The Ecologists at PRI, along with a team of others, are currently working in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore nearly 25,000 acres of prairie.
According to the Fish and Wildlife service, this decade-long undertaking is the largest tallgrass prairie and wetland restoration project in U.S. history. It is now know as The Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.
But not all of PRI’s public sector projects have been this vast. A commitment to restore and preserve native plant communities has enabled the PRI team to work with a multitude of governmental agencies, parks, schools, hospitals, and other public concerns on projects large and small. Prairies, wetlands, woodlands, shorelines, raingardens - incorporating native plants into the built landscape has been both rewarding and successful. As population growth fuels development, the restoration and protection of natural environments is critical.
A connection with nature can be nourishing to the soul as well as the body. With that in mind, Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis has been working with PRI and other partners to restore a portion of Minnehaha Creek behind its campus. Essentially, the path of the creek has been adjusted to more closely resemble its former meandering course. PRI’s focus has been on the removal of invasive plant species and on the reintroduction of native plant communities along the new streambank and adjacent wetland areas. And the hospital administration recognizes that by providing amenities such as a beautiful natural setting, the overall benefit for staff and patients cannot be underestimated.
Restoration of native plant communities can also contribute to a reduction in pollutants, which is the purpose of a shoreline restoration project at Silver Lake in Rochester, Minnesota. A buffer zone of native plant species is expected to combat shoreline erosion, help deter massive geese populations, and absorb storm water runoff to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the lake. The rich diversity of plant species will also provide welcoming habitats for a wide variety of wildlife.
From shorelines to woodlands to prairies to savannas to rainwater gardens, the natural landscape professionals at PRI are working with public sector entities across the Midwest to protect and preserve our natural resources for generations. With headquarters in Princeton, Minnesota as well as five other locations, PRI’s services are available in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
As part of the new Heritage Park development in Minneapolis, a series of sediment basins, ponds and forbays were created as a means to filter stormwater before it enters the Mississippi river. This unique and innovative design incorporated the use of native vegetation as an integral element of the system. A combination of upland, mesic, wetland and aquatic species were used throughout the project area.
Once the infrastructure work was completed by the general contractor, we mobilized and began the seeding and planting activities. The freshly excavated soil was lightly tilled and raked to prepare a suitable seed bed. Custom, diverse seed mixes were sown throughout the entire project area and then covered with erosion blanket. Approximately 50,000 native plants were then installed in the various microhabitats throughout the project area. Our crews have been actively maintaining the site since the completion of the installation utilizing techniques such as spot herbicide application, spot mowing and prescribed burning.
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