Green growth: new neighborhood grows up around prairie
In 2013, at the same time the City of Cottage Grove was creating Cedarhurst Meadow Park — with a playground and walking paths that connect to a larger trail system — dozens of new homes were beginning to line that public path.
In the center, South Washington Watershed District and Great River Greening began the Cedarhurst Prairie restoration.
It can take three to five years for prairie plants to establish, as their roots extend 5 to 15 feet into the earth. This year, the Cedarhurst Prairie came into its own, and the backyards in this new neighborhood opened to a healthy display of blazing star, big bluestem, and other native wildflowers and grasses.
Great River Greening has been working in the South Washington Conservation Corridor since 2010 to restore former farmland to prairie, with shading oaks, native grasses, and flowers. The benefit is plenty; restored basins deeply enhance the land by providing critical native habitat and improving water quality by controlling storm water runoff in an area where development is booming.
We want everyone to enjoy this space. Here some important ways to keep it healthy:
- The Cedarhurst Prairie is public land, owned by the South Washington Watershed District and open for use: walk the paths and explore the habitat.
- Please do not deposit compost or lawn trimmings, add or remove plants.
- Homeowners with adjacent land should not mow the prairie. If you desire easier access to the paved trail, you can mow a path to it – up to 4ft wide.
- If you do create a path, free “pollinator lawn” seed is available for you to plant in this section, consisting of low-growing native wildflowers that can tolerate high and infrequent mowing. (contact information is below)
Connect Cedarhurst to a larger conservation corridor
Great River Greening will continue to manage the Cedarhurst prairie, in partnership with South Washington Watershed District, to control weeds and other unwanted plants. Most future trees will be suppressed, including female cottonwoods (which produce fluffy seeds).
This fall, Great River Greening volunteers began seeding the neighboring Parkway Ravine which will connect Cedarhurst Prairie to the larger conservation corridor.
Why prairie at Cedarhurst?
Prairies in Minnesota once occupied almost one third of the state’s land, including much of Washington County. Today, only about 1% of the original prairie remains, making it one of the most critical habitats to protect and restore in Minnesota.
In a healthy prairie, you can find up to 50 different species of grasses and 200 species of wildflowers that support wildlife, from endangered pollinators to majestic hawks.
By restoring the prairie, we honor our natural heritage and improve the environment.
- The tall grasses and colorful wildflowers in a prairie attract and provide shelter for numerous birds and endangered pollinators.
- The deep roots of the prairie help stabilize soil and soak up stormwater runoff, filtering nutrients and other pollutants from groundwater before making its way south to the Mississippi River.
- Other Benefits of Prairie:
• Groundwater recharge
• Less long-term maintenance
• Greater resistance to weeds
• Increases soil organic matter
• Rebuilds the soil
Why are trees growing in the prairie?
You find almost no trees in a prairies. However, oak trees add value by providing shade and food to wildlife, and structure for birds and other creatures. In the fall of 2017, Great River Greening and volunteers planted groves of oaks at the Cedarhurst. Some cottonwood trees that had previously established were also left to mature. While not a typical prairie tree, cottonwoods are a choice tree for bald eagle nests.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT US
Want to know more?
Tallgrass Prairie Facts (compiled by the MN DNR)
- Native tallgrass prairie is the MOST ENDANGERED ecosystem in North America. (Kansas State University)
- One acre of established prairie can produce 24,000 pounds of roots. (Iowa State University)
- One acre of established prairie can ABSORB 9 inches of rainfall per hour before runoff occurs. (University of North Iowa)
- One acre of established prairie will INTERCEPT as much as 53 tons of water during a one-inch hour rain event. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
- Prairie foliage represents a surface area 5 to 20 times larger than the soil area beneath it. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
- Prairie planted in roadside ditches makes our highways safer by INCREASING the holding capacity for snow in the ditch provided the shoulder is mowed. (Mn/DOT)
- Natural competition of prairie plants REDUCES the occurrence of weeds in an area. (Iowa State University)
- Greater prairie diversity creates greater biotic barriers to PREVENT weed invasion. (University of Minnesota )
- One acre of reconstructed prairie can produce more net bioenergy than land used to grow corn for ethanol. (University of Minnesota)
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Volunteer Events Intern will work with the Volunteer Events Manager to provide logistical assistance for the upcoming Spring 2019 Volunteer Restoration Events, which begin in April. The season comprises of multiple public and private events varying in size from 15-200+ volunteers.
