Land Conservation Program: Restoration

Much of the landcover that existed in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area prior to European settlement has been removed or greatly altered. There are few areas that still contain the dynamic and diverse natural communities that were found here at the time of settlement. Much of this “original” landcover was replaced by cropland and urban development. Even the natural areas that still exist today have been altered by the introduction of exotic species, the elimination of native members of the community (prairie chickens, passenger pigeon, wolves) and the elimination of some of the natural processes such as fire.

The health of the Mississippi River is greatly influenced by the land that surrounds it. Natural Areas in the watershed filter stormwater runoff, provide flood storage, and offer habitat for both resident and migratory animals. If our goal is to increase the biological diversity of these natural areas or in many cases, totally recreate them, we must mimic or replace the natural processes. FMR has worked with many landowners to enhance existing natural areas by reintroducing fire or acting as a natural “pest” to control non-native and often invasive species that have become established. We have also restored many areas in which the natural communities have been totally replaced with other landcover, such as agricultural fields. The overall goal for our restoration efforts is to recreate, as much as possible, the natural communities that existed at the site as the area was being settled.

Karen Schik, Ecologist and Project Manager, leads FMR’s restoration and enhancement efforts. Karen develops the guiding documents, the Natural Resource Management Plan, determines the exact activities and treatments, hires contractors and monitors and evaluates these activities.

To learn more about specific restoration projects visit the following project pages: