Land Use

Land Use Goals

land use icon roundGOAL: Plan every new project to serve as a model of resource conservation and environmental stewardship.

STATUS:  On Track

Campus Performance Overview

Sustainable planning helps achieve broader goals

The campus works to ensure that major projects reflect established campus planning and land use principles. Physical and Environmental Planning (PEP) is also responsible for conducting a regular housing and transportation survey, and for ensuring that the campus is in compliance with the state-mandated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

PEP’s planning efforts are guided by the campus’ Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and its updates. The LRDP describes a framework for land use and investment to meet the academic goals and objectives of the University. The companion Environmental Impact Report provides information on the environmental implications of the LRDP and includes an extended treatment of potential impacts and mitigation best practices. Importantly, the LRDP delineates a comprehensive approach for achieving a sustainable campus and has been amended to require that the campus design all aspects of new projects to achieve our short and long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. From the LRDP, the campus goal is to plan every new project to serve as a model of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. The LRDP and EIR also help establish basic project parameters, such as no net increase in stormwater runoff over pre-project conditions (2020 LRDP Continuing Best Practice USS-3.1); or the requirement that the scope and budget of each project include consideration of bicycle improvements (2020 LRDP Continuing Best Practice TRA-1-b).

Activity highlights

  • The campus is actively protecting endangered and vulnerable species on its sprawling hills and marshlands, such as the Alameda whipsnake in the Strawberry Creek Watershed and the Ridgeway’s Rail, a marsh bird, at the Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond.
  • Preservation measures include prioritizing the use of native plants on campus and instituting an organic landscape management program on the popular Faculty and Memorial Glade.
  • UC Berkeley students, working with campus staff, have helped lead the preservation effort by restoring biodiverse native plant communities in areas overrun by invasive species. Students also host and maintain gardens and other landscaped areas.

STARS Performance Overview

Land Use Category (termed "Grounds" by STARS)

According to STARS, "This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that plan and maintain their grounds with sustainability in mind. Beautiful and welcoming campus grounds can be planned, planted, and maintained in any region while minimizing the use of toxic chemicals, protecting wildlife habitat, and conserving resources."

Berkeley's STARS Performance

Total Points Available: 4

Land Use ("Grounds") Points Claimed: 3.95

  • The natural splendor of UC Berkeley’s 1,232 acres climbing the East Bay hills not only offers a calm oasis from the surrounding city, that landscape has also helped the campus notch a top STARS score for its biodiversity, and for how campus staff protect UC Berkeley’s natural assets.
  • Research and doctoral institutions won an average of 52% of STARS points in the Grounds category, compared to Berkeley’s 99%.
  • A highlight of UC Berkeley's performance in this category is 95% of grounds managed organically. All campus area is managed organically (without inorganic fertilizers, fungicides or pesticides) with the exception of less than 5% of the land where inorganic materials are used selectively to treat wood stumps and newly weeded areas. Selective chemicals are used when there are no effective organic alternatives.


David Ackerly

Check out David Ackerly’s presentation: “Can plants and animals adapt to a changing climate or will we require new approaches to biodiversity conservation?”

Herbicide Free

Mackenzie Feldman co-founded Herbicide Free Campus with teammate Bridget Gustafson

Founded at UC Berkeley in 2017, Herbicide-Free UC’s mission is to stop the use of toxic herbicides across all University of California campuses. In May 2019, Herbicide-Free Cal efforts were rewarded when the University of California issued a ban on the use of glyphosate-based herbicides at all UC locations. The UCOP President has accepted recommendations for a full ban, and the Systemwide Pesticide Oversight Committee (SPOC) is implementing the recommendations.

Strawberry Creek

The Strawberry Creek Restoration Program begun in 1987, aims to eliminate harmful discharges to the Creek and provides hands-on training in restoration for university and K-12 students. The program also works to restore three designated Natural Areas on Campus (the Grinnell, the Goodspeed, and the Wickson) through  weed removal and native plant re-vegetation. The Strawberry Creek Restoration Program thrives today due to the donated labor and funds of students, staff, and faculty as well as alumni and campus neighbors. There is also a native plant nursery and garden to support the restoration of Strawberry Creek.  Visit the  Creeks of UC Berkeley website.