- Research and secure rental and food needs for events.
- Ensure materials are replenished before each event.
- Assist Volunteer Events Manager on the ground at events (volunteer check-in, parking, event set-up and take-down).
- Consolidate volunteer data into contact database
- General and other office tasks as assigned.
Quality written and verbal communication skills. Ability to pay attention to detail and work independently a must. Intermediate computer skills, especially in Microsoft Office programs. Knowledge of Adobe suite is preferred, but not required (Acrobat and InDesign, especially).
A minimum of 10+ hours per week preferred between Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:30pm (flexible) and presence at Saturday volunteer events. Position start and end dates are flexible, but typically starts in March and ends in June. This is an unpaid internship.
How to apply:
Send cover letter and resume to Volunteer Events Manager, Katie Brom, at email@example.com. Please indicate in your cover letter why you are applying for this internship and what you hope to get out of this experience. If you have questions, please email or call Katie at 651-272-3989.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Community Outreach Intern will work with the Community Outreach Coordinator to recruit volunteers and prepare marketing materials for our upcoming Spring 2019 Volunteer Restoration Events, which begin in April. The season comprises 3-6 community events that vary in size from 30 to 200 volunteers each. Activities may include attendance at Saturday events.
- Research and initiate contact with targeted volunteer groups in the areas near planned community events, seeking participation from local schools and clubs, businesses, community groups, etc.
- Create/edit marketing materials for the purpose of volunteer recruitment (e.g. mailers, newsletter postings).
- Maintain and update databases: constituent management database and event registration databases.
- Communicate with registered volunteers and general public as needed.
- Attend community outreach events and volunteer restoration events.
- With guidance, dvelop and implement a short term project.
- General and other office tasks as assigned.
Quality written and verbal communication skills and a customer service first attitude. Ability to pay attention to detail and work independently. Intermediate computer software skills, especially in Microsoft Office programs (e.g. Excel, Outlook, Word). Knowledge of Adobe InDesign preferred, but not required.
A minimum of 10 hours per week preferred from Monday-Friday between 7:30am-4:30pm (flexible). Position start and end dates are flexible, but typically starts in Late February and ends in June. This is a volunteer position.
How to apply:
Send cover letter and resume to Katie Brom and May Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2019. Please indicate in your cover letter why you are applying for this internship and what you hope to get out of this experience. If you have questions, please email us or call Katie at 651-272-3989.
A key element in the 7-Mile Creek Watershed Partnership strategic plan was to collect, analyze, and share data. During a community conversation several questions about 7-Mile and the state of the watershed arose. In response, researchers connected to the 7-Mile Creek Watershed Partnership have generated a report to be shared with a broad audience that utilizes data and historical information from the watershed. The report is included below, along with a link to a video about value of Cover CropsSMCAnnualReport_v9-1
This program is made possible by: Nicollet Soil and Water Conservation District, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Bush Foundation, AgriBank, CHS Foundation, ClifBar Family Foundation, Rahr Corporation, and the McKnight Foundation.
Tuesday, July 25 – Friday July 28
Great River Greening is joining the Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook (KCBO), an outdoor beer garden along Kellogg Blvd in St. Paul, from July 25-28, 2017. The event features craft beer, live entertainment, food, and good company. As KCBO’s charitable partner, Great River Greening receives a percentage of the event’s net proceeds – funds will sustain our volunteer events, youth programs, and hands-on restoration projects throughout Minnesota.
