In the Yard

Rhonda Hayes is a garden writer, photographer and blogger. She also volunteers as a Hennepin County Master Gardener. Rhonda chronicles her gardening adventures and advice at her award-winning blog, The Garden Buzz. She is a frequent contributor to Northern Gardener magazine and the Star Tribune Home + Garden section. At Your Voices, she writes about life around the city lakes, occasionally veering off the garden path with essays on the silly and serious issues of the day.

Mpls Parks and Rec Answers to Lake Calhoun Mowing Fiasco

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: August 21, 2014 - 2:25 PM

If you read last week's blog post you'll know I wrote about my outrage upon discovering that the western shore area of Lake Calhoun had been mowed down taking with it a narrow but two-mile long strip of native plants that many bees, butterflies, birds and other creatures call dinner, baby nursery and home.

What was left of the wildflowers along the western shore of Lake Calhoun

I urged you all to contact Minneapolis Parks and Rec if you shared my sentiments. Myself, I decided to attend the next Mpls Parks and Rec Board meeting so I could voice my concerns face to face with the people that we charge with overseeing these valuable resources.

If you have never attended one of these meetings, it is like many other governing agency meetings, full of budget numbers, resolutions, parliamentary rules and a good dose of tedium. All the more reason for me to feel grateful that there are people willing to undertake these positions of responsibility. 

There is a 30-minute open session where upon calling the board earlier that day, anyone can be placed on the agenda to speak their mind about whatever park-related issue they have. You are given 3 minutes to speak.

I told them of my issue with the poorly timed and poorly done mowing and questioned whether it was policy or simply an overzealous mower. At the end of my allotted time I asked them what they could tell me (and my readers) about the mowing fiasco.

I kind of got the idea they already knew what I was going to say...thanks to all of your Facebook shares, calls and emails!

I was immediately introduced to Debra Lynn Pilger, Director of Environmental Management and Justin Long, Assistant Superintendent of Environmental Stewardship. They let me know that after seeing it on Facebook they went themselves to see what had happened.

In their words it was a problem of misdirection, a one time incident and that they were as horrified as me. They assured me that their policy is to let these plants bloom and set seed so that they can have a chance to survive and flourish, and in turn nourish and nurture wildlife along that shore. Mowing of that area, to take down extra vegetation along the shore is supposed to be done in October.

So there we have it, a tragedy for this year, but hopefully a big reminder that mowing should be done in a mindful manner and better directed next year and for years to come. Maybe this problem can be avoided in other parks too. 

If you attend one of these meetings, a few tips. Be brief, be succinct, be respectful and be passionate about your cause. The commissioners care as much as you do about the parks, but they have a lot on their plate. In my case, in twenty minutes I had my answer and a promise to make sure it didn't happen again. Thank you Mpls Parks and Rec!

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT