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Prairie Restoration - A success!

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
For some freakish reason, my Planning Department has been assigned duties rtelating to water quality management and land conservation. Not just planning functions, but hands-on field work too. I think they fear that giving these duties to the parks department would result in mowed turf and water ski jumps everywhere. They are probably right.

This year we did our first pilot project to do a full blown prairie oak savana restoration. Its a wild success! Its hard to make out in the picture, but many oaks were planted here too.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
Nice! Did you seed last fall?

I am curious to know what management techniques you are using. The typical recommendation is to burn or mow for two years, to minimize the number of annual weeds. (Weeds which are typically annuals do not bloom, and so do not seed. In the meantime, perennial native grasses and forbs take root, and do not allow germination of weed seed.)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
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12,727
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42
It looks great. I don't know if it's nature or nurture talking, but I think this looks much better than a nasty mono-culture lawn. After my enviromental land use planning/design class, I came away with a much better understanding of typical lawn grass.

Once again, very nice!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Michael Stumpf said:
Did you seed last fall?

I am curious to know what management techniques you are using.
It was a fall seeding. First year you see alot of the black eyed susans as they take hold quickly. Other species will fill in over time. Its a special seed mix from Applied Ecological Services .

Management is a combination of cutting and burning, but we likely wont burn this one for 2-3 years. We just approved our controlled burn safety manual, and over the next few months will be developing a 5 year maintenance plan for all of our conservancy acreage.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
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Moderator
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32
Looks great for a new seeding. I used to be heavily involved is such things before I became a planner. Lots of prairie and wetland reconstruction.
 

martini

Cyburbian
Messages
679
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19
Sweet! Now if only my nice little Germanic hometown would let me do this to my yard, I'd wouldn't have to mow again!

A local prairie preservation/resoration non profit recently asked me to be on thier board of directors, actually. I'm probably gonna take them up on thier offer for at least a year, maybe more if I manage to find employment in this immediate vicinity after I graduate.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
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30
One of our parks has a prairie restoration component. It has been pretty successful, but we do have the odd complaint about "weeds"... usually from people that haven't read the informational signs about the native grasses. It's one of my favorite parks here in St. Albert. I'll try to go out and get a photo.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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3,904
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25
Looks good Chet! It would be great if more cities turned to more "natural" parklands like this.
 

donk

Cyburbian
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6,970
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30
Where we mountain bike is a restoration project in progress. There was a forest fire there about 15-20 years ago, it has been interesting watching the land regenerate and new plants grow over the past five years.

What are you doing about pollen control and noxious weed control (rag weed and the like) and how do you explain the difference between a managed meadow and a weedy field to people?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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donk said:
What are you doing about pollen control and noxious weed control (rag weed and the like) and how do you explain the difference between a managed meadow and a weedy field to people?
Weed control is managed by cuts and burns. Pollen control? Hasnt been an issue.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,879
Points
51
what's next for this prairie sucess story?
a report from the local Audubon Chapter on a bird count?

oh don't forget butterflys
 

tsc

Cyburbian
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1,905
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23
nice, our department does wetlands restoration and stream bed restoration
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
JNA said:
what's next for this prairie sucess story?
a report from the local Audubon Chapter on a bird count?

oh don't forget butterflys
What's Next: We're acquiring 140 acres of additional land, part of an emerging greenbelt. It'll be a major restoration project. We just got word that our grant application was the highest rated in the DNR's annual competition, so as long as the legislature funds the program this year, its a lock.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
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24
Chet, this looks really nice. Is this in Milwaukee? It looks too rural. Maybe you work in a different place, I don't know.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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34
Greenescapist said:
Chet, this looks really nice. Is this in Milwaukee? It looks too rural. Maybe you work in a different place, I don't know.
We are a southwest suburb, 36 sqaure miles in area, about 1/3 urban, 1/3 agrigulture, and 1/3 lakes and environmentally significant land. I can be in downtown Milwaukee in 20 minuites from here.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
Chet said:
It was a fall seeding. First year you see alot of the black eyed susans as they take hold quickly. Other species will fill in over time. Its a special seed mix from Applied Ecological Services .

Management is a combination of cutting and burning, but we likely wont burn this one for 2-3 years. We just approved our controlled burn safety manual, and over the next few months will be developing a 5 year maintenance plan for all of our conservancy acreage.
Black-eyed susans? They usually don't show until the second year, I thought.

[SHAMELESS PLUG FOR A WISCONSIN COMPANY]

I have also used AES. I would not normally comment on a consultant, but but through personal experience and research I have done on them, they are an outstanding firm. If you are considering any kind of ecological restoration (prairie, stream, wetland, brownfield, etc.) they are a company to call. It speaks a lot for them that the National Park Service hired them to prepare restoration plan for Zion National Park. They work internationally.

[/SHAMELESS PLUG FOR A WISCONSIN COMPANY]
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Michael Stumpf said:
Black-eyed susans? They usually don't show until the second year, I thought.
*shrugs*

I was told they have a heavy concentration in the seed mix for their first year bloom, which others dont have.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
Tranplanner said:
Can you come do my front lawn?
I naturalized a part of my lawn. Two years later all it does is grow tall, bloom and attract butterflies. Do you really want your front lawn to look something like this?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,903
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Well, the Black-eyed Susans are really nice but I don't think we want something quite that tall in our front lawn. We're thinking more wildflowers and shrubs - maybe woodchip or gravel the rest.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
The front yard reaches about 5 feet, with an average of maybe 2-3 feet. On the other hand, I have some flowers in the back yard that are at 7 feet right now, and will be about 9 feet by the time they bloom. They are against the house, and will be above the eaves.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
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Michael Stumpf said:
I naturalized a part of my lawn. Two years later all it does is grow tall, bloom and attract butterflies. Do you really want your front lawn to look something like this?
Actually, part of my front lawn DOES look like that. ;)
 
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