Rapids Lake Restoration Project

RL Resto

Beginning December 2016, highly anticipated restoration work will take place on the Rapids Lake Unit of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (refuge). The goal of this restoration work is to improve oak savanna habitat within a 175 acre project area.  Savannas are among the rarest and most threatened ecosystems in the United States and most have been lost or degraded due to fire suppression and direct conversion to agriculture or development. Only about 0.02 percent of pre-European oak savannas throughout the Midwest remain today in small fragments and scattered remnants.  This project will restore a degraded oak savanna remnant on the Rapids Lake Unit by removing undesirable trees and shrubs and allowing sunlight to reach the ground and aid in oak savanna regeneration and habitat improvement.

Our contractor is expected to begin work in late December 2016 and continue until February 2017 or when the ground is no longer frozen. Their work will consist of felling trees, mowing brush, stacking and removing logs, grinding woody material on-site and transporting materials off-site. After this winter, the refuge will continue to manage the project area to maintain this valuable savanna habitat by conducting prescribed burns that mimic natural processes. Additionally, refuge staff has been and will continue to monitor the vegetation in this project area to establish the plant species present before and after restoration activities and measure habitat enhancement.

The contractor will have entrance and access points to the project area off Jonathan Carver Parkway south of Carver Bluffs Parkway and north of Carver Highland Drive. The hunter parking lot at 14905 Jonathon Carver Parkway in Carver, Minnesota will serve as temporary staging grounds for construction equipment. Additionally, the contractor will have warning signage near their machinery operations. If you have any questions about this restoration project, please contact Nicole Menard (952-858-0716) or Vicki Sherry (952-858-0723).

This restoration project is made possible with funds from the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) program and the Minnesota Valley Trust.