Prairie Restoration Project at Elm Creek Park Reserve Underway
The Three Rivers Park District is removing non-native trees and plants from 36 acres of Elm Creek Park Reserve. The restoration project will take Elm Creek Park Reserve back to what the prairie would’ve looked like more than a hundred years ago.
“We want it to be natural,” said John Moriarty, the senior manager of wildlife at Three Rivers Park District. “We’re not going to be building anything out there. People often see you cutting down trees and think you are putting up a big building. We’re not. We’re just cutting down big weeds.”
Moriarty says the land is filled with invasive species like buckthorn, black locust, white popular, scotch pine, oriental bittersweet and Asian pear. It’s located in Champlin. The trees and shrubs could spread and threaten other areas of the park.
This prairie restoration project is part of a larger 160-acre Conservation Partners Legacy funded project in Elm Creek Park Reserve. Work has already begun on the other acreage. This tree removal project should be wrapped up by the end of February. Some trails, which are usually not maintained, could be affected.
In a few years the landscape should be much more colorful.
“There will be a lot of wildflowers and nectar plants that a lot of animals use,” said Moriarty. “You’ll see more of the native birds come back.”
Moriarty says you’ll see deer and other wildlife that you currently see at Elm Creek Park Reserve too.