The event proudly serves eight varieties of St. Paul craft beers and a cider. Wines from Lompian Wines will also be sold.
Follow the Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook on Facebook for event updates.
Questions? Please contact Lexie Peterson
Many thanks to Brian Horst Productions for choosing Great River Greening as KCBO’s charitable partner.
Thirty years ago, Maplewood residents went knocking on the doors of City Hall asking city leaders to preserve the Fish Creek area. This Thursday, the grand opening of Fish Creek Trail will finally be celebrated.
The ceremony will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Henry Lane and Carver Avenue. In addition to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a chance to see the trail, there will also be snacks, a door prize for kids, a butterfly kite craft for little ones, and more.
With the help of more than 11 partners and many volunteers, Maplewood acquired and restored the property and built a trail just over a mile long.
“To us, it’s really special because of all the partnerships on this project from acquisition to restoration and from trail construction to research and education,” Maplewood Natural Resources Coordinator Virginia Gaynor said.
St. Paul debuts downtown craft beer happy hour Tuesday
A summer-long happy hour at Kellogg Mall Park is part of an effort to reconnect St. Paul with the Mississippi River. The longterm goal is to build a St. Paul River Balcony, as seen in this rendering.
Kellogg Mall Park offers visitors a place to relax near bubbling fountains and enjoy an expansive view of the Mississippi River, just a block from the economic center of St. Paul.
But it’s often empty.
“Kellogg Mall Park is one of the most beautiful parks in St. Paul, or the in region for that matter,” said Joe Spencer, St. Paul’s director of arts and culture. “But a lot of people don’t just go because a place is beautiful.”
So Spencer and Brian Horst, who has produced events at various downtown parks, devised a plan to change that using a cherished tradition: happy hour. The Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook debuts from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
All summer, Tuesdays through Fridays, people will be able to buy food-truck snacks and beer, cider or a glass of wine and enjoy the view. Bartenders will sell local craft brews from a trailer with a cooling system, and some afternoons might feature live music.
Horst hopes the overlook will keep people downtown after the workday ends and tempt them to linger until musical or theatrical performances start at other downtown venues.
The happy hour at the overlook continues a city effort to reconnect with the river. The Mississippi has long been an afterthought for downtown employees — cut off from the heart of the city by parking lots, railroad tracks and the natural divide of the cliff.
The centerpiece of the city’s river initiative is a plan for a balcony that would run from Union Depot to the Science Museum of Minnesota. Near the middle of the 1½-mile stretch, by the Wabasha Street Bridge and Kellogg Mall Park, the city wants to add a beer garden. It would hearken back to Tivoli Gardens, the beer garden that occupied the same site in 1904.
While the balcony is years away from becoming a reality, officials said it’s not too soon to start encouraging people to spend more time by the river.
A test run in 2016
The craft beer overlook had a test run last year during the River Balcony Prototyping Festival and for a few weeks following the event. That festival brought art installations to the riverfront, along with beer, music and approximately 1,000 people, said Darlene Walser, executive director of the St. Paul Riverfront Corp.
Walser talked to about 100 event attendees last year, many of whom live or work downtown. They told her they don’t often come to Kellogg Mall Park, on Kellogg Boulevard between Wabasha and Robert streets, and want to see more events there.
Instead of just another planning meeting, the festival was a way to help people picture the future of the river balcony, Walser said, and Horst’s weekly craft beer events will encourage even more people to re-imagine the riverfront.
Horst said the beer overlook will also bring more positive activity to downtown — which has been struggling with an uptick in quality-of-life crimes — while supporting good causes. Various nonprofits, from Great River Greening to the Aquatennial, will get a quarter of the daily proceeds, he said.
Horst did not get public funding for the overlook and said he will rely on sponsorships and his own investment to put on the happy hour. He hopes to continue the beer garden next year.
“If the city and community allow and want this, I will bring it,” Horst said.