The DNR is in the process of restoring land back to its original state at Sakatah Lake State Park. As people moved into the area and changed the geography of the land, what was once prairie as far as the eye could see was replaced by agriculture and forests.
The initiative of this project is to turn this plot of land back into prairie, the way it used to be over 150 years ago. The Minnesota DNR is in beginning of a multi-year process to restore about 45 acres of forest and brush to prairie and oak savannas.
"Historically this area would have been prairie. Over time after the fields were abandoned, trees grew in for the most part, its native trees, but they are invasive into the prairie," says Dennis Reindl, Park Manager at Sakatah Lake State Park.
The first step is to clear the trees and brush from the site. Then a controlled burn will take place, revitalizing the soil and providing the area with a fresh start. Some planting of grasses may be done to help expedite the process and to provide diversity.
"We're doing the project this time of year while the ground is frozen to minimize soil compaction and disturbance from the equipment" says Reindl. The trees being removed will be ground up and sold for biomass, going to good use.
Funding for the project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative–Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and through a grant from the Parks and Trails Fund.