MINOT, N.D (KXNET) — Restoring our native grasslands is not an overnight project, it requires a lot of steps, planning, and teamwork with several organizations.
Thankfully, in Minot, this is exactly what Minot State University brought together in an attempt to restore a plot of land.
“The first phase is just prepping the site for management activity,” explained MSU’s Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology Dr. Chad Williamson. “In this phase, we are going to turn the soil. We will apply Roundup or vegetation killer to get rid of the vegetation that is currently on the site in the spring, and then another round. That will complete the preparation stage. Then, they will come in the fall, and start seeding the site.”
The site will be hosting a selection of native grasses, but the exact composition of these has not yet been determined. The mixture, MSU doctors state, depends heavily on the climate and soil conditions before planting.
“The seed mix hasn’t been decided on yet,” Dr. Williamson stated, “but I would imagine there will be species like prairie junegrass, little blue stem, or some others. It is hard to see until we get a good idea of what the soil conditions are. We will determine that next spring.”
Phase one of the urban restoration project was supposed to start already, but the chilly weather has previously led to delays in the program.
“Sometimes you have plans,” stated MSU Professor Dr. Dan Conn, “and nature changes those plans. Having the snow and the cold ground right now means we are in kind of a pause. I believe it is going to get warmer this week, and depending on the snow melt, we are going to try and do it — but we do want to be cautious of making things muddy or bad for the neighbors during the winter months.”
It is the hope of MSU that the site will have a multi-purpose for the community and environment. By restoring this area to a natural state, the area will soon be seeing more of what the plants that some residents may not have been able to. The team behind the restoration even asked local Native American groups for their input on this project in order to include local vegetation that not only grew here but also provided cultural significance.
“The purpose of this project is really two-fold,” explained Dr. Conn. “One is to make use of that space. Right now, it is just kind of sitting there as an open space. We think by bringing this back, it is going to bring all kinds of pollinators and other insects, and birds that will improve the lives of everyone living in the area.”
Currently, the land remains an empty lot — but in about three to five years, they say it will be filled with several species of native vegetation for everyone to enjoy.