Page 1

District 6 Natural Resources Inventory Report

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN

February 2015


District 6 Natural Resources Inventory Report BY CAPITOL REGION WATERSHED DISTRICT Project conducted in partnership with: City of Saint Paul District 6 Planning Council By: Barr Engineering Co.

Saint Paul, Minnesota February 2015

District 6 Planning Council


District 6 Natural Resources Inventory February 2015

Contents 1.0

Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................................... 1

2.0

Methods .................................................................................................................................................................................. 2

2.1

Site Description ............................................................................................................................................................... 2

2.2

Desktop Analysis ............................................................................................................................................................. 5

2.3

Field methods................................................................................................................................................................... 5

3.0

Results ....................................................................................................................................................................................12

3.1

General Observations ..................................................................................................................................................12

3.2

MLCCS Evaluation and Verification .......................................................................................................................12

3.2.1

Desktop .......................................................................................................................................................................12

3.2.2

Field Investigation Results ...................................................................................................................................14

3.3

Tree Canopy Cover .......................................................................................................................................................16

3.4

General Vegetation Community Types ................................................................................................................17

3.5

Invasive/Exotic species................................................................................................................................................17

3.6

Specific Parcel Information .......................................................................................................................................18

4.0

Management Goals, Strategies and Opportunities ..............................................................................................29

4.1

Management Goals ......................................................................................................................................................29

4.2

Management Strategies .............................................................................................................................................30

4.3

Specific Management Opportunities ....................................................................................................................31

5.0

4.3.1

Invasive Removal and Clean-ups ......................................................................................................................31

4.3.2

Native Plant Community Enhancements ........................................................................................................32

4.3.3

Wildlife Habitat Enhancement............................................................................................................................32

4.3.4

Connectivity Enhancements ................................................................................................................................32

4.3.5

Preservation Target Parcels .................................................................................................................................32

4.3.6

Strategic Acquisitions/Easements .....................................................................................................................33

4.3.7

Other Natural Resource Management Actions ...........................................................................................33

References ............................................................................................................................................................................34

\\barr.com\projects\Mpls\23 MN\62\23621154 Dist 6 Nat'l Resource Inven\WorkFiles\Report\District 6 NRI_revised final report.docx

i


List of Tables Table 1

MLCCS Desktop Analysis Summary .......................................................................................................... 13

Table 2

Summary of Natural Areas ........................................................................................................................... 26

List of Figures Figure 1

Project Area Stormwater Features and Wetlands (MN DNR NWI East Central Update)...... 3

Figure 2

Physical Features - Digital Elevation Model ............................................................................................. 4

Figure 3

Current Conditions ............................................................................................................................................. 7

Figure 4

Historical Imagery ............................................................................................................................................... 8

Figure 5

Historic Water Resources ................................................................................................................................. 9

Figure 6

MLCCS Classification (Barr) .......................................................................................................................... 10

Figure 7

Parcel Investigation ......................................................................................................................................... 11

Figure 8

MLCCS Community Quality Ranking (Barr) ........................................................................................... 15

Figure 9

Management Opportunities …………………………………………………………………………………………… 28

ii


1.0 Introduction The Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD), working with the City of Saint Paul (City), initiated a natural resource inventory (NRI) for a targeted study (or project) area within District 6, a neighborhood on the north side of Saint Paul. The project area contains land uses found throughout the city, including residential, industrial, rail corridors, and commercial. The purpose of conducting this NRI is to help CRWD, the City, and District 6 understand, prioritize, protect, and restore the area’s natural resources and irreplaceable open spaces. This is the first NRI collaboration effort between CRWD and the City, and CRWD hopes to use this effort as a pilot to determine the benefits and challenges of conducting urban NRI’s. Using desktop data and field investigations, Barr conducted an NRI throughout the project area, cataloging native and invasive vegetation in 24 locations in this highly-developed, industrial area of the city. The NRI data and identification of management strategies and opportunities provided in this report will be able to help CRWD and the City by:      

Informing land use planning and development Clarifying the project area’s value with regard to water quality and wildlife habitat Identifying degraded areas and management problems Identifying opportunities for natural resources protection and enhancement Identifying opportunities for flood attenuation within the project area Providing information that can be used to develop management priorities

The results of the desktop and field studies were used to develop a proposed approach to understanding the purposes and means for managing remnant natural resources in the project area. Options for management goals and strategies are presented in Section 4, along with selected specific management opportunities. Using the information and data provided in Section 3, CRWD can follow the Section 4 recommendations to develop and articulate a management plan for the project area.

1


2.0 Methods 2.1 Site Description Located within the North End neighborhood of Saint Paul, the project area’s western, eastern, northern, and southern boundaries are defined respectively by Interstate 35E (I-35E), Rice Street, Arlington Avenue, and Maryland Avenue (Figure 1). The project area is composed primarily of commercial and industrial properties with residential land use on the east side. Approximately 251 acres in size, the project area makes up 0.07% of the city’s total 35,931-acre land area. The Gateway State Trail runs through a portion of the site and connects recreational users from Saint Paul to Stillwater. This recreation trail runs beyond the south-eastern end of the project site through the recently constructed Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated where the Soo Line Railroad historically operated. To the north of the project area, an approximately 11-acre wetland complex is evidence of the historic Trout Brook wetlands once present throughout the eastern portions of the project site (Figure 2).

2


Project Area

N Jackson St

R

d

m Ti

be

§ ¦ ¨ 35E

55

Trout Brook Cir

N Sylvan St

N Mayre St

ke

rla

7 5 6E Arlington Ave 4

W Arlington Ave

N Park St

N Rice St

Capitol Region Watershed District

W Cottage Ave

W Ivy Ave

E Hawthorne Ave

ac

W Hawthorne Ave

L'Orient St

Jackson St

N Albemarle St

W Orange Ave

rp No

W Maryland Ave

31

7 5 6 4

W Rose Ave

49

N Sylvan St

E Geranium Ave

7 5 6 4 31

E Maryland Ave

St

N Park St

E Rose Ave

N Aga te

W Geranium Ave

N Abell St

7 5 6 4

Abell St

Rd

N Woodbridge St

W Hyacinth Ave

0

250 500 Feet

1,000

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service, CRWD, FWS, City of Saint Paul, DNR

Figure 1 Project Area Stormwater Features and Wetlands (MN DNR NWI East Central Update) Project Area Subwatersheds Freshwater Emergent Wetland Freshwater Forested/Shrub Wetland Freshwater Pond Trout Brook Interceptor St. Paul - Storm Pipe

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


N Jackson St Trout Brook Cir

N Sylvan St

N Park St

N Mayre St

N Rice St

W Arlington Ave

m Ti

be

r la

ke

R

d

§ ¦ ¨ 35E

7 5 6 4 55

E Arlington Ave

W Cottage Ave

Abell St

W Orange Ave

No rp

E Hawthorne Ave

ac

W Hawthorne Ave

L'Orient St

W Hyacinth Ave

Jackson St

N Woodbridge St

N Albemarle St

W Ivy Ave

Rd

7 5 4 6 7 5 6 4

W Maryland Ave

E Rose Ave

E Geranium Ave

7 5 6 4 31

E Maryland Ave

N Ag ate

W Geran ium Ave

N Abell St

W Rose Ave

N Sylvan St

49

N Park St

31

St

0

250 500 Feet

Figure 2 Physical Features - Digital Elevation Model

1,000

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: CRWD, FWS, City of Saint Paul, MN Geo, MN DOT

Project Area Wetlands (MN DNR NWI East Central Update) Railroad Building

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


Cultural modifications for human purposes have generated nearly all of the current topographic, wetland and other natural resource conditions in the project area (Bluestem Heritage Group 2013). Currently, the site comprises a varied topography with a rail line crossing through the middle portion of the project area (Figure 3). CRWD mapping and historical photographs indicate that most of the eastern half of the project area was wetland, probably a mosaic of emergent and scrub-shrub wetlands. Trout Brook historically passed through the project area, roughly north-south through the center. The central rail corridor later defined the site’s infrastructure as it developed into its current state. Specifically, Henry Anson Castle’s History of St. Paul and Vicinity states, “The arrival of the railroads brought the complete transformation of Trout Brook. No longer viewed as a corridor of natural beauty and resources, it was simply the most efficient route for travel. The wild rice marsh at the outlet was now considered a “quagmire.” Baptist Hill and other nearby hills were viewed as impediments to progress, and flattened out. The landscape was flattened and filled, the valley floor was lifted by up to ten feet.” (quoted in Bluestem Heritage Group 2013). Available historic imagery post-1923 shows the changes that the railroad brought to the area (Figure 4 and Figure 5).

