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At the Anoka site, buckthorn seeds that have accumulated in the soil will emerge in a year and a controlled burn is planned to remove them, making way for raspberry, Juneberry, hazelnut and other native plants, Lord said.
The biggest project the DNR helped fund was the removal of invasive plants from 134 acres at the Belwin Conservancy in Afton in 2009-11. That oak restoration project sent 5,400 tons to the St. Paul bioenergy plant.
Wild turkeys now roam in newly opened areas and more redheaded woodpeckers seem to be nesting, said Tara Kelly, Belwin’s director of ecological restoration. But the visual change is breathtaking. “You can see the forest for the trees now,” she said.
Wild turkeys also are seen browsing in the pruned Anoka preserve and rodent hunting is a lot easier for hawks, owls and other raptors, Lord said. The biggest advantage, however, will be stronger oak growth because tree roots won’t be affected by buckthorn toxins and the oaks will absorb precipitation previously shared with the invasive plants.
“There should be a much bigger crop of acorns,” Lord said. That will provide lots of snacks for deer and turkeys.
Jim Adams• 612-673-7658