Natural Resource Management

The Natural Resource Coordinator oversees and implements land stewardship activities throughout the 4,400 acre park system.

Below is information on a list of current and upcoming projects.

Current


2019
Washington County and Partners
All Washington County Parks
Parks is currently participating in a natural resource planning effort to help guide and prioritize natural resource work across the entire county park system. To learn more visit https://www.co.washington.mn.us/2870/Natural-Resources-Planning
2013-Present
Friends of Mississippi River
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
Friends of the Mississippi River has helped restore over 62.5 acres of Oak Savanna, Dry Prairie within the park. Most recently in the winter of 2019, they removed over 23 acres on the west side of ravine lake.
2014-2019
Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant
Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park

Washington County received a $430,000 grant from the Outdoor Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) to enhance and restore habitat at: Lake Elmo Park Reserve, 141 acres of oak forest, wetland, Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, 53 acres of oak forest, St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, 55 acres of oak and mesic forest providing an overview of the project.

2018-2019
Pollinator Friendly Alliance
Pine Point Regional Park
Butterfly Landing - 14 acres of prairie is being enhanced NW of the main trailhead. Pollinator Friendly and partners helped plant over 2000 native plugs in the fall of 2018, and broadcasted native seed in the winter of 2019 (Area lightly disced in the fall, and being mowed in summer of 2019)
2018-2028
Great River Greening/Butler Family Foundation
Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Butler Family Foundation in partnership with Great River Greening helped establish 24.5 acres of prairie production plots at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, south of the barns. The fields were planted in spring, fall and winter of 2018, mowing is occurring during 2019 to help natives establish.
2019
Washington Conservation District/St. Croix River Association
St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park
In partnership with Washington Conservation District and St. Croix River Association, over 10 acres of former Ag field and turf grass was recently planted to native perennial vegetation in June of 2019. In addition to using a native seed mix, plugs were planted as part of the project. Areas will be mowed throughout the 2019 growing season.
2019
South Washington Watershed District
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
South Washington Watershed District brought in goats to help control garlic mustard within the central ravine of the park May through June of 2019.
2019
Xerces Society
Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Utilizing the Xerces Society Organic Site Preparation Methods resource manual, the parks is utilizing a soil inversion method on 4 acres of former cool season grass north of the Rustic Campground. Grasses are expected to be planted in July of 2019.  
2019
University of MN
St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park
A beetle bank research project is underway in the prairie restoration north of the main road at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. For more information, stop by the park office for a 1 pager on the habitat being restored and what has been found to date.
2019
Washington County Sentence to Serve
All County Parks
Washington County Sentence to serve program helps out with natural resource based projects through the county park system each week. These tasks involve undesirable shrub and diseased tree removal, fuel load reductions within oak savannas/oak woodlands, prairie plug and seed collecting, rain garden maintenance, tree planting and preparing temporary fence for the use of goats.  

Upcoming Projects

2019-2022
Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Two Expedited Conservation Partners Legacy Grants were received to conduct Oak Savanna and prairie restoration within Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The prairie restoration is focused on restoring 32 acres of ag field to prairie with species that benefit the Rusty Patched bumblebee. The oak savanna restoration is along the north shore of Eagle Point Lake where relic bur and white oaks will be spotlighted following buckthorn removal. This project will use goats to help control undesirable shrub re-sprouts and minimize herbicide use.
2019/2020
Grants
Washington County will be developing grant applications for habitat restoration at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Cottage Grove Ravine and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. The projects involve restoring oak savanna, prairie and wetlands, using natural processes (via goats) to control undesirable vegetation, and implementing conservation based grazing at Lake Elmo Park Reserve to increase plant diversity, grassland bird habitat and carbon storage.