The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board began work to restore native vegetation in areas of Theodore Wirth Regional Park affected by the tornado that swept through north Minneapolis in May 2011. This is a three year project which will restore appropriate native plants on the ground plane of the affected areas. Other efforts to plant trees will occur as opportunities arise with volunteer groups.
Areas to be restored with lowland seeding mixes are in two locations: north of Highway 55 between Bassett’s Creek and the railroad tracks and southeast of the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Theodore Wirth Parkway.
Upland areas include a section south of the Eloise Butler entrance road east of the parkway, another section north of Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the parkway and a small section on the west side of Wirth Lake. (See map with this post.)
Wood chips left from downed trees will be removed as well as brush. A cover crop such as oats will be planted where wood chips will be removed prior to seeding these areas to prevent erosion. Invasives such as buckthorn and garlic mustard will be treated with herbicide.
Successful plant community restoration depends on the thoroughness of the preparation.Because of wet weather conditions this spring and vigorous weed regeneration, an additional round of herbicide will be applied this fall and then seeding will be completed prior to hard freeze of the soils.
Two years of management will follow the seeding to control undesirable species and ensure establishment of native vegetation. The Citizen Advisory Committee, charged with prioritizing funding and developing a concept for Wirth Park, placed natural resource management among their top priorities. This work is being funded through regional park bonding dedicated to Wirth Park improvements in accordance with the CAC priorities.
(Information provided by a Minneapols Park and Recreation Board press release.)