Ecological design and restoration is the core mission of Great River Greening, applying the knowledge of Native Plant Communities and resource conservation to heal damaged, degraded, and destroyed ecological systems. With the Greening Strategies program, Greening ecologists also serve as consultants on a variety of public and private projects and use these opportunities to improve our Restoration Methods.
Greening Strategies helps corporations, developers, government agencies and others restore native plants and wildlife habitat, incorporate native plants into site design, and adopt other ecologically sound design and development practices.
Ecological restoration, as practiced by Great River Greening, is accomplished through careful site analysis and site planning, matching the right plants to the design need. The Minnesota State Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS) is the first resource for much of our work. The ecological benefits include habitat creation, water quality improvement, erosion control, and Carbon Sequestration(.pdf 1MB).
There are also economic benefits since the designs often require reduced irrigation, less maintenance and, in some cases, use plants salvaged from the site before construction.
Community-based restoration means that we involve community volunteers whenever possible and also that we develop our restoration goals in partnership and collaboration. Great River Greening typically uses a team-based decision-making system where input from all perspectives and stakeholders is evaluated to make the best possible decision.
It is easy to assume that because a landscape looks “green,” it is good for the environment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Planned landscapes across the country often use too much water, contribute to air and water pollution, and accelerate the spread of Invasive Species. By extending green building standards to landscapes, we can create attractive, useful landscapes tackling such important issues as Impervious Surfaces (.pdf 345k), stormwater control, greenhouse gases, the urban heat island effect, and loss of wildlife habitat.
See our initiative called Sustainable Landscape for Affordable Housing for project examples using state-of-the-art techniques, as well as the CD available for purchase Designing with Minnesota Native Plants: Strategies for Project Success