Promoting Biodiversity in Natural Areas
Through restoration of stream corridors, shoreline, woodlands, prairies, pollinator gardens, rain gardens and wetlands, the City provides critical habitat hubs for endangered pollinator and wildlife species. There are currently over 105 acres of land restored to native vegetation within Lakeville’s municipal boundary, all of which is managed by the Environmental Resources Department to limit weed encroachment and promote continued plant diversity. Funding for initial native establishment comes from sources including (but not limited to): Clean Water Fund grants administered by the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Conservation Partners Legacy grants administered by the Department of Natural Resources, and Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund grants as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Learn more about keystone projects below.
Ritter Farm Park Prairie and Woodland Enhancement
In 2021, through a partnership with Great River Greening, the City began the Ritter Farm Park Prairie and Woodland Restoration project. The project includes restoration of 6.1 acres of prairie, management of 4.0 acres of historic prairie restoration and management of 6.8 acres of buckthorn. Work associated with this project will take place from 2021-2023, and incorporates pollinator habitat monitoring pre-, during- and post-restoration.
East Lake Habitat Improvements
In 2022, through a partnership with the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization, the City was awarded $90,000 in Conservation Partners Legacy Grant dollars to restore 18 acres of natural oak savannah within East Lake Community Woodlands and 1,600 feet of East Lake shoreline. The restoration focused on removal of invasive and non-desirable soft-wood tree species, followed by the spreading of native seed to stabilize understory soils.
Using Goats for Woodland Management
Since 2019, the City has sponsored goat grazing as a natural, chemical-free woodland management tool. Depending on the size of the invasive species management area, goats will be stationed for one to four weeks. During this time, they use buckthorn, garlic mustard and other invasive/nuisance species as a food source, in turn improving native diversity within woodland understories. To date, goat grazing has been used within East Community Woodlands (2019 and 2020) and Casperson Park (2021 and 2022) to help promote native pollinator and wildlife habitat within the City.
Valley Lake Pollinator Garden
In 2021, through a partnership with the Lakeville Lions Club, the City restored 3,500 square feet of shoreland on Valley Lake. The area, which was previously used as a public beach, had seen several years of high bacteria levels and potentially toxic algae blooms, forcing the City to close the beach for extended periods of time. By transforming the area to a pollinator garden that features both sedge meadow and short prairie ecosystems, the shoreland will now provide beneficial habitat to wildlife and eliminate point source pollution seen from geese previously using the area as a congregation site.