2.2 Desktop Analysis Initial evaluation began by compiling all relevant and publicly-available geospatial and site-specific data. Geologic, topographic, hydrological, ecological, and cultural layers were analyzed to identify areas for targeted field investigation. In addition to existing data, Barr classified areas within the project boundary using the methods specified within the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS) User Manual. MLCCS identifies observed physical land cover, e.g., vegetation, buildings, pavement, water, etc. MLCCS describes an area such as the project site with land cover terminology as opposed to more traditional land use descriptions. Using MLCCS for an initial evaluation of natural resources in the project area provides a snapshot of the types and distribution of vegetated and nonvegetated areas. This identifies areas of interest for further ground investigation. The initial desktop classification was completed using high resolution aerial imagery and relevant Google Street View photographs (Figure 6). The MLCCS mapping was further refined using U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) mapping of the project area (MnDNR 2013). Using the data extracted from Barr’s MLCCS analysis, anecdotal information provided by staff from the City of Saint Paul and CRWD, and available geospatial data layers from various sources including the MnDNR, Met Council, CRWD, City, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Barr identified 24 sites for initial investigation (Figure 7). Owners of identified parcels were then contacted by District 6 Planning Council and made aware of Barr’s planned field investigation.

2.3 Field methods Barr ecologists visited the parcels selected for further field investigation August 28 and 29, 2014, to verify the MLCCS analysis and to characterize general vegetation community types. The dominant species within

5


the vegetation community types at each parcel were identified, as well as physical features such as slope, aspect, evidence of past disturbance and ongoing management practices (if any). Barr staff also looked for previously unmapped wetlands, or wet areas that meet at least one of the three US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) parameters for wetlands. In some of these suspected wet areas, soil data were collected to determine the wetland status of the site. In addition, concentrations of noxious or specially regulated weeds and other invasive non-native species were identified. Finally, Barr staff took numerous photos of the selected parcels and general project area to document typical vegetation community types and habitats.

6


N Jackson St

Wheelock Parkway

be

rl a

ke

R

d

§ ¦ ¨ 35E

7 5 6 4

E Arlington Ave

St at e

Tr a

il

Trout Brook Cir

N Sylvan St

N Mayre St

m Ti

55

W Arlington Ave

N Park St

N Rice St

Rice Arlington Sports Complex

G

at e

w

ay

W Cottage Ave

W Ivy Ave

L'Orient St

Jackson St E Hawthorne Ave

ac

W Hawthorne Ave

rp

N Albemarle St

W Orange Ave

No

31

W Maryland Ave

31

E Maryland Ave

E Rose Ave

E Geranium Ave

St

Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary

N Sylvan St

W Rose Ave

7 5 6 4 N Aga te

N Park St

7 5 6 4 49

Sylvan Field

N Abell St

7 5 6 4

Abell St

Rd

N Woodbridge St

W Hyacinth Ave

0

250 500 Feet

Figure 3 Current GeneralConditions Features

1,000

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service, CRWD, FWS, City of Saint Paul, DNR,

Project Area Wetlands (MN DNR NWI East Central Update) City of Saint Paul Parks Railroad Bikeway Elevation Contour (2')

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


Historic Imagery Figure 4 Historical Imagery

1923

0

250 500

1,000

Feet

; ! N

1957

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District

Figure 1923

0

Project Area

250 500

1,000

; !

1,000

; !

Feet

N

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District

0

250 500

1,000

Feet

; ! N

1991

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District

Figure 1957

0

Project Area

250 500 Feet

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District

0

250 500 Feet

1,000

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MHAPO, MnGeo WMS

N


0

250 500 Feet

Figure 5 Historic Water Resources

1,000

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service, CRWD, City of Saint Paul, DNR, Google, MN/DOT

Project Area Streets and Highways Existing Building Footprint Historic Wetland (1848 - 1922) Historic Stream (1848 - 1922)

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


62310 42410

14122 231 12 14123

14122

14123

14123

13144 23211

13144

61830 14123

14122 61120

0 00 23

14123

32170

14121

13 14 4

14123

42130

42310

42130

2131 0

42410 4

2 12 14

14113

14112

23211

131 3

14112

23112

23111

14113

23212

14123

13134

42130

0

290 580

1,160

Feet

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service, CRWD, City of Saint Paul, DNR, Google

Figure 6 MLCCS Classification (Barr) Project Area

13134

S hort grass es and mixed trees with 26-50% impervious cover

42130

Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

13144

S hort grass es and mixed trees with 51-75% impervious cover

42310

Altered/non-native deciduous woodland - s aturated

14113

Buildings and pavement with 76-90% impervious cover

42410

Altered/non-native deciduous woodland - s eas onally flooded

14112

P avement with 76-90% impervious cover

61830

P ermanently flooded altered/non-native dominated vegetation

14123

Buildings and pavement with 91-100% impervious cover

62310

Altered/non-native gras s land with spars e deciduous trees - temporarily flooded

14121

Buildings with 91-100% impervious cover

61120

Tall gras s altered/non-native dominated grass land

14122

P avement with 91-100% impervious cover

23212

Long gras ses on upland s oils

23211

S hort grass es on upland soils

23112

Long gras ses with s pars e tree cover on upland s oils

23111

S hort grass es with sparse tree cover on upland s oils

23000

P lanted or maintained herbaceous vegetation

32170

Altered/non-native deciduous forest

21310

Upland s oils with planted, maintained or cultivated mixed coniferous / deciduous trees

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


Project Area

Capitol Region Watershed District

2 21 22 20

1

23

3 4

19 15

5

18 14

7

17 13

6

8

24

9

12 11

10 16

0

250 500 Feet

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service

Figure 7 Parcel Investigation Project Area ParcelsRamsey

1,000

Parcels of Initial Investigation Label 1 2 3 4 5 6

PIN 123-192922320054 123-192922310001 123-192922420017 123-192922420015 123-192922420020 123-192922430024

Label 7 8 9 10 11 12

PIN 123-192922430025 123-192922440022 123-192922440021 123-192922430006 123-302922120075 123-192922430029

Label 13 14 15 16 17 18

PIN 123-192922340044 123-192922340058 123-192922340059 123-302922120080 123-192922430012 123-192922310018

Label 19 20 21 22 23 24

PIN 123-192922310007 123-192922320141 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Capitol Region Watershed District Saint Paul, MN


3.0 Results 3.1

General Observations

Observations are presented in this section starting with a broad overview of the natural resource characteristics of the project area, then discussing the site in increasingly finer detail. From a broad perspective, the project area is dominated by constructed industrial/commercial surfaces throughout the central and eastern portions of the site boundary. The northwest and southwest corners of the project site are residential homes and yards in a standard grid pattern. The residential lot sizes range from about 0.15 to 0.25 acre, and typically have shade tree species (maple, oak, ash) and maintained lawns. The Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad corridor curves southeast to northwest through the center of the project area. Despite the predominance of constructed surfaces within the project area, there is a wide range of natural vegetation community types also present. During the field investigation, Barr staff observed scattered prairie remnants, native-dominated forested stands, old field/woodland areas and several wetland areas. Wetland areas visited by Barr included those mapped in the USFWS NWI mapping, as well as non-NWI areas determined by Barr ecologists to meet the Corps criteria for wetlands. The overall project area slopes gently to the east, with the northwest corner at approximately 840 feet above mean sea level (AMSL) and the eastern edge of the project area at about 800 feet AMSL. The BNSF railroad grade that cuts through the center of the project area ranges from approximately 830 to 860 feet AMSL. Trout Brook, which drains Lake McCarrons in Roseville, flows through a large wetland complex north of the center of the project area, approximately between Jackson Street and the former railroad grade, entering the Trout Brook Interceptor (TBI) pipe and tunnel system at Arlington Avenue. Trout Brook, which historically flowed through the entire project area, is now conveyed by TBI through the project area all the way to the Mississippi River. The recently-constructed Trout Brook Nature Preserve, where a portion of the Trout Brook Interceptor has been daylighted, is immediately south of southeast edge of the project area, on the other side of Maryland Avenue.

