Native habitat restoration

Native woodland, prairie and wetland habitats throughout the country have been disappearing and deteriorating in quality due to impacts from human uses. In many areas, invasive species are proliferating and outcompeting native species, resulting in habitat and species loss. This loss affects the quality of nature in our backyards, parks, waters and lands beyond. We have an opportunity to make a difference locally.

Minnetonka’s Natural Resource Stewardship Program was created in 1995 in response to a study of five major Minnetonka parks and three creek corridors. The results of the study revealed that the health of most ecosystem types throughout the city had seriously deteriorated. Habitat restoration began with a prairie restoration project in Purgatory Park and buckthorn removal in Lone Lake Park. The restoration program has since expanded to include projects on more than 275 acres in the city, in more than 20 parks.

By improving habitats, many animals in the food web are positively affected, including insects, birds, amphibians and mammals. These improvements enhance the experience of all park users, and the benefits cross property lines into neighborhoods. For example, birds and butterflies will be more prevalent in a neighborhood with natural areas where there is a diversity of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers that flower and fruit at different times. Use the following information to learn about upland invasive plant species, techniques for control, what the city is doing in the parks, and how to improve habitat on your own property.

The purple flowers of an anenome.