A crew of workers installed a blanket over the planting area, spread mulch and planted various native species in a shoreline restoration project at Stony Brook in Fritz Loven Park in Lake Shore.
Not only is the Stony Brook shoreline in Fritz Loven Park pretty to look at, new plantings are serving a specific purpose.
Thanks to grant funds, a shoreline restoration project will help protect the water quality and ecosystem of Stony Brook, which in turn will help sustain the brook's trout population and deliver clean water downstream to Gull Lake.
"It's designed to protect what's here," Beth Hippert, Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) technician said of the restoration project.
Last Thursday, June 2, Hippert supervised a group of volunteers and workers from the SWCD and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa out of Brainerd as they planted flowers, grasses, sedges and trees along the Stony Brook shoreline at the Lake Shore park.
"There'll be something blooming all summer long," she said, noting the plants will attract birds, butterflies and other insects and wildlife vital for the area's ecosystem.
For example, Hippert said, these native plants will help maintain the clear, cool, oxygen-rich water that trout and mayflies need to thrive. Leaves will shade and keep the creek cool, the many different root types will help hold the soil particles in the bank, and the stems will provide a launching pad for mayflies to complete their final and shortest stage of life.
Ron Faust and Rosemary Goff, who both serve on the Lake Shore Environmental Committee and the Gull Chain of Lakes Association board, planted a tree on the Stony Brook shoreline Thursday, June 2.
The plants also should be able to withstand any spring flooding that may occur. In total, almost 2,000 native plants were used, including 27 different species and seven different sedge species.
"We're planting very dense to try to prevent non-native invasive species from coming in," Hippert said.
The city of Lake Shore partnered with the SWCD for the demonstration shoreline restoration project to be able to show people what type of plants to use on a shoreline project and what it will look like.
The project was made possible with some of the $136,300 the Crow Wing SWCD received from the Board of Soil and Water Resources through the Clean Water Legacy Amendment, said Melissa Barrick, district manager with the Crow Wing SWCD.
The grant will provide funds to help landowners complete stormwater projects on Big Trout and Gull lakes, two lakes that were showing a declining trend in water clarity.
The Crow Wing SWCD received $2,000 in matching funds from The Nature Conservancy (Endowment Fund), Barrick said.
The SWCD partnered with the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association, Gull Chain of Lakes Association, Cass and Crow Wing counties, the city of Lake Shore, Central Lakes College and Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates to help landowners implement projects that protect quality of water and quality of life for Big Trout and Gull lakes.
Crow Wing SWCD will leverage more than $ 54,000 in volunteer time and cash contributions to this project.
The Crow Wing SWCD is seeking applications for rain gardens, shoreline buffers and shoreline stabilization projects on Big Trout and Gull lakes.
SWCD is also seeking applications for demonstration rain gardens or shoreline buffers at a resort, restaurant, business or public place. All projects require a cash match, landowner assistance and signed landowner agreement, and Crow Wing County landowners are required to record their project on property deed for 10 years.
In addition to these two lakes, Crow Wing SWCD has grant funds for similar projects on East and West Fox, Cross, Rush, Serpent and Pelican lakes and all lakes within the Mille Lac Watershed (Garrison area).
For more information and application materials, visit www.co.crow-wing.mn.us/swcd/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Crow Wing SWCD at 218-828-6197.
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