3.2 MLCCS Evaluation and Verification 3.2.1 Desktop The MLCCS evaluation indicates that 210.5 acres, or over 83% of the 251.4-acre project area, has some type of artificial land cover. “Artificial” refers to land cover types that are not naturally occurring or selfsustaining. The most obvious of these land covers are buildings and paved surfaces; however, “artificial” land covers also include planted and maintained surfaces such as lawns, residential plantings and gardens. Thus the residential neighborhood that makes up most of the southwest corner of the project area is considered an artificial surface by MLCCS terminology. Non-artificial surfaces are primarily land covers of natural origin and sustained by natural processes. They include grasslands, woodlands and forested areas. The total non-artificial land cover area is 40.9 acres, or just over 16% of the project area. Areas dominated by remnant forest and woodlands total approximately

12


18 acres, or about 7% of the project area. Table 1 summarizes the MLCCS desktop evaluation of the project area. Table 1

MLCCS Desktop Analysis Summary Acres

Percent of total project area

26.7 35.8

10.6% 14.2%

8.6

3.4%

14113 - Buildings and pavement with 76-90% impervious cover

21.9

8.7%

14121 - Buildings with 91-100% impervious cover

14.5

5.8%

14122 - Pavement with 91-100% impervious cover

52.0

20.7%

14123 - Buildings and pavement with 91-100% impervious cover

51.0

20.3%

210.5

83.7%

21310 -= Upland soils with planted, maintained or cultivated mixed coniferous/deciduous trees

1.3

0.5%

23000 - Planted or maintained herbaceous vegetation

2.2

0.9%

23111 - Short grasses with sparse tree cover on upland soils

2.0

0.8%

23112 - Long grasses with sparse tree cover on upland soils

4.7

1.9%

23211 - Short grasses on upland soils

3.7

1.5%

23212 - Long grasses on upland soils

1.8

0.7%

15.7

6.2%

2.0

0.8%

2.0

0.8%

42130 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

7.9

3.1%

42310 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland - saturated

8.4

3.3%

16.3

6.5%

61120 - Tall grass altered/non-native dominated grassland

2.2

0.9%

61830 - Permanently flooded altered/non-native dominated vegetation

3.3

1.3%

62310 - Altered/non-native grassland with sparse deciduous trees temporarily flooded

1.4

0.6%

Total Herbaceous Vegetation

6.9

2.7%

251.4

100.0%

MLCCS Level 1 Type 10000s - Artificial Surfaces and Associated Areas 13134 - Short grasses and mixed trees with 26-50% impervious cover 13144 - Short grasses and mixed trees with 51-75% impervious cover 14112 - Pavement with 76-90% impervious cover

Total Artificial Surfaces and Associated Areas 20000s - Planted or Cultivated Vegetation

Total Planted or Cultivated Vegetation 30000s - Forested Areas 32170 - Altered/non-native deciduous forest Total Forested Areas 40000s -Woodlands

Total Woodlands 60000s - Herbaceous Vegetation

TOTAL PROJECT AREA

13


Barr staff ground-truthed the desktop MLCCS evaluation in the field, and decided that no major revisions were warranted.

3.2.2 Field Investigation Results During the field visit, Barr checked the desktop-mapped MLCCS types against on-ground conditions. No major modifications were made to the desktop MLCCS mapping. We acknowledge that there is a fine line between the “artificial” and “planted vegetation” MLCCS Level 1 classes, particularly with regard to residential lawns and plantings; however, the intensive maintenance required for residential lawns and vegetation warrants placement of those land covers under the “artificial” surface category. MLCCS rankings for natural community quality were also assigned based on the field investigations. Figure 8 shows the natural community quality rankings. These correspond to the following MnDNR descriptions (MnDNR 2004):  

A = highest quality natural community, no disturbances and natural processes intact. Site must be visited entirely or partially to accurately assess its natural quality at this level B = good quality natural community. Has its natural processes intact, but shows signs of past

human impacts. Low levels of exotics. Site must be visited entirely or partially to accurately assess its natural quality at this level. 

C = moderate condition natural community with obvious past disturbance but is still clearly

recognizable as a native community. Not dominated by weedy species in any layer. Minimally, the site must be visited from the edge to accurately assess its natural quality at this level. 

D = poor condition of a natural community. Includes some natives, but is dominated by nonnatives and/or is widely disturbed and altered. Herbaceous communities may be assessed

with this ranking from a distance if large masses of invasive species are present and the entire community is visible. 

NA = Native species present in an altered / non-native plant community. This NA ranking can

only be used if the site is field checked from the edge or to a greater degree, thus confirming the presence of native species within a non-native community. 

NN = Altered / non-native plant community. These semi-natural communities do not qualify for

natural quality ranking. Using NN signifies the site has been field checked and confirms it is a semi-natural community. There were no “A” or “B” ranked areas identified in the project area.

14


0

250 500 Feet

Figure 8 MLCCS Community Quality Ranking(Barr)

; ! N

Service Layer Credits: MNGeo WMS service, CRWD, City of Saint Paul, DNR, Google

Project Area Community Quality Ranking Not Ranked C D NA NN

1,000

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District


3.3 Tree Canopy Cover Tree canopy cover in the project area is at least 17%. This estimate is based on the MLCCS cover type acreages, which indicates that slightly over 83% of the project area is artificial surfaces dominated by buildings and pavement. However, the actual canopy cover in the project area is higher, because some of the “artificial” MLCCS cover types have at least some degree of tree canopy cover. For instance, the residential neighborhoods in the southwest and northwest corners of the project area are mapped in MLCCS as artificial cover types “short grasses and mixed trees” with 26-50% impervious cover (13134), or %5175% impervious cover (13144). Trees along the edges of the railroad corridors are also mapped with these MLCCS cover types. Making the conservative assumption that these neighborhoods and railroad corridors have at least one-third of their area under tree canopy allows an adjustment of the overall project area tree canopy cover to approximately 25%.

16


3.4 General Vegetation Community Types The field investigations of the selected parcels, as well as windshield surveys around the project area, allowed Barr staff to identify six general vegetation community types present in the project area. These are: 

Forests/woodlands – vegetation dominated primarily by hardwood trees, especially maples, oaks, cottonwoods, green ash and hackberries. Other less desirable species such as boxelder and Siberian elm are also common. Where conifers are present, they are typically planted Colorado blue spruce. There are few naturally-occurring conifers in the project area. Mixed native/non-native upland grasslands – grass-dominated areas vary widely in species composition, ranging from maintained turfgrass to concentrations of native prairie species. In most occurrences of natural, unmaintained upland grasslands, there is a mix of non-native species such as smooth brome, orchard grass, timothy and Kentucky bluegrass, and natives including big bluestem, little bluestem and Canada wild rye. Old fields – These are areas that frequently intergrade into grass-dominated areas, or that occur in pockets within open woodlands in the project area. As with grasslands, they typically have a mixture of native and non-native species. Residential areas – While not “natural” vegetation communities per se, residential areas can contain, or can be managed to contain, a number of native species. Most of the residences in the project area are in the northwest and southwest corners of the project area. Wetlands – There are at least nine wetland basins in the project area, ranging from constructed stormwater ponds to localized depressions, to larger wetland complexes. The two best quality wetlands in the project area are on and adjacent to Parcel 1 near the northwest corner of the project area (see below), and in Parcel 7 in the east central part of the project area. Good quality wetlands are also in the southeast corner and central north edge of the project area (Parcels 24 and 2, respectively). The principal wetland functions provided by wetlands in the project area are wildlife habitat, stormwater attenuation and water quality enhancement. MnRAM ratings and wetland management classification rankings were not determined for wetlands in the project area; however, specific management opportunities for all are discussed near the end of this report.

3.5 Invasive/Exotic species The terms exotic species and invasive species are often used interchangeably; however, invasive species are exotic species that cause damage to established ecosystems and should be managed. While there are a number of areas dominated by non-native invasives (ragweed, burdock, thistles, etc.), the project area is relatively free of Minnesota Department of Agriculture Prohibited Noxious Weeds (MDA 2014). No species on the State Prohibited – Eradicate List were observed during the field investigations. Two species on the State Prohibited – Control List, spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) were found in the project area. Prohibited – Controlled weeds must be controlled, meaning efforts must be made to prevent the spread, maturation and dispersal of any propagating parts, thereby reducing established populations and preventing reproduction and spread as required by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.78. (MDA, 2015). One MDA Specially Regulated species, Japanese knotweed, was seen in two locations in the project area.

17


During the field investigations, Barr staff also encountered the Minnesota Restricted non-native tree species common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula). Restricted noxious weeds are plants that are widely distributed in Minnesota and are detrimental to human or animal health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock or other property, but whose only feasible means of control is to prevent their spread by prohibiting the importation, sale, and transportation of their propagating parts in the state except as allowed by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.82 (MDA 2015). In addition, the non-native tree species Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) and the introduced tree species northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) were found in several locations throughout the District 6 project area. All other tree species encountered are native or introduced to the area.

3.6 Specific Parcel Information As noted above, Barr worked with the District 6 Planning Council to access 24 parcels that were identified in the desktop analysis as being most likely to contain remnant native plant communities and other natural resources of interest. These parcels are likely representative of vegetation community types in the project area. Each of the parcels is described in detail below. The parcel numbers and locations correspond to Figure 7. The parcel descriptions are also summarized in Table 2 and Figure 9, along with the vegetation community type(s) in the broader project area that they exemplify, and preliminary management recommendations. Parcel 1 is a relatively large wetland (~3.2 acre) complex that takes up most of the block bounded by Arlington Avenue to the north, West Cottage Avenue to the south, Sylvan Street to the east and Mayre Street to the west. This is a NWI-mapped wetland. The center of the wetland is open water with stands of cattail (Typha sp.). Large cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) surround the center of the wetland, with a dense buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) understory. The outermost edge of the wetland along the south, east and west sides has a varied mix of native and nonnative grasses and forbs, including sloughgrass (Beckmannia syzigachne), giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea), rice cut-grass (Leersia oryzoides), burdock (Arctium minus), giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) and northern water-plantain (Alisma triviale). Dense sandbar willow (Salix exigua) stands are scattered along the southern and western edges. Along the north edge of the wetland there are dense buckthorn seedlings under the cottonwood, and several sedge species near the edge of the open water. Although this is a wetland complex, it nonetheless floods occasionally beyond its boundaries. In addition, an electrical distribution line physically bisects the wetland north-south. A large dead tree near the wetland center appears to provide habitat for a number of birds and small mammals. Overall, despite some degradation, the wetland in Parcel 1 is one of the best remaining natural resources in the project area. The CRWD 2007-2008 Wetland Assessment Report notes the high invertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scores in the Cottage Avenue wetland, and referred to it as “a strong healthy wetland.�

18


Parcel 2 is an NWI-mapped wetland in the southwest corner of Arlington Avenue and Trout Brook Circle, east of the Post Office. It is primarily an emergent wetland dominated by cattails and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea). Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) are also present. There are several medium-large (10-28 inches in diameter) cottonwoods scattered throughout the wetland and along the perimeter of the wetland. The trees in the center of the wetland are dying and/or have visible interior decay. This wetland floods occasionally beyond its boundaries onto Trout Brook Circle. There were 2-6 inches of standing water in several pools around the wetland during the field investigations. All standing water was densely covered in duckweed (Lemna sp.), as well as areas of open water in the northern third of the site. Parcel 3 is a highly-degraded, narrowly rectangular strip of non-native grasses and forbs. It is dominated by smooth brome (Bromus inermis). Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), a Minnesota prohibited noxious weed to be controlled, is also present (No photo of Parcel 3). Parcel 4 is a long (approximately 500-foot) narrow wooded strip on a small rise on the Advance Equipment property. It is dominated by large cottonwoods (up to 28 inches in diameter), with boxelder (Acer negundo) and Siberian elm (Ulmus siberica) in the subcanopy. Buckthorn is dense in the understory, and there is a large amount of metal and wood debris, as well as piles of dirt. There is a small linear NWI-mapped emergent wetland at the toe of the slope leading up into the woods. To the south of Parcel 4, the strip of trees narrows, but appears to connect eventually to Parcel 7 (see below). Parcel 5 is a planted and maintained series of vegetated strips along the southwest edge of L’Orient Street. Moving southwest from L’Orient Street, Parcel 5 is first a strip of mowed turfgrass, then a row of 19


Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), then a mixed native/non-native herbaceous strip before abutting a commercial building. Parcel 6 follows the Gateway State Trail southwest from L’Orient Street. Along the north edge of the trail, there is an approximately 25-foot strip of primarily wooded and shrub vegetation, dominated by young cottonwoods, green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), boxelder, Colorado blue spruce and staghorn sumac (Rhus hirta). Between the woody vegetation and the trails is an herbaceous strip dominated by sweet clover (Melilotus sp.), Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), and other non-natives. Occasional clumps of two prairie grasses, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are also present. The south side of the trail is initially maintained turf grass between the trail and an adjacent commercial building. Further south there is mixed native/non-native herbaceous vegetation on both sides of the trail. Parcel 7 is accessed from the Gateway State Trail, and is a large roughly rectangular parcel that is primarily an NWI-mapped emergent wetland with a forested and shrub perimeter, but that also has a small upland wooded area in the north end. The northern upland area is densely wooded with cottonwoods over smooth brome. The emergent wetland further south is mainly a cattail (Typha sp.) monoculture. However, the surrounding tree/shrub perimeter is an interesting mix of willow (Salix sp.), tamarack (Larix laricina), and cottonwood, with herbaceous species underneath, including joe-pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum), greenheaded coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) and jewelweed. There is minor invasion of purple loosestrife in the south end of the emergent wetland, and there is a patch of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) along the southwest edge of the wetland. Japanese knotweed is an aggressive non-native invasive species and a Minnesota Specially Regulated Plant species. The west edge of Parcel 7 abuts a fenced auto salvage yard. There is clear evidence of trash and waste soil dumping over the fence into the parcel.

