Facilities Management and Services

Grounds and Landscaping Sustainable Practices

On-Site Leaf Mulching

pile of leaf mulch

Throughout the fall and winter months, FMS Grounds is tasked with collecting leaves from all over campus. With nearly 3,000 trees, the amount of leaf litter amounts to hundreds of yards of organic waste. FMS has put a mulching program in place on campus that shreds the leaf litter, speeding up the breakdown of leaves and creates a rich mulch product. Once ready, the grounds team brings the mulch back to campus, placing it around trees and in shrub beds. The benefits are weed control, improved soil health, and improved plant health. Additionally, FMS saves money and reduces carbon emissions by not shipping the leaf-litter off campus to be processed by waste-haulers.

Native Landscaping

exterior of building with plants

During the last 5 years, the landscape at Chico State has been including more and more drought-tolerant and California native plants. The resulting landscapes are more attractive to birds, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects and pollinators. In the fall of 2018, FMS completed two landscape improvement projects at the Gateway Science Museum, both of which incorporated a sub-surface irrigation system, drip irrigation, drought-tolerant and CA native plants. Future landscape improvement projects will work towards using even more of these plants.

Efficient Turf Irrigation
Over the years, FMS Grounds has been working to update irrigation controls, moving to a centrally-controlled system. This years-long initiative brings 21st century capabilities to the acres of irrigated sports turf and lawns. Also, when new lawns have been installed, they are built with state-of-the-art sub surface irrigation systems which apply water beneath the lawn, allowing it to percolate upwards to the grass. The sub surface systems are nearly 100% efficient, eliminating overspray, runoff, and vandalism. For comparison, a traditional lawn irrigation system that utilizes sprinklers can only hope for 70% efficiency under perfect conditions. The sub surface systems have allowed the Grounds staff to keep the grass green while only using a fraction of the water compared to a traditional system.
Storm Water Management

FMS Grounds has improved and implemented bioswales on campus, which help reduce storm water runoff and pollution. Bioswales located at the Student Services Center and Yolo Hall are recent FMS projects to improve and introduce bioswales. Additional swales and sediment filters can be found in front of the EHS & UPD building, and inside the courtyard at the Arts & Humanities building. FMS Grounds is looking to install more swales and sediment filter areas throughout campus as part of their on-going plans to improve the look and function of the campus landscape.

bioswales with rocks and plants

Preserving Wildlife Habitats

In the summer of 2018, the campus was given a long-term maintenance agreement to clean up the riparian corridor that runs through the center of campus. A great deal of work has been done to clean up the existing sites, remove hazardous trees and non-native/invasive plants, open up sightlines, and trim vegetation away from trails and pathways. As a result, existing native vegetation has been given room to flourish which in turn creates better habitat for birds, owls, hawks, river otters, and fish. FMS Grounds will working to install more native trees and plant material along the riparian corridor to offset the vegetation that has been removed.

shaded creek