Every so often a project comes along that is simply huge. Such is the case in northwestern Minnesota where The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has undertaken the 25,000-acre Glacial Ridge prairie restoration.
This project is near completion on property that is located on the “edge” of the presettlement prairie, where the forested lands to the east have transitioned into savanna and then into prairie. The eastern portion of this restoration includes the primary beach ridge of Glacial Lake Agassiz, an area of sand and savanna.
This project is supported by a cast of many. Planners, contractors and vendors of various kinds have all had a hand in getting things done. PRI has taken a primary role in collecting seed from nearby remnant prairies and savannas. This critical link in the project requires a small fleet of combines along with a mobile, knowledgeable group of operators and support personnel. Our facility and staff have done this work for nearly a decade.
Obviously, starting a savanna where there are few existing trees is a long-term proposition. Planting the ground layer prairie plants is a good start but adding the tree component at Glacial Ridge will take many more years. More typically, savanna restoration requires a reduction in the kinds and amounts of woody plants, and that can happen much faster.
At PRI we are proud of our contribution to this large, nationally recognized restoration. It is a significant addition to the Midwest landscape and is indicative of the large-scale capabilities at PRI.
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