20


Parcel 8 contains a roughly rectangular NWI-mapped retention/detention pond north of Parcel 24 (see below). The pond is surrounded by a dense approximately 15foot strip of staghorn sumac and young boxelder, over reed canary grass. Outside of the perimeter shrubs/young trees is maintained turf grass. Parcel 9 is immediately north of Parcels 10 and 16 (see below). This parcel is primarily occupied by the K-Mart building and parking lot; however, the southern end of the parcel is an upland herbaceous vegetation community with both non-native species and prairie grasses and forbs present. The prairie grass species present include big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), switchgrass, little bluestem and side-oats grama (Bouteluoa curtipendula). The vegetation is currently mowed along the western edge of the K-Mart parking lot, including into the prairie grasses. There is a small non-NWI-mapped emergent wetland within this parcel. Parcels 10 and 16 appeared to be distinct in desktop review, but are actually contiguous on the ground. This area is an interesting forested/woodland dominated by large cottonwoods, with black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), green ash and boxelder also in the canopy and understory. Brome and goldenrod are the dominant herbaceous species. The parcels abut the Gateway State Trail. Management opportunities include development of a “pocket park� and passive recreation, as well as wildlife/pollinator habitat enhancement. Parcel 11 is immediately north of Maryland Avenue, west of the BNSF railroad and south of the gravel road at the edge of an auto salvage yard. The western half of this area is dominated by small trees and shrubs, primarily boxelder (Acer negundo), Siberian elm, small cottonwoods, buckthorn (Rhamnus 21


cathartica). The upland portion of Parcel 11 also has an early mature northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), one of several found scattered throughout the project area. As the parce l slopes gently to the east, it becomes dominated by an NWI-mapped wetland dominated by sandbar willow (Salix exigua), horsetails (Equisetum sp.) and reed canary grass. Parcel 12 is located on the slope northeast of the new Trout Brook Nature Preserve parking and information area, and is a recently-planted restoration area. The parcel drops approximately 20 feet in elevation to the northeast. The flatter portion at the top of the slope has apparently been planted with prairie grasses and forbs, but is currently dominated by an annual cover drop of oats and wheat, with sweet clover, ragweed and other invasives also present. This is typical of the early stages of a restoration and re-planting effort; it is expected that the desired planted species will begin to emerge and establish over the invasives with proper maintenance. The sloped portion of the parcel has been planted with approximately 100 bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) seedlings in deer-protection cylinders. The parcel slopes down to a gravel road at the edge of an auto salvage yard. Parcel 13 is a maintained park-like area at the east end (dead end) of East Hawthorne Avenue. The parcel features 10-12 large silver maples (Acer saccharinum) and 4-5 cottonwoods over a maintained, mowed open grassy area. There is no subcanopy, understory or shrub layer.

Parcel 14 and Parcel 15 were mapped separately in the desktop study, but are similar in character on the ground. Both parcels are predominantly artificial surfaces (pavement and building), but also have significant remnant woodland and forested vegetation communities. Mixed woodland/old field in the

22


northeast corner of Parcel 15 joins woodland in the north end of Parcel 14, and is connected via a narrow wooded strip to cottonwood forest in the east-central part of Parcel 14. In both Parcels 14 and 15, the cottonwoods present are up to 32 inches in diameter, which is among the largest in the project area. The openings in the canopy are dominated by Canada goldenrod, sweet clover and smooth brome. There are scattered patches of prairie species, including big bluestem, stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida) and heath aster (Symphotrichum ericoides).

Parcel 16 - see Parcel 10. Parcels 17 through 20 follow the railroad corridors. Parcel 17 follows either side of the BNSF railroad between Maryland Avenue and Jackson Street. Vegetation along the west side of the tracks tends toward an emergent wetland community type, most likely because the tracks back up overland flow against the west side of the railroad embankment. The east side of the tracks is drier because the elevation slopes away from the tracks to the east. On the east side, vegetation is dominated by blackcap raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), brome and Canada goldenrod. Further north, the west side of the tracks also becomes more upland in character, with boxelder, cottonwood and non-native honeysuckle dominating. The most immediate management concern in Parcel 17 is the eradication of a large patch of Japanese knotweed along the west side of the tracks. The proximity of this patch of Japanese knotweed to the Trout Brook Nature Preserve underscores the need to eradicate the patch as soon as possible. Parcel 18 is the continuation of the railroad-associated plant communities north and west of Parcel 17, on the west side of Jackson Street. Along its south edge, Parcel 18 is dominated by large cottonwoods, and is contiguous with Parcel 15 (see above) (No photo of Parcel 18).

23


Parcel 19 is the abandoned railroad line heading north toward Arlington Avenue. This section of track is on an embankment approximately 30 feet above grade. The slopes of the embankment are a mix of native and non-native grasses and forbs, primarily smooth brome. Clumps of big bluestem and other prairie grasses line the top of the embankment along the tracks.

Parcel 20 is the east-west portion of the BNSF railroad and adjacent land between Sylvan Street and Rice Street. The prairie grass big bluestem is common immediately adjacent to the tracks on both sides. Further away from the tracks, vegetation varies from linear cottonwood stands to large staghorn sumac clumps and strips of boxelder, green ash and buckthorn.

Parcels 21, 22 and 23 are city-owned rectangular parcels, each approximately 250 to 300 feet in length by approximately 50 feet in width. The southern half of Parcel 21 is an open water excavated wetland with cattail around the perimeter. This is not an NWImapped wetland. The Parcel 21 pond receives runoff from two parallel drainage ditches to the west of the parcel, and occasionally backs up into these drainage ditches in high precipitation events. Other species at the pond include minor purple loosestrife, hardstem bulrush (Schoenoplectus acutus), northern water-plantain and blue vervain (Verbena hastata). A narrow strip of boxelder and buckthorn separate the pond from the north end of Parcel 21, which is a degraded herbaceous upland dominated by sweet clover and quackgrass.

24


Parcel 22 is a cottonwood-dominated wooded area, with boxelder and green ash, and buckthorn in the understory (No photo of Parcel 22). Parcel 23 is an interesting mix of scrubshrub and emergent wetland, cottonwooddominated woods and degraded herbaceous upland, following a west to east topographic gradient. This is not an NWI-mapped wetland. The wet swale along the west edge of the parcel is dominated by cattails, jewelweed and willow. Upslope to the east of the swale is a narrow strip of cottonwood and boxelder. Finally, further upslope the parcel flattens out and is a dense patch of sweet clover, burdock and ragweed.

Parcel 24 is a long narrow wooded corridor immediately west of the MnDOT I-35E rightof-way. The parcel slopes downward from both the east and west edges to form a long, linear depression. Green ash, boxelder and buckthorn dominate the upland edges of the parcel. As the elevation drops toward the center, the dominant trees are cottonwood, black willow (Salix nigra) and silver maple. Dominant herbaceous species are Canada goldenrod and stiff sunflower (Helianthus rigida) on the upper slopes and cattail and reed canary grass in the wetter center. There is a dense stand of sandbar willow at the north end of the parcel.

25


Table 2

Summary of Natural Areas Estimated Slope

Ownership

Natural Resource

1-5%

Private

Wetland

none

Private

Wet Meadow/Wet land

1 -5%

Public

Grassland

 Reduce management by Vegetating with aggressive native plants (Dogwood, Willow, Vibernum, etc.)

Public

Woodland

 Remove debris to improve understory vegetation.  Improve delineation between natural area and industrial property to reduce encroachment and compaction from surrounding industry  Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

1 -5%

Public

Woodland/R emnant Prairie

D

Emergent wetland with open water

10 – 20% around wetland edge

Public

Wetland

Linear depression dominated by cottonwood and cattail species along L’Orient Street. Mowed turf edge around stormwater pond to the north.

C

Emergent wetland with open water

5-10% along ditch

Private

Woodland/W etland

9

61120 - Tall grass altered/nonnative dominated grassland

Open field along south edge of K-Mart parking lot. Native grass and forb species present. Vegetation dominated by goldenrod and reed canary grass.

C

N/A

none

Private

Dry Prairie

10 ,16

42130 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

Maintained power line corridor through center with early succession woodland species on the edges.

C

N/A

5-10%

Private

Woodland

11

42130 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

Early succession woodland species along road. South side of parcel slopes up to Maryland Avenue. Slope dominated by smooth brome. Cattail and reed canary wetland along road.

D

Emergent Wetland

5-10%

Private

Wetland/ Mesic Prairie

Parcel No.

Vegetation Classification

Description

Quality

Wetland Features Forested Wetland adjacent to the Trout Brook Interceptor

1

42310 - Permanently flooded altered/non-native dominated vegetation

Reed canary grass and cattail dominated wetland surrounded by buckthorn, boxelder, and cottonwood species.

C

2

62310 - Altered/non-native grassland with sparse deciduous trees - temporarily flooded

Low lying flat parcel dominated by reed canary grass and other exotic invasive species. Cattail wetlands on western edge.

NN

Emergent Wetland

3

23112 - Long grasses with sparse tree cover on upland soils

Linear parcel dominated by smooth brome and burdock. Vegetation maintained to height <1’.

NN

N/A

4

14112 - Pavement with 76 -90% impervious cover

Wooded strip surrounded by industrial property. Natural area canopy dominated by cottonwood with a highly degraded understory.

NN

Emergent Wetland

5-10%

5-6

21310 - Upland soils with planted, maintained or cultivated mixed coniferous/deciduous trees

Mixed coniferous/deciduous tree planting adjacent to the Gateway State Trail. Exotic forbs and grasses dominate with few native mixed within.

C

N/A

7

61830 - Permanently flooded altered/non-native dominated vegetation

Cattail dominated wetland. Willow tamarack and buckthorn along edges.

8, 24

42310 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland - saturated

Management Opportunities  Remove buckthorn understory to improve habitat quality for birds.  Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs  Increase vegetation diversity for pollinator and bird species  Manage reed canary and loosestrife  Prevent flooding to adjacent properties through BMPs

 Manage invasive forbs and grasses.  Convert mowed turf areas along path with native grasses, forbs, and/or tree species.

 Control exotic invasive species

Maintain wetland functions

 Connect bike trail along eastern edge  Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs  Restore into remnant prairie  Use open area as a pocket park/picnic area for trail users  Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs  Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs  Manage exotic tree species to prevent encroachment into recently restored Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary

26 vv


Quality

Wetland Features

Estimated Slope

Ownership

NA

N/A

5 – 15%

Public

Oak Savanna

Mixed deciduous canopy with a densely colonized buckthorn understory

NN

N/A

0 -15%

Private

Woodland

42130 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

Large cottonwood canopy with tall grass openings. Openings are a diverse mix of nonnative and native forbs and tall grass species.

C

N/A

0 – 5%

Private

Woodland/ Remnant Prairie

13144 13134 – Short grasses and mixed trees with 26-75% impervious cover

Rail corridor dominated by non-native grass and forb species. Cottonwood and box elder tree species throughout

C

N/A

0 – 5%

Private

Woodland/ Remnant Prairie

21

14113 - Buildings and pavement with 91-100% impervious cover

Newly constructed stormwater pond along south side of W cottage Avenue. Site appeared to have been recently seeded with native species. Situated along road and industrial property.

C

Open Water

0 – 10%

Public

Wetland/ Stormwater Pond

22 - 23

14113 - Buildings and pavement with 91-100% impervious cover

Wooded strip along south side of W cottage Avenue. Situated along road and industrial property.

C

N/A

0 -15%

Public

Parcel No.

Vegetation Classification

12

42130 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland

13 -14

32170 - Altered/non-native deciduous forest

15

17 - 20

Description Recently restored slope dominated by annual invasive spices. Slope has been planted with oak and hackberry seedlings

Natural Resource

Management Opportunities  Control exotic species  Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat for bird species  Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas  Restore remnant prairie openings  Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat for bird species  Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas  Convert abandoned rail line into recreational trail system. Connect to Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary.  Improve ecological patch corridor dynamics with surrounding natural areas  Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

 Control exotic species  Maintain wetland functions

 Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

27 vv


Table 2 9 - Summary of Natural Areas Figure Management Opportunities Natural Parcel No. Resource

hip

e

1 Wetland

e

Wet 2 Meadow/We tland

c

3 Grassland

c

4 Woodland

c

Woodland/R 5-6 emnant Prairie

c

7 Wetland

Description

impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

Woodland/W 8, 24 etland

e

e

Dry 9Prairie

e

10 ,16 Woodland

hip

Wetland/ 11 Mesic Prairie Natural Resource Parcel No.

c

Oak 12 Savanna

e

• Increase vegetation diversity for pollinator and bird 62310 - Altered/non-native Low lying flat parcel dominated by reed canary species. grassland with sparse deciduous grass and other exotic invasive species. Cattail • Manage reed canary and loosestrife trees - temporarily flooded wetlands on western edge. • Prevent flooding to adjacent properties through BMPs 23112 - Long grasses with sparse Linear parcel dominated by smooth brome and • Reduce management by Vegetating with aggressive tree cover on upland soils burdock. Vegetation maintained to height <1’. native plants (Dogwood, Willow, Vibernum, etc.). • Remove debris to improve understory vegetation. Wooded strip surrounded by industrial • Improve delineation between natural area and 14112 - Pavement with 76 -90% property. Natural area canopy dominated by industrial property to reduce encroachment and impervious cover cottonwood with a highly degraded compaction from surrounding industry. understory. • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs Mixed coniferous/deciduous tree planting 21310 - Upland soils with planted, • Manage invasive forbs and grasses adjacent to the Gateway State Trail. Exotic maintained or cultivated mixed forbs and grasses dominate with few native • Convert mowed turf areas along path with native coniferous/deciduous trees mixed within. grasses, forbs, and/or tree species. 61830 - Permanently flooded altered/non-native dominated • Control exotic invasive species vegetation

42310 - Altered/non-native deciduous woodland saturated • Maintain wetland-functions

NN

Emergent Wetland

none

Private

Wet Meadow/We tland

NN

N/A

1 -5%

Public

Grassland

NN

Emergent Wetland

5-10%

Public

Woodland

1 -5%

Public

Woodland/R emnant Prairie

10 – 20% around wetland edge

Public

2

Cattail dominated wetland. Willow tamarack and buckthorn along edges. Linear depression dominated by cottonwood and cattail species along L’Orient Street. Mowed turf edge around stormwater pond to the north.

Open field along south edge of K-Mart parking • Connect bike trail along eastern edge lot. Native grass and forb species present. 61120 - Tall grass altered/non• Improve flood attenuation from surrounding Vegetation dominated by goldenrod and reed native dominated grassland impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs canary grass. • Restore into remnant prairie • Use open area as a pocket park/picnic area for trail line corridor through center Maintained power 42130 - Altered/non-native with early succession woodland species on the users deciduous woodland edges. • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding Early succession woodland species along road. 42130 - Altered/non-native impervious surfaces with addition ofSouth BMPsside of parcel slopes up to Maryland Avenue. Slope dominated by smooth brome. deciduous woodland • Manage exotic tree species to prevent Cattail reed canary wetland along road. encroachment into recently restored Troutand Brook Nature Sanctuary Management Opportunities Vegetation Classification Description Recently restored slope dominated by annual 42130 - Altered/non-native invasive spices. Slope has been planted with deciduous • Control exoticwoodland species 26 oak and hackberry seedlings

C

N/A

D

Emergent wetland with open water

21

1

22Emergent wetland

23

19

Wetland

with open water

5-10% along ditch

Private

Woodland/W etland

C

N/A

none

Private

Dry Prairie

C

N/A

5-10%

Private

D

Emergent Wetland

5-10%

Private

Quality

Wetland Features

Estimated Slope

Ownership

Wetland/ Mesic Prairie Natural Resource

NA

N/A

5 – 15%

Public

Oak Savanna

NN

N/A

0 -15%

Private

Woodland

Private

Woodland/ Remnant Prairie

C

20

18

15

Woodland

Management Opportunities

Maintain Wetland Function For Flood Attenuation

Develop Trail Network Connections

Remove buckthorn understory to improve habitat quality for birds. Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

• Increase vegetation diversity for pollinator and bird species. • Manage reed canary and loosestrife • Prevent flooding to adjacent properties through BMPs • Reduce management by Vegetating with aggressive native plants (Dogwood, Willow, Vibernum, etc.). • Remove debris to improve understory vegetation. • Improve delineation between natural area and industrial property to reduce encroachment and compaction from surrounding industry. • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs • Manage invasive forbs and grasses • Convert mowed turf areas along path with native grasses, forbs, and/or tree species.

