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Prairie Restorations E-Newsletters

Project News: Noerenberg Gardens Wet Meadow

Three Rivers Park District has a hidden gem - a rejuvenated wet meadow on the Lake Minnetonka shoreline at Noerenberg Gardens.

Wet meadows are one of Minnesota’s less common and important wetlands at the interface of dryland and deepwater habitats. Wet meadows across the region are run amok with improved varieties and original European stock of Reed Canary, a highly invasive cool season grass.

This was the case with wet meadow at Noerenberg Gardens. PRI was tasked with creating and implementing an adaptive management strategy to remove reed canary grass and promote the growth of possible remnant native species. In 2015, a controlled burn effectively removed years of thatch and exposed the soil surface. The burn was followed by carefully timed applications of grass-specific herbicide. Thankfully, the native rootstock and seedstock proved to be viable after reed canary grass domination for many years. You never know if viability will be there until you remove the thatch and wait for the response. Lady luck was with this wet meadow and now eleven species of sedges and rushes, and native grasses have recovered, along with a number of wildflowers. PRI crews will continue working on the site within a 10-year management plan framework. Already the meadow is ready to serve as a living laboratory for education.

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