2013: The year in restoration

Contractor removing buckthorn, honeysuckle and Siberian elm brush from a woodland within the Hastings Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area, near Hastings.

Photo: Joe Walton/FMR

In addition to developing natural resource management plans, Senior Ecologist Karen Schik and Ecologist Joe Walton had a busy 2013 managing numerous restoration projects in the field. FMR initiated restoration on a total of 68 acres of land at five new sites in Cottage Grove, Hastings, and Inver Grove Heights. One of these new projects is taking place at the Old Mill Park along the Vermillion River in Hastings, which contains a diverse oak savanna remnant. Restoration activities at this site include buckthorn removal, prescribed burning and prairie planting. For those nature historians in the audience, this park is a wonderful example of what much of the Twin Cities would have looked like prior to European settlement.

FMR’s two ecologists also managed restoration activities at 13 on-going projects, improving habitat on a total of 567 acres at these sites. Utilizing funding from a diverse mix of sources including the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, FMR undertook activities to improve prairie, savanna, woodland and forest habitats. Anyone visiting the Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, Hastings Sand Coulee SNA, Gores Pool Wildlife Management Area, Crosby Park or the Rosemount Wildlife Preserve, among others, will see first-hand some of our restoration efforts. Our goal is to improve the habitat along the Mississippi River and important tributaries, doing our part to make the ecosystem more functional and attractive for animals, plants and people.