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DNR launches habitat restoration projects at two southeast SNAs

Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct habitat restoration projects involving tree removal and other work this winter on two state nature preserves in the southeast corner of the state.

At Mound Prairie Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), 3.5 miles west of Hokah on Minnesota Highway 16, cedar trees and some deciduous trees will be cut, piled and burned to enhance prairie habitat. Invasive plants also will be cleared using cutting and chemical methods. All oak and hickory trees will be left, and some cedars will be spared to provide a visual buffer for adjacent homeowners and a golf course. Mound Prairie SNA supports a diverse plant community that includes such rare species as plains wild indigo, goat’s rue, jewelled shooting star, Ohio spiderwort, and narrow-leaved milkweed.

West of Rushford, restoration projects also will get underway this winter at the Rushford Sand Barrens SNA. Work there will include removal and replacement of a fence near the unit’s parking area, invasive species removal and oak savanna restoration. Part of the restoration area may be farmed next year to help eliminate invasive species before being planted to grasses next fall. The Rushford Sand Barrens site features a complex of rare natural communities in the Root River valley, with at least 13 rare plant species.

The goal of Minnesota’s SNA program is to ensure that no single rare feature is lost from any region of the state. This requires protection and management of each feature in sufficient quantity and distribution across the landscape. Activities used by the program to carry out its mission and goals include: land protection, management, education, research and prairie initiatives as well as producing publications, working with others, and helping private landowners.

The restoration projects at the two SNAs are made possible by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which comes from a sales tax increase approved by voters five years ago.

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