Restoration and Conservation Projects Sites
The City of Mendota Heights is dedicated to restoring its natural areas to native vegetation and ecosystems. The City is fortunate in having numerous natural areas and open spaces that encompass a variety of vegetative communities, including but not limited to: floodplain forest, upland forest, mesic prairie, oak savanna, and wetland communities.
The City strives to protect these native vegetative communities, as well as manage and restore our public open spaces whenever feasible. It does this through preservation, management, prevention, and education.
Several other native plantings and restoration projects have taken place within City parks. Contact the Natural Resources Coordinator, to inquire about natural resources restoration projects in your neighborhood.
Projects and sites listed below have, or are currently undergoing native restoration.
- City Hall
- Copperfield Ponds
- Oheyawahe/Pilot Knob Historic Area
- Par 3 Community Golf Course
- Rogers Lake
- Valley Park
- Victoria Road
- Lawns to Legumes
CITY HALL NATIVE PLANT DEMONSTRATION GARDEN AND RAIN GARDEN
The University of Minnesota Master Gardeners of Dakota County partnered with the City to construct a rain garden and pollinator-friendly landscape garden at the front of the City Hall Building. The landscape was designed by Diane Hilscher, Ecologist and Landscape Architect, and constructed by Master Gardeners, residents, and City Staff. The landscape consists of several varieties of native and pollinator-friendly perennials that provide interest and enjoyment for visitors, as well as treating stormwater runoff from the building. An interpretive sign as well plant identification tags are planned to be added in the future.
CITY HALL SOLAR GARDEN AND NATIVE PRAIRIE
The City has begun the process of restoring the turf grass area within and around the Solar Garden at City Hall. The project entails removing the existing grass with an herbicide treatment, which was done in the fall of 2018. The area will then be tilled, and seeded with a native, mixed-height native prairie mix. The process of establishing the prairie plot is expected to take 2-3 years before it reaches maturity. This restoration project provides pollinator and other wildlife habitat, as well as reduction in stormwater runoff, and reduction in traditional maintenance needed for the area, including mowing.
COPPERFIELD PONDS PARK
Native restoration of the area surrounding the ponds began in 2020. Woody invasive species such as Buckthorn, Siberian Elm, and Amur Maple were removed, and the area has been seeded and planted with a ground cover consisting of native forb, grass, and sedge species. Areas of invasive species throughout the park will continue to be removed and treated as needed, and replaced with native plant species. The restoration serves as an enhancement for wildlife habitat including pollinators, as well as protecting and improving the water quality of the wetlands.
OHEYAWAHE/PILOT KNOB HISTORIC AREA RESTORATION
The Historic Pilot Knob (HPK) site consists of 27 acres of public land located at the convergence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, known as ‘Bdote’ and held sacred by the Dakota people. The site is within Oheyawahe/Pilot Knob, a 112-acre site, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Historic Pilot Knob is owned by the City of Mendota Heights. In 2019, the City formed a Task Force made up of representatives from the City, Dakota County, Acacia Park Cemetery, and Pilot Knob Preservation Association (PKPA). The Task Force has been directed to focus on capital improvements, natural resources management, and interpretation. The Dakota people regard the Oheyawahe site (a sacred place much visited) as having historical and on-going significance.
Native restoration of the site began in 2006. The project is now in phase 2 of its restoration efforts, with the ultimate goal of restoring the site to pre-settlement vegetative communities, including native prairie and oak savanna. Mendota Heights contracts with Great River Greening to aid in the restoration of the Oheyawahe/Pilot Knob Historic Area.
PAR 3 CLUBHOUSE NATIVE AND PERENNIAL GARDEN
The University of MN Master Gardeners of Dakota County worked with residents and City Staff to renovate the existing landscaping between the parking lot and the building by removing invasive species and incorporating native plants. The goal of this project was to demonstrate how native plants can be incorporated into an existing, traditional landscape, and provide enjoyment and aesthetic value to clubhouse and golf course users.
ROGERS LAKE OAK WOODLAND ENHANCEMENT
In 2018 the City of Mendota Heights partnered with Great River Greening and volunteers from area businesses as well as residents, to restore the oak woodland areas throughout Rogers Lake Park. The project involves the removal of a large stand of buckthorn, a woody, non-native species that has invaded the forest around the lake, as well as other invasive plant species such as garlic mustard. Once the invasive species are removed and/or adequately controlled, the site is to by seeded and planted with native species to prevent erosion and complete the restoration. This process is projected to take approximately five years to reach full completion.
VALLEY PARK POLLINATOR CORRIDOR
The City has partnered with Great River Greening, as well as the State of MN through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment, for the restoration of the Valley Park utility corridor. The project entails restoring the corridor into a high-quality pollinator habitat. This project will provide nine acres of habitat, and provide a mixed-use corridor, connecting Mississippi River habitat with the Dodge Nature Center holdings and other ecological cores to the south.
VALLEY PARK FOREST ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION PROJECTS
The City is working to restore approximately 30 acres of forested open space within Valley Park as part of several efforts and projects including:
- The City was awarded a Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant from the State of Minnesota to enhance and restore approximately 16 Acres of Valley Park. The goals of the project are to enhance existing native communities, reduce erosion, and connect ongoing restoration efforts within Valley Park. Woody invasive species such as buckthorn and Tartarian honeysuckle have been removed. Follow-up treatments will be done in the upcoming fall and spring before revegetation begins. Native herbaceous and woody vegetation will be planted once invasive species are removed.
- The City is partnering with Great River Greening to restore approximately 12 acres east of the trail and north of Marie avenue. Woody invasive species such as buckthorn and amur maple will be removed, and native ground cover species will be established.
VICTORIA ROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY NATIVE PLANTING
The Victoria Road native planting was installed in 2015 as part of the Victoria Road Reconstruction project. The planting replaced a former strip of rip-rap that had been placed in the right-of-way, between the road and pedestrian trail. The planting was a collaboration between residents, University of MN Master Gardeners (Dakota County), and City Staff. The project provided a solution that was aesthetically pleasing, as well as sustainable, and provided environmental benefits such as habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, reduction in maintenance, and stormwater runoff reduction and filtration.
LAWNS TO LEGUMES DEMONSTRATION NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT
The City received a grant in 2022 from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources through the Lawns to Legumes program to install 21 residential, school district, and city pollinator planting projects. The pollinator gardens were installed in September of 2022.