• Control exotic invasive species

3

4 5

Maintain wetland functions

• Connect bike trail along eastern edge • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs • Restore into remnant prairie • Use open area as a pocket park/picnic area for trail users • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs • Improve flood attenuation from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs • Manage exotic tree species to prevent encroachment into recently restored Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary Management Opportunities

17

6

8

7

14

• Control exotic species 26

vv

e

Woodland 13 -14

e

Woodland/ Remnant 15 Prairie

e

Woodland/ Remnant 17 - 20 Prairie

c

Wetland/ Stormwater 21 Pond

c

Estimated Natural PrimaryQuality Management Opportunities Wetland Features Slope Ownership Resource Forested Wetland Restore Native • • 42310 Remove buckthorn flooded understory to improve habitat grass and cattail dominated - Permanently Reed canary adjacent to the Removal 1-5% Private Wetland altered/non-native wetland surrounded by buckthorn, boxelder, Buckthorn C quality for birds. dominated Trout Brook Plant Community• • Improvevegetation flood attenuation from surrounding and cottonwood species. Interceptor Vegetation Classification Management Opportunities

22 - 23

• Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat 32170 - Altered/non-native Mixed deciduous canopy with a densely for bird species deciduous forest colonized buckthorn understory • Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas • Restore remnant prairie openings Large cottonwood canopy with tall grass - Altered/non-native • 42130 Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat openings. Openings are a diverse mix of nonwoodland fordeciduous bird species native and native forbes and tall grass species. • Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas • Convert abandoned rail line into recreational trail system. Trout and Brook Nature Sanctuary. 13144 13134Connect – Short to grasses Rail corridor dominated by non-native grass mixed trees with 26-75% forb species. Cottonwood and box elder • Improve ecological patch corridor and dynamics with impervious coverareas. tree species throughout surrounding natural • Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs 14113 - Buildings and pavement • Control exotic species with 91-100% impervious cover • Maintain wetland functions

Newly constructed stormwater pond along south side of W cottage Avenue. Site appeared to have been recently seeded with native species. Situated along road and industrial property.

Wooded strip along south side of W cottage 14113 - Buildings and pavement Avenue. Situated along road and industrial • Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious with 91-100% impervious cover property. surfaces with addition of BMPs

Aerial Image Source: Bing Maps

• Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat for bird species • Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas • Restore remnant prairie openings • Remove Buckthorn Understory to improve habitat for bird species • Develop trail network to connect surrounding natural areas

13

C

N/A

0 – 5%

9

12

C

N/A

0 – 5%

Private

Woodland/ Remnant Prairie

C

Open Water

0 – 10%

Public

Wetland/ Stormwater Pond

C

N/A

; ! N

0

0 -15%

250 Public

500

• Convert abandoned rail line into recreational trail system. Connect to Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary. • Improve ecological patch corridor dynamics with surrounding natural areas. • Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

11

16

• Control exotic species • Maintain wetland functions

Saint Paul, MN Capitol Region Watershed District

1,000 • Manage stormwater from surrounding impervious surfaces with addition of BMPs

Feet

10

24


4.0 Management Goals, Strategies and Opportunities The NRI report is intended to present a qualitative and semi-quantitative assessment of natural resources remaining within the project area. It is not intended to prescribe specific management actions for developing, enhancing or preserving the identified natural resources in the District 6 project area. However, this section of the NRI Report is designed to help consider the following three questions regarding any potential actions taken to address natural resource management in the project area:. 1. Why do CRWD and the City want to manage natural resources in the area? What do CRWD and the City hope to achieve? 2. How, in general terms, could CRWD and the City go about achieving its goals for natural resources in the project area? 3. What specifically could be done and where to accomplish CRWD’s and the City’s goals? The first question speaks to the need to develop management goals for the area. The second question is a consideration of the broader means of achieving those goals. The answers to the last question are the beginning of developing a roadmap for specific management actions that will incrementally achieve CRWD’s and the City’s goals for the District 6 project area.

4.1 Management Goals There are numerous potential opportunities for managing natural resources within the project area. Management activities can be selected along a gradient from specific localized actions to broader areawide policies to address the desire to recognize and preserve natural resources in the project area. A necessary first step in the selection of management activities is to consider and identify the goals of natural resource management. Listed below, in no particular order, are several possible goals that may be considered prior to enacting management activities. 

Preservation and protection of open green space: A goal of management may be to simply stop further degradation of the project area’s remaining natural features and protect open, vegetated spaces. Connectivity: Establish corridors of natural vegetation: Greenways, or corridors of open vegetated space, provide ecological, aesthetic and recreational benefits. Moreover, there is an established synergistic effect to connecting separate, isolated tracts of open green spaces. Establishment of connections between natural resource elements within the project area would also allow the continuation of the corridor into natural areas to the north and south of the site. Wildlife habitat enhancement: The project area is in a moderately industrialized, highly developed landscape bounded on the east by an interstate highway and on all other sides by major city roads. In this setting, it is important to identify, preserve and enhance opportunities for wildlife to move, forage, nest and generally survive and function. Specific management activities can be implemented to meet the goal of sharing an intensely human-influenced space with wildlife. Improve pollinator habitat: This goal is a subset of the previous goal of wildlife enhancement, but it is sufficiently important in the current context to identify it as a separate goal. Modern urban settings are increasingly difficult for bees, butterflies and other pollinators to survive. Their ability to survive in urban settings is important to many of our own food sources. Enhancement of

29


pollinator habitat is an achievable goal in the project area, with a high potential for engaging local residents. Passive and active recreation: Having natural spaces interspersed within the project area’s residences and businesses would provide opportunities for observing and enjoying nature, and walking, running or bicycling past native plant communities. Enhancement of native/natural plant communities: In a number of locations around the project area, the remnants of native plant communities and/or good-quality mixed native/nonnative communities are present but declining. These are areas that could return to a healthier, self-sustaining condition with an assist in the form of specific management actions. Control of invasive species: Many invasive species not only degrade native plant communities and decrease species diversity, but they also have significant economic effects at both local and regional scales. Management of invasive species is an important goal for any natural resource management plan. Engineered outlets to benefit and/or improve wetland ecological function: The natural hydrology of the remnant wetlands has been altered, with development altering drainage areas and changing the land cover (more impervious) which has altered the quality and quantity of runoff or stormwater to each wetland. Some wetlands may not be receiving enough some runoff to maintain their natural hydrology, while many may be receiving too much runoff, which could cause the water level in the wetlands to bounce too high and for too a long of a duration, negatively impacting wetland vegetation. Installation of engineered outlets that allow a more natural bounce of water levels could protect the wetlands from increased quantity of runoff.

4.2 Management Strategies Once a particular management goal has been set, consideration should be given to which management strategies are best suited to attain the goal. Listed here are several strategies that can be employed for meeting the natural resource management goals of the project area: 

Seek landowner cooperation: many of the important pieces of the overall natural resource picture in the project area lie on private property. By presenting the benefits of developing a healthier natural resource base within the project area, landowners may be found that are willing to change their current property management strategies to be more natural resource-friendly. For example, a landowner may be willing to forgo mowing portions of turfgrass areas, and allow the areas to be planted with natives. Engagement with landowners, particularly the industrial/commercial landowners in the project area, is an important strategy for several of the management goals listed above. Educate and engage local residences: Similarly, enhancement of natural resources on a smaller, localized scale can be achieved by educating the local residences and helping them understand their roles in achieving the overall goals. Approximately one-quarter of the project area is residential neighborhoods; this represents a unique opportunity for identifying locally-engaged stewards of the area’s natural resources. Help people understand how to be effective natural resource managers in their part of the project area. For example, the goal of enhancing pollinator habitat is most likely best achieved by working with local residences who can provide the land and the labor to improve pollinator habitat, and who would most enjoy the immediate aesthetic benefits. Moreover, this is a strategy for which the specific tools are most likely already developed. CRWD has existing educational materials and guides for residential natural resource management. Strategic acquisitions and/or easements: Meeting the management goal of enhanced connectivity of resources is all about the real estate. Specific properties could be identified for

30


 

outright acquisition, or for negotiation of conservation easements. (This report identifies several properties in Section 4.3.6 Strategic Acquisitions/Easements). Development of plant palettes for specific community types: CRWD and the City can have, on hand, an overall plan for developing and enhancing native plant communities in specific habitats and conditions. Rather than re-creating a planting list for every enhancement opportunity, CRWD and the City can have a set of plant palettes for various desired community types, e.g., upland prairie, wetland fringe, open woodland, etc., available for use as needed. Creation of wildlife habitat structures: To support the goal of wildlife enhancement, it may be necessary to research and learn techniques for creating appealing habitats for a range of wildlife uses. In many instances, materials are readily available and/or already in place, and simply need some adjustments or augmentations to be suitable habitat for birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, etc. Utilizable habitats can be created inexpensively, and should be part of the management toolkit. Policy development: Long-term preservation of natural resources may require re-visiting and potentially revising City policy and regulations regarding natural resources. Engineered stormwater outlets: Installation of engineered outlets connected to the local stormsewer system that allow a more natural bounce of water levels could protect the wetlands from increased quantity of runoff, particularly in Parcels 1, 2, 7, 21, 23 and 24.

