- Natural Resource Management
Natural Resource Management
Last Content Update:
Two Natural Resource Coordinators oversee and implement land stewardship activities throughout the 4,800 acre park system. Current and future stewardship is outlined in each tab by park.
- Coordination with Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District on stormwater improvement project.
- Rain Garden maintenance.
- Hybrid cattail control with University of Minnesota on Big Marine Lake.
- CR-4 turtle fence crossing.
- Noxious weed control along the main park road for Canada thistle.
- Siberian elm control within prairies of the main entrance.
- Continued forestry of buckthorn re-sprouts in the main park area.
- Cover crop program on 24 ac of crop field within the park reserve.
- Oriental bittersweet control south of the maintenance shop.
- Implementing conservation-based grazing/haying within grassland plant communities, with oak savanna restoration integrated.
- Prairie restoration on 24 acres of crop field.
Friends of the Mississippi River
- Restoring over 100 acres of oak savanna and dry prairie within the park.
- In 2021, assisted with the development of a natural resource management plan in partnership and funded by the South Washington Watershed District.
South Washington Watershed District
- Goats will be used to set back garlic mustard and common buckthorn within the central draw overflow storage area.
- Restoration will start this year in the north half of the central draw overflow area.
- Controlled burns are planned throughout the park in the spring of 2023.
- Prescribed grazing with goats is anticipated in 2023, with dates and locations to be determined. The park website will be updated with this information is known.
- Additional buckthorn control is anticipated in fall 2023, in areas where buckthorn has been previously removed.
- Sentence to Serve crews are helping with fuel load reductions in oak savannas in the central portion of the park and north of Ravine Landing (area between intersection #'s 2, 4, 9, 10, 11). Crews will also be thinning thinning mesic trees such as box elder, ash and hackberry to allow for more sunlight to enter the groundlayer.
- The Ravine Landing parking lot rain garden basins are being refreshed this year.
- Partnering with Pollinator Friendly Alliance to restore 10 acres of prairie off Kimbro Avenue. Organic site preparation methods are being used, and planting will occur early summer.
- Implementing the Natural Resource Management Plan developed in partnership with SWWD and FMR.
- Developing a firewood program to assist with fuel load reduction efforts in the park.
- Implementing a conservation based haying or grazing system on the NE portion of the park to improve the grassland habitat, in partnership with SWWD.
- Controlled burns are planned in prairie and oak savanna restoration areas spring 2023.
- Washington County received a $390,000 Metropolitan Conservation Partners Legacy grant for over 166 acres of oak savanna and prairie restoration on the west half of Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
- Prairie Restoration (PDF) (94 acres)
- Seeding is largely completed. Establishment mowing and noxious weed control will occur throughout the year.
- Oak Savanna Restoration (PDF) (47 acres)
- Spot treatment of buckthorn re-sprouts will occur fall of 2023.
- Prairie Restoration (PDF) (94 acres)
- Washington County received a $50,000 Expedited Conservation Partners Legacy grant (part of the Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant) for 18 acres or oak savanna restoration south of the north barns. This work will involve selectively removing box elders. Work is anticipated to start in fall 2023.
- Noxious weed control for wild parsnip, common tansy and Canada thistle will be targeted by Natural Resource seasonal staff.
- In 2022, Natural Resource seasonal staff and volunteers collected 104 pounds of prairie seed within the park for use within restorations. These efforts will continue fall of 2023.
- Sentence to Serve crews have been assisting with thinning in prairie and oak savanna restoration areas as well as gathering dead and downed wood to prepare sites for future controlled burns.
- Prescribed grazing with goats will be used to control buckthorn re-sprouts in oak savanna restoration areas. The website will be updated with locations and dates when that information is available.
Great River Greening/Butler Family Foundation
- Butler Family Foundation in partnership with Great River Greening helped establish 24.5 acres of prairie production plots at Lake Elmo Park Reserve on the north end of the park reserve, south of the barns. The fields were planted in spring, fall and winter of 2018, mowing is occurring during 2019 to help natives establish followed by weed control in 2020. We are continuing to bring volunteer groups out to collect native seed from the plots.
Pollinator Friendly Alliance
- Pollinator Friendly Alliance held a planting event spring 2022. They weeded, watered, and mulched over 2,500 native plants for a plant propagation corridor. An individual volunteer help weed and water the planting throughout the first year.
- Continuing to develop a plan to implement conservation-based seasonal grazing (Bison or Cattle) on the west half of Lake Elmo Park Reserve to help maintain grassland.
- Collaborating with MPCA with the PFAs investigation throughout Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
There are currently no land stewardship initiatives underway.
Pollinator Friendly Alliance
- Helping restore 11 acres of cropland to prairie, with a $22,500 Expedited Conservation Partners Legacy grant, in partnership with Washington Conservation District.
- PFA has helped restore a 17 acre prairie known as Butterfly Landing. PFA and their volunteers assisted with Citizen Science surveys, purchased and spread seed to increase floral diversity for pollinators, and planted over 2000 plugs.
- Continued forestry mowing of buckthorn re-sprouts in the oak savanna.
- Follow up buckthorn management in areas where initial buckthorn removal has taken place.
- Sentence to Serve crews are assisting in the deadfall and woodland clean up in cemetery.
- Implementing activities included in the Master Plan, such as thinning the pines to improve the stand health, and conducting ecological restoration in the core conservation areas including oak savanna restoration.
Washington Conservation District, Pollinator Friendly Alliance
- 18 acres of cropland was restored to prairie with WCD and PFA. This will provide pollinator habitat and prevent phosphorus from draining to the St. Croix River.
- Noxious weed control with natural resource seasonal staff for Canada thistle and common tansy.
- Implementing conservation-based grazing and haying north of the main park road.
- Forestry mowing and controlled burns are planned in the oak savanna restoration units.
- Natural Resource seasonal staff continue to maintain the rain garden at the north half of the park.
- Working with the watershed district to reduce stormwater runoff on the north end of the lake, with hopes of implementing in fall 2023.