Through habitat restoration and management, habitats that have been identified as disturbed can be restored with a diversity of native plants and animals to ensure a functioning, natural ecosystem is in place. Without a healthy ecosystem, native plants, insects and animals will not prosper and their populations will decline.
Restoration programs and practices
The City of St. Louis Park recognizes the importance of maintaining and restoring the natural resources that exist within the city and has created and supports a number of programs and practices to help promote habitat restoration, including:
- Buckthorn management program
- Pollinator and bee-friendly initiatives
- Westwood Hills Nature Center Master Vegetation Management Plan
- Rainwater Rewards program
- Emerald Ash Borer treatment, removal and prevention
Minnehaha Creek Preserve
In 2009, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District recognized this section of the Minnehaha Creek as the most degraded section of the 22-mile stream and began implementing restoration plans to both improve the water and connect it to the community, including:
- Returning curves to the previously straightened stream, which lengthened it by 1,600 feet
- Creating 2,200 feet of boardwalk and 4,600 feet of paved trails surrounding the creek
Returning the natural curves of the stream helps to slow down the water flow and prevent erosion. It also created a natural buffer for stormwater runoff coming from more than 80 acres of surrounding area, which previously flowed untreated into the creek. The restoration also added 30 acres of uplands, wetlands and ponds.
The restoration project was completed in 2013, and the preserve was officially opened in 2015.
Bass Lake Preserve
Bass Lake was an 80-acre lake until 1908 when the excavation of County Ditch 14 drained the lake. Additionally, Bass Lake shrank in size and depth after its use as a landfill from the early 1900s up to the 1960s. Beginning in 1969, the city implemented an anti-dumping order, designated the area as a park preserve and began developing plans to restore the lake.
For more information, view a brief history of Bass Lake from the St. Louis Park Historical Society.
Jim Vaughan, natural resources coordinator