The Prairie Restoration I've Been Waiting For

JBtheExplorer

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I live near a wooded park. I walk the trails quite a bit. One corner of the park's land is actually a farm field that hasn't been used in at least a few years. I always thought it'd be a great spot to turn into a prairie. Little did I know, I wasn't the only one who thought so. A couple years back, I started hearing rumors that it was going to be turned into a prairie. Then, maybe a year ago, I saw that the town was in the process of making it happen. Here's a few photos I took in that field last winter. I walk it in winter more than any other time of year, since it gets real weedy in the summer.

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Today, it was confirmed! This old farm field is now going to be a 15 acre prairie! Prep work is going to be starting late this summer and seeding this autumn! By this time next year, native species will be establishing themselves. There will be five years of maintenance, which includes prairie burns. The area is currently overrun with weedy, invasive species right now, so it will take quite a few years to get rid of them. The plan will also include a trail through the prairie, so people will be able to enjoy it. Expect photos from me in the future as this area becomes a prairie!



Now, I continue to hold hope that the still-used farm fields bordering the north of this one will eventually be turned to prairie, too. Especially since they border a small river. That could potentially be a phenomenal habitat if things were to work out that way. Here's a graphic I created. The field circled in green is the new prairie restoration starting this year. The farm fields circled in orange are currently still used. The blue line is the river. It'd be a pretty good decision to push toward restoring that land as prairie as well! Hopefully that may someday happen, but first they'd have to get ownership of that land.

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alp

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Nice that human beings return nature to where it should be - nature!
 
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With out active intervention in a few years it will revert back to conifers and a few hardwoods. Active planting of native nuts and fruit trees will make a much more interesting nature area.
 

JBtheExplorer

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With out active intervention in a few years it will revert back to conifers and a few hardwoods. Active planting of native nuts and fruit trees will make a much more interesting nature area.

As I said, the prairie will initially receive five years of maintenance from the company seeding it, including burns, to remove weedy and woody species. There will be more burns beyond that five years, as there are with all prairies.

Prairie and grassland is the most endangered habitat in the world. With only ~3% of original native prairie habitat remaining, it's highly important to install prairie restorations so we can get back what we've destroyed. It's also a highly interesting and diverse habitat that thousands of species rely on, including many threatened and endangered species, such as migrating birds, Monarch butterflies, and the Rusty patched bumble bee. Nut and fruit trees won't compare to the thriving ecosystem that is a tallgrass prairie. On top of that, this prairie is in the prime location to filter a lot of water before it makes its way into the nearby river and eventually into Lake Michigan.
 
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As I said, the prairie will initially receive five years of maintenance from the company seeding it, including burns, to remove weedy and woody species. There will be more burns beyond that five years, as there are with all prairies.

Prairie and grassland is the most endangered habitat in the world. With only ~3% of original native prairie habitat remaining, it's highly important to install prairie restorations so we can get back what we've destroyed. It's also a highly interesting and diverse habitat that thousands of species rely on, including many threatened and endangered species, such as migrating birds, Monarch butterflies, and the Rusty patched bumble bee. Nut and fruit trees won't compare to the thriving ecosystem that is a tallgrass prairie. On top of that, this prairie is in the prime location to filter a lot of water before it makes its way into the nearby river and eventually into Lake Michigan.
I am fascinated by the depth of humic material found in prairie soil. Those burns will really jumpstart that process.
 

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