4.3 Specific Management Opportunities Listed below is a set of specific management options and opportunities, ranging from the simple to the complex, the practical to the theoretical, and the short-term to the long-term. They have been roughly divided into the type and/or purpose of management activity suggested, and for that reason there is some overlap. Some management suggestions reference the locations of parcels investigated in the field; for these see Figure 7 and 9 and Table 2. This is a comprehensive palette of potential management possibilities for the District 6 project area. Many of these suggested actions may require coordination with private landowners.

4.3.1 Invasive Removal and Clean-ups 

    

 

Remove Japanese knotweed along southwest side of railroad tracks in Parcel 17. Japanese knotweed can be progressively eradicated by mowing around the beginning of June, and then applying glyphosate (Roundup) as the plant grows back. Other more powerful herbicides are also available. Manage invasive forbs and grasses along the Gateway State Trail, starting at L’Orient Street and continuing generally south to Maryland Avenue. Remove Japanese knotweed from the southwest edge of Parcel 7. Consider purple loosestrife control in the wetland at Parcel 7. Clean up concrete and soil piles in Parcel 11. Remove metal and wood debris from Parcel 4. Cut buckthorn understory. Install fencing or other property line delineation at the toe of the slope northeast of the Trout Brook Nature Preserve Visitors Area parking lot to better define the property edge and prevent encroachment of vehicles from the auto salvage yard. Remove buckthorn in wooded areas, especially in the north end of Parcel 1 (Cottage Avenue wetland). Remove buckthorn in the southeast corner of the wetland at the corner of Arlington Avenue and Trout Brook Circle (Parcel 2).

31


4.3.2 Native Plant Community Enhancements 

 

 

Coordinate with the landowners of Parcel 9 (K-Mart location) to allow management of the remnant prairie near the south end of the parking lot. A prescribed burn would control the nonnative species present and help the prairie species. Also, coordinate with the K-Mart property maintenance staff to reduce the mowed area south of the parking lot and avoid mowing into the prairie grasses. Coordinate with property management at the office building north of Parcel 8 to expand the vegetated buffer around the stormwater pond, and to plant additional upland native plants. Coordinate with the designer and installation contractor of the restoration planting at the Trout Brook Nature Preserve Visitors Area parking lot to ensure that there is follow-up and maintenance on the planting, and correction of erosion on the slope. Convert all, or at least the adjacent 15 feet, of the mowed turfgrass area along the southeast side of the Gateway State Trail in Parcel 6 to native grasses, forbs and/or trees. Design prairie or other native plant community species lists and planting plans, at various scales and configurations, for all vacant or non-native dominated publicly-owned parcels.

4.3.3 Wildlife Habitat Enhancement 

   

Develop basic information materials for local homeowners to encourage planting of native perennial forb and shrub species beneficial to bees and other pollinators, and butterflies. Suggested species could include milkweed, blazing star, snowberry, asters, etc. Stress to homeowners the low-maintenance qualities of these plants, and their importance to insect pollinators. Enhance Parcel 4 for wildlife utilization and to improve the quality and connectivity of the parcel to Parcel 7 to the south and to open green spaces to the north. Cut buckthorn and remove debris. Wildlife habitat structures could be considered for the wetland edges and upland areas in Parcel 7. Clear buckthorn in Parcels 22 and 23 to improve woodland bird habitat. Consider felling dying trees in the wetland at the corner of Arlington Avenue and Trout Brook Circle (Parcel 2) to create wildlife habitat. Leave larger standing dead trees for cavity-nesting bird habitat.

4.3.4 Connectivity Enhancements  

Clean up, eradicate non-natives, and improve Parcels 3 and 4. This would provide a continuous vegetated corridor from Arlington Avenue to Parcel 7 (a publicly-owned parcel). Continue the re-vegetation and native plant community enhancement that has been started northeast of the Trout Brook Nature Preserve Visitors Area parking lot to make it contiguous with the wooded area between the south edge of the Auto Auction auto salvage yard and Maryland Avenue. This would help improve connectivity of vegetated open spaces at the southeast end of the project area and continuing south under Maryland Avenue to Trout Brook Nature Preserve.

4.3.5 Preservation Target Parcels The following parcels are priority areas for preservation: 

Parcel 1 and all parcels that are part of the Cottage Avenue wetland. This is probably the most ecologically-valuable natural resource in the project area. If it cannot be acquired (see below), then policy should be to strictly prohibit development or further degradation of the wetland.

32


   

Similarly, if the forested portions of Parcels 13, 14 and 15 cannot be acquired, coordination could be performed with the landowners to keep these wooded areas preserved. These parcels are critical to maintaining a continuous greenway corridor through the project area. Parcel 7 is publicly owned, and could provide passive recreation and wildlife habitat opportunities. Parcels 22 and 23 are publicly-owned and provide good wildlife habitat, despite their relative isolation. Parcel 7 could be developed into a small park/rest stop along the Gateway State Trail. Parcel 19, the abandoned railroad line, has scattered prairie grass communities along the top of the embankment that could be maintained and preserved.

4.3.6 Strategic Acquisitions/Easements  

 

4.3.7  

Begin acquisitions or conservation easement negotiations for parcels or portions of parcels along the entire Gateway State Trail as it passes through the project area. Contact landowners to acquire the wooded portions of Parcels 13, 14 and 15. If acquired and preserved, these three parcels, along with the Trout Brook Nature Preserve Information Area to the south and the abandoned railroad line to the north, would establish a continuous greenway corridor through the project area and into open green space both south and north of the site. Acquire Parcel 1 and all parcels that are part of the Cottage Avenue wetland. Develop the Parcels 10 & 16 area along the Gateway State Trail south of Maryland Avenue into a “pocket park.” These are privately-owned parcels, and could be a strategic acquisition for the City. The site has access from the trail along the west and from L’Orient Street to the east. The site would provide passive recreation opportunities along the trail, and could be a nice rest stop. A simple first step would be to clean out weeds and underbrush.

Other Natural Resource Management Actions Check inflow/outflow through the wetland at the corner of Arlington Avenue and Trout Brook Circle (Parcel 2). The wetland tends to flow over the curb onto Trout Brook Circle. Develop hydrologic modeling of wetlands that may have stormwater and flooding concerns (Parcels 1, 2, 7, 21, 23 and 24) and determine whether engineered outlets connected to the local stormsewer system that allow a more natural bounce of water levels would provide benefit.

33


5.0 References Bluestem Heritage Group. 2013. History of the Trout Brook Valley. St. Paul, MN. Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). 2015. Minnesota Noxious Weeds. URL: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/badplants/noxiouslist.aspx. Accessed February 3, 2015. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR). 2013. East-Central Update of USFWS NWI Mapping. MnDNR

34

Profile for Capitol Region Watershed District

District 6 Natural Resource Inventory  

District 6 Natural Resource Inventory