fences or mending current ones.
Making good on a promise made to students in 2002, construction has begun on the long-awaited People's Park! Intended as a contemplative, quiet space set aside within the core of campus, People's Park demonstrates sustainable practices in landscaping.
The OSU Landscape Shop is responsible for maintaining the grounds of the OSU campus. This includes lawns, sidewalks, trees, shrubs, and other open areas on the 423 acre main campus.
For the last six years, OSU has been awarded "Tree Campus USA" status by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Oregon Department of Forestry. This program recognizes college campuses for their excellence in tree planting, care, and stewardship.
The Oregon State main campus has over 5,000 cataloged trees (not including the many trees in the riparian corridor along Oak Creek and the agriculture lands).
The tallest tree at OSU is 140 feet tall,the largest trunk diameter is nearly 8 feet, and the largest canopy on our campus is over 100 feet wide.
Among our thousands of trees are several state and locally recognized Heritage trees. Heritage trees are described as trees that are honored for their unique size, age, historical, or horticultural significance. Some noticeable Heritage trees on the OSU campus include:
OSU landscapers have taken many steps to reduce their operation's impact on the environment:
In addition to the list above, the grounds crew maintains pedestrian and bicyclist safety by controlling sidewalk alignment and moss growth.