UNDATED -- Prairie Restoration efforts at three Stearns County Parks are starting to pay off.

Native grasses and flowers were planted at Mississippi River County Park, Spring Hill County Park, and Kramer Lake – Wildwood County Park back in the spring of 2018.

While it will take three years to see the full effect, Parks Director Ben Anderson says there are already plenty of benefits to the restoration.

Prairies are an excellent water-gatherer, so we are able to minimize some run-off, create less maintenance because we don't have to go there every two weeks and mow this area anymore, and create something beautiful for both people to look at and also for our pollinators.

Anderson says the plan is to work on diversifying natural vegetation in other parks as well.

Pretty much all of our county parks have some sort of native grass feature. They're not all real friendly towards pollinators. Some of it's just grass, and you don't have as many flowers or forbs growing in them, so enhancing some of those areas is certainly on our to-do list.

After three years the 20-acres of restored prairie will be put on a burn rotation to preserve the native plants. The project cost roughly $800 per acre.

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